Do I Have to Wear a Bra?

AJANTHI VASANTHAROOPAN / YOUR BODY

It has almost become a meme during the quarantine lockdown that one of the advantages for women is that we don’t have to wear a bra every day.

And even before COVID-19, it was a running joke among women that the first thing they do upon arriving home is rip their bra off.

If this is true, why do we wear bras? Do we need to? And are there ways to make bra-wearing less of constrictive experience?

Wearing a Bra Is a Personal Choice, 100%

Okay, first things first: Wearing a bra is a 100% a personal choice. And it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing decision. Many enjoy wearing no bra some of the time, but prefer wearing a bra in other situations. For some, it depends on what they’re wearing (like a wireless bra), where they’re going etc.

Some women find bras really uncomfortable and love the freedom of going without. While others like the shape and support a bra gives them. So, it’s totally your call. And as we said, it doesn’t have to be a permanent all-or-nothing decision.

One point we think is important to recognize though: Wearing a bra shouldn’t be physically uncomfortable. The right fit and the style/brand of bra are major factors in comfort. So if you’re one of those women ripping off your bra the moment they get home the question is: Is it bras in general, or your bra in particular that’s the problem?!

A Brief History of Bralessness

Women’s bodies have always been policed and controlled and so bralessness hasn’t always been simply a personal decision… there have been times when it’s been a political one too.

Even today, bralessness can be controversial in the workplace or the classroom. And there are still those who see bralessness as a sign of female promiscuousness rather than personal freedom. But remember that even though people may still try to hold you to outdated social rules, you do not need to follow them.

Here’s a brief history of bralessness:

  • 1960s: Feminism and "bra-burning" become linked in popular culture when at the feminist Miss America protest, protesters symbolically throw a number of feminine products - including bras - into a "Freedom Trash Can".
  • 1960s & 1970s: Some feminists argue that the bra was an example of how women's clothing shaped and even deformed women's bodies to male expectations.
  • 1970’s: Bianca Jagger breaks tradition when she wears a tailored Yves St. Laurent Le Smoking jacket to her Catholic wedding with nothing underneath. Singer, songwriter, model, and actress Debbie Harry is also known for forgoing a bra during this decade.
  • 2010’s: The Free the Nipple campaign launches after a movie of that name is made.
  • Present: An increasing number of women question previously accepted medical, physiological, anatomical, and social reasons for wearing bras. Shows like Girls frequently shoe women without bras.

Reasons You Might Consider No Bras

Whether it’s a political decision or a personal one, bralessness is always a choice. However, as noted, it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing decision. Just as women who prefer flat shoes might occasionally wear heels, you can have the best of both worlds when it comes to wearing, not not wearing, a bra.

At the end of the day, the goal for every woman is comfort in her own skin. For some women, wearing a bra gives them that and for others, going braless feels more “them”. 

  • Cost: Let’s face it, bras can be very expensive!
  • Skin / breathability: Women with sensitive or acne prone skin can see improvements in the skin of their breasts when the air can move around their skin and they’re not trapped inside tight, hot bras.
  • Circulation: An ill-fitting bra can really dig into the breast tissue and even impact circulation. While this is a clear indication of the wrong fit, for many it’s a compelling reason to forgo bras altogether.
  • Natural shape: While many women love the shape a bra gives them, some prefer a more natural shape.
  • Physical comfort: Some just feel more comfortable going au naturel. 

Wait, What About Sports Bras?

So, going braless is a legitimate option. But what if you’re playing sports or working out? 

Well, generally a sports bra is still recommended for working out. This is because the increased range of motion can cause so much more movement and bouncing.

If you’re playing certain sports, you may find your breasts get in the way or distract you. And even if you’re not playing a competitive sport, your breast tissue can add additional weight and all that movement may cause nipple chafing.


What If You Still Want Some Support and/or Modesty?

Going braless doesn’t mean you have to forgo any support or modesty

  • Bralettes: A bralette is good middle ground if you want to try going bra free but still want a little support and containment. Bralettes come in many styles and, while they have historically been designed for smaller busts, Knix makes a bralette design that fits sizes from 30A to 42G.
  • Bodysuits: Bodysuits are very form fitting so can offer a modicum of support even if you go braless. Knix’s LuxeLift Every Bodysuit is a great example of a product that gives you the best of both worlds: Support and freedom.
  • Tank tops: Many brands make tank tops that are designed to offer support. Going braless has never felt better than in Knix’s super-versatile, one-of-a-kind tank, with support for cup sizes A to G.
  • Nipple covers / pasties: If you’re uncomfortable going braless because of the colour / shape of your nipples, you can try nipple covers instead. Pasties are available to match all skin tones.
  • Fashion tape: Fashion tape is used by many celebrities to keep their breasts / clothes in place on the red carpet and prevent wardrobe malfunctions. You can get fashion tape at most drugstores.

If the Reason Is Physical Comfort, Don’t Compromise

At Knix, we’re all about women making the right decision for their own bodies and confidence. However, if the reason for going braless is really because of physical discomfort of wearing bras (rather than a personal preference for bralessness), consider that you don’t have to compromise...

Wearing a bra absolutely shouldn’t result in physical discomfort. Here are some things to consider:

  • Get fitted: Many are wearing the wrong bra size it’s no wonder they’re so often perceived to be uncomfortable. If there’s one thing you should do, it’s get professionally fitted. 
  • Try a wireless bra: Wireless bras can often feel more comfortable and less constrictive than underwire bras. And although many women think that an underwire is necessary for larger breasts, bra design has really come a long way!
  • Consider your breast shape: Different bra styles can feel different on different shapes of breasts. When getting fitted, try on a few different styles to see what feels best.

The wrong size or fit of bra will ruin your day. You’ll feel uncomfortable, maybe even sore, and just want to get home so you can rip the damn thing off. That’s why it’s generally recommended you go for a professional fitting rather than relying on your own, at home measurements.

Luckily, there are virtual options too, letting you have the best of both worlds: The comfort of your own home and reassurance of an expert.

At Knix, we know it can be especially daunting to make a bra purchase online. That’s why we developed our virtual fit program. Learn more about it today and book your appointment!

What to Expect from a Knix Virtual Fitting:

  • Book your virtual fitting here
  • We’ll connect you with one of our expert Knix team members for a 1-on-1 fitting session over video chat. 
  • For your bra fitting, we recommend you wear a bra with little or no padding and a fitted t-shirt to make sure we get an accurate measurement. You’ll also need either a) a soft measuring tape or b) a piece of string or cord and a tape measure or ruler.
  • With different styles and sizes for 30A to 42G in the world’s most comfortable and supportive wireless bras, our fit experts can help you get into something that you will love to wear every single day.

Reasons You Might Choose to Wear a Bra

Okay, we’ve fully covered the reasons women might choose to forgo a bra, yet many women choose to wear a bra and enjoy wearing them, so let’s not ignore that it can be as positive an experience to wear one as no

So, why do we wear bras? Well, some of the positive reasons include:

  • Support: For some women, going braless and having their breasts move, bounce etc makes them feel self-conscious or uncomfortable and even cause back pain. Instead, they prefer to feel supported and avoid back pain.
  • Shape: Whether you want a bra that gives you support, boosts your cleavage or minimizes your breast size, there are bra styles and designs that can help you achieve the shape you desire without more invasive options.
  • Style & expression: Many of us love wearing different styles and colours of lingerie. We might even incorporate bras in a look (a la Carrie Bradshaw). Bras can be practical and pretty and enjoyable to shop for and wear.

Some Myths Debunked on Both Sides of the Braless Argument

For social, political and economic reasons, people have tried to pressure women into wearing or not wearing bras. As a result, there are some misconceptions out there on both sides of the argument. 

When you make a decision about whether you prefer wearing a bra or not, don’t let the following myths concern you.

  • Bralessness causes breast sagging: This is one of the most shared concerns with bralessness. But the fact is going braless doesn’t cause breast sagging (with the exception of high impact exercise).
  • Wearing bras causes saggy breasts: Nope, bras don’t cause breast sagging either. Learn more about what causes saggy boobs here.
  • Bras (in particular, bra underwires) can cause breast cancer: There are no conclusive medical studies that show a connection between underwired bras and breast cancer.
  • Going braless signals promiscuity: Obviously, not true. Though, of course, there may be people who think it’s inappropriate to see a woman's nipples or breasts through clothing. That’s their business. Your body is your business...
  • Going braless can encourage breasts to grow bigger: Nope! Your breasts won’t get bigger if you go braless. To learn what really determines breast size, click here.

So, when all is said and done, there’s no easy argument for or against going braless. It’s 100% your call!