Before I started wearing bras that truly fit, I had no idea what the concept of wire shapes really meant and why they were so important. I guess I just kind of figured that I could wear any kind of bra, no matter what it looked like. Well, besides the fact that I was wearing the wrong size, I was being kind of naive. Because the reality is that even in your correct size, not every bra will work for you. Now, this isn’t your fault, it’s just that the bra wasn’t made for you! There are a couple different reasons why even in the right size a bra won’t work for you. Basically it comes down to construction (style and cut of bra), and wire shape.
Today, I’ll be talking about why wire shape really matters, and how you can figure out if a bra will work for you before you even try it on.
Simply speaking, there are wide wires and narrow wires. But how will you know what you should be looking for for your body? Now, I’m not an artist – and I’m very very sorry – but here are some drawings I put together to kind of visualize what I am talking about here.
What having narrow breasts means or can be recognized as:
- You do not have a lot (or any) breast tissue on the sides of your body
- Your breasts are deeper than they are wide – we’ll go into more of this later
- If you’ve had bras in the past with wires that come further onto your sides, the sides of the cups gape….because you have narrow boobs 🙂
- Your breasts are centered on the front of your chest
- This is most typical with smaller breasts, though it does not exclude full bust women.
- For narrow breasts, you’ll need a narrow “U” shape wire, with deep as opposed to shallow/wide cups
What having wide boobs means or can be recognized as:
- If you have wide boobs, your breast tissue extends past the front of your body, onto your sides (the underarm area).
- This occurs naturally, and can occur as a result of migrated tissue from wearing the wrong size.
- This is more common with larger breasts, though not a rule
- Wide set boobs often needed shallower and wider cups than their narrow set sisters (but this does not mean that you can’t be wide and need a lot of depth in your cups…….again….fitting is so tricky and there are so many aspects to it!).
- For wide boobs, you’ll do best with a wide “U” shape wire
So….why is this important? Well, as we talked about in the first post of this series, having wires that completely encase your breast tissue is really important for getting a great fit from your bras. Some common problems….
If you have wide boobs and are wearing a bra with narrow wires:
- You may experience poking because the wires are still landing on breast tissue – they aren’t wide enough, after all
- The wires may shift around on your body throughout the day because they aren’t the right shape for you, causing chafing and discomfort
- You may have side breast tissue that cannot be pulled into the cups, enabling migration of tissue
- Your cups may be too deep, leaving some gaping in the cups. This can also lead you to believe that you are in the wrong size, even though you’re not.
If you have narrow boobs and are wearing a bra with wide wires:
- The cups may be too shallow, causing you to pop out of the bra, even though it is the right size for you (just the wrong style)
- The wires extend too far onto your sides, causing discomfort and gaping in the sides of the cups
- The strap placement may be too wide for your body, causing rubbing against your arm where the strap and cups meet
- You’re not getting as great a lift as you would with narrower wires
- The cups will spread your breast tissue out, making you look wider than you really are 🙂
Now, in some instances, you can overcome some of these issues by sizing up or sizing down…..Say you really love a bra and you want to make it work. Sometimes, you can play around with sister sizing or even just changing your cup size and you can make it work. Sometimes, the reality is that the bra really just won’t work for you.
There are some generalizations that exist in the bra blogosphere about what kind of wires certain brands have. Curvy Kate has relatively wide wires, while Ewa Michalak has narrow wires. While a lot of this is true, there is still quite a bit of variation that happens within brands. So, my next step is to show you how to spot wire shape of a bra before you even try it on. I’ll mainly do this with more rudimentary drawings. Sorry 😛
Examples of Narrow Wires (wires with a distinct, narrow, “U” shape):
Examples of Wide Wires (wires with a flatter, wider, “U” shape):
For example, I myself have tried all of these brands (I’ve yet to try the Gem….soon my love…) and can speak to the following.
- I have wide set breasts with a lot of migrated tissue
- My EM bras, no matter what size, have too narrow wires and I always have side boob that cannot be pulled into the cups
- The Panache Sienna is a demon on me. It hurts because the wires are too narrow, and the cups are constructed in such a way that changing cup size does nothing for me.
- Elomi bra wires fit me like a glove. Whenever I put an Elomi bra on, the wires feel like I’m coming home
- The Gem looks like heaven and I want it.
- The Andorra is a lovely thing because it has a good wire shape for me, and is super supportive and sexy.
For those of us that are full busted, or wear a hard to find size, online shopping is our go-to for purchasing new bras. If you’re able to recognize wire shape simply by looking at a photo online, you can save yourself a lot of heartache before even buying a bra. Remember, narrow wires will have a distinct “U” shape, and wider wires will have a flatter, wider “U” shape. Also, keep in mind that a lot of bras with wider wires are often marketed as having “side support” or “side slings” to pull more side tissue forward and center it on your chest.
Next in the series: Bra styles and shapes