Why Everyone Is Going Braless (and whether you should too)

reading time: 5 min

Today is a taboo topic that has nothing to do with food for once: nipples!

I don't know if you've made the same observation but I noticed that there are many ladies in the vegan community lately who promote to FREE THE NIPPLES (Mantras and Mangos, Raw Alignment, Henya Mania,  Claire Michelle, Stella Rae, to name just a few). Even BuzzFeed made a video on Women Going Braless For A Week - so what's all the fuzz about? 

Here's an overview of the reasons WHY to go braless, HOW to go braless and IF it's right for you!

So, to give you guys a little bit of a back story, I'm 24 years old, I've worn bras probably since I was 13 or 14 years old (before that I would wear bralettes as my boobs were always on the bigger side, even as a child/teenager). I used to be ashamed of the size of my boobs, keeping them covered as best as I could and hating every flattering comment about my feminine curves. For the past 10 years I used to love wearing a bra because I actually felt uncomfortable without one - not only because of how people would look at me and my not-so-perfectly-shaped breasts, but because I just liked the way it made my boobs look and feel and how it supported them. But my mid-year resolution for 2016 is to get my boobies out more and to get comfortable with them. 

I don't really know what made me try and stop wearing bras - I think it was a combination of stumbling upon those youtube videos and also my boyfriend voting for a braless Sunday, haha -, but here I am. Two months into not wearing a bra.

Here's what I've learned so far:

source: Franklyn Elliott MD

Let's be honest - wearing a bra can be a pain in the, err, bust, with all those straining underwires, straps and hooks. So it's no wonder that every person with breasts universally loves the feeling of taking their bra off at the end of the day as much as slipping out of a pair of stilettos. Breast liberation after a long day is even more comforting than taking your pants off. If you can combine both, of course, you've won.

1. Feeling free
Like I said, I used to be one of those people who find wearing bras more comfortable! But honestly, ever since making braless days (or at least hours) a new habit of mine, I don't even like the feeling of bras any more - and I'm already speaking of the comfy cotton bras with nothing but an underwire! It's just such a relief for your back and your shoulders to get rid of those tight straps and wires.

2. Perkier breasts (!)
Yep, it's true. The fear that going braless will make your boobs saggy is a myth! Actually, it's quite the opposite: A study showed that wearing bras will actually increase sagging as it weakens the muscles that hold up the breasts, resulting in greater breast sagging. (source) Therefore, by going braless you allow the breast muscles to strengthen and possibly lift up your breasts again (at least when you're relatively young). So far, I've found this to be true!

3. Improved circulation
The restrictive bra shape can not only cause shoulder and back pain, but the compression may interfere with the lymphatic flow and circulation. Not wearing a bra allows blood to flow more readily around your chest, helping with that muscle tissue building as well as keeping your skin firm. Additionally, studies show a correlation between cancer cell growth and underwire bras since pre-menopausal women who do not wear bras had half the risk of breast cancer compared with bra users (source) as bras, like corsets, constrict and interfere with circulation. Lymph fluid cannot easily drain from a bra-constricted breast. This stagnant lymph fluid cannot be adequately flushed away, concentrating waste products and toxins in the slowly toxifying breasts. Backed-up fluid results in cysts and pain. Ultimately, this can lead to cancer. (source)

4. Clothing convenience
By convenience I don't mean comfort (see Nr. 1), but rather practicability. Not having to wear a bra makes strapless or backless dresses and tops, and more "revealing" clothes in general, incredibly easy. You don't have to worry about the straps of your bra interfering and overlapping with the straps of your dress or top, and you don't have to think about which colour of your bra fits best with the colour of your top (because let's face it, bra straps are usually very visible unless you're wearing a chunky sweater or a turtleneck). However, do make sure to wear some sort of tape or bandeau underneath looser tops in order to avoid a nip slip when bending forwards or moving too much - you don't want to be too revealing, right?

5. Feeling sexy
Apart from any practical or health related benefits, going braless can also have erotic properties. Don't get me wrong, I love dressing in cute lingerie every now and then, but honestly, feeling your naked boobs underneath your clothes is almost as sexy (and not only for you, also for your partner of course). I know that it takes some getting used to the feeling of your nips rubbing against the fabric (it will probably cause them to stiffen, which can be a bit embarrassing at first, but basically it's just, you know, stimulating), but eventually your breasts will get used to it too and won't be as hyper sensitive after some time. And not wearing a bra is kinda like going commando, isn't it?
lace bralettes via Asos


Going braless is easier said than done. When you are young, lean and small-breasted, it's easy to stop wearing a bra and feel free instead of restricted. However, when you have larger breasts it can be uncomfortable NOT to wear a bra. Honestly, for several months I wished I could go braless and be carefree but unfortunately not everybody is "blessed" with small boobs.

Still, even as a big-boobed girl I wanted to go braless! The first step for me was to do it in the comfort of my home. Whenever I came home from uni or work, the first thing I did was take off my bra, and on weekends I would go completely braless. If you live in shared flat like I do, it may be best to start this during winter time when you will be wearing chunky sweaters that will cover up any "nipping out".

Speaking of "nipping out": Of course, this is a perfectly natural phenomenon due to temperature, arousal or physical stimulation such as rubbing fabric, and there's nothing to be ashamed of, however there are some ways to avoid your nips poking through your top when it's not really appropriate (such as a conference or a dinner with your boyfriend's parents):
- wear printed or patterned fabrics (that will hide the "shadow" of your nipples),
- wear thick or textured fabrics (see above), 
- wear darker colours,
- wear clothing that doesn't accentuate their shape such as loose blouses,
- wear loose sweaters (the "shapelessness" will be your friend and a ticket to a comfy, casual look),
- double layer; e.g. a tight tank top underneath a loose or oversized shirt,
- wear cupped tops and dresses (this will still give you the benefit of relieving your shoulders and back),
- you can also try taping your nipples if it really bothers you; you can use tape, band-aid or self-sticking silicone pads (pasties) for that,
- when wearing a sports bra, you could even put cotton make-up removing pads (the little circle ones) over your nipples,
- avoid accidental nip slips by taping skimpier garments directly to your body,
- don't wear silk or other really light-weight fabrics as it will easily show nipples or the bumps caused by pasties,
- don't wear sheer tees or tops when going braless! always wear at least a bralette or pads underneath, or else again your nips will be visible.

Having said that, visible nipples are nothing to be embarrassed about. Also: guys like it, so wear your sexy boobs with pride ;) unless you're giving a speech at your company or you're a teacher, that could be weird... (I mean, the thing about boobs is that some guys will glance regardless of nipple status...)

Now that that's settled, you can start ditching your bra! Unless you're an A-cup, I suggest that you ease into it. I know that when you're a double D not wearing a bra might look "unprofessional" in a way and it might hurt if you ran around, but even you ladies can take off your bra after work and swap push up bras for a less restrictive alternatives such as bralettes or bandeaus! Don't go braless in a tube top or strapless dress if you are busty (full C or D cup and above) because your breasts will get compressed and have a sinking look to them. Instead, go for clothes with under-bust support like empire dresses, or wear tight tops or dresses (that will support and shape your boobs a little).

First, swap your underwire for a soft bra with less support. Then get yourself a nice set of bralettes (there are very pretty and sexy ones out there!). Once you feel comfortable with that, and don't feel sore with less support, you're ready to go braless. 

casual bralettes via Asos


So... should everybody just go braless then?
No. Health-wise, yes, you should. But it's a matter of feeling good in your own skin, and I completely understand if you are more comfortable or feel more sexy wearing a bra.

However, if you are concerned about your breast health or if you love the natural shape of your breasts, but the lack of a bra leads to pain and discomfort, or you aren't quite comfortable with the idea of not wearing a bra yet, start slow and give it a try. There are pad-free bras that still give you support and lift with underwires. Or you can opt for a semi-sheer or lace-adorned pad-free bra and just feel a little more liberated without those super structured cups and pads. Another way to enjoy the comfort of bralessness is by wearing a top with a shelf bra

At the end of the day your bra-ness or bralessness is entirely dependent on your level of comfort. But if you were considering going braless and were too skittish to try it or afraid of saggy boobs, let all of the above be the incentive you need to give it a go! 

Personally, I still wear bras for more formal events or at work (not a padded one though, just a simple under-wire bra or a good bralette to keep everything in place and shape). The only other support I wear is sports bras when I know I am going to do something really bouncy. 

As I've gotten older and overcame an eating disorder, I've really come to accept and love my body more and more, and I've come to accept certain parts of my body that used to bother me and make me uncomfortable (I considered a breast reduction several times). That includes not being bothered by my freed boobs. I feel so much more confident and unrestricted without those torture devices cutting into my skin :)

lingerie lace bralette by H&M