Sunday, 15 January 2012

What To Do With Those Pesky Wide Underwires

When I talked about breast/bra shapes, I mentioned that wider underwires can be used to create an hourglass shape from the front that looks more minimized from the side. Not everyone seeks this shape, but for those who do, wider underwires are a pretty easy way to achieve it. They’re also good to wear if some of your breast tissue has gotten squashed into your armpit through years of wearing poorly-fitted bras. What's more, if you wear a very high cup size, you may find that ALL bras have wide underwires whether you want them or not.

But you may be left disappointed because wide underwires can be SO PAINFUL! When you buy a bra, the underwires are flat—you may have read articles expressing frustration with the fact that women aren’t shaped like this:


The thing is, although women are not triangular, they also aren’t flat across the front:


 The flat shape of underwires is all wrong for the curved shape of a human torso. If you find your underwires cut into your sides or the front of your ribs, there’s a miracle fix—just bend your underwires into the shape of your body. You’ll probably experience amazing relief in the way your bra feels around your body. You also may become enraged that bra manufacturers never thought of doing this simple favor for their customers.

How do to it:

Put on your bra and find the point on the bottom of the underwire where your torso begins to curve back around.

Take off the bra, and bend the wire at that point. You do have to use a bit of force to bend it so the metal will keep the shape, but be slow and gentle—you don’t want to bend too much at one point. Keep moving along the wire and bending, so the curve will be gentle. You don't actually have to curve the underwire very much to make a difference. Only about this much:


Now, try on the bra again. If the front section now feels unnaturally flat, you can add a slight curve to that by gently bending it. If the underwires now cut in between your boobs or on your sides, you can also very slightly bend out the last inch or two, so it will no longer poke you.

Now your bra is shaped like a person!



A few words of caution: I do this to all my bras and I have never had any problems with underwires breaking or slipping out. But it is definitely an alteration that you do at your own risk; make sure you are totally set on keeping the bra before bending the underwires, since you may not be able to bend them back if you change your mind and want to return it. Also, there may be some bras out there that have underwires that wouldn’t bend, but would break. According to my experience, you should be fine doing this with any Curvy Kate, Panache, and Freya bras, at least. Finally, although I think it MIGHT be possible to bend the underwires on a molded bra (I’ve never tried it), this fix is best suited to non-padded styles.

22 comments:

  1. Why did it never occur to me to try this?

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    1. I never thought of it either until recently, when I was so mad at a really uncomfortable bra that I basically attacked it--with the thought that I'd probably throw it out afterwords. I was startled that it then became perfectly comfortable and wearable, and I haven't looked back since.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I also find that just about every bra has wide underwires, even those that supposedly are more narrow, like Freya. I hope you have luck with achieving better comfort :)

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  3. I love how you're so willing to experiment with your bras and make them cooperate! ;) I need to keep this in mind for the next time I acquire a bra with stuff and unmoulding wires.

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    1. I guess I have become a bit unorthodox with my willingness to cut, sew, and bend. I used to really prefer buying bras that I wouldn't have to alter, but now I find that I can improve the fit of any bra by experimenting, so I've gotten more bold and it doesn't annoy me as much to have to do it.

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  4. I have tried this on some of my bras that felt very uncomfortably tight and found that the band size on them is actually just right, it was because the underwire dug into the side of my rib at the bottom that it was feeling tight and like it was strangling me...I can now wear my tighter band bras with comfort. Great tip!

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  5. Oh and I should add that I wear a GG/H cup size and so the cups go way far around my body and under the arms - I am not sure this would be necessary with smaller cups, but for the larger cups where there is more cup than band this works really well.

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  6. Lahoma, it works for smaller cups too =) I wear 28F/FF in Freya and Panache and, though I could really use a 26 as my ribcage is only 25" (24 at the very smallest), the wires on some of my bras, usually Panache (and in that brand they run a cup smaller than most others so I do need an FF), are much wider than they need be. Most recently purchased was the Cleo Jude which has no band in the front, because it's a partial banded style the underwires just at the bottom and outer curve of the cups dig into my ribs because they're too flat. I think this will be just the fix!

    Something else I've done before in regards to bending wires...if the cups are too narrow or wide I'll bend them in or out to suit me more. Freya's unlined styles are way too narrow on me and I just grab either end of wire and gently pull apart. You have to be careful doing this one though because if you bend too much you can actually curve out the wire in the opposite direction.

    (Interesting to note: if you've ever taken apart a cheap bra, for example a Hanes brand, or even...Victoria's Secret...their wires are actually curved. Lay them on a flat surface and the end of wire that goes under your arm is curved in the opposite direction just a smidge more than the inner part. So they are more suited to a human form...they just have no size range.)

    Thanks so much for this post, btw! I'm going to give this method a shot =)

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  7. With regards to doing this on padded bras, I've bent the underwires in a 30g deco and 30h tease me, and they've both held up fine.

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  8. I just did this on 2 Ewa Michalak PL, and I went from thinking I must have ordered them too small, to it being absolutely brilliant! Thanks :D

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  9. Bending the underwires works only for small adjustments. There is the danger of distorting the whole shape of the bra if you adjust the underwire often. Another tendency is it makes the cup flatter and the band wider. I suggest wireless bras for a healthier option.

    Ted Juhl

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    1. At 32G wireless is not a healthier option.

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  10. You are a genius! Now my bras work with me instead of trying to cut me in half.

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  11. OMG's!!! I am wearing a GORGEOUS New Bra, (Out of interest one of two one red, with cream lace ribbon, this one is black with coffee lace ribbon - very 1950's burlesque very 'yay I just lost 45lbs XD) BOTH stab my upper arms every time I move, Sooo dissapointed, I kept them anyway :/ .. after reading your article I grabbed the wire (whilst wearing - in my eagerness lol) and gently bent it ... WOW!!! I am no longer being stabbed and I can't tell you how amazing it feels. THANK YOU!!!!

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  12. Genius. Thank you xxx

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  13. I'm embarrassed that as a seamstress, this never even occurred to me. With the impending elastic death of my favourite Empreinte bra, I needed another and rather than shell out another $200 for one bra, I went to a different shop and bought two less pricy bras (one Freya, one Curvy Kate). It was a hastily-made decision and today I was feeling extreme buyer's remorse after a really painful day in the supposedly more comfortable bra. I stumbled upon your brilliant article after searching to see if these particular styles were awful for other people too (for whatever reason, my Empreinte Thalia full cup has rocked my socks from day one without ever touching the wires, which baffles me). Anyway, while I think I need to "break them in a bit", the difference is epic. My ribs and the heart under them thank you so much!

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  14. HI! I don't know if you will see this since the post is from 2 years ago! but in case you do. .. Do you have a post about the underwires stabbing your armpits? This is the reason i wear the wide underwire styles like freya, because the wire is set low (and yes, wide) but they don't stab me. however if i try panache or really any other brand in the world a good inch or two literally stabs my armpits. what gives? i am 5'2 and wear a 36j. this was an issue when i was 5'2 and a 32j as well.

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  15. I turned a Freya Gem from a rib-pokey mess into a super-comfortable bra by bending the underwires a little. I have a bony ribcage and super-narrow roots - this is a rib-saver! Thanks!

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  16. I love this idea. I tried it with the one nursing bra I have that has an underwire and it fits so much more comfortably!! It still doesn't tack between the boobs, so I think I might need to go up one more cup size, but it comes much closer now than it did before. Thank you for this tip!

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  17. Brilliant! Just bought a new bra a cup size bigger, just couldn't work out why this one was cutting in on the ribs! A couple of tweaks to make them more rounded has done the trick - now why didn't I think of that!

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  18. Thank you! This little trick has just saved my ribs, which were getting really sore from the under wire digging into them.

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