The first thing a lot of women do when they reach the comfort of their homes, is toss their bras to one side. The feeling of relief and comfort as the contraption unfastens from around your chest is wonderful. The sigh of relief afterwards? Almost blissful. It is a signal to the end of the day, time to unwind.
However, you don’t have to wait till the end of the day to feel that way, you can be comfortable and uninhibited all day, every day.
If you’re a person who wears bras, I believe there’s a general consensus that they sort of suck. Sure, they offer support, but they are also super uncomfortable and potentially unhealthy especially when the wrong fit is worn long term.
Bra-wearing is seen as mandatory, especially in a society like Nigeria, and if you’re visibly not wearing one or your nipples are poking through fabric, you’ll get at least a few nasty stares.
We’re also made to believe that we absolutely must wear bras because if we don’t, then our breasts will “sag” and also because nipple exposure is perceived as a mortal sin. Even if you’re wearing a bra, your straps must not show and the lines of the bra must not be visible either— so many rules. Finding the right fitting bra is also an experience and a journey; all that work for something you might even wish you could do without.
Well, you can! We’re here to tell you a couple of untrue things you’ve probably heard about bras, how to have a better bra-wearing experience, and why you should consider freeing the nipple more.
There are ways around wearing an actual bra with the cups, the clasps, and the underwires if support is what you need, and should you decide to, there’s justification to ditch the whole thing altogether. Then again, you don’t need “justification” do you? Just do what feels best for you.
Myths and misconceptions about bras:
- Wearing bras constantly fixes saggy breasts: All women come in different shapes and sizes, and so do breasts. Not all breasts are perky, and bras will not “correct” or impact their natural shape. Childbirth, breastfeeding, age, genetics, weight fluctuations, breast size and gravity are possible causes. Also, what’s so horrible about “saggy breasts” anyway? Not wearing a bra is very low on the potential list of causes of saggy breasts, and wearing a bra constantly does nothing to enhance perkiness, so get over it. If your breasts are not perky, it is not a crime, and you don’t have to strap yourself into a bra 24/7 in the hopes of remedying something that’s out of your hands and not even a problem.
- Wearing / not wearing a bra increases your risk of breast cancer: There is no credible research showing a link between wearing or not wearing a bra and developing breast cancer. It is commonly claimed that underwire bras may cause breast cancer, but there is no conclusive scientific evidence to support this theory, and these claims are unsubstantiated. Many people also believe that wearing a bra while you sleep can cause breast cancer. While doing so is ill-advised because it may be uncomfortable and it’s good to let the girls breathe, there is no evidence indicating any relationship between bra wear or the lack thereof and cancer.
- The size doesn’t matter: The size of your bra is the primary determinant of whether you’ll be uncomfortable or not. Wearing the appropriate size is key to getting the support you need.
Steps to make your bra-wearing experience less horrible:
- Ditch the underwire: Underwire bras, though famously uncomfortable, may offer more back support for big-breasted women. However, the digging into your flesh, pinching skin and day-long discomfort is not necessary and can be forgone. You may opt for other bra options like soft-fit bras that do not come with this extra mechanism which provide as much support.
- Try sports bras: If you’re a larger cup size, the right bra can help reduce or alleviate back pain, however, sports bras will do the job just fine and are an excellent and more comfortable substitute for conventional bras.
- Anti-perspirant: If you experience boob sweat and chafing in hotter weather, antiperspirant under and between your breasts may be helpful. Some people also swear by cornstarch.
- Find the right bra: Not wearing a super tight bra can help with circulation and provide you with the support you need and deserve. The Montclair Breast Center noted that wearing a bra that’s too tight can cause circulation and even cardiovascular issues. Bras should not be terribly uncomfortable (even if they all might be to some extent). If it is, then it’s probably not the right fit. Studies estimate that more than 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. So, to enhance your bra-wearing experience, consider getting fitted for a bra so you know your perfect size and what to purchase going forward.
When performing high-intensity activities like sports, it’s advised to get some support, in the form of sports bras especially. This is because the majority of the breast tissue is unsupported and aggressive movements can lead to trauma and pain. Otherwise, you can go about your daily life braless and be just fine, but if you’re going to be jogging or doing any other strenuous activity that will require bouncing, then look into some support.
Too much of anything is not good; everything in moderation. Sports bras may also come with disadvantages when they hug the ribcage excessively, so maybe don’t wear one, especially if tight-fitting, every day. The right kind of exercise can also help strengthen our muscles and reduce or alleviate back pain rather than depending solely on bras for women who encounter back pain due to the size of their breasts. There are also alternatives outside of sports bras, such as boob tape for support and nipple tape to cover the nips.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the prolonged stay-at-home period also made many women realise just how shitty bras can be since they didn’t have to wear them at home. During the pandemic, Sex Education star Gillian Anderson, declared that she had stopped wearing a bra. She said during an Instagram live;
“I can’t wear a bra. I can’t, I’m sorry, there’s no… I don’t care if my breasts reach my belly button. I’m not wearing a bra anymore. It’s just too f-cking uncomfortable.”
And can you even blame her? You should free the nipple more often if you’re comfortable with it, especially if your reason for not doing so is based on any unsubstantiated myths or silly unfounded advice.
To bra or not to bra? Only you can decide and either way, you’ll be just fine. Ultimately, there are no known health risks associated with ditching the bra. There is no wrong or right answer, it is entirely up to you.