Why Does My Bra Hurt My Ribs?

Spending the day in too tight jeans or an uncomfortable skirt can not only leave you racing to remove them, but often with marks left behind indicative of the ill fit.  The same goes for a bra, however, so many women do this daily that the idea of tearing off your bra in relief at the end of the day is nearly a rite of passage.  And while slippy straps are mostly annoying (and an easy fix!), pain caused by underwire can be more serious, affecting the rib cage and even causing rash in some severe cases.  But this problem is not only solvable but avoidable, with a little knowledge of what causes it and options for comfortable alternatives.

Common Causes for Rib Pain from Bras

If you find your bra is digging in whether to the point of discomfort, red marks or worst case, itchy rash it’s time to revisit both the sizing and style.


Bra Doesn’t Fit Correctly

First and foremost in solving any bra issue, is ensuring proper bra fit. You’ve likely heard that an astounding number of us wear the wrong size bra, but did you know it’s typically too small (check out our History of the Bra to understand why and how this happened, bottom line: bigger isn’t bad)?  How to Measure Bra Size is quick but in depth, taking into account not only your measurements but the shape of both your breasts and body, and providing three recommendations as a starting point for your perfect fit.


Underwire Bras

After fit, construction is the next likely offender when it comes to a bra hurting one’s ribs.  While not all underwire styles necessarily cut in, one’s shape greatly impacts the fit of this type of bra. Those with larger ribcages and/or a fuller cup may find underwire bras particularly uncomfortable.


Body Shape Changes (Pregnancy!)

In relation to proper fit, body shape changes more often than we may think (or like to admit).  While weight fluctuations may be a more obvious indicator of bra size change, life events such as pregnancy and nursing, also affect real, sometimes lasting change in a woman’s body.  Rather than assume your size, we recommend taking new measurements each time you shop for a new bra, and embrace any changes, not only in size but potentially in your pre and post pregnancy style preferences.


What Bra Features Help With Rib Pain?

Once you’ve got sizing down, look for a few key features that can help alleviate rib pain.


Material Choice

Look for soft, flexible material that moves with you instead of sitting on top and causing chafing.  We like nylon with a bit of stretch, which is the base of our True Body microfiber, for a smooth, buttery, barely-there feel.


Wireless Bras

In combination with material, skipping the underwire entirely is a good bet to rid rib pain.  Unsure it can still provide the lift you need?  Many True&Co styles are designed with a wirefree channel that lifts up to one full inch, including those designed for DD+.  Supportive + Comfortable is our ultimate winning combination.


Trial and Error

Bra shopping can certainly be a bit of a pain, but since every woman’s shape is distinct, trial and error truly is the best way to find your best fit.  And even though we hope to minimize the “error” part of the process, True&Co makes things easier with free and easy returns because we want you to love your bra, and the body it supports.


Our Favorite Bras that Don’t Cause Rib Pain

With a core focus on comfort, our full lineup of True&Co bras are designed to make all day wear painless, which means picking a favorite really comes down to selecting the style that best suits you.  From scoop to v-neck, racerback and mesh, here are a few of our favs:


True Body Scoop Neck Adjustable Strap Bra

A scoop style with slim straps is a wardrobe staple for good reason.  Easy to conceal straps mean it pairs well with almost any top or dress and no elastic or bulky seams make it invisible under clothes.  This wirefree and pull over style features smoothing True Body microfiber, giving a sleek contour to your silhouette.  Soft, effortless and supportive in a variety of neutral tones makes the Scoop Neck Adjustable Strap Bra a customer favorite too.


True Body V Neck Bra

Prefer a v-neck?  We doubled down with a v-back as well, making it perfect for tops that drop lower.  Available in the same buttery soft True Body fabric and palette of neutrals to complement any skin tone, this style embraces your natural shape, hugging and smoothing curves while disappearing under your clothes.  Use the True Body V Neck Bra as a base layer or flaunt it on its own with a high waisted pant, shorts or skirt.


True Body Lift Racerback Bra

Fuller cup? Not a problem.  Embrace the racerback, which also features a v-neck silhouette and pull over ease.  We’ve combined strategically placed mesh panels with a heavier weight of our softest microfiber to deliver both cooling comfort and serious support.  Designed for DD+, the extra airflow increases breathability and the wirefree channel delivers lift.


True Body Bra Collection

With a full collection of wirefree options, uncomfortable bras can be a distant memory and your ribs can recover from unnecessary pain.  Update your measurements, find your favorite style and choose your silhouette with confidence knowing that True&Co bras are made to form to you for all day, everyday wear with maximum comfort.