Taylor Swift's posture-correcting bra costs $185. A posture historian shares why she's skeptical of 'one-size-fits-all' solutions.

Taylor Swift's posture-correcting bra costs $185. A posture historian shares why she's skeptical of 'one-size-fits-all' solutions.
  • While rehearsing for the Eras tour, Taylor Swift wore the $185 posture-correcting Forme Power Bra.

  • The bra is designed to "immediately improve upper body alignment" and fix your posture.

  • Beth Linker, author of "Slouch: Posture Panic in Modern America," is skeptical of such products.

It appears that even global pop stars may have a hard time standing up straight.

In Taylor Swift's profile for TIME's 2023 Person of the Year, photos revealed that she wore the Forme Power Bra while rehearsing for the Eras Tour last year. This is a sports bra designed by an orthopedic surgeon to help improve body alignment.

It comes with a hefty price tag but, at least, for Business Insider's senior editor Conz Preti, it's worth it. "I love this bra so much," Preti said after wearing it for nine months to help prevent her shoulders from hunching forward too much when playing tennis.

Woman posing for selfie
The author, after a workout, wearing the Forme bra.Courtesy of Conz Preti

For $185, wearers should feel their upper body alignment "immediately improve" as the bra "activates and supports key muscle groups, helping guide the body into proper alignment naturally, without any discomfort," according to Forme's website.

This bra isn't the only posture-fixing product on the market. In fact, there's an entire industry built around posture-enhancing devices and fitness programs, totaling $1.25 billion spent annually worldwide, Beth Linker reported in her new book "Slouch: Posture Panic in Modern America."

If you find that one of these products works for you, then go ahead and use it, Linker said. But otherwise, she advised against shopping for a quick solution because you risk wasting money and injuring yourself while using a product that may not be right for you.

Linker is an author, medical historian, and former physical therapist. In "Slouch," she takes readers on a journey through the history of our societal obsession with good posture. From her point of view, trying to fix posture with pricey, one-step products isn't the best approach.

"The kind of bra that Taylor is wearing is incredibly expensive," Linker told BI. Companies can get away with marking up products like this by promising that they'll fix posture, she said, but she's not convinced they'll work for everyone.

Why she's skeptical

bad posture
Posture-fixing products may not work for everyone, and could even cause injury if they aren't properly suited to the user.Shutterstock

Linker considers posture-fixing products like Taylor Swift's bra to be "one-size-fits-all solutions." They're designed to work for everybody, and that's where Linker takes issue.

These products don't account for the unique, individual physiological characteristics, lifestyle choices, and injuries that could be contributing to a person's "bad" posture.

A quick Google search for "posture-fixing products" yields countless results, ranging in price from a few bucks to a few hundred dollars. For example, you can buy a $16 harness-like posture corrector that uses compression to align the spine, kind of like Swift's bra. Or, you can opt for a bigger purchase, like this $349 "posture pump" that inflates when you lie down on it to align, decompress, and lubricate the spine, according to posturepump.com.

Before purchasing one of these products, Linker recommended asking yourself whether your posture really needs fixing in the first place.

The idea that slouching is bad for your health and well-being isn't grounded in science, but rather decades of "cultural shaming," which Linker outlines in her book. She explains the history and stigma against "bad" posture in the US.

"What I show in the book is that there have been a few studies that indicate that there isn't solid scientific evidence to show that a person who slouches more is more likely to have back pain," she said.

However, if you are experiencing pain or discomfort and think improving your spinal alignment will help, here are some things you can do.

The right way to care for your spine

Senior businessman doing a yoga exercise in office - stock photo
Getting up and moving throughout the work day is a good way to keep back pain at bay, Linker said.Westend61/Getty Images

Linker recommended consulting a doctor, physical therapist, or body-work professional before beginning to work on your posture. That way, they can expertly assess your unique needs and help you achieve your specific goals safely.

"Each person's back pain is individualistic," she said.

Incorporating movement into your daily routine is also a great way to reduce back pain and create better spinal alignment, Linker said, especially for those who sit for long hours during the work week. It's important to get up from your desk, walk around, stretch, and make sure you're not sitting in the same position for too long.

For example, she always keeps a standing desk handy not because standing is necessarily "better" than sitting, but because it gives her the option of changing positions throughout the day.

She also suggests practicing yoga or pilates. These types of exercise stretch and strengthen the muscles throughout the entire body, and can foster healthy alignment.

The bottom line: be skeptical of one-size-fits-all products that promise to "fix" your posture, Linker said. Instead, seek professional advice, move your body, and don't obsess over achieving perfect posture.

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