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Underwired VS. Wire-Free Bras

The battle with whether or not you should wear underwired bras or wire-free bras is one that differs between women. It may seem that only women with smaller busts can get away with a wire-free bra. It’s assumed that women with a large bust must wear an underwire in order to maintain enough support for aesthetics and for health. However, either assumption doesn’t always ring true, and there are plenty of options for all women to choose whether or not they want to wear a wire-free bra or an underwired bra.

One of the most common complaints from women regarding underwired bras is that they are uncomfortable, painful, or too restricting. This is all due to fit. Underwires are not meant to cause discomfort; if it does, then your bra is most likely too small. An underwire should sit below your breast, and follow the shape of the breast. It should stay under the breast throughout movement. Furthermore, where the wire meets in the middle (the centre front gore), it should sit against your skin right between your breasts; it shouldn’t appear as though it’s floating. If all of these factors exist with your bra, then the underwire should not be uncomfortable. You should feel a little bit of lift, but other than that, it shouldn’t affect your comfort levels.

Another cause for an uncomfortable underwire could be changes in the body. A woman’s weight and body shape fluctuates throughout her life, and that will most likely mean that your breast size, back width, breast shape, and waist will change as well. With these changes, a woman should be getting remeasured in case she needs to change her bra size. Do you notice that, after a few months, your bra is no longer comfortable, it rides up, or the underwire feels too tight? Chances are, it’s time to shop for a new bra.

With wire-free bras, don’t expect push-up quality lift, but do expect that many styles can offer more support than you might think. Some styles are built with a silicone “wire;” it’s not as stiff as a metal underwire but still offers a nice, subtle lift to the breasts. Technology similar to this exists for many other styles too, so that women who have a larger bust can enjoy the liberty of a wire-free bra without having to worry about breasts hanging or appearing as though no bra is being worn at all.

As with underwired bras, the proper fit of a wire-free bra is essential to ensure you’re getting the proper support. This is paramount regardless of what breast size you possess. Wire-free bras are fantastic options for everyday, but aren’t the best option for rigorous activity. If you have a larger bust and are enjoying an activity where you’re moving a lot, it is best not to wear a wire-free bra at this time.

Now, if you love the lift of an underwired bra but aren’t in love with how a wire feels, there is a happy medium. Some bras are built with partial wires; they offer a surprising amount of lift, but don’t extend throughout the entire cup as underwired bras do. Many other types of lingerie, such as chemises and teddies, are built with these partial wires to enhance cleavage just a little bit.

What type of bra do you prefer; an underwired bra, a wire-free bra, or a partial wire bra? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter. You can also pin these styles from our blog or from us on Pinterest, and can learn more lingerie tips and tricks on our YouTube page.




  • Yvette

    Regrettably, I lost a fair amount of chest muscle when I lost weight. My underwires no longer fit and I now must wear wirefree bras due to costochondritis. I feel like I’ve tried on a million wirefree bras, but none of them fit well. I went from a size 38DDD to size 40D. You mention bras exist with partial wires. Could you please tell me what brands these are? I am desperate to find a bra that fits well. Thanks.

  • admin

    Hello Yvette,
    Thank you so much for contacting us.
    I understand that you lost some chest muscle which requires you to wear wirefree bras. Partial wired bras are unfortunately in small cup size. Going back to the wirefree bras is it the look you don’t like, perhaps the style, support or even the size you are currently wearing may not be appropriate. There is a significant size difference between 38DDD and size 40D. Can you let me know? Thank you so much, Celine 1-855-521-4244

  • Mary

    I wear wireless because they are more supportive than underwire bras. I know that this is contrary to popular opinion, but the truth usually is. The wire is there, but it doesn’t hold up the whole breast. A good wireless bra gives all-over, comfortable support.

  • admin

    Hello Mary!

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Depending on the style of bra, the underwire may not extend throughout the entire bra, and so it can feel less supportive. We’re happy you found a style of bra that works for you, no matter what!

    – The NTL Team

  • Fru

    I wear wire free only. I read somewhere that wireless bra feels like heaven 🙂 It actually does, it’s easy to forget that I’m wearing one. And why would I want to aim for anything less than absolute comfort when it comes to something as essential as lingerie? For me there’s no way I could go back to underwire which now seems to me a sad reminiscence of a corset.

    The problem with underwired bras is that they have to fit perfectly to feel comfortable, but the bust size fluctuates throughout the month – apparently it can change a full cup size, so it’s near impossible to ensure my bra will feel comfortable all the time, every day. I am a D cup (30E actual size, which is the standard 34D, UK sizing) so not too small, not too big, but my mother is 40DD, which is the standard G cup, and she breastfed 3 children a few decades ago – and she also is able to find wire free bras that fit and do what she wants them to do. It just takes some time and a bit of online research to find what you need, but it’s so totally worth it.

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