Black and lacy are the two most common features of bra owned by New Zealand women although patterned and bright are also popular buys according to a survey by New Zealand lingerie company Rose & Thorne.

The company surveyed more than 3,000 women online between May and June, mostly from New Zealand to find out what their buying habits and preferences were when it came to bra shopping. Rose & Thorne co-owner and creative director Sue Dunmore said some of the survey results were reflected in company sales with what she described as classic lingerie staples - black and lacy sets - selling well. The survey also pointed to a few more surprising results however, including that most New Zealand women had four bras on average that they never wore.

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"We know that women tend to have 'pretty mistakes' in their drawers - the bras that look great but are so uncomfortable that they never actually get worn," Dunmore said. "What surprised us was the consistency of this, regardless of your size and shape the average number is 4 - that's a lot of bras never to wear."

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Dunmore said other surprising result from the survey were that 42 per cent of women wanted their partner to buy them lingerie and that less than a third of women said they were truly confident that they were wearing the right size bra.

"Bras are a hugely technical garment," Dunmore said. "A bit like shoes except when you try on new shoes you're not getting naked in front of a stranger. There's always that perception you're being judged and no one believes they have the perfect body," she said.

Less than 50 per cent of women bought a new bra more than once a year with 44 per cent of women saying this was because they didn't have the money to spare, however 27 per cent said this was due to feeling too embarrassed to let someone fit them and 19 per cent saying this was because they often couldn't find a bra that fit properly.

Dunmore said the survey had been undertaken to try and find what she called pain points around bra shopping and how this information could be used to improve the bra shopping experience.