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A selection of underwire bras in a retail store
An underwire demi bra

An underwire bra (also under wire bra, under-wire bra, or underwired bra) is a brassiere with a wire built into the underside of the cup intended to lift, separate, shape, and provide additional support for a woman's breasts. The underwire is a thin, semi-circular strip of rigid material such as metal or plastic fitted inside the cloth along the bottom and sides of the bra cup. There are many different brassiere designs incorporating an underwire, such as shelf bras, demi bras, nursing bras, and bras built into other articles of clothing, such as t-shirts, dresses and swimsuits. An 1893 patent describes the predecessor to the underwire bra—a breast supporting device using a rigid plate under the breasts for stability. The modern underwire bra was designed in the 1930s, and had gained widespread popularity by the 1950s. As of 2005, underwire bras were the largest and fastest growing segment of the bra market. A bra without an underwire is a softcup bra.

Several health conditions have been associated with the use of an underwire bra such as breast pain, breast infection during lactation, and allergic reactions to the metal underwire. Claims that breast cancer is linked to using underwire bras are not supported by scientific research.

Wearing an underwire bra can cause inconvenience and extra scrutiny at security checkpoints and metal detectors in airports and prisons, often subjecting the wearer to special inspection procedures, including removal of the underwire or bra entirely, to verify that there is no weapon hidden in the undergarment. The underwire of a bra has played a part in various accidents and attacks. Metallic underwires, which attract and conduct electricity, can put a woman at risk of burning or death during electrical storms and lightning strikes. There have been incidents where the underwire deflected a bullet or other weapon aimed at the chest.



Marie Tucek's "Breast Supporter"

The precursor to the underwire bra can be traced back to at least 1893, when New Yorker Marie Tucek was granted US patent 494397 for a "breast supporter". The breast supporter was described as a modification of the corset, and was very similar to a modern push-up bra designed to support the breasts. It consisted of a plate made of metal, cardboard, or other stiff material, shaped to fit against the torso under the breasts, following the contour of the breasts. It was covered with silk, canvas, or other cloth, which extended above the plate to form a pocket for each breast. The plate curved around the torso and ended near the armpits, held in place and adjusted to a snug fit by shoulder straps that crossed the back, forming an X-shape. It was secured with hook-and-eye closures.[1][2]

The underwire bra design emerged and took hold in the United States starting in the 1930s. Helene Pons received US patent 1798274 in 1931 for a brassiere design that incorporated an "open-ended wire loop" that laid flat against the chest, encircling the bottom and sides of each breast.[3] A 1932 patent (US patent 1970920) describes a U-shaped piece of wire used between the cups to keep the breasts separated.[4] US patent 2104725, issued in 1938 to Pauline Boris, describes a "breast support" which used pieces of wire to entirely encircle each breast.[5] In 1940, Walter Emmett Williams was issued US patent 2222523, which describes a wire framework, shaped like a spiderweb, that encircles and covers each breast to provide support.[6] Although development of the underwire bra started in the 1930s,[7] it did not gain widespread popularity until the 1950s, when the end of World War II freed metal for domestic use.[8][9]

In the 1940s, Howard Hughes designed a type of underwired push-up bra for use by Jane Russell in The Outlaw. According to Russell, the "ridiculous" contraption was painful and she did not use it for more than a few minutes. The invention is now in a museum in Hollywood.[9]

With the popularity and widespread use of the underwire bra that started during the 1950s, the underwire was incorporated into many bra designs, and underwire bras were built into other articles of clothing. By 1990, Norma Kamali had incorporated underwire bras into both one- and two-piece (bikini) swimsuits.[10] Scott Lucretia was granted US patent 4798557 for a camisole with an integrated underwire bra in 1989.[11]

Underwire bras accounted for 60% of the United Kingdom bra market in 2000[12] and 70% in 2005.[13] In 2001, 500 million bras were sold in the United States, of which approximately 70% (350 million) were underwire bras.[1][14] As of 2005, underwire bras were the fastest growing segment of the market.[15]


Underwire design in S & S Industries' patent

Underwire bras are built with a semi-circular "underwire", "bra wire", or "wire" embedded in the wire channel that circles the bottom and sides of each cup. One end, or head element, of the underwire is close to the front and center of the bra, and the other close to the armhole. The underwire can be made of metal or molded plastic; most are metallic. Plastic underwires have a "tiny" share of the market because they do not provide the same support and rigidity offered by metal underwires.[14] A metallic underwire is a thin strip of metal, usually with a nylon coating at both ends.[16] Metals used include steel[17] and nickel titanium, a shape memory alloy.[18][19]

Due to the presence of the underwire and its tendency to tear through cloth, underwire bras are often hand-washed or machine-washed on delicate cycle. Bra wash bags, usually zippered mesh pouches, can also be used to protect bras and prevent the underwire from separating from the bra during machine washing.[20]

In 2002, New York company S & S Industries—which supplies underwires for bra makers such as Bali, Playtex, Vanity Fair, Victoria's Secret, and Warner's[14]—was issued US patent 6468130 for a new bra underwire design created by Ajit Thakur and Joseph Horta. The design consists of a regular curved underwire with a spring-loaded plastic cushion tip on one or both ends. The spring allows the tip to move in or out, thus permitting the underwire to effectively become shorter or longer when in position in the garment. This design helps keep the wire from poking through the fabric of the bra, even under the wear and tear of use and repeated washings.[1][21]

In 2008, Scott Dutton of Wales invented the "Bra Angel", a simple device to fix a bra when the underwire pops out of its channel. It is a barbed plastic cap that fits onto the end of the underwire, which is then inserted back into the bra and held in place by the barbs, it is like a rawl plug for a bra. The device won the gold award for invention of the year and the double gold award for consumer product at the British Invention Show in 2008. The product has since gone on to win a further award in Barcelona Spain at the ATTIC 09 show where it was the only product to win an award from Britain, the award was for most consumer-based product. The Bra Angel recently appeared on the hit show Dragons Den on the BBC2 when Theo Pathitas said, "I was just giving it a good old tug" and I couldn't get it out, thereby endorsing the product, this no doubt helped as the company received sales in excess of 12,000 units following the show. The product is also one of the first to be available by text message, Scott Dutton sales manager for Bra Angel said "we could see the potential in using current technology to sell the product, and we have made it possible for woman to buy this fantastic product at their own convenience at the same cost as buying online but by text" The Bra Angel underwire bra repair kit is the first of its kind in the world and has patent and trade mark protection. [22][23]


Metal underwire protruding from a worn bra

Underwire bras can rub and pinch the breast, causing skin irritation and breast pain,[24] and the wire of a worn bra can protrude from the fabric and scrape or cut the skin.[25] The metal underwire of a bra can come in contact with the skin when the wire is exposed due to worn fabric or when moisture from perspiration serves as a point of contact between the underwire and the skin. This can cause skin irritation, possibly due to an allergic reaction with the nickel or other metals used to make underwires.[26][27]

Underwire bras, like other constrictive garments, may contribute to clogged milk ducts in lactating women.[28][29] Fluctuating breast size during pregnancy poses another problem. Because underwire bras are rigid, they do not easily accommodate changes in breast size, and an ill-fitting bra that does not support the breasts correctly can cause discomfort and pain.[30]

Although there is no scientific research that proves bras cause cancer (see quote in citation footnote), the authors of the book Dressed to Kill claim there may be a link between bras and breast cancer cause by reduced lymph gland circulation or other possibly means.[31] But experts, including the National Cancer Institute,[32] affirm that there are no medical studies or other data that support a connection between usage of an underwire bra and breast cancer.[25][33][34]

For several days after a mastectomy, or as long as the breast is tender, a woman is advised not to use an underwire bra.[35][36] Using an automated external defibrillator (AED) on a patient who is wearing a bra with metal underwires can result in burns, and the bra should be removed before applying the AED.[37] In their 2007 season, the television program MythBusters tested the possibility of burns resulting from using a defibrillator on a patient who is using an underwire bra, and concluded that while it is possible, it is not likely unless the metal underwire is exposed and paddles of the defibrillator are very close to it.[38][39] Acupuncturists oppose underwire bras in the belief that the metal wires cross the body's meridians, obstructing the flow of energy or qi.[40]

Security checkpoints

Underwire bras can inconvenience the wearer when sensitive metal detectors pick up the metal in the bra and sound an alarm. Some correctional facilities, such as San Quentin State Prison, require visitors to either cut their bras and remove the underwire, or temporarily use a soft cup bra provided by the institution before being granted entry. The result can be embarrassment and consternation for unsuspecting visitors.[41] Other facilities require women to remove their underwire bras in a bathroom, pass through the metal detector, and return to the bathroom to put their bras back on.[42]

Underwire bras may also set off metal detectors at airport security checkpoints, causing passengers to be subjected to a more stringent inspection. Film maker Nancy Kates claims that she was "forced to strip off her bra and walk through airport security without support" when the underwires in her bra set off a metal detector.[43] The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States recommends that women not wear underwire bras when traveling by air.[14] In response, there has been an effort to design airport-friendly underwear, including underwire bras that will not trigger a metal detector's alarm.[44] In 2001, Triumph International revealed the "Frequent Flyer Bra", a bra made with resin underwires designed to pass through metal detectors without setting off the alarm.[14]

Accidents and attacks

Wearing an underwire bra is a safety risk during electrical storms and lightning strikes.[45] Underwire bras have been implicated in at least two lightning strikes that caused severe burns or death.[46][47]

There have been several cases where the underwire from a bra has helped deflect bullets or other objects, saving the wearer's life. In 1996, the underwire of a girl's bra helped save her life when she was impaled on a railing and, according to hospital personnel, the underwire from her bra probably helped deflect the spike from her heart.[48] There have been multiple incidents where bullets were deflected by the underwire of a woman's bra, either keeping her entirely from harm, or directing the bullet away from the heart to another part of the body.[49] One such incident occurred in 2004 when a stray bullet shot by a member of the Ghetto Boys hit the narrow metal wire in Helen Kelly's bra and was deflected away from her heart.[50] In 2008, a robbery victim was saved from being stabbed in the chest when the attacker's knife was caught and deflected by the underwire of her bra.[51]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Riordan, Teresa (2002-10-28). "Patents; In bra technology, an incremental improvement can translate into comfort.". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-04-24. Retrieved 2009-04-21. "Professor Farrell-Beck said the antecedents for underwire in bras date to at least 1893, when Marie Tucek of New York City patented a breast supporter, a sort of early push-up bra made of either metal or cardboard and then covered with fabric."  
  2. ^ US494,397 (PDF version) (1893-03-28) Marie Tucek, Breast Supporter.  
  3. ^ US1,798,274 (PDF version) (1931-03-31) Helene Pons, BRASSIERE.  
  4. ^ US1,970,920 (PDF version) (1934-08-21) Roth, BRASSNGRE.  
  5. ^ US2,104,725 (PDF version) (1938-01-11) Pauline Boris, BREAST SUPPORT.  
  6. ^ US2,222,523 (PDF version) (1940-11-19) Walter Emmett Williams, IJLDRS HEALTH BRASSIERE AND HEALTH.  
  7. ^ Napoleon, Anthony (2003). "Wardrobe". Awakening Beauty: An Illustrated Look at Mankind's Love and Hatred of Beauty (Illustrated ed.). Virtualbookworm Publishing. pp. 31, 130–131. ISBN 1589393783.,M1. Retrieved 2009-04-21. "Warner standardized the concept of "cup" size in 1935, and the first underwire bra was developed in 1938."  
  8. ^ Kanner, Bernice (1983-12-12). "The Bra's not for Burning". New York Magazine (New York Media) 16 (49): 26–30. ISSN 0028-7369.,M1. Retrieved 2009-04-21. "In 1938, strapless and under-wire bras were invented, but neither hit it big until the 1950s, when exaggerated, pointed bras—with cups that bore more resemblance to those from paper-cup dispensers or Brünnhilde's breatplate than to the human body—were also popular.".  
  9. ^ a b Seigel, Jessica (2004-02-13). "The Cups Runneth Over". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-23. "The new lift and separation evolved into the torpedo shape of the 1940s, which went nuclear with underwire in the 1950s, when the war's end freed metal for domestic use [...] The struggle to buttress what is naturally low-lying has produced its own mythology, like the legend that in the 1940s Howard Hughes used airplane technology to build a better bra for Jane Russell in "The Outlaw.""  
  10. ^ Schiro, Anne-Marie (1990-05-13). "Fashion; Half a Yard or So of Nylon and Spandex, and Voila!". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-24. "The big news this year is the return of the bra. Norma Kamali pioneered the swimsuit with underwire bra, and the idea has caught on with manufacturers like Too Hot Brazil, La Blanca and Karla Coletto that cater to the daring young woman"  
  11. ^ US4,798,557 (PDF version) (1989-01-17) Scott M. Lucretia, Camisole underwire bra garment.  
  12. ^ "Charnos takes the plunge with a brand new bra". UK: Aroq Ltd. 2000-10-25. Retrieved 2009-04-22. "The underwired bra accounts for 60 per cent of the market, but women with average or fuller busts must wonder why it is so popular. It is uncomfortable, non-machine washable, and difficult to make, but there has been nothing to replace it"  
  13. ^ "Boom in Bras as Women Go Busty". Daily Record. 2005-10-12. Retrieved 2009-04-22. "Demand for the underwired bra is up by 12 per cent in the last two years and now makes up 70 per cent of the bra market."  
  14. ^ a b c d e Goo, Sara Kehaulani (2004-12-10). "Functional Fashion Helps Some Through Airport Checkpoints". Washington Post. p. 2. Retrieved 2009-04-24. "One Japanese company, Triumph International, launched what it called a "Frequent Flyer Bra" in late 2001 that was guaranteed to not set off airport metal detectors"  
  15. ^ "Lingerie - UK - September 2005 - Market Research Report". Mintel. 09 2005. Retrieved 2009-04-21. "Sales of underwired bras have been growing at a faster rate when compared to both soft bras and sport and maternity (12% between 2003 & 2005)"  
  16. ^ Madaras, Lynda (2007). The "what's happening to my body?" book for girls (3rd ed.). Newmarket Press. pp. 48–50. ISBN 1557047642.,M1. Retrieved 2009-04-21. "Underwire bras have a flexible wire sewn into the lower edge and sides of the cup for support. They also lift the breasts for a fuller look."  
  17. ^ American Society of Magazine Editors (COR), American Society of Magazine Editors (2008). The Best American Magazine Writing 2008 (Illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 29. ISBN 0231147147.,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-09. "Previously, he had manufactured the steel underwire for women's brassieres"  
  18. ^ Brady, George Stuart; Henry R. Clauser, John A. Vaccari (2002). Materials Handbook (15 ed.). McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 633. ISBN 9780071360760. Retrieved 2009-05-09.  
  19. ^ Jones, Gail; Michael R. Falvo, Amy R. Taylor, Bethany P. Broadwell (2007). "Nanomaterials: Memory Wire". Nanoscale science (Illustrated ed.). NSTA Press. p. 109. ISBN 1933531053.,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-09.  
  20. ^ "Time saving tricks.(the Best of Everything: TESTING FROM THE GOOD HOUSEKEEPING INSTITUTE)". Good Housekeeping. 2005-10-01. Retrieved 2009-04-22. "You can protect bras and hosiery with Woolite's new double-compartment Bra Wash Bag [...] In our tests, the padded pouch prevented twisting and snagging"  
  21. ^ US6,468,130 (PDF version) (2002-10-22) Ajit Thakur, Joseph Horta, Underwire for brassiere.  
  22. ^ "Bra repair invention strikes gold". BBC. 2008-11-28. Retrieved 2009-04-24. "Scott Dutton, from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, came up with a simple DIY device to fix his wife Laura's bra when the underwire popped out of the seams"  
  23. ^ Blake, Aled (2008-12-10). "Bra Angel launched to save underwear from the bin". Wales Online. Retrieved 2009-04-24. "Bra Angel is the idea of South Wales-based entrepreneur Scott Dutton. “I came up with it after my wife Laura complained – again – about the underwire poking through her bra,” he said"  
  24. ^ Mills, Dixie (1999-01-25). "The mystery of breast pain — and how to solve it". Retrieved 2009-05-08. "Some underwire bras, or too-tight bras, can pinch or cause constant rubbing which irritates skin and breast tissue and leads to pain"  
  25. ^ a b Legato, Marianne J.; Carol Colman (2005). What Women Need to Know. E-Reads. pp. 33–34. ISBN 0759254443.,M1. Retrieved 2009-04-21. "... confirms that there are absolutely no data to support the connection between the type of bra a woman wears and her risk of developing breast cancer."  
  26. ^ "Boobs! an owner's guide". Girls' Life (Monarch Avalon). 2002-10-01. Retrieved 2009-05-08. "If you are sensitive to nickel and other metals, it could cause contact dermatitis when you sweat [...] The metal comes in contact with the skin due to the moisture connecting the two".  
  27. ^ Lauersen, Niels H.; Eileen Stukane (1998). The Complete Book of Breast Care (Illustrated ed.). Ballantine Books. ISBN 0449912418. Retrieved 2009-05-08. "Sometimes the material covering the underwire deteriorates, exposing the metal underwire, leading to skin irritations, perhaps due to an allergic reaction to metal"  
  28. ^ Littleton, Lynna Y.; Joan Engebretson (2002). Maternal, neonatal, and women's health nursing. Cengage Learning. p. 915. ISBN 0766801217. Retrieved 2009-05-05. "Avoid tight clothing, underwire bras, infant carriers that may block milk ducts or prevent breasts from emptying adequately"  
  29. ^ Hatfield, Nancy T.; Violet Broadribb (2007). Broadribb's Introductory Pediatric Nursing. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 194. ISBN 0781777062.,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-05. "... and to avoid constricting clothing or bras, including underwire bras."  
  30. ^ "To underwire or not to underwire, that is the question". The Guardian. 2001-12-30. Retrieved 2009-04-24. "The reason the advice is conflicting is because your breast size (as you are finding out) fluctuates a great deal during pregnancy and it is essential that you are properly fitted for a bra, otherwise you will be uncomfortable and your breasts won't be well-supported"  
  31. ^ Lee, John R.; Virginia Hopkins (2004). What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause (TM): The Breakthrough Book on Natural Hormone Balance (Revised ed.). Grand Central Publishing. p. 43. ISBN 0446614955. Retrieved 2009-04-21. "Although research has not proven that underwire bras or underarm antiperspirants cause breast cancer, common sense says that if you don't block lymph gland circulation from under your breasts with an underwire bra, it's going to be ..."  
  32. ^ "Pregnancy and Breast Cancer Risk Factsheet". National Cancer Institute. Retrieved 2009-04-23. "There are a number of misconceptions about what can cause breast cancer. These include, but are not limited to, using deodorants or antiperspirants, wearing an underwire bra, having a miscarriage or induced abortion, or bumping or bruising breast tissue"  
  33. ^ Dulmus, Catherine N.; Lisa A. Rapp-Paglicci (2005). Handbook of preventive interventions for adults (Illustrated ed.). John Wiley & Sons. p. 218. ISBN 0471569704. Retrieved 2009-04-21. "Numerous other factors have been discussed as possible risk factors for breast cancer. For example, some have suggested there may be an increased risk for women who wear underwire bras or who use antipersperants; however, there is currently no scientific evidence to support these associateions."  
  34. ^ Molete, Martha (2008-02-06). "Can wearing a bra cause breast cancer?". Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA). Retrieved 2009-04-23. "It is contended that the wearing of a bra dramatically increases the chances of developing breast cancer. [...] Elizabeth Cates, Ph.D., mentions that the authors' statistical treatment of their obtained data appears to be flawed."  
  35. ^ Burden, Nancy (2000). Ambulatory surgical nursing. W.B. Saunders. p. 742. ISBN 9780721668475. "Most surgeons recommend that patients wear a brassiere, without underwire, to provide support for several days postoperatively."  
  36. ^ Gates, Rose A.; Regina M. Fink (2007). Oncology Nursing Secrets. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 240. ISBN 9780323044578. "Women should avoid underwire support postoperatively and during radiation therapy, when the breast is tender and edematous."  
  37. ^ Craig, Karen (Spring 2006). "Take charge with an automated external defibrillator". Nursing 36 (Cardiac Insider): 24–26.;jsessionid=J5NXvJsL1ry2XmQ8Y6lGjpyLxpdy2pZvY6myhT07Dqhpf7xDLPR1!928310026!181195629!8091!-1. Retrieved 2009-04-30. "... the patient is wearing an underwire bra. Cut the center of the bra and pull the underwire away from the skin to prevent or minimize a burn".  
  38. ^ Scott, Shana (2008-03-19). "Shocking Defibrillator". b5media. Retrieved 2009-05-22. "the team will test whether a defibrillator can burn someone if the electricity connects with: 1. an under-wire bra 2. a nipple piercing"  
  39. ^ Scott, Shana (2008-03-20). "Underwire Bra results". b5media. Retrieved 2009-05-22. "Though the bra did cause a burn, it was only when the wire was exposed and the paddles were placed very close to the exposed wire"  
  40. ^ "Is your bra making you ill?". The Independent. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2009-04-26. "The metal in underwired bras is unpopular with acupuncturists as it crosses the body's meridians and blocks the flow of chi, they say, which can cause energy to stagnate"  
  41. ^ Comfort, Megan (2008). Doing Time Together: Love and Familyin the Shadow of the Prison (Illustrated ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 54. ISBN 0226114635.,M1. Retrieved 2009-04-21. "The regulation of garments during visitor processing even encompasses undergarments, and virtually every woman on her first visit is sent away to remove the wire from her underwire bra so that she can pass through the metal detector without triggering the alarm."  
  42. ^ Sullivan, Dennis; Larry Tifft (2006). Handbook of restorative justice: a global perspective (Illustrated ed.). Routledge. p. 266. ISBN 0415353564.,M1. Retrieved 2009-04-21. "Women with an underwire bra can trigger the metal detector, requiring them to go into the bathroom with a paper bag, remove their bra, place it in the bag, return bare breasted under often revealing blouses, suffer the stares of the correctional officers, take back the bag and redress."  
  43. ^ Fargen, Jessica (2008-08-18). "Heavy metal: Underwire bra trips up airport cops". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2009-04-24. "A California woman is crying gender discrimination after she claims she was forced to strip off her bra and walk through airport security without support after being busted when the underwires in her lingerie set off a metal detector"  
  44. ^ Siskos, Catherine (07 2002). "Please be Seated". Kiplinger's Personal Finance (Kiplinger Washington Editors) 50 (7): 26. ISSN 1528-9729. Retrieved 2009-04-21. "... designers are trying to engineer an underwire bra that won't set off metal detectors.".  
  45. ^ "Are You A Survivor?". Backpacker (Active Interest Media) 31 (217): 93. 10 2003. ISSN 0277-867X. Retrieved 2009-04-21. "Get out of your tent and remove all metal from your body, including watches, trekking poles, pack stays, rings, and underwire bras.".  
  46. ^ Allison, Rebecca (1999-10-28). "Women killed by lightning `striking the metal in bra'". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-05. "TWO FRIENDS were killed by a massive bolt of lightning after the metal wiring in one of their bras acted as a conductor"  
  47. ^ Colton, Michael (1998-07-30). "A Flash of Fame For a Good Cause". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-04-22. "The burns – the worst of which are on her chest, where the metal underwire of her bra attracted electricity, probably causing her cardiac arrest – are just the beginning of her problems."  
  48. ^ "Bra saves girl's life". London, England: The Mirror. 1996-07-05. Retrieved 2009-04-22. "A girl's underwired bra saved her life when she was impaled on railings. Caroline Baptiste, 14, slipped as she climbed the fence after being locked inside a park at Dartford, Kent. An iron spike went into her body under the left arm. Mum Patricia said yesterday: "The hospital told me the spike was probably deflected from Caroline's heart by her underwired bra.""  
  49. ^ "Police: Bra Deflects Bullet, Saves Woman - Milwaukee News Story - WISN Milwaukee". Internet Broadcasting. 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2009-04-22. "The bullet shattered the woman's living room window but barely grazed her skin. Police said it was the underwire in her bra that deflected the bullet."  
  50. ^ Akbar, Arifa (2005-10-08). "Underwired bra saved shooting victim's life". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-04-22. "Helen Kelly's underwired bra deflected the bullet which doctors believe was heading towards her heart. The narrow piece of metal wiring, which snapped under the impact of the shot, bounced the bullet away from her heart and through her right breast."  
  51. ^ Stokes, Paul (2008-09-07). "Barmaid saved from stabbing by £6 Asda bra". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-04-22. "During a struggle the youth thrust the weapon at her chest, the point puncturing her skin. But the blade's serrated edge snagged on the wire under the cup of the cheap supermarket bra and prevented it penetrating further."  

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