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Fit Tips for Wire-Free Bras

So you hate underwires. Who doesn't? But if you're going to give up on underwires entirely, you need to know a few things about how to find a good fit in a wire-free bra, because it's a little different than when you're dealing with a wire.

First, underwires function to give bras shape and structure. Without the underwire, a bra needs to have these things coming from something else. Usually a good wire-free bra will have the following:

  1. A wide band that doesn't roll up or shift around. When trying on a wire-free bra, make sure you are in the tightest band size that you can tolerate and that the band doesn't move when you raise your arms, bend over, or twist sideways.

  2. Side support in the form of stays, inner slings, or strips of fabric that surround the cups to keep them in place. Stays (also called side boning) are two vertical pieces on each side of the band that secure the bra to your ribcage. Inner slings are flexible fabric inside the cups that push your breasts forward. Wire-free bras without contour cups will usually not have inner slings, but the fabric surrounding the cups will be sturdier and less stretchy.

  3. An overall material composite that has a good balance of stretch and rigidity. Stretchy materials like nylon or Spandex are often combined with a less flexible fabric like cotton or polyester. A wire-free bra that is entirely made of nylon or silk, as some bralettes are, will have less support than one which has a combination of materials. Silk is wonderful and, in fact, quite strong, but it doesn't stretch. You'll find it used in luxury lingerie, usually along with an underwire in bras.

Here are two examples of supportive wire-free bras:

This bra from Fruit of the Loom is an example of how cotton can be used as a stabilizing material. The band is kept in place by a hook in back. It also has built-up straps which help to maintain the position of the cups. It may not be glamorous, but it's inexpensive and reliable.

The Amoena Lara bra has several supportive features: a sturdy two-hook band, side stays, and nylon-spandex fabric stretched over formed contour cups. It has mesh pockets inside the cups which are designed to hold breast forms of significant weight.


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