It's a battle as old as good vs evil, dogs vs cats, teabag or milk first... are bras better wired or non-wired?
After a particularly painful day where BOTH of the underwires from my bra escaped their nylon prison and stabbed my boobs simultaneously, I was very much on team soft, sacrificing the appearance of a well rounded bosom for comfort.
So when SKIMS approached WH and asked us if we wanted to try any of their range, I leapt at the chance. Kim Kardashian really is the best advert for her shapewear and lingerie brand, and having tried the Cotton Jersey Scoop Bralette I am a convert. I've worn it to work, to bed, to the shops, and for FIIT yoga and pilates sessions in front of my TV at home and found it so much more comfortable and 'solid' than the other soft bras from my top drawer.
But while the comfort levels work for me, are soft bras the best option for my breasts?
Women's Health UK spoke to some leading bra and boob experts to settle this debate once and for all...
Are bras without underwire better?
Removing the element of preference, there are some things that underwired bras are best for. Due to their structure, they offer better lift and support than their non-wired counterparts, and can improve your shape - especially in particular outfits or styles.
And, according to Michele Duncan from Anita UK, if you are finding yourself being stabbed in the armpit or sideboob by your underwear, it is probably because it is ill-fitting.
She said: 'Many say that a soft bra is more comfortable than an underwire since you run no risk of the wire "jabbing you" so to speak. We would like to point out in the underwires defence, that if your wire is poking into your breast then you likely have the wrong size bra. However there will always be fans of both types and certainly a soft bra encases and supports the breast in such a comfortable way that often you completely forget you are wearing it.'
If you're not sure what your bra size is (and remember that our breasts change throughout the month along with our hormones) then this easy guide to measure your breasts might help. And remember, when it comes to buying bras from multiple high street stores or online, one size does not fit all!
What is better wired or non wired?
Each type of bra has its own pros and cons, but overall, the most important thing is that breasts are given some sort of support - and that the bra you wear fits correctly.
Duncan added: 'If the fit is not right then you can end up with all sorts of problems, uncomfortable wires, double boob effect, bad shaping, lack of support and of course all of these issues affect how your outer garments will look as well. A well fitting quality bra should form a smooth base for a pleasing silhouette in your day clothes.'
Can soft bras offer support?
Michelle Duncan told WH 'it is absolutely possible to get support from a soft bra.'
That's good to know, but it's not just a case of picking up some cute and cheap soft triangle bras and walking around with a slightly smaller spring in your step. She added that picking a supportive soft bra is key, and that it all comes down to how it is constructed.
'Various features will combine to offer the best support so you need to look out for things like high quality fabrics, clever use of seams, invisible panels, non-stretchy straps with adjustability for a good fit, and wide supportive underbands (if you are a larger size). Additionally double layered pre-formed cups like in the Rosa Faia ‘Twin’ can provide firm shaping along with cleverly inserted side ‘slings’ which push the bust forward.'
What happens if you don't wear a bra?
Dr. Paul Banwell explained that going braless (or wearing the wrong-sized bra) can change the appearance of your breasts and if your bra isn't supportive enough it may cause them to sag or droop, so a correctly fitting bra is key.
He said: 'Wearing a bra can help to stop premature sagging, as it means that the connective tissue within the breast isn't stretched as much throughout the day.
'Many women decided to stop wearing a bra during lockdown and this trend has continued, however I would urge people not to do this long-term. Wearing a bra can help to stop premature sagging of the skin and tissue around the breast area, because of the fact that they will be supported more and therefore less likely to be moving around and stretching the delicate connective tissue.
'Not wearing a bra is a significant cause of sagging breasts. As we get older, our skin becomes less elastic and thins, so gravity has an easier time pulling us down. That stretching process tends to accelerate as we get older and is exacerbated during times of high impact such as whilst running or doing high intensity exercise.'
So even if you do prefer a soft bra, when it comes to hitting the gym you're going to need a very supportive bra. Check out our pick of the best sports bras for big busts here, and the best swimwear for larger chests available to buy now.
What's the difference between underwire and no underwire?
An underwired bra contains a cup-size relevant wire sewn in to the seam of the bra cup that is designed to separate, lift and shape your breasts. They do provide more support and lift - particularly for larger breasts - but can feel restrictive or uncomfortable if they are ill fitting. Better support also means that any postural problems can be addressed.
What is the reason for a wired bra?
A wired bra contours and shapes the natural shape of your breast. They are especially designed to bring your breast tissues closer to the front and to lift them upwards, creating a desirable round shape. They can also take some of the weight off your chest, with wider bands and straps helping alleviate back pain.
Are you team soft bra? Here are our pics of some of the best to buy now...
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