Bras: that constrictive mechanism that people with breasts love to hate. If you love the feeling of taking their bra off at the end of the day, join the club. Few things feel better than letting your breasts exist freely, without a garment that holds them up unnaturally while putting undue pressure on your back and shoulders.
High-impact activities aside, you may feel more comfortable without a bra. Sure, your nipples may have a mind of their own, and your breasts may fall off to the side without a bra to stay in place. But there’s nothing wrong with the way your breasts sit naturally. And if men are largely encouraged and supported when they decide to free the nipple, why not everyone?
But of course, going braless is not all bliss. People who prefer to go braless are often met with incredulity by underwear traditionalists. You may hear things like, "Your breasts will sag," or "Aren't you worried people will be able to see your nipples?"
It's as though going braless marks you as some kind of untrustworthy or irresponsible person who is playing it fast and loose with breast health. This, obviously, is not the case. There are many reasons, both personal and health-related, why going braless is the best. Scroll down for a few.
1. You Can Be At Braless Comfort Level All Day Long
It’s so pleasurable to simply remove your bra at the end of the day. With one movement, you're free of the constricting band around your ribs. The underwire under your breasts is gone. The straps that have slowly twisted and chafed and dug into your skin all day are removed. Even a well-fitting bra is still a joy to cast off at the end of the day. It makes you feel free. Why not feel this good all day long?
2. Less Pain
While it all depends on if your bras are properly fitted or not, going braless can actually help with pain relief. "Tight bras can cause ribcage, back, and neck pain," Dr. Anuradha Seshadri, internist at UCLA Health tells Bustle. This can also "lead to grooves on the shoulders or on the back."
3. You Save Money On Bras
Bras are expensive. Cut costs by not wearing them.
4. It May Not Take Too Long To Get Used To Going Braless
"Many women with small breasts are going to be more comfortable and move more easily without a bra, while women with large or pendulous breasts may face daily discomfort unless adequately supported," Patricia Geraghty, medical director of women's health at Comprehensive Wellness, a California-based medical practice, tells Bustle. "But it goes back to fit, style, and comfort, but even more on the individuality and diversity of women."
5. Bras May Not Actually Do Anything For Your Boobs In The Long Term
University of Franche-Comté professor Jean-Denis Rouillon conducted a 15 year study into the effects of bras on breasts in that period of time. He found that there were no benefits to bra wearing, and said, "Medically, physiologically, anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity."
6. Not Wearing A Bra Can Make Your Breasts Stronger
In the same study, Roullion found that not wearing a bra actually made women's breasts stronger. The long term effects of not wearing a bra showed that more muscle tissue grew to provide natural support. "The body has to use its pectoral muscles to perk up the breast tissue against gravity," Dr. Seshandri says. So, skip the weight machines at the gym, just throw out your bra.
7. It Can Also Make Them Perkier
Due to all that extra muscle tissue, your breasts actually look "perkier" without a bra. Roullion's study found that the nipples of women who didn't wear bras were lifted 7mm higher on average than women who did wear bras. However, Dr. Seshadri does say that this all depends on the size of your breasts. "If your breast size is larger, then wearing a bra may slow down the process of sagging," she says.
8. Without A Bra Your Circulation Could Improve
Not wearing a bra allows blood to flow more readily around your chest, helping muscle tissue building as well as keeping your skin firm. But thankfully, Geraghty says even if you choose to still wear a bra, it's not a serious concern.
"When a bra leaves red marks at pressure point around the ribs or on the shoulders, this indicates an effect on the surface circulation of the skin," she says. "This is not going to cause negative health consequences in the otherwise healthy woman."
9. You May Be Able To Sleep Better
If you're someone who wears bras to bed, Dr. Seshadri says, "You may feel less restricted at night" by taking it off before you lay down.
10. It Could Help To Clear Up Your Skin
"The dirt and sweat that build-up underneath [your bra] can lead to skin infections and acne," Dr. Seshadri says. This is especially important to remember in the summer time when your body is more likely to perspire.
11. But If You're More Comfortable Wearing A Bra, Go For It
"The vast majority of women with breasts wear bras for a single reason: comfort," Geraghty says. "This may be the physical comfort of well-fitted and styled support for the breasts or it may be the mental comfort of knowing she looks the way she wants to look as she then goes into action living her life."
12. You Don't Have To Free The Nipple If You Don’t Want To
While some people find freeing the nipple empowering, others may feel uncomfortable revealing their bodies in that way. Fortunately, there's a simple fashion hack that you can adopt if you don’t want to bare your breasts fully. “Start out with going braless under a heavier top and see how that feels,” says celebrity stylist Andrew Gelwicks. “If you’re comfortable, try it next time with a T-shirt or something lighter. You don’t need to jump right in to a sheer top if that’s not comfortable for you.”
13. You Can Avoid Chafing
Chafing, especially with sports bras, is extremely common. And the longer you have your bra on, the worse it gets. Why not save yourself the struggle and go without? “This friction can get worse as you continue to sweat since the salt produced by the body will also start rubbing together, causing irritation," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf.
14. You Can Cure Itchy Nipples
Are your nipples always itchy? Your bra could be causing this discomfort. "Synthetic fabrics are the biggest problem," says Gary Goldenberg, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. He added that polyester and latex often found in the interior of bras are major culprits of itchiness and irritation.
15. It Can Boost Your Confidence
Wearing a bra is a style standard and it can feel fantastic to go against the norm. "There's something very empowering about not wearing a bra," says ob-gyn Sherry Ross, M.D. Not only is it comfortable and healthier in many instances, it’ll feel great that you decided to buck social convention and choose yourself instead.
Additional reporting by Kayla Greaves.
This article was originally published on