Bras can be divided into different types on the basis of different standards of classification. Therefore, this article will divide everyday bras into two main types,

  • wired bras
  • non-wired bras

This article will put forward their typical features, differences, pros and cons from the most basic and common classification angle. We hope you can get the information you want from this article.

1. What is Underwire Bra Meaning?

An underwire bra (also wired bra) is a type of bra that is inset with thin and rigid material. Most of this material is in the segment of a circle or semi-circular to fit women’s breast curves better. It is fitted inside the bra fabric to help lift, support and shape women’s breasts.

wired bras01

This rigid material is called underwire and is usually made of metal or plastic material. It is sewn into the bra lining and under each cup, extending from the center gore to the position below the armpit of wearers. Many bras used in different ways would also design incorporate underwire including demi bras, full-covered bras and bras made into other clothing, like dresses, swimsuits and tank tops.

bra 1

The concept of underwire can be traced to a patent in 1893. This patent describes a device for supporting breasts using a rigid plate under breasts to keep stable. Modern underwire bras were designed in the 1930s, and get widespread by the 1950s. Underwire bras have been the largest and fastest growing part of the bra market.

2. What is a Wireless Bra?

Wireless bras, also called non-wired bras or soft cup bras, have no hard wire but depend on the cutting and sewing of the fabrics to maintain shapes and provide support. This type of bra is made of soft fabrics, like cotton, spandex or nylon, so it is very comfortable for most wearers. To provide more support, it may also take the design of a larger band or an additional sling. Wireless bras just enhance the function of supporting, but do not change the natural shape of your breasts.

Wireless bras include many types, such as nursing bras, sports bras and so on. Wireless bra means less constraint, means more freedom; so many women would choose this type of bra for the feeling of freedom and comfort. It is suitable for wearing when you are relaxing or sleeping. It is also suitable for the time when you’re pregnant, nursing or after surgery.

3. Differences between Wired and Non-wired Bras

According to wired bra meaning and non-wire meaning and their similarities above, differences between wired bras and non-wired bras are as fellow.

3.1 Function

A wired bra provides more support to your breasts and lifts up your busts so that they can keep them in better shape. Non-wired bra focuses more on the feeling of softness and comfort; it also can provide support, but the intensity of support is not the same as wired bras. Underwire bras shape breasts with a wiring structure, while wireless bras shape breasts by fabric and sewing ways.

3.2 Suitable for the Crowd

People who are larger sizes need underwire bras more to prevent breast enlargement and sagging. People with smaller sizes tend to choose wireless bras because they prefer comfort rather than support. In addition, some people who have skin sensitivity or metal sensitivity would also choose wireless bras.

3.3 Ease of Cleaning

Due to the wire inside the bra lining, this hard material makes the whole bra out of flatness so that part of the bra is not convenient to wash and clean. There is no wire in the wireless bra, rather soft without hard material, so it is convenient for washing and cleaning as well as drying.

3.4 Style

Underwire bras need the sewing of wires inside the lining, and the design of sewing and its directions is different. Due to the limitation of this procedure, designs and styles of wired bras are not as many as wireless bras. For the reason that no wire is put inside bras, wireless bras have various designs and styles according to human engineering. For example, seamless bras, which are made from one chip of soft fabric without distinct stitches or lines, have been popular in public in recent years.


4. Pros and Cons of Underwire and Wireless Bras

4.1 Benefits of Underwire Bras

  • Underwire bras can provide strong support to keep the good shape of breasts.
  • They can help prevent chest enlargement outward and sagging.
  • They can lift breasts so that the chest curve looks more beautiful.
  • The wire itself is used for shaping and supporting the bra as well, making it not deform easily.
  • The wire makes the bra spring back to shape after washing or wearing it regularly.

4.2 Disadvantages of Underwire Bras

  • Wired bras can be uncomfortable for a long time wearing.
  • They cannot be worn after surgery, especially chest surgery.
  • Teenagers or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not wear wired bras.
  • If it is too tight, the close-fitting wire can prevent lymph drainage and be uncomfortable for people with underlying medical conditions.
  • They are not suitable for wearing when you do sports because they would restrict natural movement.

4.3 Benefits of Wireless Bras

  • Wireless bras are suitable for most people to wear, especially for many special crowds, such as pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Wearing a non-wired bra is the best option for those who have just had surgery.
  • They are very comfortable and soft, suitable for long time wearing, and even sleeping.
  • Wireless bras are more popular in those who have metal sensitivity.
  • They are used widely in different types of bras, such as sports bras, nursing bras and so on.

4.4 Disadvantages of Wireless Bras

  • Non-wired bras can’t provide great lift or support for your breasts, so it is not very suitable for larger sizes women who want to support and lift their breasts.
  • There is no wire inside the lining and no support to the bra, so it may easily deform after washing or wearing regularly.
  • As there is no wire to separate the cups, it may cause a ‘mono boob’ on larger busted ladies.
wireless bras01
bra 3

5. Myths about Underwire Bras

There are many myths or hyperboles about underwire bras, even they are baseless claims. Many women have misunderstandings about wearing underwire bras. Here we will list some concerning problems and give a correct explanation of these misunderstandings.

5.1 Are underwire bras harmful?

No! The claim that underwire bras would be harmful to health is baseless. According to a study conducted by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, there is no enough providence to prove the view that underwire bras will cause breast diseases or headaches and do harm to body health. Meanwhile, you don’t need to worry that the wire inside bras will dig into your flesh.

Nowadays wires inside bra lining are usually soft steel rings, made of plastics or benign alloy metal materials. The clothing of bras is soft and resilient in good quality as well. So if you feel like something is poking the sides of your breasts when wearing this bra, then you should consider the situation that you are wearing the wrong size.

5.2 Is the underwire bra good or bad?

No matter underwire bras or wireless bras, both of them are born for need. You need it so you think it has good value. Many women consider wired bras would do harm to their health and wearing this type of bra is uncomfortable. But every coin has two sides. For those who need wires, the underwire bra is good. However, for those who do not need wires, like pregnant women or people who just had surgery, they think the underwire is bad. So you cannot say underwire bras are bad because different people want different effects. If you want an underwire bra, but you still think this bra is bad. In this way, you should consider if you choose the right one and the right size.

6. Choosing Right Bras for Yourself

According to the misunderstandings and explanations mentioned before, we can find it important to choose the right bras and the right size. It influences directly the comfort of wearing a bra and reduces the indirect influence of causing physical health due to wearing the wrong bra or wrong size.

Here list some useful ways to help choose the right bra and some matters that need attention.

  • The band should fit, pulling away about one inch, and be level all around the torso.
  • Wires should follow the chest dimension and not dig into your flesh.
  • Cups should wrap the breast tissue fully without bulging or gaping.
  • Straps should fit an appropriate length over the shoulders to maintain good support.
  • You should measure your chest size and check the size chart to choose the right size for yourself.
  • When your body or cups change, your bras should change accordingly as well.
  • Teenagers should not wear wired bras because wires are bad for up growth and formation of breasts.
  • To avoid breast sagging, enlargement outward, or accessory breasts, you should choose underwire bras.
  • Bras, including wires and no wires, should be worn for under 10 hours, which is the healthiest for your breasts.

Whether you choose wired bras or non-wired bras, the most important thing is choosing and wearing the right size bras. Factors like body changes, age growth and even different designs and size ranges among various brands, can relate to the comfort of bras. Hence, it must get a fit and change them regularly, especially after giving birth to a baby or when your weight fluctuates a lot.

7. Bras Tendency

In the past, underwire bras were dominant in the bra market. Women were more willing to bear the hard touching of wires and expected shape and support effects. However, with the speed development of wireless bras, the occupied market share of underwire bras has been shrunk. Its fast growth benefits from the successful ways of publicity and marketing. What’s more important is that the technology of designing and producing wireless bras has been increasingly mature.

In recent years, wireless bras have been improved a lot, in many aspects like technologies of cup molding and sewing, production efficiency, manufacture process, design and styles, so that the support and shape effect of a wireless bra has been better. In this way, the development of wireless bras has surpassed that of wired bras.

But it doesn’t mean underwire bras have never developed. With the improvement of technology, wires have been improved. In the past, the metal material of wires was single and hard, which was uncomfortable for wearers. But now, more good materials have been used widely for wires, including plastics, iron-nickel alloy. These wires, called soft wires or memory wires are popular in public.

Anyway, we cannot say underwire bras will disappear in the future or wireless bras will be dominant in the whole bra market. Both of them are born for need.

8. FAQ

8.1 Do underwire bras give better support?

Compared to wireless bras, underwire bras do give better support. The function of wires is to concentrate and shape your breasts; this function is based on the great support to keep shape, so underwire bras can give better support.

8.2 Do non-wired bras give enough support?

Wireless bras can be divided into several types in accordance with support intensity. If you want enough support, you should choose the non-wired bra with a sturdy linear design under cups. This type of bra can make a balance among comfort, shape and support.

8.3 Is it better to wear a wireless bra?

It depends on actual situations for different people. For most people, wireless bras are more comfortable for long-wearing. Meanwhile, it is also suitable for women who have had a mastectomy, partial mastectomy or lumpectomy; some pregnant women are also more likely to choose non-wired bras if they expect comfort more than support.

8.4What is the purpose of underwire bras? (Why do you need underwire bras?)

The purpose of wearing wired bras is to provide strong support, keep shape so that your breasts can look more rounded with more beautiful curves. It can also help to prevent chest enlargement outward and sagging.

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