A to Z of Lingerie: U is for Underwire
Underwire is actually a lot more interesting than it sounds. For those who don't know (and there will be a few), an underwire bra is a garment which uses shaped metal wires to support and shape the breasts. A bra without wire is known as a softcup bra.
I always had this idea that underwire bras were a relatively recent invention but apparently they've been around since 1893. The use of underwire isn't restricted to bras any more and it's now used in dresses, tops and swimwear too.
My mother was always against me buying underwire bras because she said they were linked to breast pain and other problems. She's right in that they can cause some issues. Those with nickel allergies might suffer. However, I can't imagine buying a bra without underwire now. I think the last time I did was when I was pregnant. Despite having worn underwired bras since the age of 15, after a few months without them while pregnant I actually struggled to get comfortable in them for a few weeks after the birth. How bizarre! I persevered though.
Here's a cool fact about underwire. Apparently in 2009 a Detroit woman's underwired bra saved her life when it deflected a bullet. How amazing is that? She did sustain injuries but they were not life threatening. Next time you're shopping for a bra and think you might choose a softcup over underwire, keep that in mind!