The course of a bra’s life never did run smooth. A bad turn in the washing machine, an accidental tumble dry, or a shove into a tight corner in the underwear drawer wreaks havoc on the underwire and hastens its imminent demise (a woman with 2-3 bras should replace them roughly every 6 months).
When we heard about Warner’s Unbelievable UnWire bra, we were half-thrilled, half-skeptical. No lurking metal wires waiting to poke out? No misshapen cups after a bad suitcase packing? We had to put the magic brassiere to the test on 4 major questions: flexibility, support, comfort and washing ability.
The Unwire comes in two styles, pushup and contour. Without going into too much detail, I don’t need a push up bra. No light padding, no demi cups, nothing. So when I first held my (size withheld) Warner’s Unbelievable UnWire Contour, I was somewhat dubious at its soft, delicately cushioned cups. Even more dubious than I was of the lack of wire, which sounded like a key ingredient in a recipe for a truly tragic-looking chest area.
Slight padding aside, I did exactly what I was told to before I put it on— “twist, bend and squish this bra into a million directions (try it once you receive it!)” and closed a drawer on it for good measure (because that’s where my bras end up when I don’t wear them), and it bounced back to shape every time. The UnWire material is sturdy—at first touch, it feels as tough as metal—but far more flexible and resilient.
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Don Allen, Vice President of Creative Design for Warner’s, said that the company washed sample bras over 75 times, crushed and twisted them, and the undergarments retained their shape. What’s the secret? Warner’s is cagey about the exact composition of the “wire”—Allen called it a “top secret proprietary composite material”—but did say the UnWire concept took about 18 months for the from development to retail.
The hardy construction was noticeable once put on (nice adjustable straps, standard hook closures) and adjusted. The “wire” offered decent support and was especially comfortable due to the extra padding around the UnWire.
Wearing a bra is a necessary evil for many women; the UnWire doesn’t exorcise the demons of constraint any more than any bra, but it was noticeably less stiff against the abdomen and provided the same amount of support. Most importantly, my kneejerk reaction to a “wireless” bra was unfounded. I mercifully detected no difference in shaping with it on under a sweater, a t shirt, and a dress. My sample bra was an amusing pink camouflage; the bra also comes in neutrals, pin dots, animal print and brighter colors like island blue.
Washing and drying the UnWire doesn’t differ too much from the process for standard underwire bras. Generally, bras are handled like babies—gentle hand washing, air or line drying—and Allen suggests that the UnWire get the same treatment. Technically, he said, the bra can be put in the washing machine, but not in the dryer, so I did. After only one wash, the bra looked and felt the same, but Allen notes that the UnWire does wear similarly to other bras, so tender loving care is best.
The UnWire succeeds in the sense that it walks and talks a tougher game than a typical bra. It may last the same amount of time as a regular bra, but it will be robust for most of its life. The special wire is the same amount of supportive, but with added comfort and flexibility. Warner’s plans to expand their collection in July with new colors and a lace embellished version of their contour and pushup bras.
Warner’s Unbelievable UnWire hits department stores and their website this month and will retail for $38.