Seven Things I Learned When I Stopped Wearing Bras

Warnings – Gratuitous use of the words nipple and boobs. 

It’s been eight months since I stopped wearing bras. I gave up on them last April after breaking my washing machine (for the second time) and after years of never being able to find a bra that fit. Did you know I didn’t even wear a strapless bra to my wedding – I wore a strapless dress and tucked the straps of my usual bra beneath the band of the bra. I couldn’t find a strapless bra that fit. Not without having on specifically made for me – which wasn’t going to happen. Can you even do that? Get bras tailored…

Apparently so.

Well, too late now. Not that I could afford it.

Anyway, it’s been a long time, and well I couldn’t even find one of my bras now even if I wanted to wear one.

So this is what I’ve learned.

1. No One Noticed.

No, really, no one notices. Unless I tell them, no one’s noticed. Okay, so sometimes it’s more obvious than others – depending on what I’m wearing. Vests show a lack of straps but this sort of implies people are staring at my shoulders and not my boobs. And that assumes people are staring at my boobs. Maybe they are, maybe they’re not, but most people I tell seem to be surprised.

I wear a uniform at work – relatively thick and shapeless – so it’s really no different from when I was wearing a bra. The rest of the time I usually wear t-shirts and jeans.

Like I said, there are a few tops I own that make it a little more obvious but I haven’t stopped wearing them because they are just my breasts and I’m not wearing a bra for the sake of wearing one of my favourite or lighter tops.

2. I Became Very Aware Of My Nipples

Venus

Especially at the beginning. Especially when it’s cold. To be fair  when it’s cold I am always aware of at least one nipple because one usually hurts a little when it gets too cold. But only one at a time. I’m weird like that.

Anyway.

I am very aware of my nipples sometimes. It’s that paranoia that everyone can see them, will seem them and will laugh at them. Which is daft because everyone has nipples and nipples are great for many, many reasons.

But still, I’ve become more aware of them, though this is decreasing as time goes on and mostly centres around that cold period just after I eat my lunch at work (it’s cold in that break room).

3. I Got Used To It Really Quickly

I don’t really know what’s going on here.

It became normal really quickly. I’ve not worn a bra at home for years now. I put it on to leave the house (well, to leave the village) and took it off when I come home. I wore bras to work, to town, for shopping, to visit people. Not I don’t. It’s just the next step and if I can do less of something then I’m happy.

Unless that something is sleeping.

But there was no hesitation, no debate, no thinking about whether I should put one on in the morning (afternoon) or not. I just didn’t. Every day. For eight months. At some point I stopped being aware of the fact that I’m not wearing a bra and not putting a bra on.

I haven’t really thought about it for months. Since the last job interview.

After the interview, I took it off and felt like I was myself again. I thought about the bra and my boobs more in that hour than I did the entire week.

4. The Physical Effects Are Awesome.

Plastic bras for women workers…no really…

My back doesn’t hurt. There is no rubbing. No more red marks.

I suffered through all these just to support breasts that really don’t need holding up. Every time I took my bra off it was like I could breathe again, and my entire body could relax. My bra tightened my entire body up into a ball of knots and without my entire back is much easier. I can’t even remember the last time my back hurt because of my bra. It hurt last week because I spent a couple of hours hunching over a desk, but before that my back hasn’t hurt for months.

Plus I feel like I can breathe. Always (well, not always cause of the anxiety and the asthma).

5. Except I Got Sweaty Boob Rash

Is that a stick??

I’m 33, and overweight, so my breasts no longer sit nice and high on my chest like they did when I was 23 (if they ever did, I’m not sure I remember all that well). So just beneath, during the summer I got a little hot and sweaty and got a little rash.

To be honest, I wasn’t bothered. I’m prone to heat rash and eczema anyway and this can happen wherever there is chaffing or sweating. It’s a simple enough to deal with – just need some cream for the pharmacy.  To prevent it I just put a bit of deodorant under my breasts on hot days.

Simple.

6. I Feel Less Feminine

I don’t really know what’s going on here either…

This may definitely just apply to me, but without the bra I feel more masculine, which I find comforting because while my body is exclusively female, my mind isn’t. I often find myself in what I call ‘boy mode’, so wearing a bra isn’t appreciated during that time. Without the bra I feel more like a woman and more like a bloke. When I’m feeling more feminine I don’t need the bra to do that, or help. I tend to wear make up (just a little) and whatever else I decide at the time.

The bra was just part of a restriction to my gender identity in fact, without if I feel able to be much more fluid and I’m much happier with that.

7. No More Shopping For Bras!

I think I would wear this as a top.

This one is pretty obvious and to be honest mostly just here cause I really hate shopping for clothes. No more searching for the a size that doesn’t exist, no more searching for a size that might be close. No more searching for anything to wear. No more buying bra extenders because the bras I do have sort of fit but not quote.

No more of those extender getting lost in the washing machine and breaking it – which is how this entire thing started.

So What Should You Do.

If you’re a b-cup or under, give it up. Just try it – for a week, a day. Go into town bra-less and see how you manage. Definitely give up wearing it at home (does anyone wear it at home – I used to). Seriously, why are you wearing a bra at home? Who you doing that for? Your cats? The hamster?

If you’re a c-cup and over, give it up if you can, give it a try, just for a week, a day. But I know that the bigger they are, the more they need the support, the more you want them supported – cause it hurts or it feels awkward or they move around to much. Or cause they’re in danger of escaping at any moment.

We’re still talking about boobs I swear.

My wife is about a D-cup, my sister an E (or more), most of the women on my mum’s side of the family have larger breasts. Bras are important. Bras are needed.

Get a good bra.

Save up, get fitted, spend time and money finding the one bra (that would’ve made Lord Of The Rings a very different film) that is the perfect, that means you can breathe and run and smile when you put it on. Time to really put the effort into your breasts.

Breasts are great, seriously, I love them. So I’ve started treating them right by letting them free but I know this isn’t for everyone.

So find whatever works for you. That million dollar bra or letting your old favourite gather dust in the underwear draw with the pants you don’t wear but don’t seem to get thrown away (you know the ones).

Either way be good to your breasts.

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41 Comments

  1. If your bra was hurting your back and leaving red marks, it must not have been fitted properly. Granted, I have a completely different perspective – tiny (5′) woman, massive breasts, reduction surgery (4 lbs total removed) brought me to a 34C. I dislike the feeling of going braless.

    I should note that I’m enjoying reading your blog in large part because our perspectives are completely different. 🙂 Does that make sense? I’m a stereotypically feminine, heterosexual mom of six. What’s your preference when a reader disagrees? If I can do it politely (for example, our views on periods are night and day!), do you appreciate the dialogue or would you prefer I keep quiet?

    1. Well part of the reason I got rid of the bras was because I could never find one that fits.
      If you disagree I’d like to hear it, rather than you keep it to yourself. That’s part and parcel of writing opinionated blog posts and just living in the world. Not everyone will agree with me – that I am aware of.
      My sister has had a breast reduction too – we’re complete opposites too she’s cis, hertero, kids – but we get on very well 🙂

      1. Awesome. I like people who are different than me. Variety is a beautiful thing. I know, I should say I’m cisgender – I feel so old sometimes.

        No matter your size, a bra shouldn’t hurt your back or cause redness. And I’m talking as someone who once wore a 34G. My breasts were killing my back, but my bra straps never once left a red mark on my shoulder. Unfortunately …. properly fitting bras can be expensive. Twenty years ago, I was paying $80 for ones that fit and could only get them at a very few stores.

        Of course, if any sagging doesn’t bother you or your wife, then let the girls free. 😛 I’m probably far too vain about mine.

        I’m too lazy to go back and check – how long have you been married?

        1. Well, I think with money always being tight and being overweight, it was just always a struggle to find a bra that did fit that I could afford. I don’t care about the bit of sag, screw it, depending on the hormones, I’m barely a b cup.
          And you can use whatever word you want, whether it be cisgender or not.
          My wife and I have been married for three years 🙂

  2. This made me wish my breasts were smaller! LOL I’m sitting with a pair of DDs and, although I don’t wear a bra at home, I kind of need one when I go out of the house or I might knock someone out. 🙂 Congrats on your decision though!

  3. Ugh. Boobs. They used to be so fun and perky and then I breastfed 3 kids. I totally go braless at home. I haven’t been brave enough to go out in public like that. I think I may be too conscious and have my arms crossed the whole time. Funny post!

  4. I haven’t worn a bra in over a year now. With Fibromyalgia everything just hurt. My wardrobe is now full (mainly) of clothes that are comfortable no matter what. I’m slowly getting rid of the few things that still cause discomfort. The only bra I own now is one of those pull on sports bra but even that hasn’t been worn in the last year.

  5. This is such an intriguing idea! I wish I could go without one and I definitely do when I can get away of it. Especially because I am a 32DD and it is almost impossible to find my size 😛

  6. Interesting. I feel super exposed when I go bra-less. However, I also carry a lot of my stress in my shoulders. I am sure that the bra straps don’t help. It’s worth considering.

  7. I love this…. I am older (middle aged) and have big saggy boobs and I am very overweight! After work and I am in my PJ’s – the bra is the ABSOLUTE first thing to go…. but I could never go anywhere out without a bra…. and truly getting a good bra that FITS is key – thanks for sharing this! Very helpful!

  8. I hate bra shopping! I don’t exactly go without, but I wear form-fitting tanks under my t-shirts instead of bras most days. It works well enough – not really supportive, but it keeps them from swinging around.

  9. You had me at the gratuitous warning. I do not wear a bra at home because…why? I totally agree with you. I’m an A cup but those sucker hang so low you’d see them under the hem of my tshirt thus they must be coralled at all times outside of the home. (This was great by the way. About time boob restraints were openly discussed!)

  10. I’ve gone braless when my eczema was so bad I couldn’t stand the straps chafing against my skin. Sometimes I also go braless just because I’ve never liked them, in spite of naturally having a DD chest. I get how wearing a bra can be important in sports or working out, where you don’t want them flopping around so much, but I don’t really see the need in most other areas.

  11. I’m so with you on this! I started ‘free-boobing’ after my daughter was born and none of my bras fitted and i just haven’t wanted to stop. It’s so much more comfortable. And it’s true that nobody notices or cares at all – I’m a D cup now, possibly bigger, and I just wear a vest instead. I tell myself I’ll lose weight and then wear a bra again, but right now both things seem as unlikely as the other. 😉

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