Ditching the boulder holders: 36D and bra-less for two years

February 7 | Guest post by Kaelee

bye bra

About two years ago, I confronted one of the big questions of my life: why, when I loathe, detest, indeed despise, wearing bras, do I continue to spend stupid amounts of money trying to find one that fits right, that feels comfortable, that looks just right? Why am I wearing this boob-cage that is invariably the first thing that comes off when I get home (often even before the shirt I'm wearing)?

I had always just accepted that bras were a necessary part of life, having had my mother tell me repeatedly that if I didn't wear them, my boobs would sag, and… Wait, no, that was pretty much the main reason. There was the insistence that if I wasn't wearing a bra, I was not completely dressed, and therefore somehow indecent, but ultimately, the reason for wearing a bra was the same — boob saggage.

So I got to thinking, and then, after asking myself this all important question, I got to reading. The more I read, the less there seemed to be any kind of information supporting the idea that wearing a bra would prevent one's breasts from sagging, or indeed have any kind of benefit. Almost everything I read said the main causes of that were weight loss, pregnancy and breast feeding, and since I'm pretty fit and healthy, and my partner and I are not planning on having kids, neither of those causes seemed too concerning. So, after some deliberation, I took the plunge (ha…) and ditched the boulder holders.

"But what about running?" I hear people cry, "Doesn't it hurt? What about them wobbling, and the nipple factor, and white shirts, and and and…"

There were adjustments to be made, certainly. And the girls ached for about, oh, two weeks. And after that… nothing. No pain, no aching, in fact, I was more comfortable than I ever had been. It made sense — my pectorals were not being worked to hold up the weight of my breasts while I was wearing a bra, and suddenly they had to hold up these considerable lumps all day (full disclosure: I'm a 14D (AU)/36D (US)/36DD (UK), so I'm not particularly small).

The natural movement of my breasts was definitely something to get used to, and mostly it just came with time and confidence. Ditto with the potential of nipple protrusion, but I have both my nipples pierced, so that was something to get over quick — even when it's not cold, I still show some, ahem, perkiness.

I still have a couple of bras for the odd transparent shirts, or special occasions (like my wedding, which I actually had to go and buy a bra specifically for), but in general I don't really wear anything light coloured or awkwardly see through.

On the whole, I am so much happier two years on from ditching the bra. I get the occasional odd look, and friends do ask a bit about how I'm getting on, but I can honestly say going bra-less has been one of the best decisions I've ever made for my personal comfort.

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  1. Did you try bras without underwire? If had to wear underwire bras I wouldn't wear them at all, they always pinch and poke horribly. Ones without underwire work well, even though salespeople in lingerie departments are always trying to tell me there is no way someone with a chest that size (not small) is getting enough support without underwire. Occasionally I let them try to find me an underwire bra that fits and doesn't hurt, and they always give up after about four don't work.

    Go with what works for you and don't be pressured into wearing uncomfortable undergarments!

    9 agree
    • The original poster seems happy with her bra-less state and I see no reason to mess with success, but for any readers who like the support of a bra and, like me, have a terrible time finding one that isn't itchy and scratchy, I recommend these:
      http://baliintimates.com/panties/styles/?style=103J&color=DWS
      I used to wear a similar product from Barely There, then they discontinued it (and I cried!), but then I found almost exactly the same thing from Bali.
      I wear them inside out so that the hems on the shoulder straps don't dig into my skin and they are very comfy.

      10 agree
    • Rather than wearing "bras" I wear slightly lose sports bras everywhere. I love them. I am always running around/walking fast ( I wear a much tighter sports bra when I actually run or do other working out) and I like how it flattens me. I have boobs on the smaller side 34 B/C- but this works great for me– I only wear lacy "real" bras when I'm trying to look super special and sexy for my husband

      10 agree
      • Same. Or I double up on tank tops/camis. I have scoliosis in my thoracic spine, and the straps on bras press right into my poor rhomboids, which have faced considerable damage from said scoliosis. I'm a 34B, with pierced nipples, so I have the protrusion thing going on sometimes. Big deal.

        4 agree
      • like sports bras too, no bra is pain full, braless also breaks done the skin tissue above and to the sides, with age layers of dropping sagging skin with overlaping folds and wrinkles. starts a lot sooner with no bra. already there

      • I do the same thing. I use cotton sports bras with thick, vertical straps. So comfortable!

    • I have been wearing an underwire since high school, and I fear I could not go without. Over Christmas i aanswered the door with out a bra on, for a delivery and I swear it was the first time in my life I did that. I hate bras, and if I wasn't a G-J cup, depending on the weather… I would burn the lot of them.

      I like my sillouette better with.

      6 agree
    • That will look real fine, untill you hit about 50, then youre gonna be thinking about getting a lift

  2. Boulder-holders! I love that you call them that! My personal favourite name for them is "over-the-shoulder boulder-holders" β€” extra rhyming!

    Thanks for sharing your story! I frequently get fed up with bras (honestly, try finding anything, let alone multiple choices, in size 30E for less than $100 anywhere in Canada…), but I've found exercising (or even, you know, going up and down stairs) uncomfortable with insufficient support, so I've always just assumed that I need to wear a bra, at least whenever I want to leave my (third-story walk-up) apartment. But maybe I just need a couple weeks to get used to it. Not sure I'm ready to take the plunge just yet, but you've planted a seed of thought in my brain.

    17 agree
    • 30F here! Try brasstop and figleaves! They have tons of sales and are way better quality than any of the ones at Victoria's Secret.

      7 agree
    • Depending on where in Canada you are, check out Change! I'm a 34J, and I have great success there. Bras are usually around $50 pre "club discount", (10%), though more for special styles. But they will regularly have sales, and in fact, I was there today and got several bras on sale (50% off!). I personally dislike going bra free and appreciate the support and appearance of a good bra that supports me.

      5 agree
      • I so agree. I'm also a 34J and actually love my bras. They have underwires which I love (and sometimes feel totally alone in this) I also look 10lbs lighter in a well fitting bra.

        13 agree
    • I'm 34HH and I wear Bravissimo. They're British, but they're so reasonable that it's worth the (fairly cheap) international shipping to Canada.

      9 agree
      • Thank you so much for this site! I'm in the US and even with the exchange rate and international shipping they make them less then what I pay for them here. I wear a 36FF so I have a huge ass problem finding bras that fit me that I can buy in a store for less then $100.

        1 agrees
    • There's a great blog, called Hourglassy that covers bras (and clothes!) for the big boobed. I'd give them a look-over to find good sources that work for you. I have found bras that work well for me, but it was nice to find tops that accommodate my bust without being a tent or revealing.

      3 agree
    • Linda the Bra Lady! (lindasonline.com) I've only been to their store but they do ship to Canada and have a good return policy.

    • 30G and Canadian. Brastop is my favourite it has been a time and bank account saver. I've found that the UK site has cheaper shipping rates to Canada than American sites -unless of course you live close to the 49th parallel and can use free domestic shipping by shipping to the boarder.

      If your not afraid of little DIY turning a 32 into a 30 (or just a bra that has stretched out) is not too challenging with most bras you just need to math out your cup size. I fall in the 30G to 30FF depending on bra style and make. A generous in the cup 32E with some band alterations: cutting the band at the same spot on each side and adding a seam, made for a decent inexpensive bra since I was able to buy it off the clearance rack at a local bra store.

      P.S. Just a word of advice from my also busty and sewing teacher mother. Doing a small down size on the bra band can be great taking 38 band and trying to make it a 30 will end up being a bit more work since more areas may need adjustment.

      1 agrees
  3. yowza! that's impressive. mine are 36 D's as well (I went up both a band and a cup size after having a kid, and stayed that way) and while I love going braless at night, I can't imagine doing it during the day, for two major reasns: one, I'm quite short, and unless my boobs are lifted up, my silhouette becomes really weird…not curves so much as a blob without a waist (because my boobs are obscuring it!) and two, they're kinda different sizes – hard to tell with a bra on, really easy to tell with one off. But go girl, if it's more comfy for you, let them swing free!

    34 agree
  4. Yeah, I've worn bras for about 15 years, I'm relatively young, I haven't had kids… and I have saggy boobs. They're a simple fact of genetics.

    I read an blog post awhile ago from a woman who was intentionally 'reclaiming' her hip wiggle – her whole life, she felt like she was constraining how she walked because it made her 'too feminine' (aka a 'slut') and she felt like she took up too much space. Part of accepting her body was accepting that the wiggle was her natural walk, that it didn't make her a slut. I think bras sometimes serve the same purpose for women – it removes a natural movement that has become sexualized. A bra also gives me the 'correct' shape, which is another bit of social restriction.

    And I say all this as someone who struggles to leave the house without a bra on, even just to walk the dogs.

    41 agree
    • Same here…no kids, worn a bra since fifth grade…still saggy. I did gain and loose a lot of weight in high school, so I assume that's the reason for the sagging. The bra didn't seem to keep them from sagging, but now that they do, I'm just not comfortable going without in public.

      5 agree
      • I could have written what you just wrote, Evee. I wear a 34D (or 36C depending on the bra), and the only time I am bra-less is when I'm home alone. Another reason why I can't go bra-less all the time is because my girls ALWAYS get super sore before and during my menstrual periods. Sometimes I will wear a corset for special days like a anniversary-ish date or something. If anyone wants to give real steel-boned custom-made corsets a try, I definitely recommend them!

        7 agree
        • I'm 34 DD, and strapless bras are terrible and look like I'm wearing no bra at all. I just discovered using corsets instead, and I wear dresses all time now. In addition, some corsets and bustiers bind the breasts a bit, which I've found helps with pre-menstrual tenderness.

          5 agree
        • Epbot did a thing about how corsets have helped her with cramps during periods (if you want to read it HERE). I'm beginning to feel like the universe is trying to tell me something.

          1 agrees
        • Actually I'm a 36E (UK) and I've been braless for about 19 months now. I also used to have the pre-menstrual breast pain, but it totally disappeared when I stopped wearing bras. I do wear camisoles and tank tops underneath my clothes when I have to, to prevent nipple protrusion, but for the most part it's been a liberating and freeing 19 months!

          • I'm a 30G and I find stairs painful when bra-less how did you get past that?
            Jen

          • I try to avoid running up and down stairs. And if I absolutely have to run, I just hold them (in a discreet manner, of course) so that it doesn't seem like I am! I hope this helps. And truth be told, my work colleagues have not noticed anything different (or if they have, they haven't mentioned it to me); and my husband is with me in this bra-free journey 150%!

  5. I hate bras. I work in a professional office, though, so it's expected that I wear one for the same reasons you stated. But when I'm home, that's it. I'm done. It comes off and I shoot it across the bed room to wear the next work day. I have a particularly small cup, but I feel more comfortable wearing those "shelf tanks" or cheap-o sports bra types at home than none at all, mostly due to the post-breastfeeding droopage. The added bonus to wearing the cheap-o sports bras is that when I'm hot in the summer, I can take off my shirt and BAM I have an instant bathing suit!

    12 agree
  6. i've already done all three (weight loss, pregnancy, and short/failed stint at breastfeeding, but there was milk production going on in there for 6 weeks nonetheless)…they're just so sad without a bra. lol. i'm slightly green with envy that you can pull it off. power to you girl!

    9 agree
  7. Things I love about Offbeat Empire: names for things I would never have thought of.

    Before "Boulder Holders", there was "Boob Retainers" I saw on a Tribe thread, and have since adopted. Love it!!

    • I joke about stuff like this all the time with my guy. Calling boobs "sippy cups" and bras are "cup holders".

      7 agree
    • I know this is an older thread but I can't help but point out that my dad always called 'em 'double barrel slingshots.'

  8. I've always been rather small, but still would NOT leave the house without an underwire, fully lined, molded cup bra on. Even when just taking the trash out.

    And I HATED it.

    Ever since I got my first training bra, I've hated bras. They are SO uncomfortable! I've gone through many phases where I would try to find comfortable bras. Wireless, soft cup, racerback, I've tried them all, and they were all equally uncomfortable. That and my breasts were not the shape that bra manufacturers have in mind when they create these contraptions, so my bra shopping trips were always long winded and ended in disappointment. I felt I HAD to wear a bra to not only avoid the boob saggage, but also to even just look acceptable. My breasts had to be the perfect shape, perfectly smooth, the whole nine.

    Then I had my baby.

    Five days later my milk came in, my breast swelled up to more than double their size, and became super sensitive. I figured it was just a settling in phase and that I could resume wearing normal bras that made me appear socially acceptable in a few weeks. Well, 17 months later, my boobs are still large and heavy with milk, and still as sensitive as ever. I have not been able to wear more than a shelf bra the entire time I've been nursing, and honestly, it's been freeing. Not only have I gained a new love for my odly shaped, lopsided boob just because they feed my baby, but I've grown to love them just as they are, now how a molded cup bra makes them look.

    My boobs rock.

    My biggest fear has been the transition back into a not lactating life style, meaning wearing 'real' bras again. But now I'm rethinking that. I might not ever go back to that, which is more about how I view my body more positively now than how much I hate bras. Although I do detest them.

    When my milk dries up, they'll inevitably sag and shrink a little, but after everything they've done for me (and my baby) that seems so much less like a problem than it did before. Why not house them in comfort rather than cage them in wires?

    I'll be thinking on this probably until the time comes that I have to decide.

    Great post!

    42 agree
      • Boobs, categorically rock.

        They are soft and round and appealing. They are comforting. They are a source of pleasure for their owners and their owner's lovers. They feed babies. They make good pillows.

        I am a fan of breasts in general and mine in particular.

        38 agree
  9. Get it, girl! I'm more of a wear-five-bras-made-of-steel-and-scaffolding type, but comfort is comfort. I'm glad your boulders are living the free life.

    25 agree
  10. Though I'm pretty sure the sight of my untethered breasts would induce shocked gasps and pearl clutching in everyone I work with, I think it's way awesome that you've made it work for you.
    I'm a nudie bird. When I get home, it's time for naked. I've been lucky to locate some bras that don't bug me terribly, but I still shed that ish like it's on fire the minute I get home.

    38 agree
    • Nudie birds unite! I lurve walking around my house in all my unclothed glory.

      17 agree
    • dootiesbug – I didn't know I could like you even more, until you referred to yourself as a 'nudie bird'. You are objectively amazing!

      9 agree
    • Naked time is the best time, I'm totally the same πŸ˜€ As soon as I'm home, there's a pile of clothes on the floor by the door and I'm running free (pretty sure I'm destined to be a crazy old nudist haha)

      6 agree
  11. Horray for ditching the bra! I also haven't worn on for about 2 years(except for occasions I want them to shine). Most work days it didn't last 2 hours before I tucked it away in my purse. I was always embarrassed about it, so it's great to know I'm not the only one to decide to let them be free.

    8 agree
  12. My favorite thing my mom ever told me regarding bras was that if I wore mine to bed, I would "ruin myself". No explanation, just that. Like my boobs would grow in different directions or something. It was one of those old relic sayings from my great-grandma, I think.

    I transitioned to tank tops with shelf bras in them a few years ago, and I've NEVER looked back. It's like barely wearing a bra. It just basically adds extra nip coverage. I also like those Genie Bra things for going to the gym – very soft and squishy, no wires, etc.

    13 agree
    • There was a whole rumour going round the girls' changing room at school that if you wore your bra at night you'd get breast cancer. I don't know where the hell that came from but I've never been able to shake the fear, even as a 30 year old. Not that I want to wear a bra in bed.

      6 agree
        • I'm 21 and my mum would always warn me about stuff like that (don't sit so close to the TV- you'll get square eyes). I'm old enough to know better, but I'm just still a bit edgy about tempting fate.

          1 agrees
  13. I wish I could find the article but I read that going braless is better being the natural movement of the breasts allow for lymph drainage or something like that. Better circulation, etc and is healthier for the breasts. I don't feel comfortable without a bra. But I make sure to sleep without one and when I can stay home, I wear a very stretchy soft bra.

    6 agree
  14. I only rarely wear a bra, and NEVER at home. Even when walking the dog, I put on a tank top with a built in shelf bra; I love the way my boobies jiggle when I walk!

    14 agree
  15. Ugh! I'm so jealous that you're brave enough to go bra-less! I am a coward, and will just be quitely praying that society says that we can let our boobies free. : (
    Stupid 36D bra, I will murder you one day!!!

    5 agree
    • It doesn't work that way honey….society doesn't say we can let our boobies free…..

      WE TELL SOCIETY WE ARE SETTNG OUR BOOBIES FREE ! ! !

      Trust me, society will get used to it.

      I've been bra free since 1980, when I figured out I couldn't make enough milk for my newborn baby is the girls were all caged up in a bra. Anything that isn't good for lactating breasts probably isnt good for any breasts…..so after weaning I stayed bra free. I'm 57 now, I'measure out to what would be a size 38C, and no they don't sag at all. Free breasts are healthy breasts.

      19 agree
  16. As uncomfortable as bras are (also a 36D – probably closer to D and a half or even DD), I feel just a little too… bouncy… to go braless for the everyday occasion.

    when I first started at my university, they had a week of camping beforehand that I chose to go to. Since my selected thing was surfing, I spent the week braless, because when we were changing out of our wetsuits on the side of the road, there really isn't a way to put on your bra and still stay covered (shirt goes on over the swimsuit, and then the swimsuit comes off underneath). but i was wearing about 3 shirts and a jacket most of the time, because it was quite chilly there. In just a t-shirt like I normally wear, I feel like there's too much movement :/

    1 agrees
    • I've been braless since college and yes, I do tend towards tighter shirts as a result. While I don't wear a bra, I will wear a ribbed tank top (aka "wifebeater" – horrid term) as an undershirt if I am wearing a looser top. This reduces the free range movement which can get a bit distracting/uncomfortable, with out being nearly as restrictive and painful as a bra.

      8 agree
      • Hm, not a bad idea. Maybe I can try those tanks tops with the built in "bras" (ha, like they do anything) and then bras for more professional occasions

  17. I like reading a perspective so different from my own. I am a petite 32F and love (love!) bras. It's the only clothing I spend a lot of money on, and it is worth it. Going without leaves my back aching and my neck throbbing. Give a me new Prima Donna and I can take on the world and look good doing it. An attractive and functional bra is a boobular power-up.

    I've often seen a D+ woman without a bra on and immediately think "Ouch! Why would she ever put herself through that?" It's reassuring to hear that maybe she's feeling just fine.

    27 agree
    • Where do you get your bras? I've had a lot of trouble finding anything in my size (30E)…

      • For a first stop physical store, I recommend "Intimacy". At any good shop a specialist can measure you. Once I got my true size, I tried bras of different brands to feel which one was right. Bra sizes are not actually consistent across brands. Finding "my brands" was a big moment.

        Prima Donna was my savior in bras. I think they rock for a small band size with a big cup size. They give serious band support, so the weight is not on the straps. That means no cutting into my shoulders or neck pain. The Twist collection has lots of fun colors and patterns and silly girly bits – if you are into that. At most stores if they even had my size it was, "for you we have nude, beige, or sand."

        For sports I love Freya sports bras, which are kinda cone shaped and come in super hero colors (red! aqua!). Before them I was layering multiple cloth bras and shelf bras and still suffering. A good sports bra lets you run and jump, and really, who doesn't want super boobs?

        Now I buy online at bigger bras dot com. Really good bras in rarer sizes can be gasp-inducingly expensive, so yeah, prepare for that. However, for me they are the difference between pain and not-pain, and they are much cheaper than a chiropractor. By the way, I don't and have never worked for any of these companies…I'm just sharing the comfort. And for you ladies swinging free, no disrespect.

        9 agree
      • If you are in the UK, I totally recommend Bravissimo for bras that are actually pretty while still supporting bigger cup sizes. You can order online, but I have no idea if they do international shipping or not!

        • They ship internationally too. I order from them all the time. Usually between the exchange rate and shipping I still come out ahead over most of the US suppliers of Euro brands. Also they have a house brand that goes to L cups sometimes.

  18. I'm in my 40s & have lost a significant amount of weight. I've gone from a 48 DDD to a 38D (hoping to lose more & get down to a 36D). Perky is the LAST word I'd use to describe my girls. Living in TX, if I didn't wear a bra, there'd be a constant pool of sweat from my under-boob pouring down my body & I'd poke my eyes out or give myself a concussion while running.

    More power to you perky gals!

    9 agree
    • GAWD do I hate underboob sweat. This is pretty much my number one reason for wearing a bra.

      30 agree
    • I am 44 and 3 years ago I had weight loss surgery, I dropped from a 52g-h to a 38dd so no bra is not an option
      Trust me when I tell you I am a pro on how not to crease sweat because doing so with me can cause serious health issues. Here is the best way to conquer it.
      Bath with an unscented or lightly scented hard 'french milled' soap and get totally dry with a soft absorbent towel
      Use men's RITE GUARD SPORT STICK clear in the least scented version you can find, I look for the one that says 48 hour protection
      It goes on kind wet so wait 10-20 minutes before dressing (put on your make up, make breakfast, whatever) then if it is still damp dab at it with a tissue
      Do not use powders they make a mess and for me trap moisture.
      If you find yourself sweating during the day a trip to the bathroom with a bit of tissue will help, dab at it and give it a few seconds to dry.
      If you ever do get a rash then hydrocortisone ointment will help as will using a piece of a very soft old T-shirt tucked under your gals

      8 agree
  19. Good for you! I hate bras. For a long time I barely wore them (though shelf bra camisoles are fantastic), but then I randomly grew a cup size in my early twenties. Then I bought some Freddie's underwire contraptions and have been wearing them to work consistently. However, weekends are staunchly bra-free. Rawr.

    I've noticed that my bras are getting stretched out and the elastic is a bit unhappy. There seems to no longer be a middle ground between falling off and PINCHY DEATH. I was thinking that I'd need to pay many monies to get a new fitting and a really expensive bra (having long ago given up on cheap Target bras; those are not fun), but maybe I'll just switch back to camisoles for a bit and see how it goes. Hmm.

    I love vintage underwear and lingerie (garters and stockings and slips and even corsets sometimes), but modern bras are just not comfortable.

    Does anyone have recommendations for the best layering camisoles, with or without shelf bra built-in thingies?

    4 agree
    • I've found target makes long lasting cami's with shelf bras. My one gripe about them is they start to ride up after about 2 years.

    • Patagonia's camis (both with and without lining) are pricey but awesome. This weekend they're on sale for $20-30 each.

  20. I only wear a bra when I leave the house, and since I work part time, that's not too many hours of the day. I used to go braless occasionally a few years ago, but whenever I walked/biked anywhere I got harassed horribly by creepy guys and just generally felt really unsafe because of it. It sucks that that has to be a factor. :/

    Has anyone else had that experience when going without a bra? I'm a 36C in U.S. sizes, so it's fairly obvious when I'm not wearing one.

    6 agree
    • Hmm. I'm the same size and haven't had that problem, BUT I live in a fairly rural environment and wear lots of dresses that either actually have or practically have built-in support, so YMMV. Of course I'm also generally followed by 2-3 children when I'm out, too, so that may be the reason!

      1 agrees
    • That's one of the main reasons I don't go without (besides being used to bras). I'm a 36B with perky nipples, and it's *really* obvious when I'm not wearing a bra. To me it pretty much feels like not wearing a shirt, and I don't want that kind of attention.

      11 agree
      • Funny, I just saw a retro advertisement the other day from the '70s (I think) for a bra with false nipples…so you can have that sexy "chilly" look while still having the support of a bra.

        7 agree
    • Yeah I have been braless on and off since my teens and that has definitely been a factor for me. I'm a 38C US and I've experienced comments, stares, and increased unwanted advances. Back when I was in college and partying a lot it was worse. Maybe because of just being around a lot of hormonal young dudes? I am sorry to hear that you had to feel unsafe! I know the feeling and it sucks that it's even an issue… like dude, just because you noticed I am not wearing a bra does not mean that any of the assumptions you made about me (I'm slutty, kinky, etc) are true and it certainly does not mean I owe you any type of response to your inane, creepy-ass remarks! They are just a part of my body, like my legs or feet or hands or my nose, but because we live in a society which happens to sexualize breasts, suddenly a pair of body parts just hanging around in their natural state act as a magnet for douchebags.

      Nowadays I wear a bra only to work because I just do not ever want to have a discussion about my underwear with my boss so I avoid that situation completely by adhering to the expected social standard. But everywhere else the girls are free to do their thang.

      16 agree
    • I personally haven't noticed any increased unwanted attention since ditching the bras, but then I feel like I don't get as much harassment in my area as in other places (eg. was in Sydney for work last week, and was catcalled three times in ten minutes, and I honestly can't recall the last time I was catcalled in Canberra, where I live). It was a big concern for me when I started going braless, because it does legitimately frighten me, but I think I've been very lucky that where I live it doesn't seem to be a problem. I think it's definitely about gauging how safe you feel, as much as it's upsetting that such a consideration still needs to be made in this day and age, it's an unfortunate truth. Sometimes it can also be just about working out whether what you're wearing is hiding or flaunting the braless factor too. Some of the commenters above had some great suggestions re: camisoles and shelf bra tops and such πŸ™‚

      5 agree
    • Yeah, one of the many reasons I wear a bra when I go outside is the creepers (also, why I don't wear my hair down, or wear skirts very often, or a whole lot of other things). At a 34H, though, you can REALLY tell when I don't have a bra on.

      8 agree
    • I understand exactly how you feel and it really sucks. When I was younger, I was a 32B and refused to wear a bra in the summer. I did get a lot of unwanted attention and remarks from the guys I was around. After college, and especially after kid, my boobs burst out to a 36D. I get a lot of comments/remarks/unwanted advances about my boobs with or without a bra. I hate it. It makes me uncomfortable. It's definitely worse when I don't wear a bra. I've gotten into the habit of wearing a lot of undershirts to minimize cleavage but it's still a problem. Worse if I try to wear a shelf bra since my boobs don't fit into them and are more prominent as they desperately try to escape.

      2 agree
    • I'm a 34 B/C (depending on which boob we're talking about!), and never wear a bra except for rare fancy occasions. I've never had any unwanted male attention because of it, but I do get bad reactions from other women. I actually had one woman put her hand on my shoulder. She felt the strap of my tank top through my shirt, and then said, "Oh, never mind. For a second there it looked like you weren't wearing a bra." WTF?

      8 agree
      • I didn't wear bras from when I was 17 until about a year ago at 33. And I started back up BECAUSE OF SHIT LIKE THIS. I just don't want to deal it anymore, I'm sick of putting band-aids on my nipples and I'm sick of having to explain why I don't wear a bra.

        I have kind of been enjoying how much bras push me up, as a 36-A/sometimes B, it is nice. And no dudes staring at my nips is a plus. But seriously, ladies don't be hating on your fellow sisters living a freewheeling, bouncy, bra-less lifestyle!

        5 agree
      • And then you say, "And how is this any of your business?". Really, people have no concept of personal space or minding their own business anymore!

        9 agree
      • I had a psychiatric hospitalization when I was nineteen, and I made sure to bring comfy clothes with no drawstrings to fit in with the psych ward standards. Most of the t-shirts I brought were ones I slept in, and a few of them were white (y'know, standard Hanes twofr). I had a nurse approach me saying that one of the other patients was uncomfortable because they could see my nipples through my shirt. She asked me to either wear a bra or put a sweater on. I did as I was asked, but I was furious! There were multiple men on the ward who had breasts bigger than mine and whose nipples were visible through their shirts; why the heck could they walk around without bras and I couldn't?

        10 agree
  21. THANK YOU. I'm a frequent bra-go-withouter myself, though it's somewhat different at 36C. I've read that constricting garments like bras – especially underwire bras – are actually bad for your health, too.

    It's nice to read a column by a fellow braless babe!

    4 agree
  22. This makes me feel way better about myself. I have rather small boobies (my preferred term for them) and honestly, I can just never FIND a clean bra to wear. I only have like, three, and they're never wear I think they are, and I wake up at 4am for work and am always in a mad rush. Also, it's dark, I can't turn the light on or else my boyfriend will wake up, so lately I've just been skipping the bra. I know no one can tell the difference, and yet I still felt…weird. Underdressed. I felt GREAT, don't get me wrong, but it's like, it goes against nature to not wear one. And WHY?! I'm so much more comfortable without one! I have yet to deal with any saggage, being only 24 and childless, so dude, you just inspired me. I am currently wearing a white tank top with no bra, and dammit, I am going out in public like this.

    9 agree
  23. So interesting. My 38Gs LOVE my bras they are the first thing I put on in the morning and the last thing that comes off at night. I tried going without for a week once when camping and never got over the aching and ended up walking around holding them.

    For the ladies that think bras are uncomfortable: Professional fittings at a real lingerie store (often free!). Most women are wearing the wrong size and different brands are better for different shapes. Changed my life.

    19 agree
  24. I can't go without a bra during the day. I mean, I wish I could. But I look weird without one: first of all, my boobs are small and way asymmetrical; one's an A cup, the other is half that. And second: my nipples are insanely perky and sensitive, so going without a bra is uncomfortable (and super noticeable). And I teach college students… they'd definitely notice (and be distracted).

    1 agrees
    • I am with you, I'm a 36D like the author – and I have been larger in the past. I adore my bras! I have had uncomfortable ones that I've hated but the fit wasn't right. When you get a bra that fits it's like heaven πŸ™‚ I enjoy mine so much, it's all been a matter of finding the styles and the size that fit right for your body because the one that fits right on me isn't going to fit right on the next person and so on, that's just common sense, I actually really like under-wires whereas I know a lot of other people can't stand them. Of course I am a big believer of each to their own, I mean I hate socks… but I live in Canada so I wear them in the winter so that my toes don't scream, but as soon as the snow is gone I ditch them until it's too cold to stand it again πŸ˜‰

      3 agree
  25. I have some truly enormous tits, 38K(UK)/38N+(US). Basically the very tail end of manufactured bras anywhere. I don't feel ready to tackle the world (or housecleaning) without a good bra on, frankly, for many of the reasons other have mentioned; they get in the way, movement, sweating.

    I find this to be a great middle ground though. Not quite swinging free but not locked and loaded either. http://decentexposures.com/Bras/Detail/Un_Bra Made to order in Seattle and customizable. They are rocking my world at the moment. πŸ˜€

    Bras and boobs are definitely a cultural expectation issue, a lot like shaving. There are other people's expectations, your own comforts, and all the ways you can make choices about them to manipulate the way you are perceived.

    5 agree
  26. I was completely bra-free for a few years. I loved the feeling. However, for the past 5 or so years, I've really struggled with fashion and style, and last year, when I was starting to feel horrible about my looks, I decided that I wanted to start wearing a bra again. When I was feeling so awful about how I looked, I found it helpful to have a slightly more socially conforming shape. (Pert, round boobs). It made me feel better about how I looked (sometimes) so I got some underwire free bras. I wear bras most days right now, although I'm not wedded to it, and I ONLY wear underwire free bras, which are often challenging to find in a 34D. Most stores sell at most 1 wire-free bra that big (and if I go up 1 more cup size when I have kids someday, I have no idea where I'll find them.)

    Thanks for reminding me what I liked about being bra free though.

    5 agree
  27. I am a 38DDD(US) and my boobs are not perky. I can only imagine how much much further south they're going to travel after I have a couple of kids and breastfeed them. I'm pretty sure I'll never go without a bra in public, just from an aesthetic standpoint. However, I also hate having my boobs touch my torso…hate it. Boobsweat..ick. I pretty much exclusively wear Lane Bryant bras. I have two styles I really like that don't give me dreaded "cone-boob", and they very often have buy one get one free sales that make it worth the price-tag.

    10 agree
    • 42DDD here, and I second the Lane Bryant (Cacique) sentiment. Their T-Shirt bra defies gravity. They also do free fittings. Today I'm wearing a tank with a shelf bra, under a button down shirt. My look varies from shelf bra comfort to TITS FOR DAYS, depending on my mood and outfit.

      6 agree
    • You both have given me much needed info. i can honestly say my boobs are a love hate relationship. They are big and as far as the size i've gone through C's to E's i'm tired of trying to find a bra that lifts and doesn't give me boobie sweat and can make them at least seem like they are somewhat perky. Most bras for "bigger sizes are cloth cone boob back to the 80's oh god why me styles. They never give me any confidence. Otherwise i feel like i'd have to go online and spend 50 bucks for something that "might" fit. oh if i go to Lane Bryant and find a good one you both deserve awards.lol πŸ™‚

  28. I'm a UK 32DD, so within the average part of the spectrum, and I have never, ever felt comfortable without a bra on. There are a few things that could be contributing to that (fairly unchangable things), but the result is the same. I really detest the feeling of not having a bra on, though I love my tits (the look is fine, it's just the sensation). I would never want to be shamed for feeling that way, and I would get massively pissed off with anyone who tried to do so.

    So equally, telling women who feel the opposite that they are wrong and making up spurious reasons for it being ok to tell them what to put on their bodies is totally unacceptable too. I wouldn't tell someone how much bra and what kind they should wear any more than I'd tell them what kind of menstrual protection they should use. It's ridiculous.

    Rant over.

    I want to say that, speaking as a bra-lover, women who prefer to go bra-free have my full support, but, y'know. Sometimes jokes just write themselves.

    12 agree
    • Absolutely, that was one of my biggest things when I made the choice to stop wearing bras, was I didn't want someone else to dictate how I lived and how I treated my body. I think we are honestly so lucky that we have that freedom of choice. πŸ™‚

      5 agree
  29. Question – how does this relate to your work world? Are you self employed? If not, how on earth did you find an employer that lets you go braless? Or do you wear something a little more snug for work?

    • I'm a manager of a Lush store, so everyone's pretty free and easy, and we wear black as our uniform (anything we want, basically, as long as it's black) so there hasn't really been any issue, which is really nice. I usually just wear tshirts or dresses, and I honestly don't put too much thought into it. I think, in Australia, any employer would be pretty hard pressed legally to be able to tell us what we had to wear insofar as undergarments, as it would fall under our harassment and discrimination laws.

      8 agree
      • Ah see, I think in the US they would tell you to wear a bra because it could "cause a problem" if you didn't.

        8 agree
        • But legally they can't, right? I've been bra-free for years and work for a large corporation with a casual dress code in an office 9-5. But I have an A cup. 7 days a week I wear a stretchy tank top. Under every single thing I wear, except for one dress with a support top built in. You can't tell I don't wear bras, but I see women who obviously don't wear bras at work and I'm pretty sure you can't ask them to wear bras.

        • My friend who is in her 50s has never worn a bra and how she gets away with it at her job here in good old Pennsylvania is she puts cloth bandaid over her nipples. Because those are the "distracting" part according to her boss.

      • I LOVE LUSH!!! I am so jealous of your job!

        Also, in Australia, I think most people wouldn't even notice if you were wearing a bra or not.

        • I clearly need to move to Australia. I wonder if the market for letterpress printers has already been saturated there…

  30. So, I know you spoke about this but didn't really cover it, how do you run/exercise or are you not really the exercising type? Are you just used to the movement even when exercising? I wear an AU 12E and I'm pretty sure I'd give myself a black eye if I ran unconstrained. And I know I'd get major chaff and sweat rash, but I do live in the tropics so I know not evryone has that issue.

    • I think full on running can definitely be tricky, but I have some cardio issues, so I don't run for fitness. When I do run, it's usually in short bursts, like sprinting to the bus stop, and at this point now, I don't think it really even occurs to me. Sometimes, depending on what I'm wearing, I'll think, holy crap the girls are making a break for it, but it doesn't really bother me personally. The trick when I began was really focussing on pectoral strength, and I was training for roller derby a lot at the time. Push ups, face down planks and such were really helpful for building up that strength, and I honestly think it made the going much smoother for me. I now roller skate for fun, which is a much less jarring motion than running, and I do aerial silks, which I wear a crop top for. And Canberra is super dry too, so I find I actually sweat less than when I lived in Sydney/Central Coast. πŸ™‚

      2 agree
      • I could probably go braless in Canberra but Nth QLD is just to sticky! Thanks

        2 agree
    • I did some machine rowing this morning and didn't bother with a bra, it didn't cause me any issues.

      I imagine it's exercise with a distinct up-down motion that could be more problematic.

  31. I remember reading that going without can cause tissue damage, but I don't recall any real science to back it up.
    Personally I like a good fitting bra. It wasn't until I stopped using the +4 method that I found any.
    I also like going bra-less. It depends on the day, the activity and the occasion. Though I go braless a lot more since my daughter was born because while I don't breastfeed I went up a cup and band size so most of my bras don't fit anymore.
    For bra-less professionals I've heard that layering a thick tank top or a vest can work well to keep everything "acceptable."

    4 agree
    • Sounds exactly like something someone with financial interest would make up — like bra manufacturers? I've heard the opposite actually — that wearing a bra can cause tissue damage (because it's constricting the normal shape of the body, putting pressure where it's not supposed to be.) I'm always suspicious of anything that says, "evolution/nature/God made a mistake, buy our product to make it right!" A lot of people have made a lot of money by convincing people that the human body is inherently flawed.

      2 agree
  32. i'm a 36DD and would NEVER go without a bra outside the house – even to water daisies. I really wouldn't like to see other people out and about without theirs. To me it's like manners. We already have people wearing pajamas to buy groceries. This is too far in my book. No offense to the author. I just feel like people wearing pj's to work is a sign that the person considers their own comfort superior to etiquette. Just imagine – in the 50s' no one would go downtown without a dress gloves and a hat. This is too much. Sorry to be not on board with the concept.

    5 agree
    • "Just imagine – in the 50s' no one would go downtown without a dress gloves and a hat."

      I think is the point really. Society changes – including ideas about acceptable clothing!

      Women's clothing has traditionally been designed (primarily) by men, and has often been very constrictive. At one time, it would have been very shocking for women not to wear a corset, or not to wear a long, unwieldy skirt. As we gain more freedoms, and have less shame about our bodies, women's clothing has become less restrictive. I see giving women more choice about their own comfort as regards underwear as part of this general change.

      If you like bras – that's great! Me too, in fact. But I think the thread so far has shown that there are a lot of false messages around bras – e.g. that we *have to* wear them for our health, or to look "right" or whatever. I think it's good that we are questioning those messages here.

      24 agree
    • It is interesting that you equate not wearing a bra to wearing pajamas. How are they the same?

      I'm generally in favour of retro formality. I belong to a profession where the men still wear tailcoats, and they are considering relaxing that requirement at our workplace. I just finished writing a vehement email opposing that.

      But explain to me again why not wearing a bra is disrespectful to other people at a grocery store?

      8 agree
        • There is no sound reason to wear a bra, it actually evolved as a way for women to stop wearing corsets it was less shocking than them going completely free, but was still frowned on for some time until society wised up. Many overweight men walk around with boobs bigger than mine, but no one thinks that their appearance is inappropriate. The only reason people think women should wear a bra is because our breasts have been over-sexualized. I can dress very smart without a bra and very slovenly with one on. I find bras uncomfortable, why should your opinion be more important than my comfort in my body?

    • I find it hard to accept the idea that breasts without bras equate to bad manners.

      21 agree
    • I love shopping in pajamas. Sometimes I even wear them to restaurants. They're not cartoon pants and oversized T-shirts, but so what if they were? They're yoga pants and long, layered tanks, but frankly, what I wear has nothing to do with manners. What I DO does. I don't run over people with my shopping cart. I don't stand in the middle of the aisle. You get into really dangerous territory when you equate clothing and modesty with other people's comfort level. How I cover my body is no one's business but my own.

      5 agree
    • My own comfort *is* superior to etiquette. As is my health and mental well-being. And bras, for me, interfere with that. So etiquette shmetiquette. "Etiquette" is just what a certain segment of society has decided they like, and that's fine, but it's high arrogance to imply that it's somehow intrinsically and universally correct, or that someone is not a good person (i.e. immoral) for doing something their own way. Personally, I regard that arrogance and judgment as the *opposite* of good manners.

      2 agree
  33. I haven't worn a bra since I was 12 years old. My aunt, who I lived with, HATED it. She'd go out and buy these expensive $75 bras that I never used, or if I did, I'd spend the entire time reaching up my shirt and pulling it away from me. One time it got so bad I cut the band so it wouldn't be so tight. It ended up being like I was wearing a cutoff tee and it still bothered me. I just can't stand anything touching the area under my boobs, ever. Especially if it's constricting like bras are. And don't even get me started on restrictive things touching my back, or being too close to my armpit. I can't wear those tank tops with the built in bras, I can't wear underbust corsets, I can't wear tight tees, or anything that touches that area. I don't have any sagging, either. I just wear a t shirt, or wear an extra layer under my clothes if I'm wearing something other than my normal t shirt/jeans combo. Really, my boobs are so small(34AA) it's just not worth the hassle.

    5 agree
  34. I'm a 36D US and I definitely can't go without a bra during the day, it kills. When I was in college I was insanely skinny and my boobs were tiny and I could go without a bra, easily…but once I started to gain weight again…let's just say that I went from a 34B to a 36D in 2 years. I've since lost 30 lbs from my heaviest and they're still a 36D and I have found the best bra for me. I buy the BodyByVictoria Push-Up bras…and man, as soon as I put it on–I'm like, "Now THAT…that is sexy." The material is really soft and I don't fall out the top if I lean over and they have great support. Totally worth the money and they come in all sorts of faboosh colors. A tip for those of you whose bras are getting stretched out…buy one or two new ones and never wear the same one for more than one day in a row…it gives the elastic time to shrink back up and they'll last a lot longer. I have about 15 VS bras and I love them all…biggest investment in clothes, hands down. All in all, go for what makes you feel comfy and sexy for yourself. πŸ™‚

  35. I've had a long history of bra hate involving lots of terrible comments from my mom and years and years of not wanting to accept being a girl and all the stuff that came with it. I have no idea where it came from, but the thought of giving in to wearing a bra (and all of the other things that start to happen to you at puberty) always felt like I was giving in to admitting that I was in fact a girl. I can't really explain it. So this lead to many years of many jackets and sweatshirts.
    I've finally mostly gotten over my distaste for admitting that I do in fact think purses can be nifty and I can even kinda get into shoes and clothes. I still hate bras. A lot of that now comes down to really weird size and inability to find anything that fits. I am a big girl with very small boobs (44a…which dosen't exsist so I normally go 44b). There are solutions for big girls with big boobs but none for me. Every so often I decide to try and order a bunch more and get fed up when none of them fit right. Ideally, I need 44a but those just don't exist. Right now I have 1 that I wear everyday, shed it as soon as I get home and wash every Saturday. The only reason it is acceptable is that it's old as shit and stretched out and marginally comfortable. I've tried undershirts, but can't find any that are long enough and still have the shelf bra. I've tried going without, but my brain has morphed from 'no bra ever' to 'I can't be out in public like this'. I've tried so many differnt stores and brands and it's either band fits and won't drive me up a wall, but it looks like i am smuggling water balloons or cups fit but all circulation is being cut off just under my boobs and you get those angry red marks around your chest. End of venting πŸ™‚

    3 agree
    • This is me. Totally. I've settled for tanks. Get the maternity ones. Gap has shelf bra maternity ones. I actually cut the bands in several places to make them fit. And the Liz Lang Maternity ones from Target are super long and don't have bands around the chest so they fit great. I wear them daily.

    • I am female-bodied genderqueer, and I can NEVER find bras that are comfortable. I actually only wear sports bras now, and even then, if they have an underwire, within a few weeks the underwire is stabbing me and has to be removed. I have one C cup breast and one D cup breast. I fluctuate between a 38 and 40 band size. I always have the red marks, and I always feel weird going out without a bra, but my guy loves it. It's something that he enjoys, knowing that I'm "Freeballing" while we're at the store, etc. He's funny like that.

      But if you don't want to "show" your boobs, they have binders for that, to minimize the breast.

  36. I have a few bras and wear them when needed for my outfits. The aren't particularly uncomfortable and I don't hate them at all. I have nothing against bras.

    Still, I don't wear them every day. I'm not wearing a bra today, for example. Why not? Because I'm just wearing a t-shirt and I don't wear one if I don't need one.

  37. Love me some Bralettes – just enough to keep from bonus nip' under the shirts, but not so much that you're being choked by the boobage that is attempting to crawl up your throat and smother you. I've always had what I've affectionately dubbed pancakeboobs, and a teeny bit of support goes a long way – plus my skin is super fragile and if I let everything go I would truly have some interesting shoulderboulders and stretchmarks to boot (i'm a 36C).
    Also Men's Tanks/Camis? Yes please!

    1 agrees
  38. This is awesome, props to you. I love going braless in the evenings at home.

    For women who find bras uncomfortable, it's often because you are wearing the wrong size. Seriously, even if you think it's right, it might not be. I thought mine was perfect and then I remeasured using this guide: http://bustyresources.wikia.com/wiki/How-to_determine_bra_size and it changed everything. Completely different size, whole new level of comfort. A lot of lingerie stores, particularly in the UK, will measure completely wrong. Read the link, and the Reddit post it links to, and check your size yourself. It might just change the way you think about your boobs!

    Or just don't wear one. That works too πŸ˜€

    7 agree
  39. I've started a major undertaking getting my FULL back tattoo finished. Ink now rests on my skin from shoulders to low hips, and as more work is completed I am restricted to sleeping on my face and going without any kind of bra. I don't even wear a shirt around the house if I can help it, and I frequently maneuver my clothing in public to let the freshly inked areas get some air.

    This project has brought up a few issues with being braless and I'd like to share my solutions.

    1) Find a braless mama or crone to look up to. I feel blessed that my mother is a powerhouse bra-free supporter. She was a 34AA after breastfeeding two children and only became a B-cup after hitting peri-menopause. Her response? "I've gone without a bra my whole life. I'm not starting now. Every human being on the planet has two nipples — and if they don't, THEN it's something to stare at!"

    2) If you've got distractingly dark areolas or puffy perma-hi-beam nipples like me, these help and don't irritate my crazy sensitive skin: http://www.wearcommando.com/collections/accessories/products/low-beams

    3) I can't wear them now, but in the outrageously hot Texas summers, if I need a little support, I wear sheer lace bralettes. And you know those little "modesty inserts" they slip into bikinis? Slip those into your bralette for more coverage without any extra weight or air-flow restriction.

    4) Support the women in your life having bra dilemmas by singing the praises of breasts in their natural state. Good self-esteem is WAY more vital than a good underwire. Breastfeeding mama frustrated that bikinis don't fit? "You mean to tell me that two tiny scraps of spandex can't contain the awesome range of motion of your life-sustaining wonder breasts? No power in the 'verse should!" Can't find an affordable, well-made bra in the right size/silhouette? (I'm a 30C, I feel ya.) "You refuse to fit into some industrial mold — why should your breasts be any different? Your boobs are already the ideal!"

    5) Boob sweat? Dust them with corn starch or baby powder (or slick your underboob with a deodorock!).

    6) Sore? Massage them. Seriously. Stimulates your muscles and lymphatic system. Helps with PMS and pregnancy soreness, too.

    7) Love you breasts!
    Two different sizes? Variety pack!
    Flat as deflated balloons? Going bra-free is so comfy!
    Tennis balls in tube socks? Amazing range of motion! Get dancing!
    Big as your head? Ask any toddler — boobs in the face make everything better. Give out big hugs to your loved ones and make someone's day!

    29 agree
    • "Every human being on the planet has two nipples β€” and if they don't, THEN it's something to stare at!"

      Love this. Want it on a t-shirt.

      6 agree
  40. Awesome that this works for you.

    I'm a 38DD, and for years I hated bras. I only wore the flimsy cotton ones without underwires, cause I had never met an underwire bra that didn't pinch or chafe or otherwise hurt.

    Recently, I discovered that there is a particular kind of yuppie boutique in the downtown district of many northern California towns (think Sebastopol, Grass Valley, Arcata, Eureka. I've tried Redding and Fresno with no luck) that sell AMAZING bras for large breasted women. Really Comfortable, pretty, etc. It went from "I hate bras cause they don't fit right" to bras are awesome and I get to chose the prettiest, cause they all fit, overnight.

    The brands that I have gotten this way are Wacoal, Jezebell, and a couple of others. I would order a bra from wacoal's website without trying it on, they fit so well.

    6 agree
    • OMG, please please PLEASE tell me what this miracle boutique is called, 'cause I live there and I'm desperate to find a decent bra. *puppy-dog eyes*

      Not that I haven't considered going bra-less, but my Titzillas just get in the way too much if they're not corralled.

  41. I'm 29 and have worn bras for about a combined total of five minutes in my life. All of them because my mother occasionally tries to get me to wear one by pretending it's something other than a bra. One of those times being after I moved out. "Try on this little camisole thing. I'll take it back if it doesn't fit." *tries on* *takes off* "It's really uncomfortable. Take it back.") Not counting the little sticky "strapless, backless" thing I wore under my wedding dress to make sure my nipples didn't show because it wasn't really structured anything like a bra except for the fact that it went on my boobs. I'm about a 34AA (can't really be sure because I've never needed to know, but I know my strap size is 34 because I've needed to know for the occasional corset purchase, and I know when I tried on a proper A cup even my bigger boob didn't fill it). I am too small to bounce. If I'm wearing something that might result in nipples showing, I add a camisole to put an extra layer in between them and the world.

    3 agree
  42. I was always a small A cup until my 40's and then I grew to a 'big' B cup. It took me a couple years to get used to having 'big' boobage. I hate bras, I have nerve problems in my left shoulder muscles so they can hurt fiercely, even with my not really big boobs. I embraced men's style undershirts instead of bras. And now that I have started having many many many hot flashes, I find myself having to rethink the undershirt thing and find some thin sports bra tops.
    From what people tell me there is a much better selection of bras in the US than in Canada, a cross-border trip may be needed soon.
    My mom is in her late 70's and she hates bras as well, she goes 'commando' at home all the time and wears layers when she leaves the house because as she says "who is she trying to impress". I love my mom.

    2 agree
  43. I am a medical anthropologist and breast cancer researcher. I am also co-author of the book, Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras.

    Constriction from bras interferes with the lymphatic drainage from the breasts, causing pain, cysts, and, ultimately, cancer.

    Fibrocystic breast disease is caused by tight bras. Get rid of the bra, and the cysts and pain go away, including pre-menstrual breast pain.

    There are several studies that show bra wearing is the leading cause of breast cancer, but bra wearing is such a part of our current culture that challenging this fatal fashion is resisted by the multi-billion dollar bra industry, the multi-billion dollar cancer detection and treatment industry, and even by some women, who have been conditioned from childhood into believing they need to wear a bra.

    Fact is, bra-free women have about the same incidence of breast cancer as a man. The tighter and longer she wears a bra each day, the higher her chances of developing breast cancer. And throughout the world, the only cultures which have breast cancer as a problem are those in which women wear bras.

    Keep in mind how corsets were killing women for centuries because of constriction. The corset was broken down into the girdle and bra. Essentially, the bra is a breast corset.

    Any garment that changes the shape of the body interferes with circulation.

    8 agree
    • Are you sure it's not because women who wear bras are likely to be heavier and therefore more likely to get breast cancer anyway?

    • I read all the comments to date and you're the only one that mentioned this. Read about it a couple months ago.

      1 agrees
  44. I'm glad to read this post, thank you! I've gone bra-less 3 years ago.
    3 years ago, we had this incredibly hot summer where I live and I ditched my bra to remove one layer of clothing and try and get as cool as possible. When fall came, I had grown accustomed to being bra-less, and I couldn't bear feeling constricted anymore (though I have micro-boobs, I still felt hindered). I work from home, I must say this factor has certainly helped me take the plunge. If you work in an office, what your coworkers may think might be an issue.

    It took a while to get use to the actual shape of my body, as I used to wear Wonderbra-type bras. It wasn't until recently that I donated my entire stock of bras to a charity, but I can't think of anything that could convince me to wear a bra again.

    2 agree
    • What charity did you donate the bras to? I know a lot of people are squeamish about buying bras at, say, a thrift store; are there organizations that do things with the bras that don't involve wearing them? I feel like I heard of an organization once that made a chain of bras to raise awareness for breast cancer; something like that?

  45. My boobs hurt way too much to go bra-less.
    The only time I don't wear a bra is in bed (well and in the shower – not a never-nude, no cut-offs for me thanks). Even on the weekends I get out of bed, put on my bra and then put my pj's back on.
    I've been like this since puberty. I remember riding on the bus to school and having to have my arms folded under my boobs so that the bumps wouldn't hurt so much (I have since discovered full support, full coverage bras).
    It's all about comfort and every woman is different. For me, the less my boobs move, the more comfortable I am.

    5 agree
    • Yeah, I have size 36 GG boobs. Going braless out of my home is not an option. However, I do often wear bralettes (hard to find in large sizes) when I'm just hanging out at home. I prefer to not wear a bra, and if I had small breasts I wouldn't, but the size I am not it just would not work for me.

  46. Am I the only one who thinks this sounds amazingly terrific, ballsy, and revolutionary?
    Yes, I know there were "bra-burnings" in the 60s but man, in today's world it seems just as revolutionary, maybe more.
    Rock on!

    4 agree
  47. Love this! I've never particularly enjoyed wearing bras and as a small 36B I can easily get away with shelf bras and just little cotton sports bras that have basically no support. They're nipple covers, and that's all. I don't like going without anything at all because I find even shirts that seem soft enough might chafe after awhile, and chafed nipples are nobodies friend.
    My sister used to razz me about not wearing a bra because it might make my boobs sag, but honestly, when I was a teenager, my boobs were shaped like Madonna's cone bra. They stood straight out. A little sagging has made them a more pleasant shape.

    2 agree
  48. Well. I'm your basic B cup, and I' ve been pretty much braless since the 60's. Yes, that era, of the burn the bras fame. I had never liked them and decided that was as good a reason as any to do without. Now, at 58, being overweight, and having four kids, things are a tiny bit saggy. I did a lot of heavy lifting as a younger woman and that's the best way to keep the muscles that support everything in good shape. The biggest problem with going braless is learning how to walk so the girls don't stop traffic or do the the flight of the bumble bee! The models old fashioned glide walk is the best way to combat those issues. It isn't hard to learn and it gives you great posture. Just walk like you've got a rod up your back and bucket of water on your head you don't want to spill. If I feel like I might be in a situation where I will attract undue attention, lightweight shirts with pockets are great for camoflage. I had several men tell me way back they didn't realize I was going braless until they knew it for sure, so I must have been doing something right.

    1 agrees
  49. A great post and I admire your approach. As a lingerie specialist though, I wouldn't advocate it. I think it's great for living in the moment but it is more likely that your breasts will droop sooner than your bra-wearing compadres. But, if you're happy and you feel great, well that counts for a lot.

  50. 9 months ago, I decided to make a change in my life. I did some research and realized the harm I was inadvertently doing to my life. Today, I eat only fresh locally grown vegetables, I eat organic meats. I am learning how to live off of the land God gave me. Most Importantly, I no longer wear a bra. Believe it or not, I actually threw everyone in the garbage can. I haven't looked back.

    1 agrees
  51. I'm not overly large busted (or I never used to be, but pregnancy is changing things), but I do have rather large and in charge nipples. I'm not complaining about them. Quite the opposite, in fact. They're a lot of fun. They do, however cause problems if I want to go braless. Even using pasties to hide them doesn't always work. I'm all for the shelf bras, and if it wasn't for the fact that without my nursing bra I would be dying from tenderness all the time, I would be wearing one 24-7. All power to those who go braless, and screw everyone who thinks it's weird. They're just boobs, and boobs are amazing.

    3 agree
  52. I would love to go braless, but I'm a 30G and I work at a high school and get enough mean stares at my figure from some of my female coworkers. I'm pretty sure ditching my bra would get me fired in a heartbeat πŸ™

    2 agree
  53. i wish i could go bra-free. i'm right there with you on that being the first thing that comes off when i get home, even before the shirt.

    but unfortunately i currently work at a job where the uniform shirt is a slightly see through light cream color and i have dark nipples so that just wouldn't fly. /:

  54. I'm only 32B but refuse to go bra-less unless I'm at home and there are no guests around. Ever since I began wearing a bra at the age of 9 (despite my small size, puberty hit early) I've only gone out once without a bra and spent the entire experience feeling extremely uncomfortable and self-conscious as I'm not too firm in that area and I don't have the "socially-acceptable" shape. In addition, I'm really shy and don't even feel comfortable in a bathing suit on the beach. I do love my body but I'd prefer to keep certain bits and pieces for myself and my husband.

    I'm 28 now and after having reading this and other articles about going bra-less, I've decided that if I ever have a daughter I'd let her know the pros and cons of wearing a bra and not wearing one and let her make her own decision that she's comfortable with. If I had a son, I'd try to make him aware of the fact of all female issues so that he can grow up to be sensitive to them.

    2 agree
  55. Honestly I've rarely worn them since I was 25. I quit because under wires were so horribly uncomfortable and I couldn't find anything that didn't hurt my back. I switched to sports bras for a long time and then anytime I could do away with even those I did. Now that I'm self employed and my dress code is far less than business casual, I don't wear one unless I'm going to sex it up for my man, and those are only for short time wear. LOL

  56. I hate bras! I only wear training bras and maybe a non-underwire bra on a special day. I'd love to go without but honestly my nipple chaffing is what stops me! Anyone know of solutions to this or very soft tanks/undershirts/crops I could purchase?

  57. Reading this article when it was first published was revolutionary, all my natural desires to not wear a bra were suddenly validated and ive been mostly bra free ever since. Ive been lucky enough that many of my summer dresses are sort of rockabilly that are structured enough just in the fabric and cut that I could get away with it but as the weather is starting to change im having nip issues! Theyre a little lively and obvious…. anyone have any brilliant ideas for combating this?? Sorry if someones already mentioned it, I scanned the comments but there were a lot!

  58. Right now, I'm a 32FF/34F and one of my breasts is a full cup size bigger than the other, so I don't feel completely comfortable going bra-less. But reading this article a year after the fact and scanning through the comments has given me the courage and desire to just stick with sports bras. I'm a huge fan of the Champion Sports Bra Double Dry Distance – 6209; it's super comfy. It's sized enough to provide support but not so sized that I haven't been able to wear it through weight/bra size fluctuations. I'm so done with paying big bucks for bras that only last for six months before stretching out. Thank you for this article, and go you for taking the full plunge!

  59. I'm not particularly large, so the only reason I've ever worn a bra was for the sake of modesty. But even soft bras with no under wire aren't the most comfortable thing to wear. I've recently started to discover just how many outfits can be worn without a bra without revealing too much, and for the times they do, a fitted tank top usually does the trick. So while I'm not 100% bra free right now, I'm finding I "need" one FAR less often than I had ever realized.

  60. When I developed breast buds (the pre-mound, swelling areola phase) in 4th grade or so, I resisted bras with a fervent passion. It was summer, and I've always been warm-blooded, so the idea of yet another layer was absolutely abhorrent to me. Also, I was very embarrassed about anything puberty related and the idea that someone might be able to detect that I was wearing a bra under my shirt was absolutely terrifying.

    Then, I noticed I was starting to "jiggle" a bit in gym, so I asked my mom for a bra (I literally thought I would die of embarrassment, especially when she got all excited), and wore those non-wired "training bras" until I was a sophomore in high school. It turns out, they don't make 38As, but as a insecure 15-year-old changing in a locker room, I wanted to wear "real" bras like all the other girls, and let's face it, I wanted my boobs to "look good". I ended up buying 38Bs that I almost fit into and pinning the cups together in the middle until I grew into it (and finally out of it).

    I'm an OB nurse now, so looking back, it's pretty funny what used to make me squirm with discomfort. Even funnier is that as a person who resisted bras for so long, then forced my way into one to feel like I "fit in" in school, I now find myself uncomfortable without one. I've even been teased by roommates for never going to bed without a training bra (it's funny how life can go full-circle like that). I've tried going to bed or walking around braless, and even alone I just don't feel comfortable.

    I'm all for doing whatever is comfortable for you so long as it's not flat-out disrespectful or harmful. For me, that seems to be wearing "boulder holders" (LOVE that term). As for you, I'm glad you enjoy "swinging free". So swing free and proud πŸ™‚

  61. LOVE THE POST. I just recently ripped out the underwire in two of my bras. (The wire was actually poking out). And I just bought no wire bras on the clearance rack. I love not wearing a bra. I do it as much as I can.

    1 agrees
  62. When I was younger, I was obsessed with being able to wear a bra since I was a super late bloomer. I would wear the biggest push up possible until college when a combo of puberty and BC gave me my 34c/32d boobs. I still like owning pretty bras, but they are off the second I come home and stay off unless I go out or company comes over that I feel like I should look "decent" for. I don't wear a bra to bed and don't wear one around anyone i have ever lived with, which includes family and most friends. Sometimes if I am wearing a tee shirt or a hoodie I won't even wear one to the grocery store or gas station or getting coffee. If I had rounder, fuller girls I'd probably never wear one except to work! (i'm still a bit self conscious about their shape in tighter tops)

  63. 28 F or G here. Not too sure, can't find anywhere in my state that deals in that sizing. No luck with the internet so far.

  64. Hi Kaelee & Fellow Ladies,
    I'm a 32 C/D and I stopped wearing a bra last year. I've have had significant improvements in my overall health! Much like Kaelee describes, it was about two weeks of adjusting to the new braless world. After then, I stopped having minor asthma, my back and shoulder pain was reduced quite a bit. My PMS breast tenderness used to hurt, and even incapacitate me from running (which I love.) Now, the PMS soreness is pretty much non-existent. I have scoliosis, and bras have never been a friend of mine no matter what time of the month. Especially the tight sport bras. I'm so happy I did this, and another added bonus surprise for me is that I've witnesses more perkiness! I strongly recommend going braless to anyone. FREE THE BOOBIES!

    4 agree
  65. I decided to try going braless as much as possible this past spring, mostly in an attempt to simplify my life and because as someone who has breast cancer in her family, I thought it wasn't a terrible idea. At first I found it very challenging, mostly in how it made me feel. I was very self conscious of looking odd, or unattractive, or of people staring if my nipples showed through my shirt. I also was very critical of how my breasts looked with no support; I have always believed that my best asset (ahem) was not up front, so to speak, and looking at the natural shape of my breasts was kind of hard for me at first. My boobs are very far apart of my chest, and while I wear a 32D bra size, they're very soft, so they are about as unperky as can be. Needless to say, I do not look like a lingerie model when I go sans bra.

    Then I started to evolve how I was thinking about myself. I can't tell whether my gaze shifted, or whether my body has actually changed a little after changing my habits (research on the effects of going braless suggests this can happen?), but now, I don't look in the mirror and see sagging, conical boobs under a breastbone devoid of defined collarbones and too much armpit fat. I see my breasts, and they're pretty nice, dammit. Yes, there are still some times when I want to have a more 'standard' look and shape (I don't have cleavage without a bra, for example) and in those instances I still put on a wired bra – with padding, even! But more and more, I have stopped worrying about whether my boobs look like a VC model's, whether they're jiggling a bit, whether my nipples are showing. I often exercise or go out for an evening in a wireless, non-shaped lace bralette, or skip it, depending. I also found myself MUCH more comfortable this summer than in ears past, and I do so much less work on carefully laundering my bras.

    Innahoo, while I certainly haven't burned my bras totally out of my wardrobe, I totally dig this concept, and I'm glad I made this change!

    4 agree
  66. I'm right there with you. The mostly I wear a bra when I'm wearing a sports bra as a shirt because it's hot. lol And absolutely the ONLY thing that makes boobs droop is child bearing and weight loss. I've done both, and at 31 right before I got pregnant I could still pass the pencil test! Oh I'm a 34 DD (US). And yeah now they droop a bit, meh. If I need to dress up for something I have a couple that are well fitted etc. Pile the girls up in one place and they look just like they did when I was younger and child free.

  67. Me too!! I started not wearing a bra when I was having infection issues while breastfeeding. Bacteria would proliferate in the stale milk caught between my nipples and the bra and that meant pain. Also, I realized that my nipples were tender because they'd been coddled their whole lives – no exposure to air or friction – which also made breastfeeding harder. It was so much nicer, too, not to have to fiddle with a bra while breastfeeding. And I just never went back. It is so much more comfortable without it, and I don't have the stress of finding (and paying through the nose for) something that fits. The trick, for me, is to wear the right clothing so it's not a social issue. (People are afraid of breasts for some reason.) I wear loose clothing much of the time. Tops with an empire waist, with a tank underneath, naturally obscure the fact that the breasts are free. πŸ™‚ If I really have to, like if I'm wearing a fitted t-shirt, I'll wear a loose sports bra. (I love the Blue Canoe Jane's bra for this purpose.)

  68. My only issue going braless at a 36DD is that it makes me too hot. I'm extremely saggy and the sit against my body and insulate so I sweat and I can't cool down. Otherwise I would probably do it more often!

  69. I've experienced for myself the benefits of going braless or semi-braless… But I have 1 big, serious, TMI question…. How do you deal with sweat? I'm quite large up top… Even larger these days as I'm uber pregnant… But I seriously can't stand the sweat factor! The feeling of the skin on the bottom of my breasts rubbing against the skin of my rib cage when sweat is involved is completely unbearable for me! Am I alone in this distaste?! I know a lot of my aches would be greatly relieved if I could just get over this, but I just don't know how! And powder is no answer, trust me!!!

    • I like to wear a camisole/cotton tank or a bralette for the sweat factor, because when I'm sitting my boobs rest on my belly (not pregnant, just have a belly) and the skin to skin thing just isn't very comfortable in hot weather.

  70. One of my #1 favorite things about working from home is that I feel zero obligation to wear a bra daily. No longer wearing a bra daily also was illuminating: I never realized exactly how much my fibromyalgia & spondylitis pain was aggravated by my bra. I knew it didn't feel good, and I knew it was a relief to take it off, but holy crap, I feel so much better since I stopped wearing bras. I still wear one while out and about ~50% of the time, because I'm paranoid about "nipping", but that probably drops down to about 5% of the time in winter. God bless scarves & jackets. πŸ˜‰

  71. I feel out of place on this comment section. While y'all talk about how big you are, I have to deal with not having breasts worth putting a bra on for. I'm a 34A. Bras never have fit right on me because my breasts have always been small. I do not even fill the cup all the way. There is always some gap. The only thing big on my breasts are my nipples. They stick out all the time.

    But with not being able to find pretty bras that fit, it has saved me some money for other things. I have been able to get away with wearing bra tanks and t-shirts and not worrying about having to adjust straps (highly annoying). But for those who are well endowed, I do envy you. It is no picnic when your breasts are too small and you end up looking flat.

  72. The only thing that stops me is the dreaded under-boob sweat factor. How do you successfully braless ladies deal with that issue?

    1 agrees
  73. I always had saggy boobs, and from 12 years old they were already big. Still, I rocked that braless look frequently and the movement of my breasts wasn't painful but quite pleasant.
    Then I reached a certain age, around 23 or 25, where suddenly I looked at braless photos, or I stood in front of the mirror, and didn't like what I saw. The simple fact of adding a bra took years off me. And it's not just me. My mom, at 60, has had enough of bras, but I keep thinking how much older she looks without them. I know it's the sagginess that does that, because in my head I associate being saggy with being old. And though in my and my mom's case it's really genetics, I think we look much better with bras.

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