Bra Problem #11: “WIRES. I need them, but the poking under the arms drives me nuts. And straps that won’t stay or that curl all up and won’t lay flat. I have bras that were not cheap with straps that curl!”
We’ve talked about a few potential sources of underwire-associated discomfort in some of our other blog posts. The gist of the issue is that there can be a lot of variation in underwire shapes and other characteristics (like wire flexibility) that can be a better or worse match for your personal anatomy. If you have a wide breast base, narrow underwires might press into your breast tissue, even if there’s enough room in the bra cups overall. If your breast spacing is very close-set, without much open area on your sternum, bra styles with a wide & tall gore are likely to be uncomfortable. Underwires that come up too high under the arms of wearers with a shorter underbust-to-shoulder distance is a SUPER common problem that we encounter with clients all the time. Bras with a lower height underwire absolutely do exist, but tracking them down can be difficult. Pictured above right is a style we’ve been trying out for this very purpose based on the recommendation of other fitters: the Eve underwired lined cup bra from Anita/ Rosa Faia.
Let me emphasize, though, that wireless bras are absolutely a viable alternative for almost everyone regardless of size or body type. I see it as a matter of personal preference, with neither wired nor wire-free bras being inherently better than the other. To provide support, a bra must have structure. Underwire is a tool for creating that structure, but it’s not the only way to go. Most of your wireless options will have a structure built around strategic seam placement or a moulded form. Will it actually hold you up? So long as the fit is good, yes! It won’t do as much *shaping* as an underwired bra, but that’s a topic for another discussion.
Now, your curling strap issue is an interesting one. You can place blame on the elastic component of the strap material, which has lost its shape and tension due to strain and/or age. Bra care can make a difference here, so make sure you’re laundering your bras gently and allowing them to air-dry. Next, as with other bra strap issues, check that your BAND is sufficiently snug. We want the band to do the work of keeping the bra anchored and not transfer load onto the straps. Over time, this may be causing premature failure of the strap elastic. Lastly, as with other bra features, there is a huge variety of different strap types, and some options are much better at holding their shape than others. The thicker the strap, the better for this purpose. Some straps are also multipart, with the section that runs from the top of the cups to the back of the shoulders being sewn from fabric instead of your more standard elastic trim. While this type of bra strap isn’t as adjustable, it is much more resistant to deformation. These straps tend to stay in place better as well. For example, the Havanna Moulded Bra from Anita shown above on the left has “comfort straps” that are quite wide across the shoulders. This style also happens to be one of our most popular wire-free options.
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 email@example.com.