Monday, May 30, 2016

Why I Quit Wearing A Bra


Why I Quit Wearing A Bra

I had read about this before, and ignored it, partly because I have no history of breast cancer in my family, and partly because when we are young we tend to believe we are to some degree invincible. But there is nothing like a lecture from your doctor to drive a point home, to make the risk seem personal and real, and to make a superficial and potentially risky behavior seem really unnecessary.

My doctor saw my bra during a recent visit, and was like, "Is that underwire? Have I given you my lecture on underwire bras yet?" She proceeded to briefly describe the multiple studies, both in the US and abroad, that show a strong connection between breast cancer rates and women wearing bras with underwire.

I used to never wear underwire bras. They are, after all, quite uncomfortable. But years after having kids, and nursing them for a total of six years, I disliked my breasts, which now seemed to hang limp like empty sacks. When I wanted to feel sexy again, I took the plunge and bought my first shaping, lifting, world-changing underwire bra. Finally, I had some lift! Some shape to my sad flat breasts. This magical bra even gave me a hint of cleavage. I was hooked, and started wearing underwire bras daily, enjoying my new shape and silhouette. Without a bra, my breasts seemed lifeless and tiny. With the bra, my boobs seemed to join the world of the living again.

Getting in the car after that doctor's visit, I promptly removed my bra and felt immediate relief. I was so much more comfortable without it! I could definitely get used to this unrestrained free and easy comfort. But would I still be beautiful? Would my boyfriend find me sexy at all anymore?

I sadly informed him over dinner that I would no longer be wearing bras, on my doctor's recommendation. I described why this decision was necessary, while he nodded and listened delightedly the whole time. "Yes! I fully support this decision!" he said enthusiastically. And I realized that my boyfriend-- perhaps straight men in general-- prefer a woman's natural form and movement and shape, to some idealized, rigid structure. Bras hide our natural form and beauty, while giving us the shape that we think we're supposed to have. My going braless would actually bring my boyfriend joy. This made me feel better about it. But would I still feel sexy and beautiful? I doubted it. I had so loved the shape that special bra gave me.

The next day I tried on several outfits, and was surprised to discover that they looked better, that I felt sexier, without the bra. I was like, Yes, this is actually me! Not some artificial version of the me that I think I'm supposed to look like. I decided to keep an assortment of comfortable, wire free bras to wear with more see-through clothes that need a bra for modesty. I'm not trying to show everyone my nipples. And I did save that one magic bra, in case I ever want to wear it for special occasions, but I stuck it way in the back of a drawer. It will get worn rarely, if ever, now that I have discovered that I LIKE my body. I feel more comfortable and more sexy without a bra.

Of course, this is the decision of a small breasted woman. If I had large breasts, I have a feeling I would want the support of a comfortable wire free bra on most days. I will continue to wear a sports bra during athletic pursuits like running, to minimize the stress of bouncing. But for most of my day-to-day life these girls don't need any actual support. My doctor also assured me that Victoria's Secret, the source of my magical underwire bra, also makes wire free bras that give the same lift and shape. But personally, I am feeling more sexy and beautiful, more myself, just going bare.

Check out this article for a more thorough discussion of the evidence concerning the link between bras and breast cancer.

Update: A couple of my readers suggested Coobie bras, as a comfortable alternative to standard bras, but with more support than going bare. I had never heard of them, but was surprised to learn, when I googled Coobie bra, that I am actually wearing one right now. I was gifted it from my Buy Nothing group. Click here to read my article about how that gifting group works. Let me just say that this bra is very comfy. I *generally* never wear bras anymore, but this outfit needed one since my top is a bit translucent. My Coobie feels like a gentle hug. There are various styles, but all basically designed with comfort in mind. I'm posting an ad for the Coobie bra on Amazon below. If you decide to purchase through my link, Amazon kicks me back a wee little commission, and I appreciate it!

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24 comments

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May 31, 2016 at 12:17 AM

Fab article, more women should be joining the bra-free movement! My once pert 32dd's are almost non existent after nursing three kids for a year plus each, so I'm learning to embrace the freedom of being braless and I love it :-) #allaboutyou

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May 31, 2016 at 6:40 AM

Awesome! Even if my breasts are a fairly big size, I don't wear underwire bras and now that I read the post I'm happier about it. But, I can't go totally free, I would be in too much pain probably. And regarding sports bra, I do advise every girl to wear one. We need strong support when jumping or running around. #AllAboutYou

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Anonymous
May 31, 2016 at 11:06 AM

Great article; I'm a believer! I rarely ever even wore a bra except while nursing and that was just so there was something there to hold the drip pad (and I sorely needed those on account of having very small breasts which just couldn't contain all the milk my body produced LOL!)
Now I only wear a sports bra for modesty purposes when needed which isn't much. I am nearly 70 and in the last year or so my breasts have finely grown larger...and have sagged as well. I didn't used to have enough to sag. I guess my time is come but I don't like it much because of the weight and the sweaty crease underneath. Thanks for the encouragement to keep the bras OFF!

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May 31, 2016 at 5:06 PM

I found your post interesting. I will give it some thought. I don't wear wired bras too often but when I do they make me feel like I look better. Of course not at the cost of my health. Maybe I need to step back and work at becoming comfortable with my older self. Thanks for the information.

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June 2, 2016 at 3:20 PM

A very informative post. I also read the article linked at the bottom. I must admit that the picture almost kept me from reading it, however. I have worn an underwire bra for years because I look better. As a writer, I work from home. I'm now going to spend less time in my bra. Why not? There's no one here during the afternoons other than my cats. I don't think they'll mind. I'm very glad I found you on Create with Joy Friendship Friday.

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June 3, 2016 at 3:04 AM

LOL, yes, I don't think the cats will mind at all :D
Thanks Beckie!

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Anonymous
June 4, 2016 at 2:44 PM

I am amazed that in 2016 this misinformation is still floating around.

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June 5, 2016 at 1:01 AM

Thanks for sharing at the Inspiration Spotlight party. See you again soon.

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June 5, 2016 at 5:30 AM

Or maybe it just has yet to be generally accepted. According to what I could find online, after talking to my doctor about it, the original evidence was never scientifically rebuked. If you understand how the lymphatic system works, it makes sense that anything physically constricting would impede the immune system. Preventing cancer is all about immune health.

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June 5, 2016 at 5:33 AM

Thank you! A big part of it for me was realizing that it was OK to look like *myself*, and not some shape that I was supposed to have. But I think it depends on the field you work in, and probably the part of the country or the world where you live, as well as the size of your breasts, if you can get away with that or not.

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June 5, 2016 at 5:36 AM

It can be a weird feeling to get used to. There are certainly good bras out there if you don't like the feeling of going bare, bras that are meant for our comfort rather than designed to reshape our bodies.

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June 5, 2016 at 5:37 AM

Yes I do feel like jumping or running without a supportive sports bra is a bit violent for breasts!

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June 5, 2016 at 1:04 PM

Girl, I haven't worn a bra in probably 2.5 years. NOT ONCE. I am a three-time cancer survivor (not breast cancer) and keeping the girls healthy is a bonus. I just hate them so why should I have to wear them? If there's a little too much nipple action or I want to wear white I get a cami - black, white or nude. But nope. No bra. I am a 32DD and I have big boobs - so any girls wondering if they HAVE to wear one because they're busty - nope. Bra-free gals unite!

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June 5, 2016 at 3:15 PM

Interesting read and I'm happy to say that I've never worn an under wire. For years I haven't worn a bra at home and it's the first thing off when I come home!

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June 5, 2016 at 9:35 PM

You sound like a woman who appreciates comfort!

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Anonymous
June 6, 2016 at 5:57 AM

With 36DD's a bra is really a must. Going without one is really uncomfortable. And ones without underwire just don't get the job done! I wear a well-fitting sturdy underwire bra to make sure that the underwire is not on the breast tissue and figure my braless sleeping hours give my lymphatic system the time it needs to do its thing.

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June 6, 2016 at 3:31 PM

They do make very supportive wire-free bras for large breasted women. I'm small now, but I wore a DDD nursing bra without underwire, while nursing both my kids. It might be worth getting a professional fitting for a wire free bra. But yes, sleeping without a bra makes a huge difference! It shocks me that people sleep in such discomfort.

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June 7, 2016 at 2:00 AM

I gave up wearing bras in the house decades ago!
I'm rather on the large(Watermelon) size, so in order not to cause tidal waves, I do still have to wear one in public! lol No wires tho!! EVER.
But I've never slept in a bra. I was told by my aunts, and granmother that I had to. What they don't know won't hurt them, I thought! And their boobs are just as saggy as mine, and I got to sleep in comfort all these years! HA!
2 usesTuesday

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June 7, 2016 at 7:14 AM

"Tidal wave" :D I love that image!
I believe you've solved a mystery for me: Why people sleep in bras. If people are told they'll have saggy breasts if they don't, that explains the prevalence.
Thanks!

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June 7, 2016 at 7:33 AM

I'm one of those large-breasted women who feel naked and exposed without a bra. I'm tempted to try your suggestion, but I also find that not having underwire is a problem for me. Thanks for the recommendation, though, I really would love to do away with underwire!

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June 7, 2016 at 10:00 AM

I've heard that underwires are totally bad news. Good for you!
#MMBH

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