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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Why I Quit Wearing A Bra
4/ 5Oleh Mellow