The industry answer to women complaining about underwires poking into their underarm is usually to say their cup size is too small. The theory here is that the underwire is not wide enough to totally wrap around your breast and the cup is not deep enough. Thus the wire is resting on breast tissue too far forward on your torso – the result being the underwire tip is getting in the way and hitting your underarm. A larger cup size comes with a wider underwire and deeper cup that will rest further back under your arm and not rest on your breast tissue. Thus you will no longer be poked. In many situations, I would agree with this recommendation. However, I own bras where this symptom has occurred, and I have been able to solve the problem without having to size up. Want to know how?
First, you need to put your geometry cap on. Think of your torso as a cylinder. As a cylinder, your torso has no flat horizontal surfaces – only curved surfaces. If you held a ruler horizontally to your torso, the center of the ruler would touch you, but the ends would not. They would be extending away from your torso.
A bra’s underwire is cut from a flat sheet of metal. It’s basically a smiley face shape, but flat. So, the ends of an underwire can have the same effect as the ends of a ruler. However, if you bend your underwire a little in the center of its smile, the underwire takes on a shape better suited to your cylindrical torso. (See image above.)
Personally, I give all my underwires this subtle bend. It’s not very much, but I’ve found that the fit is better and my underwires are more comfortable. And, when I try on a bra in my size and notice the underwire ends under my arm are protruding or resting on breast tissue instead of where they need to be, I’ll give them a little bend in the middle. This always seems to solve the problem. Again, it’s not much of a bend, but it can make a big difference.
Let me also share with you that there is sort of a moral to this story: don’t be afraid to manipulate your underwires. Underwires can get bent out of shape in a number of ways – during washing, mishandling in your lingerie drawer etc. So, don’t be afraid to work with them until they fit you. You have to put a lot of stress on an underwire before it will break. And, it’s been my experience that if I don’t like the bend, underwires are easy to manipulate back to the beginning position.
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