This Wire-Free Bra for Larger Chests Changed My Life

Welcome to This Changed My Life, an ode to the small, seemingly chill purchases bought by Autostraddle writers and editors this year that made our lives infinitely better. Did these items LITERALLY CHANGE OUR LIFE? No, we’re being gay and dramatic. But perhaps a pair of sunglasses really did change your life — who are we to judge?


An image of a lavender bra sitting on a wooden table. More bras in various colors are rolled up in a blue and white basket beside it.

From left: The Defy Bra in Sand, Manzanita (retired), Black Onyx, Twilight Blue (retired), and Dusk

As a teenager, I did NOT want to think about my boobs. Alone in Gottschalks at 16, after staring, horrified, at everything in Victoria’s Secret, I found one of those stiff-boned strapless bras, attached the optional straps, tightened them as far as they could go, and vowed to never, ever leave the house without it. I even went “skinny dipping” in that thing once, and only wiggled out of it for a couple hours once all my friends had gone to sleep, setting it to dry in the window of the treehouse we’d settled our sleeping bags into. I remember watching the sky turn gray with dawn beyond it, waiting until the last possible moment to put it back on before anyone woke up and saw me without a bra, my biggest fear. I was already wearing a D cup, and my chest would only get bigger from there.

Decades later, I was wearing a UK HH cup, and I’d gone through just about every underwire bra that the US and UK had to offer. My work bras were underwire. My sports bras were underwire. Even my swimsuits were underwire, and I was a mess. The space between my shoulder blades always throbbed. The wires dug into the skin of my torso, leaving angry red marks every day. The straps slipped off of my narrow shoulders every 2-3 steps, but racerback versions sent my muscles into flare-ups. I was over it.

So I started looking for wireless bras. And believe me when I tell you, I tried them all. The bralettes from Soma were whisper-soft, but stretched out in the course of an hour. The wireless bras at Lane Bryant were stiff and somehow still too small. The busty bralettes from Cosabella were supportive, but way too lacy for my very-soft butch sensibilities. And then I found it. The One.

L-R: A Black model wearing the Defy Bra in the color "Clay," which is a medium brown. / A white model wearing the Defy Bra in Black Onyx with an unbuttoned tan cardigan.

From left: The Defy Bra in Clay and Black Onyx ($78)

A few years and one work-from-home pandemic later, this bra has truly proved itself. It’s thick-strapped, but not grandmotherly; wireless and clasp-free, but not flimsy. It doesn’t create quite the same silhouette that my underwires did, but I can pull it on in the morning, run around with my dog Milo, work at the computer, go for a hike or take a nap…and nothing hurts. It’s seamless under t-shirts, it stays compressive over the course of the day, and I can use it as an impromptu swim top or keep it on overnight when I’m camping. It’s absolute magic.

It’s called the Defy Bra, from Evelyn & Bobbie. It comes in three shades of nude, in black, and in seasonal colors that often go on sale right before they debut new ones. It features a scoop-neck front and a full-coverage back, with straps that never slip off my shoulders — a true first for me. It feels like a hug, like a binder might, if I’d ever found a binder that worked for me (and yes, I’ve tried GC2B). It fits me like a fancy, low-to-medium impact sports bra, although it’s woven so that there’s a bit less uniboob. It comes in sizes S-3XL, which their size chart says covers cups C-K, and band sizes 30-52; I wear a UK 42HH and am most comfortable in the 2XL. At $78, it’s not cheap, but wearing that bra is the closest I’ve ever gotten to feeling comfortable with my chest, moving my body without being reminded of my chest at every moment, and that, for me, is worth it.

The Defy Bra changed my life. Maybe it will change yours, too?


Before you go! It costs money to make indie queer media, and frankly, we need more members to survive 2023As thanks for LITERALLY keeping us alive, A+ members get access to bonus content, extra Saturday puzzles, and more! Will you join? Cancel anytime.

Join A+!

Darcy

Darcy, a.k.a. Queer Girl, is your number one fan. She's a fat feminist from California who doodles hearts in the corners of her Gay Agenda. They're living through a pandemic, they're on Twitter, and they think you should drink more water! She also wants to make you laugh.

Darcy has written 332 articles for us.

34 Comments

  1. Darcy this is RAD news – LOVE to hear of another option for chests that isn’t wired. I used to be a big UK bras fan but over the last couple of years I have pivoted more and more to nonwired options and now I can barely wear a wire for 6 hours on special occasions.

  2. I have been wearing the same sports bra, that is currently called Moving Comfort, through three different brand name changes. Although I my bra style has been the best I have found, I am always on the look out for what you are describing. TY++++ for sharing your research results, and I look forward to giving it a try and I am hoping for the best.

  3. while this is not nearly as comfortable as the style Darcy describes here, if you’re on an extreme budget, these are the soft bras I live in on a daily basis (link below). they do have the uniboob issue, but there’s something very pleasantly androgynous about how they look, so I really like them. fair warning, the white ones are weirdly smaller than all the rest? I’d go one size up if you’re buying a pack of those.

  4. Ooooh! I have never found a wireless bra i like. I’m a DDD (when I’m not on my period. A little bigger when I am) and I find what’s most comfortable for me are wired but unpadded bras. I like the wire bc it separates my boob from my rib cage. But I’m curious about these bc i have been wanting a wireless option for around the house when i want something between wire bra and no bra. Thank you, Darcy!!

  5. OK but they want $78 for the bra and then they’re not going to ship it to me for free? So the total is $86.93? for one bra? Is this worth it? Will this really change my life? Will it do the uniboob thing? Siiiiigh at least they have free returns, you know I’m probably going to go for it…

  6. I am obsessed with Free Label bras. They’re Canadian and they design for a large range of sizes, and they’re SO comfortable (bamboo, no wires). I will never wear anything else. My favourite is actually the one cotton bra, the Thompson “lounge” bra, but I had a breast reduction years ago and don’t need much support anymore. The Andie is for smaller cup sizes, the Becky for mid-range cup sizes and the Dani for larger cup sizes.

    I soooo wanted Molke bras to work for me because the patterns are so cute, but I think the “correct” fit is just too snug and I want to feel like I’m wearing nothing.

      • Their website says Andie has medium compression, Becky medium-high and Dani high compression. I’ve tried all of them and the Andie is my favourite (of the bamboo options); I found Becky and Dani to be way too compressive for me – but that’s because I don’t want compression! In those two I felt like I was very strapped down (which is maybe what you want!). I have a C cup now so it makes sense that the Andie is the best fit for me. I wear it when I want more support and less movement but usually wear the Thompson, which isn’t compressive at all. The Becky and Dani are designed for people with larger chests who want more compression.

        They have a ton of info and try-ons with people of different shapes and sizes on their Instagram!

        • I also wear these. They’re one of the only bras i’ve just been able to just … not think about all day. i still can’t wait to get it off when i get home, but to be fair, i feel that way about all outside clothes. When I’m out of the house, i don’t notice it. Most other bras are constantly uncomfortable somehow, but not these.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!