Bra Problem #4: “Petite fit bras! Bras that fit my cup size have underwires that go into my armpit. I’m a 30E, but the overall size of a 12 year old. 🤦”
There’s a lot of variation in underwires, fortunately. They can be thicker or thinner, more or less flexible, a flat U-shape or contoured to curve and lay flatter against the ribs. The “U” can be wider or more narrow, and as you point out, it may sit lower or extend higher, under the arms and/or in the center. Where the wire hits you has more to do with your torso length and breadth than your bra size, so it’s not a universal feature that can be consistently designed for.
Like other fit factors, it really takes trying things on to know if a style is going to work for your individual body, but I’d recommend starting with brands like Natori or Skarlett Blue that cover your size range and use thin, flexible, contoured underwires in all of their designs. These are some seriously comfortable bras and what I personally wear most of the time. The contoured wire should keep the ends out of your armpits, but if you need just a bit more room, the underwire casing in most bras has enough extra space that you can wiggle the wires further to one end or the other… in this case, from the outer edge towards the center. For the truly EXTREMELY petite build, there’s an entire brand- The Little Bra Company- that designs exclusively for the very smallest band and cup combos, so you have options there as well. 🙂 Pictured is The Little Bra Company’s Lucia signature lunge bra on the left, and the Minx multiway t-shirt bra from Skarlett Blue on the left.
Note: “Bra Problems” was originally a series of Facebooks posts written in response to follower queries during the Covid shutdown of spring 2020. Our inboxes are still open, though! If you have a Bra Problem you’d like us to troubleshoot here, email your issue to firstname.lastname@example.org.