For most women finding comfortable underwires may sound like an impossible mission, but is actually as simple as finding the right bra size, and then the right width (and sometimes length) of underwires.
But a reader wrote to me recently:
"People with Asperger's syndrome tend to have sensory overload issues, and the fact that I don't like the underwires touching me might be part of that. But, what if this means that I won't find a comfortable underwire bra after all? Maybe I'm just one of those ppl not meant to wear underwires? I'm thinking, Noooooo, I don't want to give up on underwire bras, esp. since they're best for recovering migration and bringing out shape..."
This made me think of other women who cannot wear underwires due to issues like tendency to swelling, very sensitive skin, having to lay in the bed due to health reasons, recuperation from surgery, asthma, phobias, etc. This doesn't mean that you have to wear stretchy maternity bras or wireless bras that don't support anything. I did a bit of research and found some solutions.
Note: I have already written about why I generally recommend wired to non-wired bras.
What to wear if you can't wear regular underwires:
Some brands have very soft and flexible underwires. You can almost tie them into a knot. Some soft-underwired brands I know:
Desire by Triumph, till cup G.
Bestform: only some models like Louisiana, Bilbao, Salina, Sofia
Lepel: Athena, the wire-less version
Embedded underwires.I tried this out for the first time with a Passionata Delight Bandeau. The underwires are nicely padded and very comfortable. I think that such embedded underwires usually come only with contour and moulded bras.
Maternity BrasRoyce, Hot Milk and Cake Lingerie make some bras that have comfortable underwires / are wireless but offer pretty good support and are available in a pretty good size range. And don't be put off by the word "maternity" --- both these brands make good-looking bras which don't look like cloth diapers at all.
Wire-free MoldedBras that are wireless but molded give more shape and support than soft wireless bras. One positive example is Meringue from Cake Lingerie.
Up a band size and down a cup size
For example: 65F to 70 E. I wrote about this in the bra-fitting for your grandma post. Remember that when doing this you are sacrificing a bit of lift and support, so try to choose a bra that is stable and supportive.
The degree of intolerance to underwires is very different in different people. Personally, I don't feel the underwires all day, but after 16 hours I prefer to take the bra off when I go to bed (I also find watches, jewellery, undies and sometimes even socks uncomfortable to sleep in). I also cannot wear the same bra on the next day: a different one has slightly different points of pressure, allowing the ribcage to rest.
Are you sensitive to underwires? Fund any bras that work well for you? Do share in the comments!