Some women wear them. Some women don’t.
Growing up and developing breasts begins many women’s journeys into a love/hate relationship with bras. But have you ever considered why we wear them?
The bra has been around in a number of different variations since the times of Ancient Greece. However, the modern bra that we’ve come to know so intimately was patented in 1914.
Today, nearly 95% of women in Western countries wear this bra. For a garment that is meant to be hidden beneath your clothing, the bra has catapulted to being an over billion-dollar industry, dominated by well-known brands like Victoria’s Secret.
We’re told from adolescence that bras provide us support and comfort and we are encouraged to wear them daily. From magazines to movies and primetime television fashion shows, we are told that bras aren’t only necessary for our breast health but also to our beauty. Magazines provide tips on “How to Find the Perfect Bra,” but for what purpose? While some tips suggest finding a fit that works and is comfortable for you, most suggest using bras as a way to change the way we look and to be aesthetically pleasing to our partners and the outside world.
Female beauty has long been looked at as an object of desire, belonging to someone other than ourselves. It’s no secret that breasts have been sexualized. Whether it be women breastfeeding or simply skipping the padded bra, women are now led to feel uncomfortable in their own skin. Women who don’t wear bras in public are condemned, seen as unprofessional or provocative.
Bras have served as a temporary solution, providing a way for many to feel sexy, wanted, and even included. From corsets to the modern-day bra, the everyday woman now considers this garment a staple in her everyday attire.
While many women feel obligated to wear them, they’re often counting down the moments until they can take it off again. Women everyday are wearing bras they find uncomfortable. Have we been misled to think bras are essential and even good to wear? Science may show us differently.
A 15 year French study examined how wearing a bra affected women’s breasts throughout her life. Researchers found that over time bras increased the rate of sagging and prevented the growth of breast tissue and collagen, even calling bras a “false necessity.”
While some bras may provide the support that women need, it’s clear from a health perspective that bras are not necessary for breast health and serve only a visual function.
While most of us are not quite ready to “Free the Nipple,” there are ways you can feel more comfortable in supporting your breast health. Whether it’s going bra-free when you get home from work, wearing a bralette or camisole under your clothing, or even going cold turkey, you may find that going bra-free isn’t as hard or scary as you thought and you’ll feel more comfortable.
Check out these comfortable bralette alternatives from some of our favorite ethical and sustainable lingerie companies!
Whether you wear bras for comfort, you like the way you look in them, or you hate the mere sight of them, be sure to make the choice for yourself and what’s best for you.