No Bra Day: why would you wear a bra?

no bra day

On the 13th of October, we celebrate No Bra Day! A day on which we encourage women to leave their bras at home for the day and reflect on the consequences of breast cancer. But why only do it for one day? We delved into the advantages and disadvantages of wearing bras and, in doing so, busted some persistent myths!

Braless due to Covid

‘I don’t care if my breasts reach my belly button. I’m not wearing a bra anymore’. The statement made by actress Gillian Anderson caused quite a stir, but secretly her bra grievances were something many women immediately identified with. The covid pandemic has only strengthened our dislike of bras. Because why on earth would you wear that piece of fabric and wire if you’re just typing away at home? And how comfortable is it really to sit behind a laptop all day while an underwire keeps poking your ribcage?

Swinging breasts

The coronavirus incentivized women to re-examine their trusty old bras, and guess what? We’re not all that happy with them. Research conducted by Sainsburys showed that nearly 46 percent of women don’t wear a bra at least once a week, and two in five women feel uncomfortable in their underwear for up to four hours every day.

Covid is still with us, but so is being able to walk around the house with our breasts swinging and swaying. Slowly but surely, we’re working our way back to the office, which also means having to deal with our bras in the morning again. After all, a bra is a must if you want to look decent and professional. Right?

Would it be a good idea for us to rethink our relationship with our bras?

Or, would it be a good idea for us to rethink our relationship with our bras? What are the real advantages and disadvantages of a bra? And, what are the most persuasive arguments for leaving that restricting piece of fabric at home?

voordelen geen bh dragen

Three myths about bras

Before we move on to the advantages and disadvantages of bras, it’s essential to address and dispel a couple of persistent myths. And there are quite a few of those, often based on unfounded assumptions and misconceptions.

Myth 1: No bra? Then your breasts will sag like plum puddings

It seems logical. Thanks to your bra, your breasts proudly stand at attention. This must mean that it prevents them from sagging. After all, a bra helps defy the laws of gravity, even if only for a few hours a day. However, it’s not that simple. There still isn’t enough evidence to prove that your breasts will end up sagging if you don’t wear a bra.

The same applies the other way around. A bra doesn’t help to keep your breasts firm and full. Although the French researcher Jean-Denis Rouillon spent fifteen years studying the relationship between bras and low-hanging breasts, the conclusions drawn from this research are controversial. Having followed 330 women between the ages of 15 and 35 all that time, he concluded that pectoral muscles had to work harder without a bra which kept the breasts firmer. However, his research was on a relatively small scale. It was never published or subjected to peer review. Because of this, it was controversial.

Yet, many people still believe you can counter the effects of gravity by wearing a bra. Unfortunately, though, nothing can stop the natural progression of your breasts. Your breasts will eventually start to sag. It’s a simple law of nature against which little or nothing can be done. Whether it’s due to your genetics, weight, hormonal changes during pregnancy, or the natural process of aging, deal with it.

Myth 2: No bra? Lower risk of getting breast cancer

If only we were so lucky. This myth is based on the idea that a bra affects lymph drainage, which is how your body gets rid of waste and toxins. If you have problems with your lymph drainage, these substances could end up in your bloodstream and increase the risk of getting cancer.

However, according to the American Cancer Society, there is no direct, scientific link to be found between wearing a bra and breast cancer. They emphasize the possibility that the myth might have come from the fact that overweight women wear bras more often, given that they have larger breasts on average. They are also more likely to get breast cancer as obesity is a risk factor.

Myth 3: No bra? You’ll develop back pain

Many women who have considerable boobs are convinced their breasts are the cause of their back pains. However, according to the Women’s Health Research Institute of Northwestern University, the size of your breasts is hardly ever the cause. Back pain is mainly due to a poorly fitting bras, obesity, injured back muscles, a weakened spine, bad or crooked posture, or pregnancy.

So, whether you wear a bra or not has little to do with your back pain. However, a bra that fits properly can help improve your posture and, because of that, prevent back pain. A variety of studies show that women with large breasts often wear the wrong sized bras and develop back pains because of this.

Advantages of wearing a bra

Although there are women who are happy to give up their bras, we can imagine you feel more comfortable in public wearing one, especially if you’re sporting a considerable cup size. Many women with larger breasts are very aware of their swaying bosom, and understandably so. For them, it may be more pleasant to wear a bra.

Over one and a half kilos

After all, it’s not a light burden. When you have a D-cup or larger, a single breast can weigh over one and a half kilograms. This puts a lot of strain on your body, especially your neck, back, and shoulders. Also, women with large breasts tend to walk and sit in a slightly arched posture, increasing the strain on these body parts. If that’s the case, then of course you’d want to provide your girls with a bit of extra support.

Unfortunately, around 80 per cent of all ladies wear the wrong sized bra, of which 70 percent wear a size that’s too small for them even though they could feel so much lighter, self-confident, and comfortable in a bra that fits. So, it shouldn’t be considered an unnecessary luxury to have a consultation and get yourself properly measured and fitted the next time you go to a lingerie store.

Perfectly outfitted pair

Because, even though a bra doesn’t prevent your breasts from taking a one-way trip to your ankles, a perfectly outfitted pair can make you feel a lot better about yourself in the process. A tip: make sure the strap across the back is broad and strong. Many women think it’s all about the straps, but it’s the back that helps with the much-needed extra support.

Are you sick of lace, frills, and painful underwire? Then, according to breast specialist Cassann Blake, you could opt for a good sports bra. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for advice, for instance, from an osteopath, about any possible back pain, your posture, and the type of bra that can best help you with your problems.

Disadvantages of wearing a bra

As we’ve said before, in practice, there are no health disadvantages specifically associated with wearing or not wearing a bra, but there are disadvantages to wearing a bra that doesn’t fit right. So much so that there could be a link between wearing the wrong sized bras and breast reductions. An ill-fitting bra can increase some health problems, which is why many women end up choosing to go through with plastic surgery. Everything is about finding the right fit.

Is wearing bras in bed bad for sleep?

There have also been studies that claim wearing a bra at night could disrupt your sleep cycle. They maintain that the tight-fit of the clothing would raise your body temperature and lower your melatonin level. The results? A bad night’s sleep. However, these studies were conducted on a small scale, and more research involving more participants over a longer time would be needed to further substantiate the findings. At the same time, I would dare say that we all realize wearing a bra in bed is not the most comfortable thing. We would say, let them hang loose at night!

Cut-off blood circulation

The disadvantages of blood circulation being cut-off should be obvious. You’ve probably already experienced the effects at least once when sitting behind your laptop or on the couch. After all, a bra is nothing more and nothing less than a band around your torso meant to keep everything together nice and tight. A corset might be worse, but still, a fastened bra band around your diaphragm can feel incredibly restrictive. Even worse, that band could cut off your blood circulation. This isn’t to say that you’ll immediately have a fainting fit like a nineteenth-century corset wearer, but it could cause your blood vessels to be under pressure. Especially when, and here it is again, you’re wearing the wrong-sized bra or go to sleep wearing your bra. It’s not a pleasant feeling, and the continuous pressure isn’t good for your ribcage. An ill-fitting bra can also cause pain in the ribs and shortness of breath.

A corset might be worse, but still, a fastened bra band around your diaphragm can feel incredibly restrictive.

This is why it’s wise to thoroughly inspect your body every so often when taking off your bra. Do you see any red spots or lines? These are indicators your bra is too restrictive. It might not be all that charming, but it helps to gently shake your breasts a few times a day to help stimulate the blood flow.

Chaffed skin

It’s also much better for your skin to have a regular bra-break. This way, you’ll have less sweat and bacteria sticking to your bra, and healthier blood circulation does wonders for your skin.

On top of that, in a bra, your boobies are constantly chafing up against laces and frills, which is not really good for your tender skin. And don’t forget about the nipples: one of your most sensitive body parts that definitely doesn’t want to be exposed to a tight, frilly ‘brassier’ 24-7, thank you very much.

A couple of tips: take your bra off as often as you can, never wear your bra for longer than twelve hours at a time (especially not while sleeping) and find the correct cup size and fit!

To bra or not to bra?

So yeah, to bra or not to bra, that’s the question. Luckily, a bra-lover doesn’t need to worry about the health disadvantages of wearing a bra. Because there are none, if you buy a good bra and treat it wisely. The same applies the other way around: there is nothing wrong with not wearing a bra, and your breasts won’t drop a few inches just because you’re not wearing one.

‘A bra is a piece of clothing, not medical advice’, as Amanda Newman of the Jean Hailes Women’s Health Organisation said, and that’s the way it is. In the end, it remains a personal preference whether you want to wear a bra or not. Does a bra make you feel supported and more confident? Then wear one! Would you rather let your girls swing freely? That’s fine as well!

Liberating feeling

Choose what you’re most comfortable with, and don’t worry about what other people think of it. It’s still strange that a braless breast causes so much controversy. Many women are ashamed of their swaying bosom while dealing with all sorts of issues because they wear the wrong bra. That’s a shame. Let’s make these bra-breaks more common. Even if it’s only when you’re lying on the couch watching tv, sitting in your garden reading or making a supermarket run to get that milk you’ve forgotten, or whatever.

That liberating feeling you get at night when you take off your bra? That’s more than enough reason to take of your bra more often!

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