The constant fight between the feminist and the bra—a battle between good and evil.
Personally, I feel like the bra is a catch-22, a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of situation. The bra can sometimes make the girls look perkier, or smaller, or bigger, depending on what they want. But bras are also typically wildly expensive and uncomfortable and often make you feel bogged down. Sometimes, judgment comes from the bra itself, people pointing out that they can see your bra-strap, or gross men pulling on the back of your bra to snap it back like elastic.
What happens if you choose to forego the bra? I’ve been going bra-free for over a year now, only breaking out a bra if it’s for a fashion purpose like lingerie or a cute bralette peeking through a sweater, and mostly it feels pretty good.
There’re no red lines on my skin at the end of the day, I feel comfier in my clothing, and I’ve given myself permission to feel secure in my body without a bra which can be very freeing. However, my nipples have been chapped in the cold. I get a bit of judgment from men and even other women who see me going braless. There definitely bra comes a bit of unwarranted sexualization from having your nipples peek through your shirt.
I’m also aware that I have small breasts that allow me to forego the bra without pain. I have B cups to go without a bra quite comfortably, but I know many women who have larger breasts than I do need the extra support for their back that a bra provides.
In my experimentation with giving up the bra, I think I’ve learned that feminism is about choice, and wearing a bra is about choice. Women who choose to wear bras and women who choose not to wear bras both make valid choices as long as they’re wearing/not wearing the bra for themselves, not for any societal expectation that they should or shouldn’t.
With my preaching out of the way for now, I thought it would be pretty fun to talk about the bra styles and what wearing them means for the day ahead. I’m going to put on my psychic hat and tell you what I think about you and the day you’re about to go through. Even though I don’t wear bras anymore, I’ve had experience with all of these—some I love, others I’d like to throw in a volcano.
Classic Brassiere (Underwire)
If you’re wearing a classic, well-fitted, underwired brassiere, my first thought is that you’ve got your life together. You probably went to the mall and spent a pretty penny on a sensible and long-lasting bra. (Bonus points if it’s a neutral or skin tone). I imagine you have matching undies and a perfectly ironed blouse to put on top of this bra, and that you’re going to head off to work in a cushy office job where you always have really good quality pens. For lunch you’re probably going to have a very trendy salad with like, corn or hunks of sweet potato, you’ll work really hard and productively through the day and when it’s time to go home you’ll drive back to your sensible condo smiling, knowing you’re minutes away from taking off the 1950s style bandage that is currently strangling the life out of your breasts.
You’ll take off your bra as soon as you get in the door but make sure to hang it nicely to preserve its shape, then you’ll have a bath to try to soak out the red lines cutting across your chest, then I think you’ll put on some really high-quality silky pyjamas and watch The Bachelor. Sounds like a pretty good day to me, rest those bad boys before it’s back in the bra tomorrow.
I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but if you find yourself wearing a strapless bra, you’re not going to have a good day. In my experience, there’re two ways you’ll find yourself in a strapless bra situation, and neither is good.
You have an event that has you wearing an intricate outfit Maybe you have a wedding to go to with a strapless dress, or a summer barbeque in a spaghetti strap romper, you found a cute tube-top for date night: some kind of outfit that you’re excited about that requires a strapless or somewhat invisible bra.
You have one of those bras where the bra straps can come off, and you lost one or all of the straps in the laundry
If this is the reason that you’re wearing a strapless bra, my advice is just to cancel everything and stay home today. I have been there, and it never turns out alright.
If you’re in one of these two situations, you might as well be wearing a bra for your tummy because that’s where this strapless bra is going to be headed all day. Say what you want about the traditional brassiere and the red lines it leaves on the skin, at the very least it stays where you put it.
You’re definitely going to find yourself in the bathroom more than once trying to hike that bad-boy up, then feel it slowly sink down below your nipples when you’re out in the world ten minutes later. When you get home tonight, throw that bra in the garbage and order take-out because you deserve it, then repeat this whole process again when you find another strapless dress that you like.
Much like the strapless bra, from my experience, one of two things is happening here, but unlike the strapless bra, both outcomes are great!
You’re about to go do something real healthy.
You’re all dressed up and ready to go, your day is about to be productive, healthy, and active! Today you’re going to go to the gym, or a yoga class, or maybe drink a green drink, and I’m here for it; we love an active queen!
You’re about to do something real comfy.
I am also a total sucker for comfy bras, and if this is the case for the sports bra today, I think you’re going to have a pretty good day! Sports bras are awesome for not digging into the skin, and they also swaddle your boobs like a baby, so they don’t have any room to bounce up and down and hurt your back. I will say that sometimes a sports bra makes me look like I have a uni-breast, but who cares when you’re having a comfy day. Enjoy a drive to McDonalds, or a movie with your friend on the couch, or a trip to the grocery store in comfort and style. You deserve it!
If you’re wearing a bralette today, I think you’re going to have a good day. I find that when I wear a bralette, even if no one can see it I feel fancy and very pretty all day. Bralettes have a way of making you feel like you’re a model who just walks around her all-white apartment all day in a bralette and a very thick wool cardigan.
If you’re wearing a bralette today, I picture you as young (or young at heart) and very cool. You’ve got a cool job like an artist or a musician, or you’re in University studying something impactful. You should totally let the bralette convince you that you’re the hottest bitch alive because you are. Bralettes are very powerful; they make everyone look and feel hot. Just make sure you wear something warm today because they do not insulate the nipples!
Is it just me, or do you also have the urge to get your nipples pierced whenever you wear a bralette? Just me? Ok.
Is your name Morgan? Because you are me, I am you. I’m definitely biased, but I think this is another sign of a good day, as long as you make sure your poor nipples stay warm. Lately, I’ve been doing a thick wool sweater, no bra, and a pair of leggings, and it totally does the trick.
Let the girls free today; let your body breathe and disregard anyone who makes you feel weird about it. Your breasts and your body are gifts and works of art, and I think you look bomb. I think you’ll probably have a pretty relaxed and pretty comfy day, and you’ll look cute while doing it. Just make sure you take care of your nipples and protect them from the elements.
Regardless of your bra (or lack-there-of), enjoy your day today. Wear what makes you feel most you, even if it happens to be that god-awful strapless bra. As long as you dress for yourself and your hat makes you feel good, everybody else can kiss your ass. Enjoy your classic brassiere or your sexy bralette today, and screw everybody else.