4 Underwire Bra Myths Messing up your Bra-Wearing Experience

Introduction: understated underwire benefits

Myth 1: Underwire bras cause cancer

Myth 2: Underwire bras make breasts sag

Myth 3: Sports bras are always wire-free

Myth 4: Nursing moms should not wear underwire bras

What you need to know before ripping the wires out of your bras 

One of the most significant trends that came into full swing during the pandemic with women working from home was going braless or wearing wire-free sports bras. Women everywhere were “freeing the gals” as they lounged in comfy work-at-home clothes or wore their weekend gear all week long. Hunching over our laptops and peering at a screen all day can lead us to feel tense and achy. And it’s hard enough getting dressed up for the weekly zoom meetings, much less to have to worry about breast support and underwired underwear. But what if we told you that many of the feelings and bra beliefs you held about underwire bras were myths that made bust support more constricting than it needs to be?

In today’s blog, we cover the top 4 bra myths as they relate to underwire support and what you should do to enjoy comfort and support no matter what type of bra you’re wearing.

 Understated underwire benefits 

Underwire bras are a popular choice, but they also get a bad rap. Many women love to hate them as they are feared to be painful, uncomfortable, and possibly unhealthy for your bosom. The truth about underwire bras is the same as any other, and if the bra doesn’t fit well, it will be uncomfortable, unsafe, and unpleasant.  A great fitting underwire bra provides support and contouring for your entire breast, starting at the tissue under the armpit and to the breast bone. A well-fitting bra will sit firmly against the sternum without rubbing or pressing. And once you’ve found the right bra for your body and breast type, the underwire will offer support that helps shape, lift and take the tension off the straps and back band, thus providing a more comfortable experience. 

4 Myths about underwire bras and the truth we should all know

We’ve likely all seen one version or another of the belief that wearing wired bras cause some breast health issues, whether cancer, constriction, blockage, or bruising. And while many of these claims are false, women can relate to them because, as we discussed in a previous blog post, most women are wearing the wrong size bra, which leads to all these issues.

Myth 1: Underwire bras cause cancer

In the mid-’90s, a book called Dressed to Kill sparked massive controversy as it claimed that wearing a bra, any bra, for more than 12 hours caused breast cancer. Authors  Ross Singer and Grismaijer proposed a direct link between the restrictive nature of bras and the increased risk of cancer in women. While scientifically unfounded, this myth has prevailed over time and has taken on new life as women choose to wear bras that provide more support, thus increasing the underwire styles and choices. 

Studies show that being overweight increases a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer. Since women with more fat tissue tend to have larger breasts, the proponents of bralessness tend to extend the sentiment of bras and specifically wired bras being unhealthy, despite no scientific evidence to back this claim.

The truth: Wearing the wrong size bra causes blockage in the lymphatic system and could lead to health issues, whether the brassier has an underwire or not.

Myth 2: Underwire bras make breasts sag

A 15-year study conducted by Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sports science expert from the University of Besançon, France, claims that wearing any bra causes muscles supporting the breast to weaken and does more harm than good. 

However, the study listed limitations such as the sample of women not representing most women and therefore giving a biased result. Studies of women who go braless for an extended period show that those with heavier, fuller breasts tend to experience pain over time. Though the feeling of relief when an uncomfortable bra is removed is well known worldwide, what is less known is how painful lack of support can become for those with fuller bosoms. 

The Truth: Overall, wearing a bra does not prevent or increase sagging, which is a natural process that happens with time, and as we advance in years. 

Myth 3: Sports bras are always wire-free

Sports bras are thought of as synonymous with wire-free bras, and we can see why this would be a common misconception, as most exercise bras do not have wires. The wires’ main job in your bra is to provide support and separate your breast from your waist and each other. A sports bra without an underwire is more flexible and may allow for easy bending, stretching, and movement. However, depending on a woman’s size and activity level, a wire-free sports bra might be a better choice for her as she gets active. While the shape and separate effect is excellent, wearing a sports bra with an underwire will not give the traditional sports bra’s compressed feeling and will not stop your breasts from bouncing.

The truth: Wearing an underwire in your sports bra is a matter of taste. A wired sports bra will do the trick for women who do not like the compressed look or feel. Simultaneously, those who want to keep their breasts in place and close to their chest during vigorous activity should spring for the traditional wire-free sports bra

 Myth 4: Nursing moms should not wear underwire bras

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, breasts become enlargened and heavy. While some women find it more comfortable to wear bras without underwire, others find the support provided by a well-fitting bra with an underwire to be better. We have already debunked the blocked lymph node myth and shared that what causes the restriction is the wrong size bra. However, many women have found that according to how they carry their pregnancy, whether higher or lower, the comfort levels from any bra will increase or decrease. Women who carry higher tend to have more tenderness and pain at the top of their stomachs and may wish to wear softer materials and a different style bra, like a wire-free sports bra. In contrast, women who carry lower tend to stick to their regular bra styles. The most important thing to remember during pregnancy is that your breast shape and size change, so get refitted for maternity bras that will offer you the most comfortable fit, no matter how you carry.

The truth: Ill-fitting bras can add to discomfort and blockage that leads to mastitis. Having a bra that fits well at any stage of your life is the most important thing to remember, as bodies and breasts morph over time.

Ultimately, whether you chose to wear a bra with an underwire or without, the experience should be the same. Get fitted to ensure your bra is comfortable and supportive. Many women who have practiced going braless or wearing wire-free sports bras are often shocked when they try on a correctly sized underwire bra and can see the separation between their breasts and waist. Choose what works best for your body type but ensure you choose the right size and fit for your body.