There are a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to not wearing a bra out there. On the one hand, some folks can appreciate the sweet, sweet relief of de-strapping. On the other, the feeling that everyone is now staring at your nipples while nothing is in place is very real. But those mixed feelings are exactly why not wearing a bra is an empowering act of self love. Ditching the boob house might help you learn to become more comfortable with your body, teaching you to accept everything about your aesthetic — from how your boobies bounce and jiggle to your natural form, which is nothing to be ashamed about. Poking-out nipples, sag, and all.
Being freed from the restrictions of cups can be an intimidating experience at first, mainly because many of us have literally been taught for decades of our lives that we're supposed to accent, flaunt, and tout certain aspects of our boobs while simultaneously hiding and obscuring other ones. It's all an oxymoron. Just think about how sex bomb-y you might feel when sporting cleavage and how self-conscious you often feel with hard nipples. It's madness!
But when you let the gals out of their constraints and walk around showing off your natural body — no pads, gels, underwires, or lifts — you usually begin to accept and appreciate what you actually have. At least that's been my experience. Below are seven reasons why not wearing a bra is a self love-inspiring act.
1. You'll Be Giving Yourself A Choice
I got my first training bra when I was 13, back when I barely had mosquito bites let alone the tangerines I sport now. Since the beginning of my teenage years, I've been taught that strapping a bra on is just another thing a woman is supposed to do, along with waxing her mustache and putting on lipstick before she heads out of the house.
By deciding to let your boobs do their own thing, you're giving yourself a choice. Sure, you might not want to go braless every day, but knowing that you can leave your intimates drawer closed when the mood so strikes is often liberating.
2. You Won't Be Embarrassed About Your Female Form
The first time I went braless in public was to a brunch to meet up with my friends, and I was in total panic mode. I felt like my boobs were bouncing around to the beat of a drum only they could hear, and I spent most of the day with my arms crossed, mortified that someone would see nipples peeking through my shirt.
It's been nearly half a year now of my not wearing a bra. When I look back at my initial reaction, I can only ask, "Why was I so scared of letting my boobs be boobs?" Who cares if my nips pop out when a draft hits my booth? Why is it so embarrassing to sport a little jiggle when I strut down the street? The experience has helped me accept my form and take the stigma out of letting my ta-tas sit there naturally.
3. You'll No Longer Feel The Need To Conform Them
Push-up bras, underwires, pads that lift and separate. Yeesh. It seems that the bulk of bras out there are designed to recreate a certain ideal form — one that's perky, full, nipple-less, and heavy with cleavage. While that's a beautiful silhouette, it's not the only correct one. And when you forgo that lift and support, you might begin to let yourself feel OK with what you're packing naturally.
4. You Won't Feel As Pressured To Buy Sexiness
I love a good lace bra as much as the next person — the colors, the textures, the provocative sheerness of it all. It's enough to make me want to strike a Dita von Teese pose on the sheets.
But while I enjoy pretty delicates, I no longer feel like I'm not sexy without them. If I undress in front of a partner and all I have is a pair of normal white briefs on or a pair of panties that came out of a pack of five for $7, I still feel smoldering. Because I now understand that what's sexy is me, not the stuff covering my body.
5. You Might Begin To Accept Other Parts Of Your Body
My boobs look like little clementines under my tee. So what? Sometimes they look like they're hanging three inches lower than usual depending on the shirt, but that's no bother.
Once you catch your reflection in a mirror and begin to smile at that little piece of yourself that should be bothering you but isn't, you'll hopefully begin to move on to other things to embrace. Next stop for me was my slightly pancake-y booty, and the way my thighs touch when I stand in my underwear (which is super hot, by the way). Acceptance seems to trigger a domino effect.
6. And Learn To Appreciate Other Women's Bodies
Now that you've liberated your boobs and are embracing the natural curve, perk, droop, and jiggle, you might feel an appreciation for other women's bodies, too. Before you were confined to a pair of cups, and had this structured idea of what a proper tit should look like. But after observing how yours separate, move, and bounce once freed, you can't help but love the differences you see amongst other ladies.
Why? Because a braless boob is no longer a startling, scandalous look. You got yourself used to it. Whether other women's boobs are little pointy, like lovely grapefruits, heavier handfuls, or straight up DD cups, you can't help but tip a mental hat in their direction in appreciation.
7. You'll Get Used To Rejecting Things You Don't Want In Your Life
First it's not wearing a bra while going out to dinner. Next it'll be wearing shorty shorts and letting your thighs pancake where they wish. Afterwards, it might be not shaving your armpits, or disregarding silly so-called fashion rules for your body type. Maybe even shaving your head.
You're brave now. You've learned to be OK with a part of your body you previously stigmatized or hid. You can only go up from here.
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Images: Bianca Consuji, Andrew Zaeh/Bustle