Finally, experts agree going braless is better for you
Free those nipples
Since puberty erupted on your face and body, you have endured innumerable indignities.
But you especially despise bra fittings. You shuffle into a small, beige cubicle and present your boobs to a hearty, middle-aged woman. You notice with horror that her bra is giving her a bosom that resembles a shelf; you hope it was not purchased in the same Debenhams in which you now stand, half-naked and goose-bumped.
Where desperation leads, technology follows – bra fitting was deemed so unpleasant that there is now an app which calculates your size for you. It spares you this anguish of having a woman wrap a tape measure around your chest – brushing your nipple with a very cold, very dry hand – and deliver the verdict. Much to your disappointment, you’re still not a D cup.
It’s miserable. And so when experts noted the long-term health benefits of going completely braless, many women exhaled and unclipped. We will suffer no longer: we will not constrain ourselves in uncomfortable underwear.
Ease your back pain by whipping off your bra
According to a survey by Triumph, three quarters of women wear the wrong size bra. This can lead to several postural problems. Physiotherapist Sammy Margo, a spokeswoman for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, says wearing the correct size bra can dramatically decrease back, chest and shoulder pain, which you might not have previously attributed to your underwear.
“I often find a direct link between my female patients’ back, neck and postural problems and their bras,” she explains. “If a bra is too tight, it can create pressure on the nerves, muscles and blood vessels around the shoulders, upper back and rib cage, leading to pain, headaches, and even constant pins and needles in the arms.”
27-year old writer Elyane Youssef has been completely braless for two years, and isn’t turning back. “My reasons for going braless are many,” she says. “But mostly because bras caused me discomfort and pain. Bras used to cause me dire pain in the chest area, especially after wearing a bra for a whole day. Ever since I stopped wearing bras I stopped experiencing any pain in my shoulders, back or chest.”
There’s no feeling like taking your bra off
So why bother putting it on in the first place? Underwired bras can be constricting and uncomfortable, and you’ll often spend most of your day subtly trying to rearrange it anyway; the strapless bra is a special kind of tyranny. You are both keenly aware of its pressure on your rack, and positive it has fallen off and is now creating a paunch around your waist.
Ellie Shaw trialled not wearing a bra for week, and after tasting freedom, the Oxford student hasn’t gone back. “The self consciousness is far outweighed by the comfort,” she says. “Ever since I’ve been freeing the nipple. Jumpers, dresses, shirts, pyjamas: bras no longer feature in my wardrobe. I’m sick and tired of keeping my pair in boob prison for 12 hours a day just because I’m expected to.”
Going braless can decrease your risk of breast cancer
It’s a controversial study, but Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer claimed in their 1995 book, Dressed to Kill, women who wear an underwired bra for more than twelve hours a day have a much higher risk of developing breast cancer. They argued bras restrict the lymphatic system, leading to a build up of fluid in the breast tissue. Over time, this build up increases the levels of toxins in the breast which can cause cancer. It’s been contested by several scientists, but is it worth the risk?
Nipples are sexy
When you “play” Friends, every girl wants to be Rachel Green; all the boys fancy her. This is because she’s not ashamed of her nipples. They’re the cheapest accessory you have, and they give you instant sex appeal. An erect nipple need not be hidden; it must be celebrated. And celebrate it we shall.
Not to mention side boob…
It’s the new cleavage, and it’s something no bra can give you. If you don’t fancy getting them all out up front, a top with low sides is ten times sexier when there’s an accompaniment of side boob. It’s so teasing.
It’s thought bras make your breasts sag more
Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon’s 15-year research concluded wearing a bra increases sagging – largely because the muscles supporting the breasts aren’t being used when we wear underwired bras. His study found that as well as decreasing back pain, those who didn’t wear a bra had firmer breasts which are, on average, 7mm higher. “Medically, physiologically, anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity,” the scientist told France Indo.
Youssef adds that since ditching bras, her breasts have lifted, become firmer, and have grown. “I have rarely worn a bra since I was a teenager,” she explains. “I started to [stop using one] when I was about 20. Now I’m 27, and believe it has been around two years since I wore one at all. My breasts were lifted and I noticed slight development and growth. I chose to go braless disregarding what my society or other people think. I’m happier, healthier, and looking better.”
You look better when you go backless
You wouldn’t wear a skirt with holdups on show; do not brandish your bra when you’re going backless. Just tan up and brave the back. It’s not classy to have your bra on show anyway, especially when the label’s poking out awkwardly broadcasting your brand and boob size to the world.
Bras are out; nipples are also out.