Undressed to Impress

Quick fixes for uncomfortable bras

on October 1, 2012

I’ve been really busy lately, which has led to a growing pile of bras in my laundry basket. Since my bras never go near the washing machine, they inevitably get left longer than my other washing as they wait for a day I can be bothered to do hand washing. OK, being busy isn’t really an excuse. It’s ridiculously easy to do. But still, on to the point…

I confess, I have a bunch of bras I rarely wear. They’re beautiful, they fit well and I wouldn’t dream of parting with them, but they’re just not that comfortable. I know if I persevered and ‘wore them in’ they’d get a lot better, but the thought of wearing one all day at work is not a pleasing one, and I’m more likely to just put my pajamas on than change into a different bra in the evening! But as my laundry pile grows, I have no choice but to wear these bras (or do the laundry).

So I wanted to share with you a couple of quick ways you can make your bra more comfortable if you’re having problems. By this, I mean problems caused by wires poking or straps rubbing, NOT problems caused by your bra being the wrong size. If that’s the case, you need to be wearing the right size bra or sewing the bra you’ve got so it fits you better. I’ll hopefully be covering how to do that in the not too distant future.

  • For poking wires, you can try bending them. Only do this if you’re sure you’re keeping the bra. You can do this against a table edge, or while the bra is on your body. If the centre gore is digging in, take hold of the gore at the top and the bottom and bend the wires at the top away from your body. Make sure you’re holding onto the bottom or that part will start digging in to your body while you do this.
  • If the wires are digging in under your arm, try the same thing there.
  • If the wires are painful around your body, and the band size is correct, it may be that the wires are not shaped to fit your body. If you lay the bra flat on the table, you will see if the wires are completely horizontal and lay flat, or if they are curved and won’t lie flat on the table. Most often, it’s the former. Now take a look at your body. Are you flat? No, didn’t think so. Starting on one side, gently bend a small part of the wire at a time until you are left with a more curved shape. Try it on and see how this feels compared to the other side. When you’re happy with the shape, repeat on the other side.
  • The even quicker fix for this is a cotton wool pad. Just slip it under the point where they wires are digging. The pressure will keep the pad in place and hopefully provide you with a little more comfort. You can really use anything soft and cushioned to do this, but I recommend a cotton pad as many people have these lying around, you won’t mind throwing it away at the end of the day if it’s sweaty, you can easily change it, and they’re soft and shouldn’t irritate your skin.
  • For straps that are too wide and hence rub, you can also try the cotton pad trick.
  • Racer-back converter clips can also help here. These don’t tend to be any good on wide bra straps, as they just ping off, but if you can find a clip that’s large enough to contain the width of the strap, it can help. This will bring your straps closer to your neck as they are pulled in at the back, so can eliminate the rubbing against your arms. Remember to lengthen the straps to make sure they don’t dig in on your shoulders once you’ve put the clip on. You might also be able to manage this with a couple of heavy-duty safety pins, but if you try this please do it before you put the bra on to avoid stabbing yourself. Make sure you fasten them on the outside so if they do ping off they won’t stab you.
  • Hand washing your bra a few times will often help soften the straps so they don’t dig in as much.

On the same thread as the last idea, a good way to soften up a bra quickly is to put it in the washing machine. I wouldn’t recommend doing this regularly as it will shorten the life of your bra. Just once on a cool, delicate wash can really help to soften up the materials so it’s easier to wear.

These are all things I’ve tried with uncomfortable bras that have given me some relief. If you have any more tips and tricks, do share them in the comments!

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2 responses to “Quick fixes for uncomfortable bras

  1. Ana says:

    Recognised myself on the first paragraph, I find myself using bras with over a year just not to wash my new ones…

  2. Lisa says:

    Depending on what I’m doing that day, I might wear one that I’d put in the “wash” pile. I figure I wear them for two days (not consecutive) prior to wash, and a third isn’t that awful…

    I have a couple of bras that are uncomfortable and washing etc. isn’t making them more-so. I think it’s because the wires are very stiff and thick. I bought these at a store, after trying on many, many others that didn’t fit, so I took the two that did. I think I do better trying on at home, where I can spend some extra time in a bra that seems to fit, to determine if it’s actually comfortable or not. And I’ve learned that this brand (Wacoal) has stiff wires, and that most of the bras at this shop are US vs UK sized… I do better in the UK 32G…

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