What’s all this stuff about narrow Polish underwires?
Well, there are some very interesting (and highly accurate!) ideas coming from Polish brands like Comexim and Ewa Michalak in terms of wires. The UK has been a leader in intimates design since the industrial revolution, and seems to be the country pushing a broader range of sizes into the mainstream commercial marketplace. Like finding G cups at ASDA, aka Wal-Mart to all my North American friends.
With the increase of small band and large cup combinations, it’s possible to use wires that are too big, or should be described as too wide, for sizes over a GG or H cup. Wires get proportionally bigger, so a little bit taller and a little bit wider with each size, and when we keep going up to very large cup sizes, these wires just seem highly inappropriate for someone in a 28, 30, 32 or 34 inch band. You'll notice this when the wires seem to take up 2/3 of the bra and the wings are about 1/3...and you wonder if you have breasts under your arms and around the back...
What these Polish brands seem to have caught on to, is that the wires should be narrower. The breast doesn’t grow wider and wider and wider on the body as it gets bigger in the cup, at a point, things just stop. Just because you’re a 32J and your best friend is a 32F, doesn’t mean your breasts start wrapping around your underarm over to your back - they just get fuller and more projected. These Polish brands are designing their own wires and making the cups deeper, not wider, to get the cup depth that they need.
Here's a 'clone' I had made of a wire from an Ewa Michalak bra. You can see the dramatic shape on the right, where under the arm the wire comes straight up. This is a narrow shaped wire in a large cup size (EU 85HH). **note, yes, I did mirror the image because I took it the wrong way. I prefer to look at the 'right' side of my projects!**
With more and more bra fit discussion happening online, such as the Reddit, A Bra That Fits thread, and Bratabase, women are finding out more about their shape and learning if they do have narrow roots, and these narrow-rooted women are singing the praises of the narrow underwires from the Polish brands.
Well, why can’t more brands just get on with making bras with narrow wires then?
In my very casual and frank bra designer voice, I don’t know *exactly* why, but I have some ideas. Developing your own underwires is a bit of a pain in the boob. We’re working to precise measurements each and every day in our jobs, to the millimetre, and more. When developing my own patterns on the computer, I’m working to tolerances of .3mm. Yes POINT 3 MILLIMETRES. So, the width of just a couple of hairs. So, back to developing underwires...
You’re probably best to do a bit of research, a few bra fittings, and a few root traces (which I wrote just to go with this sentence), and figure out what shape of underwire you need. Then draw it on CAD, grade it and send off your bra wire blueprints to your bra wire factory to see if they can manufacture some samples with pretty much no deviation from your CAD submission.
Then from that, you need to draft your pattern. So, if you’re Big Bra Company XYZ, chances are you have tens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of bra patterns that you can use for new block patterns. How much fun will it be if you change the width/shape of your underwires? That's a lot of cradles to sort out. Can you catch my drift?
Another issue when we’re making wires is the dreadful minimums. It’s a lot of work to produce bra componentry, so they don’t want to fire up the machines unless you’re making a big commitment to volumes. I’ve not yet found a factory to custom-build me my underwires in quantities less than 500 - 1,000 pairs. Yup, pairs. Can’t tell you that I’m off and out and about to make 500 bras…in one size, but there’s the one advantage to cross-grading! I can use those wires in a few different sizes, yay! My final university collection proposed 78 different sizes of bras...and I'd require 15 different sizes of underwires to commercially produce my collection. I honestly couldn't tell you what I'd do with 7,500 pairs of wires if a half-pallet showed up at my door.
All I’m guessing, is that it’s not a simple change to just ‘switch’ to making narrow wires.
The other thing we have to keep in mind, is that not everyone has narrow roots. There are some people that a lot of these bras in these sizes work just fine for! I'm having a discussion on a bra-making Facebook thread today about finding bras with a wide base and shallow cup for someone post-surgery.
I did come across an article this week about Katherine Hamilton Intimates (honestly, no relation) developing a narrower underwire for their large cup bras. It’s only a matter of time before we see more brands adopt this as a unique selling point.
Looking for even more information about underwires? See post Underwires 101.
Educating women on the benefits of proper fitting bras is important to Kim. Designing lingerie that complements the fuller figure, and is comfortable, on-trend and beautifully constructed is her mission.
We are in charge of our bodies, and we make the decisions that are right for us, with no judgement. Kimtimates supports those who make their own choices about their own bodies. #yourbodyyourchoice #mybodymychoice