I haven’t worn a bra in over two months. When self-isolation orders hit during the pandemic, I was one of the many women lucky enough to be able to ditch it. After all, in the comfort of our homes, studying or working remotely, there’s no reason to keep going to ‘boob jail’. Is there?
I pondered that question when my breast tenderness went into hyperdrive during PMS time. That never happened during my pre-COVID-19 bra-wearing time. Had I done something wrong? Can going braless damage the health and appearance of our breasts?
In my quest to find answers, I turned to science.
Here’s the lowdown on what experts say:
No, it won’t make them saggy.
Well, they will. But due to age and gravity. Not from a lack of bra.
Dan Mills, MD, vice president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, told Health that Cooper’s ligament, the connective tissue in our breasts, is to blame.
More specifically, it’s due to collagen and elastin. The protein fibers that keep our skin tight and firm. Like all tissues in our bodies, they deteriorate as we age.
What else determines the overall look of our breasts as we get older? The fat to glandular tissue ratio. Fat distribution is unique in each woman, but it tends to increase with age for all of us. Bad news is more fatty tissue means saggy boobs.
All in all, most experts agree that wearing a bra doesn’t slow down the process. In fact, according to French scientist, Jean-Denis Ruillon, it may weaken the muscles that support our breasts. Making them sag earlier.
Appearance is not everything, however.
What about health?
Let’s be real. Breasts can get heavy. Depending on their size, they can weigh anywhere from 500g to 2kg or more.
While a sedentary lifestyle (hello quarantine!) doesn’t put as much stress on them, simply walking around can create discomfort in some women.
Joanna Wakefield-Scurr, Professor of Biomechanics at the University of Portsmouth, told HuffPost that investing in a well-fitted bra may be a necessary step if you have breast pain.
If that’s your situation, make sure you get a properly sized bra and adjust the straps. An ill-fitted one can be just as harsh on your body as not wearing any.
In my case, PMS soreness eventually went away, and I’ve never felt freer in my bralessness.
As we all set to go back to work soon, I’m not sure if it’ll stick. Whether I’m ready to face the stigma of ‘freeing the nipple’ or not, remains unknown.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. And it’s valid, whatever it is.
Want more good news?
It’s possible to have a bra that feels like you’re not wearing one.
Here are 3 of my favorite brands that offer comfy bras with no underwire.
Moons and Jules is a Copenhagen based company who believes lingerie should adjust to your body. Not the other way around. Their bras accentuate your natural curves while promising comfort all day long.
The brand’s embrace of diversity in its model choice and design of undergarments is also noteworthy.
Designed to make you feel comfortable in your own skin, these bras offer wire-free support to women of all sizes.
Their underwear is seamless, chafe-free, and functional.
Trueandco is all about the community. They took into consideration the voices of women to design bras that we can really live in.
They’re soft, cute, super supportive, and most of all comfortable!