What? They make fireproof bras?!? Yes. Yes, they do. I was fascinated when I heard this; why would you need a fire proof bra? It turns out that if you work in the electrical, welding or manufacturing industries, military, safety or law enforcement, firefighters or as a race car driver, et.al. then you have unique lingerie needs. The phrase “bra burning” has a feminist meaning, but for some women a burning bra is a literal job risk. Can you imagine wearing your bra while the spandex melts or the underwire turns into a hot branding iron on your skin? This is a serious health and safety risk. Therefore, fire proof bras were created for women in these types of professions.
Women in these professions are exposed to high temperatures or risk of electrical shock. They typically want something comfortable, moisture-wicking and safe. Most moisture-wicking fabrics are synthetic and therefore, may melt and are not safe. A fireproof bra is made of specific types of fabric that won’t melt and has no melt-able parts. Your particular industry might have specific guidelines you should look up. For example:
- Race car drivers can refer to SFI 3.3 under Driver Accessories: 10 Sports bras shall be constructed of fire-resistant material. There shall be no wire, metal, or plastic construction.
- Firefights can look up Chapter 7 of “The Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations 2009” says that firefighters should wear only undergarments made of 100-percent natural fibers (such as cotton, wool, or silk), aramid, or other flame-resistant materials. Synthetic materials such as polyester, polypropylene, and nylon are prohibited because undergarments made of these materials may melt— aggravating burn injuries.
In order to sell fire-resistant undergarments, a manufacturer must meet certain standards. Here are a few applicable standards to look for on labels and match against your needs.
- ASTM F1506: Standard Performance Specification for Flame Resistant and Arc Rated Textile Materials for Wearing Apparel for Use by Electrical Workers Exposed to Momentary Electric Arc and Related Thermal Hazards.
- NFPA70E: Standard on Electrical Safety in the Workplace. CSA Z462 is the Canadian “sister standard”
- NFPA2112: Standard on Flame Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire.
- NFPA 2113: Standard on Selection, Care, Use, and Maintenance of Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire.
- OSHA 29 CFR1910.269.
If you need a fireproof bra, there are a number of options out there for fireproof bras. Are they pretty? Not particularly. Are they functional? Yes. Do they have an inclusive size range? It depends on the brand, but most are limited to what the industry thinks is ‘standard’. Many online posts rant about the company providing fireproof underwear for men but not bras for women; it is a form of indirect discrimination.
Most fireproof bras seem to be one of two two basic types of bra: compression sport bra or bralette style. The level of support in these will depend very much on the type of bra, the fabric, intended use (are you running?) and your size. However, if you expect a lot of bouncing, in general a sports style will be more supportive than a bralette
Advice for home bra-makers
If you have never made a bra, do not start with this project. This requires speciality fabrics, no melt-able parts and knowledge of non-stretch patterns. So, unless you have extensive bra making experience and can source appropriate materials, this is not a good DIY project for your friends or family.
For those up for a challenge. First you have to source materials. 100% wool or cotton can be found online. Anything more than around 3% spandex would compromise the fire-retardant nature of fabric. Also available online are fire-resistant fabrics such as Nomex and carbon x but be forewarned it is, apparently, brutal on scissors and rotary blades. Limited stretch fabric makes bra making a challenge, check that your pattern that doesn’t require stretch nor elastics. And remember – no metal underwires, hook-eye closures or rings and sliders. Also, I am not a lawyer and do not know if there would be any liability issues in providing home-made fire proof bras.
Where do I find Fireproof Bras?
In no particular order nor with any recommendations. This is simply a compilation of what was found online. I have not tested nor reviewed any of these products.
In tests, undergarments made up of 100 percent cotton or 100 percent wool did not ignite, melt or char during testing. You could look for 100% cotton or wool online, there are numerous eco-options out there. And wearing more thermal layers is apparently better.
Lady Eagle: custom to your size: good if you don’t fit the ‘standard’ range).
Off the Shelf:
Go commando … it is up to you and your circumstances!