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underwire bra hurting my ribs

“Are all underwire bras uncomfortable?”

If you haven’t asked this question yourself, I bet you’ve heard a girlfriend ask it. Wear an uncomfortable wired bra once, and you chalk it up as all wired bras are painful or uncomfortable. But, don’t be so quick to judge wired bras. No bra should be uncomfortable, including bras with underwire.

Your underwire bras shouldn’t be painful.

Bras are designed to make women feel empowered, confident and comfortable. After all, if bras were designed to be uncomfortable, women wouldn’t buy them. Bra designers would have no customers. So, no, your wired bra shouldn’t be painful.

The underwire in a wired bra gives the bra more structure. The underwire rests under your breasts providing more support and lift than non-wired bras. This is why many molded bras have underwire. The molding adds shaping to your bustline, while the underwire provides support.

If your wired bra is giving more discomfort than support, there’s usually a good reason for it.

Here’s why your wired bra is uncomfortable.

An uncomfortable wired bra is a sign that your bra isn’t the right size or fit. Many women don’t realize the impact that wearing the right bra size has on their comfort level. (In fact, about 80 percent of women currently wear the wrong bra size.) Wearing a wired bra (any bra, actually) that’s your true size will hug you in all the right places without needing to be adjusted or causing discomfort.

There are two main complaints women have about wired bras, and both are caused by the bra being the wrong size. Wired bras typically hurt because:

The underwire digs into your breasts

The underwire of a bra should extend from your armpit to your cleavage. This ensures it provides appropriate support and doesn’t press into your breast tissue. However, when a bra is too small, the underwire can’t cover the entire area it should. This results in the underwire digging into the sides of your breasts – ouch!

The underwire rests on your breasts

The underwire of a wired bra should also rest directly under your breasts on your ribcage. This helps the bra to provide maximum support while staying in place. If the underwire rests on your boobs, the bra is too small. You may also notice the center panel of the bra (called the gore) hovers above your cleavage area, instead of resting directly on the skin between the breast. This, too, can be painful and is a sign that the wired bra is too small.

Underwire that digs into your breasts or rests on your breasts is certainly not comfortable. It can even leave your breasts feeling sore after taking the bra off. If you find that your wired bra is uncomfortable, don’t ban underwire bras from your lingerie drawer. (Unless, you simply don’t want or need the underwire!) Your wired bra is most likely uncomfortable because it’s not the right size for you.

The best way to find a wired bra that fits well (and comfortably) is to get a professional bra fitting from a lingerie store. The bra fitter will measure your bust to determine your cup and band size to get you in a perfectly fitting bra. You can even bring your poor-fitting wired bra with you, so the bra fitter can explain why it causes you discomfort and what not to look for in your next bra.

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

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Published by

Lauren Hamilton

Lauren Hamilton is the founder of, a lifestyle and relationship blog offering relationship advice and encouraging women to be the happiest, most confident version of themselves through positivity and self-love. She's also a freelance writer and communications strategist. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, and check out some of her accomplishments on her portfolio.

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