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Underwire Bra or Wire-less Bra? You Decide

Updated on September 14, 2016
underwire bra
underwire bra
wire-less bra
wire-less bra
Example of wire strips used in underwire bras.
Example of wire strips used in underwire bras. | Source

There is convincing arguments on both sides (no pun intended) of this debate. Underwire bras or brassieres -to use the formal word- of the past had thin, stiff metal wires sown under and along the sides of the cups, which pinched or dug into the skin and ribcage, causing much discomfort and pain and leaving marks. Women persevered for the sake of the support, perfect shape, perfect lift, and well let’s face it, the overall sexiness. Perky and spectacular created confidence. Those of us who refused to bear vanity’s pain chose to wear wire-less. These seamless bras with their double layer gave us the lift and support without the pain and skin abrasions. They also gave us a sense of freedom.

Today’s underwire bras are made with pliable metal, which is often encased in plastic and surrounds the entire breasts. The cups are also more padded. Like the wire-less bras, they come in a variety of materials: cotton, lace, nylon, stretched spandex, and breathable micro fibers, and are no longer one-size-fits-all. Sizes range from 28A to 56N. You can even have them custom-fitted. In fact, it is recommended you do.

Jene Luciani, author of The Bra Book, says that the problem is not underwire versus wire-less, but that 85 percent of women wear the wrong bra size. She says you can find the right bra by determining the size of both the band and the cup. Women with large breasts should even consider wearing a cup size bigger. There are now scales online to help you determine your correct size. Some manufacturers even attached them to the bras for your convenience. Armed with those eye-openers, you would think that women who prefer the underwire brassieres would now enjoy hours of comfort as their wire-less-wearing sisters and the debate would be put to rest. But there might be at more at stake.

Some medical personnel believe that the metal in the underwire, plastic-coated or not, can do internal harm to a woman’s body. One article cites a Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D. and author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. She declared that the underwire severs the circulation of both blood and lymph fluids from the breasts area. The same article mentions research conducted by Dr. George Goodheart, author of Chinese Lessons for Modern Chiropractors. It showed that wearing underwire bras over time can have adverse effects on the gall bladder and the liver. It should also be noted that if sewn improperly, the wires could pop out and do damage.

Despite those concerns, current shelves of brick and mortar stores seem to offer more underwire bras. If you prefer wire-less, they are plentiful on the Internet. Online vendors offer a variety of sizes, materials, and colors. Perhaps the simple solution is as Ms. Luciani suggests: get yourself sized correctly.

Jockey (Volumetric Sizing System) Fit Kit
Jockey (Volumetric Sizing System) Fit Kit | Source

The Jockey Brand

If you consider Ms. Luciani’s suggestion, the Jockey International Company may also provide help. At least, that is their claim. They have developed a new bra sizing system, which according to their spokespeople, “revolutionizes” the entire process by replacing it with what they term the Volumetric Sizing System. They created it after eight years of research and development, which included the interviewing and 3-D scanning of more than 800 women’s bodies. They believe it will work more accurately than the number-letter (inches around the body-cup size) measurements we currently use.

For $20.00, you can purchase the kit, which consists of 10 plastic cups -ranging in sizes 1 to 10- to determine bust volume, and a color-coded measuring tape with numbers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, and 42 to measure under and around the ribcage for the proper fit. With those two measurements, you can select your preferred bra style and color from their offerings. Styles include the Classic Contour, Classic Soft Cup, Tailored Contour, Double-Lined Contour, and Double-Lined Soft. Color choices are black, white or nude. All bras are tooted as having a natural shape and padded “stay-put” straps. Jockey also promises to never discontinue any of the styles.

Both kit and bras are available at Jockey’s online stores and bricks and mortar boutiques. If you purchase a bra after using the kit, they will give you a $20.00 dollar-coupon. You can also return the kit for a refund.

Which bra do you prefer?

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