Down to the Wire
Why are underwire bras generally a no-go after breast reconstruction? Everyday Runway’s Melissa Berry searches for the answer while spotlighting some wire-free options for your next shopping spree.

So many bras, so little time! 

I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into this very special bra roundup. When you’ve had breast reconstruction, the general rule of thumb is to steer clear of underwire bras. So, I thought I’d get to the bottom of the “why” behind the no-underwire rule, as well as show you some gorgeous bras (and fun spring tops) to choose from.

Before I dive into all of the fun fashion finds, let’s see what some of my favorite experts had to say about the underwire situation.

When asking Dr. Jonathan Bank of NYBRA Plastic Surgery whether it’s safe for those of us with breast reconstruction to wear underwire bras, he explains, “I don’t think there’s a major risk if the scars are fully healed. The potential downside is if there’s significantly decreased sensation in the scar area and a malfunctioning bra wire hurts the scar, but I’ve never seen that happen.” 

Underwire bras are not an absolute “no” in any breast surgery. There is a relative “no” during immediate post-op in situations where there is an incision at the fold underneath the breast. You don’t want to challenge the closure of the skin with hard or rough material that can cause things to break down before the skin has healed. 

Dr. Ron Israeli of NYBRA Plastic Surgery also weighed in, adding that, “Patients recovering from surgery might want to have their surgeons determine that their scars are fully healed before deciding on underwire bras.”

Once the majority of healing is complete, at about six–eight weeks from surgery, Bank has no problem with women wearing any appropriately fitting bra. Even better if it’s an AnaOno bra.

With that, I saw my cue to inquire with Dana Donofree, the founder of AnaOno, on this very important topic. 

Donofree explains, “It isn’t that underwire bras are completely off limits. However, they can absolutely be ill fitting and even cause unnecessary pain. Most bra wearers are not wearing the correct bra to begin with. After breast surgery, this entire process becomes even more troublesome.”

“Depending on your surgery, underwire bras may cause pain but you may not realize it right away due to the lack of sensation in the chest area,” she continues. “I always recommend looking for bras that are made of soft materials, have soft unstructured cups and [don’t have] underwires. That may have you feeling limited to sport bras, but not at AnaOno. We live by these design features!”

So, can you wear underwire bras if you’ve had breast reconstruction? Sure. Is it the most comfortable and safest option? This depends on many of the factors mentioned above. 

That being said, I researched the finest offerings of non-underwire bras and was pleasantly surprised to see that there are some great options out there. 

Of course, I couldn’t resist pairing the bras with some really cute tops which are perfect for spring, too.

This Le Mystére wireless bra ($65) is the perfect match for a BB Dakota by Steve Madden white ribbed shirt ($60, available at Mixology), with its plunge neckline and seamless cups. 

This Felina seamless smooth wire-free convertible demi bra is dreamy ($42) with its gorgeous, wireless silhouette that pairs perfectly with this fabulous floral top by Robertson + Rodeo ($66). 

I love a great halter top! Finding the right bra can be tricky, so thank you AnaOno for creating the racerback “Melissa” bra ($48) that works beautifully with this black halter by 525 America ($98).

Plunging neckline? No problem! You can confidently wear this adorable powder blue “Maisie” short sleeve crop top ($62) by Gab & Kate. Pair it with this beautiful lace bralette by Montelle Intimates ($49) and you’re good to go!

Don’t think twice about buying a tricky top—just make sure to have a pair of reusable nipple covers in your lingerie drawer, like these from Nippies Skin ($27), and you’ll never have to worry about not having the right kind of bra again. They work perfectly with a mesh top like this one from LOGO by Lori Goldstein ($60).

Happy shopping and enjoy all of the wonderful wire-free options that are out there!


Breast Cancer

Breaking a Sweat

A regular exercise routine can mean better treatment outcomes and reduced risk of recurrence, but how exactly does exercise manifest in the body?

Read More »

Moment by Moment

After a leukemia diagnosis as a young adult, Jen Biondi has shifted her focus toward embracing the important things in life, one day at a time.

Read More »
Organizations We Support

Wings of Hope Gala

The fourth annual gala celebrated the accomplishments of the Melanoma Research Foundation and the foundation’s commitment to the work that still needs to be done.

Read More »