As an "early bloomer" who was raised around bra-wearing women, not wearing a bra never really felt like a viable option. I bought many a bra in my day, and understood the importance of support, but I never felt completely comfortable in them. Yet I would go to mainstream feminine lingerie stores to shop for them (my mom in tow), which always felt a little weird as well.
The inherently feminine quality of bras — thanks the to pink, flowery designs, and targeted advertising — has always made them feel a bit out of step with my fluid gender identity. Shopping for bras (and even putting them on) was a chore, and I much preferred letting my boobs hang free. Alas, that could only be achieved at the end of the day, when, traditionally, women pop off their bras as men take off their ties.
This antiquated idea of gender is complete bullshit, of course, and it wasn't until later in life that this occurred to me. Wearing a bra is a choice, just as shaving and wearing makeup are, and societal expectations of gender simply don't reflect everybody's preferences or identities.
So a few years ago, I followed my instincts and threw out the cup bra for good. And I haven't regretted it once. Here are some of the things that happen when you stop wearing bras.
1. You're Free!
If you're like me, you understand that many cup bras are a total hassle, and are often pretty uncomfortable. When you take it all off, your boobs are free to do whatever they wish — swing, bounce, jiggle, and, most importantly, breathe. It's so freeing to feel the soft texture of your favorite comfy tee brush up against your boobs instead of the underwire of a push-up bra.
2. Your Tops Fit Differently (For Better Or For Worse)
Without the assistance of a bra, my boobs tend to appear a lot smaller. And I love this. It helps me fit tight crop tops better, it beats bra lines in thinner tops, and it transforms my silhouette in a way that's super satisfying for me. I prefer to present more androgynously, so going without a cup bra and downplaying the feminine curves of my body make me feel way at home in my own presentation.
3. Your Bod Moves Differently
As I was saying before, your boobs have full freedom to move about however they want to. With the exception of the creepy passersby this can attract, it can feel very liberating. However, it's nothing short of a full process to get used to the new way your body moves.
Having your boobs jiggle and bounce so freely while walking or running can be a little uncomfortable or painful at times, depending on the size of your breasts. This is why tight tops are my savior, as well as the occasional sports bra. From my own experience — since my boobs aren't very large — I've gotten used to the new way my chest wiggles as I walk. At this point, it feels completely natural.
4. You May Get Acquainted With The Bralette
After not wearing bras for a while, wearing a cup bra can feel incredibly strange. When I want to wear a bra, or if I believe an outfit calls for one, then I wear a bralette. These are usually flimsy in their support and construction. For someone who isn't used to all that padding and wiring, it's a great (and not completely ineffective) alternative.
5. Your Back May Not Be Happy With You
If going without a bra hurts you, don't just grin and bear it. Even as someone with smaller boobs, I noticed more back pain arising once I stopped wearing bras with support. From my experience, it can be more difficult to maintain good posture as well. If the pain persists (especially if your breasts are larger) and wearing a bra seems to relieve said pain, I definitely recommend wearing the bra.
But that doesn't necessarily mean returning to the wires and cups. I've found that wearing a well-made and supportive sports bra does wonders for relieving the tension in my back, and my posture always improves while wearing one, too.
6. People Make Comments
Time and time again, people have made rude comments to me about my lack of a bra. Even some of my closest friends have snickered at the sight of loose boobs in my shirt, and joke that when I wear a bralette, it's "hardly doing anything."
Chalk it up to stupid beauty and gender expectations, and skip on your merry way (boobs flopping and all).
7. You Wonder What Took You So Long
As soon as I got into the swing of things (pun absolutely intended), I couldn't help but wonder, "Why did I go my whole life wearing bras before this moment?" I don't regret it, of course, because it was a valuable lesson, and bras certainly have their benefits. But I wish it was common knowledge that people with breasts don't have to wear bras — that come puberty, you don't have to rush out to the nearest mall for a training one if you don't want to.
What not wearing a bra has proved to me is that what you do with your body and where you choose to house your boobs are choices that no one but you has any right to make.