Metal-detector friendly bras?
May 15, 2012 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Oversensitive workplace metal detector: are there any wire-free or metal-free bras with good support?

My wife has to pass through a metal detector at her workplace. Its sensitivity has just been turned up, and her bra underwire and clasps now set it off. There is no alternative screening, and policy explicitly states that if a bra sets off the metal detector, you must go home and change. This is crappy policy, but it's not going away.

She's a petite 32C, and most sports bras she's tried are either constricting or not supportive for workday use, while wire-free comfort bras like the Playtex 18 hour start at 34D. The only thing she's found so far in her size is the Spanx Bra-Llelujah!: $62 isn't cheap, and the front closure might be enough to set off the detector. Are there any other alternatives?
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Good lord. What does she do -- work in a prison?

How about those Ahh Bras or Genie Bras or whatever that they sell on infomercials?

How about something from Barely There?

Check out the sports bra selection at Title Nine.
posted by Madamina at 2:28 PM on May 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Is it possible to wear the sports bra when she gets to work/goes through the metal detector and then switch to her regular bra (that's in her purse) when she gets inside?
posted by littlesq at 2:31 PM on May 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

nthing littlesq - keep whatever bra she wants at work and change, once she gets in.
posted by Danf at 2:33 PM on May 15, 2012

I think I would be irritated enough with that policy that I would wear what I wanted and simply go home and have a cup of coffee until they changed the policy. Of course, that's much more effective if you're on salary than paid hourly.

As a lady of similiar proportions, I've found WonderBra's wirefree bras to be great. At $29 she can pick up a few.

My understanding of metal detectors is that your purse generally has to go through one too. If it sets it off on your body, it will probably set it off in your purse.
posted by valoius at 2:36 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding Title Nine, specifically their Bounce section. You can specifically search for wireless bras. Here are a bunch in 32C.

If the clasp itself is too much, you might be able to replace it with a plastic version; they won't last as long, though.
posted by nat at 2:37 PM on May 15, 2012

I have that Spanx Bra-Llelujah!. The front closure is made of plastic, so she should be ok. They are also really awesome bras. Comfortable for the long-run.
posted by waitangi at 2:51 PM on May 15, 2012

I've found that HerRoom has one of the best selections of bras for sale on the internet (for US customers), and I've been happy with their customer service. You can filter searches by size and style, including "metal free," then sort the results by price to see what's most affordable. I have to say, the metal-free results don't look very supportive. If I had to comply with such an asinine security policy, I'd start by trying out bras that have no underwires but might have a small amount of metal in the hooks. (Actually, I'd probably protest the policy and rally my co-workers to do the same, but that's not the question you asked.)
posted by LBS at 3:02 PM on May 15, 2012

My understanding of metal detectors is that your purse generally has to go through one too.

Depends on the setup. Bags may have to go through an x-ray machine or hand inspection.
posted by radwolf76 at 3:08 PM on May 15, 2012

Could she replace the underwires in her existing bras with plastic underwires? She'd just need to unpick the end of the underwire casing, pull the old underwire out, slip the new one in and stitch the casing closed again. Takes about five minutes.

Having said that, I think your wife and her female colleagues would have a strong case that this security policy is discriminatory against women. It's common knowledge that most women wear bras and most bras contain metal. There's no excuse for a policy which systematically wastes female employees' time.
posted by embrangled at 3:15 PM on May 15, 2012 [23 favorites]

Has she tried just taking the metal out of the ones that she already has? I have done this in the past when they poke through but are still in good shape otherwise, and have been pleasantly surprised at how little it changes their function.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 3:15 PM on May 15, 2012

I'm a Title 9 diehard, but I've seen wirefree bras in 32C at Macy's--both Bali and Maidenform actually now make perfectly comfortable and functional wirefree bras, for those times when you just can't wait for delivery from California.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:31 PM on May 15, 2012

Mod note: From the OP:
Thanks for suggestions so far. Carrying a wired bra in a purse isn't an option, and the policy is under protest, but in the meantime she just needs something to wear. (And yes, we're in the US.)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:43 PM on May 15, 2012

Head to a major department store with a good bra section, one with fitters and people that actually understand fitting bras and the like. I don't know the best US one but your wife probably does. Get he to explain her situation and ask them about bras with plastic underwires and clasps in. The women that work in those sorts of places know bras inside and out and could probably offer her a selection and help her find the best fit.
posted by wwax at 3:48 PM on May 15, 2012

I would look into not a wirefree bra, but a bra with plastic underwire. I haven't tried any of them for a while so can't give specific recommendations, but she should be able to go to a Macy's/Nordstrom and ask the women in the lingerie section for help. If they don't have anything they will probably give her some alternative places to look.

(The Spanx one actually appears to have a wire in it - how does she know that it will be suitable?)
posted by jacalata at 3:52 PM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I own this Playtex 18h in a larger cup size and I find it extremely supportive. Like 1950s supportive. It does come in that size per the outlet's website (and it's cheap right now!) The only downside is that the fabric is a bit stiff.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:09 PM on May 15, 2012

I like the Everyday Bra by Moving Comfort. It's less sporty than the photos might make you think; it's better for everyday use than for athletics.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:13 PM on May 15, 2012

Oh, the bra I linked to does have teeny metal hooks at the back. But if the metal detector is that sensitive, it must be going off from zippers, hinges on glasses, clips on pens...
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:25 PM on May 15, 2012

I've got some bras from barely there which are very comfortable and wire free (and fit well). I'm a 32A though, so I don't know how supportive the 32C version would be. They're on sale now, though.
posted by leahwrenn at 6:04 PM on May 15, 2012

Simply Perfect by Warners Wire Free Bra. Carried in the lingerie section of your local Target, and I (a C cup) find it comfortable enough for regular wear. Under $15. The sizing doesn't go down to a 32C, but maybe she could try the 34B, which is carried (I think the rule is, go down a cup size and up a band size?). It does have wire hooks, but at least it's (comparatively) cheap to try?
posted by pie ninja at 6:15 PM on May 15, 2012

My wife swears by Coobie Bras. No underwires or clasps, but supports like a sports bra. They start at twenty bucks and look great.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:37 PM on May 15, 2012

Can she have a regular bra posted to her desk?
posted by Jilder at 11:06 AM on May 16, 2012

I also suggest going to a pro. If you have a department store like Nordstrom, or a specialty foundation shop (in Austin, for instance, there's a great store called Petticoat Fair if you happen to be nearby), go for a fitting. The salespeople there know what will work and what won't for her frame, and what will have hidden metal.
posted by Addlepated at 11:28 AM on May 16, 2012

Does the Bra-lelujah! *without* the front closure not provide enough support? It's all hosiery--no wires, no closures--and about half the price and seriously comfortable.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:27 PM on May 19, 2012

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