No More Wired Bras

I’ve been hearing for awhile that wired bras, push-ups, padding and all those elastic straps that hold everything in place were incredibly bad for women’s health. This all puts pressure on the lymph nodes and interrupts the blood flow and movement in your body. (This idea is controversial, however, but it certainly makes sense to me.) And it even seems that more women are wearing LESS bra these days instead of MORE – it almost seems that there is a shift in trends.

Though it has taken me a while to actually get rid of the wirey thingies just because I guess replacing all my underpinnings never made it to the top of my list.

But I finally did it. 

It took some coaxing.

One of my favorite holistic healers in Manhattan, Maria Petrova, was very convincing in her suggestion to wear softer, thinner, less restricting bras without any metal and padding.

Unfortunately I wore that stuff for as long as I can remember. I guess the reasons WHY could be a whole other post. Something to do with keeping up with an artificial image of sexiness and thinking I needed a little something extra in order to look good. But I’m done with that and happy to finally be feeling good and feminine in my own skin (which actually feels even sexier.)

Let’s get this discussion started. Do you have any opinions on wearing wires, push-ups or padding? Do you feel better/sexier with them or without? And have you also noticed that trends are maybe changing? 

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  1. Anonymous January 12, 2015 at 11:31 am - Reply

    I am, ah, generously busted. I certainly don't seek out push-ups and padding, but I need an underwire for support. Every bra I've ever tried without one (many, some custom and very high quality and expensive) has not provided enough support, causing straps to dig in to my shoulders, straps to ride up or dig in to my back, back pain, and bad posture. I considered reduction surgery to decrease pain until I was finally able to find supportive, properly fitting bras, all of which have an underwire. It's a health issue to NOT wear very structured, supportive bras for women with large breasts, and I'd weigh chronic back pain and poor posture higher on the list of importance for me than some possible but unproven issues from pressured lymph nodes.

    • Michelle Bunt January 12, 2015 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      Agreed. I am the same. It simply wouldn't work for me not to wear an underwire bra. I think if you have smaller breasts then getting rid of the underwire can be feasible and may make health sense but certainly not for large busted women. I don't even sleep without a bra on – because it causes too much discomfort.

    • Anonymous January 13, 2015 at 5:38 pm - Reply
    • Maria Petrova January 14, 2015 at 3:57 am - Reply

      Dear Anonymous! I feel for you, sister! DDDs here talking. Absolutely, the idea isn't to give you back pain. There are no-underwire bras that are built incredibly well that I love, Cacique brand. You can't tell they don't have wires. Well engineered 🙂 But absolutely wear whatever you feel best in. On days that I do wear underwire I do some massage to move my lymph, which does get very trapped. Lymph drainage will give you lots of energy, even if you do it yourself! It takes 1 minute and I'll post a video soon. I'll add the link here. There's a book about the negative effects of bras called "Dressed to Kill," and honestly I've been too afraid to read it. But compensating with massage is the ticket for me 🙂

    • Sage January 17, 2015 at 3:06 pm - Reply

      I have tried to go without also and have to go back to underwire. It is just not feasible for us larger breasted types and I'm not as big as I was during nursing. That said I know my lymph fluid pools. And I do massage it. If you know of a bra that works please share.

  2. tawnya January 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    I simply just don't wear one. I have one, very simple and basic, that I will MAYBE wear to, say, church (when I'm not wearing layers, or I feel like it), but that is even few and far between. I've been doing this for years and while some may bristle, I honestly don't care. Comfort and well being are miles above for me over being occasionally 'nipply'. (I have a very, "every one has 'em attitude about it all!) It's also very, uh, freeing. Pun intended.

    • mara January 12, 2015 at 4:38 pm - Reply

      I like this attitude. 🙂 🙂 And I sometimes go bra free, too.

    • Sage January 17, 2015 at 3:08 pm - Reply

      Small cup size? Consider yourselves lucky! I'd go without if it were comfortable.

  3. EllaY January 12, 2015 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    What great timing! I'm doing a post this week about my favorite no wire bralettes for all shapes and sizes. I have quite the wire and won't go back!! -StartCloseInStyling

    • mara January 12, 2015 at 4:40 pm - Reply

      Send me the post when you do it!! I would love to link to it.

  4. Paige January 12, 2015 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    I hate bras! I actually really don't even need to wear one, I guess. I'm rather small and bras are so uncomfortable to me. I've worn a Coobie bra before and it was very comfortable and seamless. Now I wear a cotton tank top with some padding built in pretty much every day.

  5. Alainarae January 12, 2015 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    I just switched to Genie Bras! So comfy that I forget to take it off sometimes. I can also breastfeed my baby in it. After I had my fourth baby, I kept getting clogged ducts so I cut back to only wearing a bra when I had to leave the house…

  6. Karmin January 12, 2015 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Do you have suggestions on brands that work well without squishing everything into a sports-bra lump? I am all about healthy ideas and have heard bra-wearing isn't good for us but don't know what to do instead.

  7. Laura January 12, 2015 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    I love this post! I've eschewed wired bras and padding for a few years now. I have average-sized breasts so I don't need the additional support of wire and I don't feel that I need a boost in that department either. Gap makes some really comfortable wireless bras that I've been very pleased with!

  8. Anonymous January 12, 2015 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    I love this post! It's great how your blog covers such a wide array of topics, and I love how you keep learning and growing and sharing the results with us. It's also nice to see women learning to do what's best for them, stepping away from society's expectations, and rethinking what it means to be "sexy."

  9. Rebekah Leigh January 12, 2015 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Here is an article that talks about 7 reasons to Go Braless in the New Year.

    I am also busty ladies and I hate underwires. So I've opted for more supportive straps and a softer cup, and going braless when I can. I'm rebuilding the muscles in my breasts and they are holding their own well because of this change.,47,style,65.htm?cmp=xyz

    I love these bra's for busty women. They may not look the sexiest or most stylish but they are comfortable. And being comfortable in your own skin is the sexiest, most attractive thing ever!

  10. Anonymous January 13, 2015 at 4:43 am - Reply

    I use to not mind small breasts and even post breastfeeding flat breasts. I didn't seem phased by the trend in the western states for augmentation. Now affected by my husband's porn addiction, I actually wore three bras the other day layered one on top of the other, just to give myself a little more of that "desired" shape when I dressed up that day. I battle with the idea of augmentation to please my husband. I appreciate your post. Insecure women like myself, need this, because deep down we just want to embrace our body the way it naturally is.

    • mara January 13, 2015 at 5:10 am - Reply

      My heart goes out to you greatly. I'm so very sorry that you would have to feel insecure about your body and your husband's ideas or expectations. Seriously, I just want to look you in the eye and tell you that you are ENOUGH. Hold onto that for dear life. Tell yourself that every day. Do not give in to the images or standards that porn promotes. It's not real. It's lighting and make up and editing and acting. It's not what I would classify as sexy and desirable and feminine. My heart also goes out to your husband as the porn industry is so strategically designed to be addictive. But I would add that guys that demand that "porn look" from the women in their lives are so far away from what really matters and they actually would not be the kind of man I would want to try and impress. I had to go through something similar with my former husband. No matter what I did, my physical appearance would not please him. I finally realized that I was chasing after the wrong kind of approval. And once I stopped, I had never felt more beautiful and whole.
      Much love to you on your journey – and may you feel BEAUTIFUL and WHOLE and ENOUGH no matter what comes your way.

    • mara January 13, 2015 at 5:14 am - Reply

      Also, the breast augmentations in the western states blow my mind. I have been on the east coast for so long that I don't see it firsthand, but I hear lots of stories about it. I don't know one single woman in the east that has had breast surgery. Certainly it must happen in some circles, but I haven't encountered it yet.

    • Maria Petrova January 14, 2015 at 4:16 am - Reply

      Big love to you, darling! Keep in mind porn addiction is NOT your problem 🙂 It's in part something you can help with. But breast augmentation is so far down the list of solutions. Sexiness is an inner thing, always. No amount of external change can do that. Just nourish it within. Much love to you. Lots to reconsider around shame for your husband. It's his trial. Any source of shame must be abolished and a healthy sensuality found. Lots of inner work, deep quiet inner work. A new outlook on sexuality without shame. Only shame causes addiction. I hope you're seeing a therapist and using creative ways to rekindle love. An agnostic therapist ideally. No need to be conservative but the shame must go. You are all you need to be. And that's all you need to know. You ARE it. Bring it out and let it flow. Your husband will figure it out, or he won't, allow him his space to deal. You are his salvation right now, just as you are. The more you know it, the more you will shine your goodness on him. Don't let what-if's take you off your center. Be in your center. That's where your strength is. He needs to be truly loved and for that you must truly love yourself. Stay centered. Be in your body, even if it isn't as you may want it. We always have the most perfect bodies for our particular life mission. There is no mistake made there, ever. The thing to overcome here is "not enough-ness" for both of you. You are enough. And he'll figure out he is enough. Once the shame goes, he'll come around the addiction. It's tough but it's doable. If Russell Brand can do it, so can your husband 🙂 You cannot let this take you off your center. Off your center you are swimming. Stay on firm ground. Stay tall & proud. That's how you shine. Much love to both of you! <3

  11. Myfanwy Hood January 13, 2015 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    I stopped wearing underwire about a year or two ago and only wear a bra about a third of the time now. I am fairly well endowed but hate the restriction and discomfort of a bra. Also, I read a study about women who've never worn bras and women who do. Apparently the longer you wear it, the more you need it. So I figured stopping sooner rather than later was the best choice for me.

  12. Maria Petrova January 14, 2015 at 4:21 am - Reply

    Mara, thanks so much for the mention, you glittering love-goddess! Yes, bras make us look good but they restrict lymph and blood-flow. All of you reading — give your girls a little massage in the evening, whatever bra you do or don't wear! Love & health to all of you!

  13. Lissa Tsu January 14, 2015 at 4:26 am - Reply

    These look comfy and beautiful!

  14. Annie January 14, 2015 at 7:44 am - Reply

    Hi Mara, I would love to hear the WHY and HOW behind your decision to not care about having the extra "help." I'm small busted and of course feel the pressure not to be. It seems it is only acceptable to be small if you're a six-foot runway model or a twelve-year-old (yes, I live in LA). This mindset has affected me to varying degrees throughout my life. When I worry about it, I feel like I don't really qualify as a woman and intimacy becomes a psychological trial. When I can forget about the pressure, of course I feel great and life (and sex) is so much better.

    The problem is how often the pressure and worry resurface. A boob job is so not me. It feels like a betrayal of myself, something I'd never want my own daughter to feel like she needed. But I completely understand why women do it. And I find myself thinking about it a lot.

    Basically, I want someone to talk me out of it; some support (no pun intended. ha!) from the small chested crowd; some advice as to how you learned to drown out the relentless "expectations" and still feel like a real, acceptable, complete woman. Thanks.

  15. Tiffany January 14, 2015 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    I don't feel restricted by bras in the slightest. I've never even found them to be uncomfortable but maybe that's because I am smaller chested? I do search for bras with padding, though not to increase my size but I hate the nipple effect. My boss often wears thin shirts and thin bras and I often find myself confronted with her nipples. Not an experience that's on my bucket list.

    • Maria Petrova January 15, 2015 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      HAHAHA! Oh my a bit inappropriate at work!

    • mara January 15, 2015 at 5:37 pm - Reply

      I KNOW! The nipple thing in public is not something I am yet embracing fully. Though many women would say WHO CARES! It's a body part! And I totally get that, too. For example, it doesn't face me one bit to see women breastfeeding without covers. I am completely all for it. But then why would I worry about sitting in cold AC in a business meeting (or even with friends) with my nipples poking? I don't know. I need a pep talk on this. I have at least one friend who doesn't seem to give a crap. And I must say there is something bold and great about that.

  16. tawnya January 15, 2015 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Count me as one of the "don't give a crap" girls! I figure, we all get cold. Everyone's nipply from time to time whether it's smothered in padding or not, so…eh!

  17. Harmony January 16, 2015 at 2:44 am - Reply

    I gave up underwires and thick cups a long time ago, when I discovered the soft cup bras (Genie, Coobie) that are available now. I feel the stitching between the soft cups keeps them from looking like a sports bra. All my bras are the sort I just pull over my head. They're so comfortable I pretty much never take them off. I haven't even tried on a traditional bra in years.

    Even though I am very body positive, I always want to keep my nipples covered simply because I know exposed nipples are erotically charged. I just don't choose to share that with strangers.

    As far as small breasts… I barely fill an A. I have made peace with it partly by recognizing the true beauty in many other small breasted women. Audrey Hepburn. Kate Hudson pre-surgery. Gabrielle Reece pre-surgery. These images showed that small-chested can be equally beautiful. I enjoy the variety of clothes I can wear and that I can look elegant in lower-cut things. I think cleavage is absolutely beautiful and sexy and it would be nice if I had that option. But we all have to celebrate and enjoy what we do possess.

    Finally, I truly believe no one else is judging us the way we judge ourselves. Everyone else is thinking about how THEY look in their t-shirts, not how I look. This has helped immensely and helped me to never really feel self-conscious because of my chest.

  18. E&K January 16, 2015 at 6:04 am - Reply

    My long comment disappeared when I tried posting… Ugh. I grew up barely able to fill a B cup, longing for the well endowed gene my sister and lady cousins inherited from our grandmother. Now after my first, and expecting my second…. I grew to a DD/E! And, all I long for now are my small perky chested days. Haha. "The grass is always greener…" No underwire and soft cups are the best bras ever. I never realized how uncomfortable they were until I didn't "need/want" all that extra fluff and support to appear larger than I was. It's still a work I progress to love every aspect of my body, but it gets easier and easier as time goes and I have learned to love myself. Not sure if I'll ever have the confidence to go out in public with NO bra, and I highly doubt anyone would ever want to witness that. Except, of course, my husband. Hallelujah 😉

  19. Michelle March 25, 2015 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    I am also a very small chested woman, just like my mother and sisters. Even when nursing, I barely fill a B cup and when I'm not pregnant or nursing, I barely fill an A. Since I don't need a bra for the support, but still like the "look" of nicely shaped bosoms, I wear the right cup size but I wear it really loose around my rib cage. It isn't providing any support for me, and it certainly isn't compressing my lymph nodes, but it IS giving me the look I want. My husband loves my body, in all it's shapes and sizes so anything I choose about my appearance is my own decision. I'm not brave enough to go bra free because of the nipple issue, but wearing a bra really loosely seems to be the compromise I've made in my head. Occasionally it does get me in trouble though, like when my bra slides up and my "boobs" are in an unusual spot! haahaha, oh the funny stories of small chested women!

    I used to want big boobs, and then I filled a C cup for a month after my third baby. It was SO uncomfortable for me. I know women who loves their big breasts, and I think that's great! But for me, I'm starting to feel comfortable in my own skin. I'm tall (5'9") and slender, with no boobs, no butt and no hips. Sometimes I feel like society pressures me to look more "feminine" but I'm grateful for my body as it is. I like my small boobs now!

  20. Kyriaki Karalis April 4, 2015 at 4:11 am - Reply

    I am a B-ish cup, and I fluctuate between wearing wired bras and wireless. I've taken to wearing a bra with an underwire only when I'm dressing fancy. My favorite wireless bras are ones I found through a couple of outdoor companies. Patagonia's Barely Bra, which is racerback, is super comfy and comes w/ removable light pads; their clothes hold up extremely well, which is great for someone like me who doesn't like to have alot of stuff. I've also been loving the Ibex Balance Light bra, which is a triangle wireless bra with no padding, and their bralet, which is more of a sports-ish bra. Ibex uses a wool/spandex blend, and in humid Florida, I much prefer wool basics as they dissipate sweat and don't stink like synthetics can.

    Ibex Balance Light:
    Patagonia Barely Bra:

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