What I’m not wearing lately: A bra. Do you wear a bra all the time? I pretty consistently take my bra off when I’m “done” for the day, even if it’s relatively comfortable, I just prefer to change into “home” clothes, and that means comfortable lounge attire all the way. And since I’ve worn my new Ozma romper several times, and it’s layered at the bust, I don’t HAVE to wear a bra with it, so I don’t. I’m not quite ready to wear it out in public sans bra without a tank or tee underneath though, I think that just doesn’t work well in real life – when you’re sitting or eating with a friend, for example. Or if you have to bend over? whoa.
Why do we wear bras anyway? Some of us like the support. I wear one because I think I’m supposed to. And sometimes I appreciate the coverage; I have perky nipples whether I’m cold or not. But honestly, most of the bras I wear are bralettes, or thin cotton, so they don’t do much to alleviate that anyway. So what’s the point??
For me, I know I’ve been “trained” my whole life to believe I have to look a certain way to fit in, and a bra was just a given, and certainly expected once you start “developing boobies.” Bras provide shape, definitely, and perk the girls up, but I can’t help but also feel they’re just another way for us to encourage girls to hide their bodies, and they feed subtly (or not so much) into the idea that we should somehow be ashamed of what is happening to us at that age and cover it all up.
When I do wear a more “substantial” bra, with underwire and padding, I do notice a difference in how I look in my clothes, James Perse dresses specifically. I like the lifted look, and the definition a good bra gives, but man…even my go-to underwire Natori bra isn’t comfortable enough for me to want to wear it very often. My favorite bras right now are by Cosabella: this one and this one. They are comfortable as can be, but they do nothing for my shape. FYI, I’m a 36a or 34b but I find 36a more comfortable.
I think at this year’s nordstrom anniversary sale I’ll pick up a Spanx Bra-llelujah bra. I’ve tried it on a few times, and know lots of people who have one and find it really comfortable. It seems like it would give me the support I want sometimes and be more comfortable.
But ultimately, when I just don’t want to wear a bra, I don’t – Yesterday I wore my JP open back dress without a bra. It felt weird, but SO COMFORTABLE. Why do we feel like we should pad our breasts so much so that no one can possibly see that we have nipples? What is that?? It’s similar to working so hard to avoid VPL (visible panty line); why does it matter if it’s obvious that we’re wearing underwear?? Should we not wear underwear??
Haha…I’m starting to go all hippie as I head into my mid-late forties 🙂
Eileen Fisher on sale (a reader mentioned she clicked through to Nordstrom and found my red dress on sale – it’s not now, but it’s worth stalking!!) – at Eileen Fisher – at Nordstrom
Shopbop sale on sale ends today. Just FYI 😉 totally recommend these Robert Clergerie slides if you’re into slides. And the denim would be so cool for summer…
I started re-watching Sex in the City for some reason. Then I saw something on Instagram, a comment, which was “What did we do before LaCroix??” And then, so funny, I think the same day, I was watching season 1 of Sex in the City and Carrie was drinking a Clearly Canadian. That’s what we did before LaCroix. Remember those?? I do. They certainly didn’t catch on like LaCroix has nowadays, but back then we were not really even drinking bottled water. It wasn’t a thing yet. Amazing.
And I was struck by how much color Carrie wore. The quintessential New Yorker, wearing ALL SORTS of color. It’s inspired me a little to keep branching out. I’m not going to say no automatically to color anymore…
How Georgia O’Keefe Styled her Iconic Self-Image – love this so much, and if I was going to NYC I would check out the exhibit that everyone seems to be talking about.
Stella McCartney, IKEA Find New Uses for Garbage, Plastic Bags – renewing my love for Stella McCartney (And the big blue IKEA bag – can’t wait to get a new grey one!). I have been stalking this bag by Stella McCartney, waiting for it to go on sale, but no luck so far, and I’m afraid I might miss out on it. I mean HOW ME IS THAT?? (and this skirt. Sigh.) I tried it on in the store and it is wonderful, holds more than you think, and is super easy to carry. I even tried a basic foldover Falabala bag, and the chain strap didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Those pop-up on The Real Real all the time, though, so with patience I think I’ll be able to snag one of those secondhand when I’m ready. I really want to support Stella McCartney, I love the work she’s doing for sustainability, but the prices…ugh…
Slowre is getting an overhaul this weekend, which is why there haven’t been any new arrivals this week. I’ve taken feedback from a survey I sent out this week (If you didn’t fill it out yet and want to, here’s the link) and will be implementing some suggestions. I want it to be easier to consign with slowre, and easier to buy from slowre, so all my changes will hopefully lead in that direction.
What are your plans for the weekend?
Oh, my step-son arrived last night, so it’s officially summer!!! 🙂
Yes! I’m so over bras. I’m lucky that I work in a really laid back environment and I have a self-imposed uniform of industrial overalls and t-shirts. Once I realized that essentially nobody could really see what was going on under the bib of thick canvas, it was sweet, sweet liberty. Haven’t worn a bra to work in months and its glorious! This has started spilling over into my real life too, and I am generally always braless or in a bralette, unless a more structured underwire affair happens to be what makes the outfit. Nobody has died, bled from the eyes or been otherwise scandalized. I think its safe to say that I’m firmly settled in my DGAF years!
I’m a D cup and I stopped wearing serious (i.e. underwire) bras two years ago. I exclusively wear soft bralettes, and cheap ones too. I started with braless, but felt too self conscious with no bra at all. Basic cotton or lace bralettes offer no support, but they do offer ever so slight shaping, which does make a difference visually. You’re right that they do nothing for nipples at attention. I’ve recently moved to merino wool bras (http://www.icebreaker.com/en/web-specials/siren-bra/103026.html?dwvar_103026_color=604) , which are more comfortable to sweat in and don’t smell the same way cotton does.
I’m headed into the bralette territory, but haven’t gone bra-less yet. I stopped wearing underwire bras well over ten years ago because no matter what brand I bought, they were uncomfortable. The wire always dug in and I hated it. I also read about how wearing underwire bras too tightly contributed to breast cancer, but I honestly don’t know if that’s still the case. I bought a couple of bralettes recently from Target and love both of them. They aren’t cotton – just some sort of polyester (rayon maybe? ) with lots of stretch and styled in more of a band than individual cups. So far, I’m only wearing them during the weekends, but I could easily see buying a few more structured styled ones to wear during the week. I could easily wear them under sweaters in the wintertime.
I used to actually go bra-less all the time in college, especially in summer ( I wore a lot of dark tees).
Grechen Reiter says
i went bra-less in college too, with t-shirts! something i’m not sure i could do now LOL and in the winter, i NEVER wore a bra, i was layered up, so what did it matter anyway??
i’m a huge bralette fan, i have a couple of hanky panky lace ones i’ve had for many years, and they’re still in good shape, they’re mostly just pretty, and fun to wear – they certainly do NOTHING for coverage or support…
Grechen Reiter says
oh! i love icebreaker. will have to try one of their bras…
Debi Case says
I hate bras. When I was younger I rarely wore one (I’m not well endowed–but I do have aggressive nipples!). When I turned fifty I felt like I had to start wearing one–like no one wants to see sagely old lady tits. But really, why? With age one starts to feel invisible in this youth obsessed culture anyway.; I doubt anyone is looking. I really should just say [email protected] it with “the shouds” and do as I please. Lord knows it took me long enough to not care what others think of how I adorn the rest of my body!!
At any rate, I am always looking for a comfortable way to harness the girls so I will give your recommendations a try! Here’s to a great braless weekend?
Grechen Reiter says
YES. DGAF years, i love it. i’m so there…
lmao at your comment though – isn’t it funny how we think the world will end or whatever if we go bra-less, or do our hair different, or branch out a little? we forget how little other people really care about what we’re wearing LOL
even yesterday when i didn’t wear a bra with my JP dress, i was sure everyone would notice and everything would feel so DIFFERENT. but no one cared, and everything was still the same 🙂
Grechen Reiter says
you guys are killing me with your comments!!
yes, f the shoulds.
and here’s to a bra-less weekend !!! lol
let’s everyone report back on monday on how no one noticed and we’re all still here 🙂
As a 32A, I’ve never actually worn a “real” bra. When my son was an infant, I didn’t even bother with nursing bras, since all my “bras” were soft and stretchy so I’d just pull them out of the way. Once my boob-size went back down to normal, I did try a couple of “soft structured” bras (padded, with cups, but no underwire) but they dug in enough to give me mastitis (I still breastfeed the little guy, who’s a 3yo now). So, back to bralettes. Almost all of mine are Ibex merino — the Balance Bralettte or the Balance Light. And I have one cotton one from Hanna Broer that I like. I dunno — those padded-cup bras definitely gave me more “lift” and it looked nice, but not nice enough to deal with infect milk ducts LOL.
I like a lightweight bra that keeps me from “jiggling” when I’m doing anything remotely active, and honestly mine are all comfortable enough that I don’t even notice them. The bottom half of the underwear, equation, though — that’s what really drives me crazy. Almost every pair of briefs I’ve ever owned has had a fit issue, to the point that I just went commando for, like, more than a decade? I basically only wear underwear with skirts/dresses, or with pants that I don’t like to launder often (silk crepe, lined wool trousers)
I’ve been going more and more braless as I get older – and it started after I had my daughter. I always ditched my bra when I got home, but if people were around (other than my husband), I’d put on a bra. When I had my daughter and was breastfeeding, I ditched underwires completely – way too uncomfortable for milk boobs! After she weaned, I stuck with my wirefree bras but with padding, and now I’m getting more comfortable wearing no-padding bralettes out in public. I’m really self-conscious about my nipples – they are very visible no matter what – so I’m getting better at being nippy in bralettes out in public, but I would never go without padding at work. One, because it’s SUPER COLD in my office all the time, and two, I would probably get called out for not being dressed professionally.
I’ve always been bothered by this idea that we’re supposed to HIDE THE BRA AT ALL COSTS, like we’re not supposed to *look* like we’re wearing one, but we are absolutely supposed to wear one. I don’t give a crap if my straps are showing, or if the bra peeks out, or what! I think someone commented on here once that European women tend to see the bra as part of the outfit, so they will choose bras with the intention of it showing. I’ve also been doing more of that. I got this spaghetti strap dress recently and instead of wearing a horribly uncomfortable strapless bra (which makes my boobs look awful), I just wore a comfy bralette with a cool racerback design and it totally made the outfit.
Mastitis is no joke. I had only one blocked duct, so not full mastitis even, when I was nursing, and I was like NEVER AGAIN. It came from wearing a too-tight nursing bra.
I hate bras but am a 32C and feel like it’s unprofessional in my office environment (sigh). But…I’ve started wearing the True & Co. bras and LOVE THEM. They’re a bit high cut so hard to wear with tanks and such but they are so, so comfortable and offer the perfect amount of padding to avoid visible nips without being Too Much. This is the collection — https://trueandco.com/collections/true-body-bras-panties. Not sure how ethical they are, unfortunately, but a comfortable bra is worth a lot to me.
Ddd so I wear a bra for support – going braless too long is uncomfortable. But so is wearing a bra too long. I guess when you’re ddd, it’s gonna be uncomfortable. (I had a reduction when I was 19 so I spent my 20s as a c/d and wore bras less often – also, 90s spaghetti strap dresses, so…) But then I got older and gained weight and it goes to the boobs first, and even when I lose weight – the boobs stay pretty much the same. I’ve never cared about hiding my nipples or vpl, though.
I’m so happy bralettes are becoming so much easier to find. I’m tiny at a 34A but very athletic so ‘compression’ bras were the way for so long. It felt like my chest was wrapped. Then, I would get ‘fit’ and SA’s always thought I should have underwire, padded, push up bras. I never liked the look. It just wasn’t me. I wear bralettes most days, but if I’m home, I go without and, like you Grechen, once I’m in for the day, the bralette comes off. Always. What a fun discussion. Thanks!
Oh I forgot, the Ibex bralette’s are amazing! And, since I’m in NE, they’re local.
34DD and over 50 so I do wear a bra daily… I’m just not comfortable without one! To each her own…
Thank God cute bralettes are everywhere right now. Aerie makes cute ones, and they’re inexpensive. All I need is something to manage the jiggle, but will pop in some of those little silicone nip covers for work and thin tops. The hippie in me bristles a little, but consider any photo of Angelina Jolie over the past few years – she can be so chic and impeccably dressed but then has these giant nipples all the time – it just looks tacky. There’s a time and a place for that and my office is not one of them.
I would love to ditch my bra but I’m up in the G/H territory, so I just feel super self-conscious going braless. I would like to try some bralettes, though I’m a bit hesitant that they’ll be supportive enough. Giant boobs can be awesome and awful all at the same time. I just try to focus on finding cute and comfy bras for my everyday life….. and never wear a bra at home!
I rocked a lot of hippie tops sans bra in high school, unfortunately I was a late bloomer and my seemingly flat chest ballooned into ddd territory after high school…but the freedom was great while it lasted. I love the thought of all the cute bralettes, but my ribcage is so narrow that most just slide up… I normally don’t ware bras at home though, none are that comfortable (I wish they made more heavy duty bras in cotton).
As for VPL, and much to the disdain of my spouse, I’m a cotton brief/hip-hugger fan. Underwear serves a sanitary purpose, but almost all non-cotton underwear has the opposite effect. I had a friend with a gyno. doctor for an aunt as a teen and apparently her super gross lecture on underwear stuck with me. There are some pretty low VPL cotton choices out there, if you look and are willing to try a few to find one that fits just right.
I just can’t jump on the LaCroix band wagon, I love sparkling mineral water, but without the minerals it just tastes odd to me. I’m trying to cut back on sparkling beverages in general…apparently the carbonation is not great for our teeth (sparkling water is more or less just as bad as a soda when it comes to your teeth)…but they are just so much more satisfying then flat beverages.
Grechen Reiter says
Grechen Reiter says
lol. yes, true.
Grechen Reiter says
oh, i’m a lacroix addict. although i’ve been trying to wean myself off, mostly because of the waste. we recycle all our cans, but still….
i started drinking them when i was heavy duty on atkins as a way to get some sort of fruity taste/smell – without the carbs. ugh. it worked though!
i wear grannie panties most of the time now, and my only hearts organic cotton ones are my favorites 🙂
dumb question, but i thought the cotton gusset was all that really counted? i always buy underwear with cotton gussets, even hanky panky thongs have those. and this may be WAY TMI, but my mother would NOT let us wear underwear to bed when we were growing up. she said we needed to “breathe”. i still subscribe to that belief LOL
Ha – that’s an ongoing and amusing part of the Outlander novels – the “airing out” 😉
More TMI – but I break out on my butt if I wear non-cotton for too long (eg basically any sweaty summer week here in NC….) I have cotton bikinis I wear, but when I wear dresses, I like to wear a jockey short (I really like the “cooling” ones) or a wicking boxer brief to prevent chafing. It’s so odd as, knock wood, I’ve almost never had a problem breaking out on my face….So I can see why all cotton might be preferable to just the cotton gusset.
I love all of you. That is all!
The “airing out” being healthy thing is true, but only if you are wearing a nightgown or cotton pjs (kids pjs legally have to have to be flame retardant, so probably not ideal, but I’m not sure when that became a law). They actually recommend it for yeast infections….except then you would have to change the sheets daily, so maybe men’s loose cotton boxer might work better?
I think the issue with only cotton gussets is that they are often too small to actually provide coverage, and then you actually have whatever your pants are made of in contact. It isn’t a major issue if you change often and aren’t sweating much, but ideally underwear should be changed right after exercise and pants washed more often…so cotton underwear just prevent some of the extra work to keep sanitary.
Ahh, buttne, the distant cousin of bacne. I used to get jealous of my friends that didn’t get much face acne as a teen, but then I realized that some people just get it other places. I think buttne isn’t uncommon amongst adults, many adults have acne, it just stops popping up on our faces. I’ve had good luck with sulfur based acne products as an adult (they do smell bad, but not horrible), peter thomas roth makes a mask that does wonders for calming the inflammation (you could probably get a sample at sephora to see if it helps first).
I am a 32 DD and would wear a super supportive sport bra 24/7 if I could! I am absolutely NOT comfortable without a bra. I want those girls hiked up to under my chin!! I have never worn undies to sleep in (gotta let everything “breathe!) I can never find any undies that don’t give me VPL, and I barely have a butt!
Grechen Reiter says
Lol – to you want your girls hiked up to under your chin 🙂 sorry, felt i needed to clarify…
so wonderful how different we all are!!
Rebecca B. says
So helpful! I’m a 32e/f and need something, but don’t enjoy wireless much since kids.
Rebecca B. says
All of this.
I hate bras! I am 34 C ( measured in saks store for a Natory tshirt bra) but really 34 a or b. It depends on a brand. I wear some cosabella as well.
For anyone who hates bras and wants to conceal nipples – this shopbop product is revolutionary . I keep buying them and wear Year around. https://m.shopbop.com/nippies-skin-non-adhesive-nipple/vp/v=1/1500737920.htm?fm=search-shopbysize&os=false
I’ve been the same weight for 10-12 years now…but somehow post menopause the “girls” have grown to DDD to F depending on the bra. I do not like going without support. Prefer bras during the day that do not have that silly foam lining…why on earth does a busty woman need foam in her bra?? I have found some pretty and lacey unlined bras and wear colors whenever possible…just more fun.
When I get home I change into a racerback light support (one layer of stretchy fabric w/o underwire) sport bra…wear these to bed too…but no panties in bed LOL.
Thanks – usually I ignore it (who sees my butt but me & my husband?) but lately I decided I’ll start paying more attention – I have an active charcoal shower gel and have been using tx gel too. So we’ll see…..
Oh my goodness- love all the comments
I have to wear a bra to work since I have a class of 7 year olds who would be staring at my nips all day and not listening. They are ‘aggressive’ too as one of the ladies described hers and growing up I got a lot of attention that I didn’t like.
I love the Chantelle bra company, they are comfy and fit well and provide coverage. In the summer I wear a very thin Wacoal with nip covers.
I’m going to check out the bralette everyone is talking about.
Thank you girls!!!
Ironic that I found this today – it’s the one-year anniversary of my breast reduction. I was a 32G before my operation and had spent most of my teenage and adult life near that number, so braless was never much of an option, especially as an active equestrian. (And thus an answer to the “why do we wear bras?” question – ladies, by all means, be comfortable when going about normal activities, but if you’re doing anything active, keep the girls supported. You really can damage that tissue.)
Before surgery, being without a bra at all was painful. I wore supportive sports bras plus either chest binders or men’s compression tanks during the day to alleviate back and shoulder pain; the damage all of this was doing to my digestive system was one of the things that drove me to surgery. At night, I was always in a lighter sports bra, even to sleep. The thought of going braless at all was a luxury I literally fantasized about constantly.
A year post-surgery, I’ve found I actually don’t like going braless (though sleeping without one is heaven!). Surgery left me without the, um, “headlights” issue, but I’m still a 32D (turns out they can only cut out so much) and value some support. The post-op “no underwires allowed” stage did introduce me to some fantastic, supportive (and still very comfortable) wireless options, and I find myself turning to those more often. Do my breasts look better in underwires? Absolutely – that’s why it’s there. Do most people in my daily life look that closely? I doubt it.
Honestly, from a health perspective, I hope most of the women here are doing what they need to do to protect their backs, shoulders, and breast tissue, but beyond that… We’re all different. Do your thing. It’s no secret we have nipples and bra straps, I don’t think hiding it has to be necessary. Clothes look traditionally better in a good bra, sure, but legs look “traditionally” better in heels, at least by societal norms. A bunch of women rocking flats have made that look not only acceptable but stylish; why not bralettes or braless, too?
I have a love hate relationship with bras. I’m average sized, 34B, so I can go without if I want to. I love pretty lingerie though. I really enjoy wearing attractive bras even though it’s only me who knows they’re under my clothes. I also have what someone above described as aggressive nipples. What a great term! I can’t go braless at work for that reason. It’s a conservative professional office environment. Weekends though, no bra. Although again, I love to put on a pretty sexy bra when I’m dressing up to go to dinner or some evening event.
My sister-in-law and I, both 56, were just having this very conversation about changing our hair color (she just went from brunette to blond to deal with the gray) and being all self-conscious about people noticing the drastic difference and perhaps judging us for it. We both agreed that no one seems to notice …or CARE…after you reach a certain age. Yup. We’ve reached the age of invisibility. Getting noticed for their looks belongs to the young chicks now! 😉
Debi, I wish I had read your comment before I wrote mine above! Yup….100%!!!
Off-topic, but kudos, Kate for fully-embracing breastfeeding! And as a mom who also breastfed a 3-yr old, I know that you get judgemental comments and looks from people who only see breasts as sex objects. My daughter lovingly named them my “nursers”! (A lot closer to their purpose!) 😉
Wait…PTR makes a butt mask??? This, I did not know!
Does anyone know why manufacturers skip the letter “E”?!?
Sadly it is just a tub of mask stuff…that would be quite entertaining if the made sheet masks for body parts other then faces (maybe they do, but somethings are not worth the possible google results). I have used it on the occasional chest zit, I just put the mask stuff on and let it do it’s thing while shaving my legs.
Gotcha! (Never considered the ramifications of googling…yikes!)
In Asia I know you can buy plain sheet masks a d embed whatever mask liquid you want. Can that be done in the us? Though for my butt, I’d want a clay mask and my sheet masks are all soothing and anti-aging…
That depends on country…..
I’m firmly in the bra camp – I find it uncomfortable to run in a bra, and running without a bra is even worse. Also, I work mostly with men, and it just works better for me professionally if I’m not giving them a reason to stare at my chest.
One thing I have mostly enjoyed from sustainable fashion brands is that a lot of the clothing has relatively high necklines. I’m a 36DDD and a lot of things that look fine on other women look inappropriate on me, so I really appreciate that I can order clothing online and know it will cover me. The downside of sustainable fashion is that many brands don’t offer larger or longer sizes, so, for example, I just don’t look at Everlane any more because my chest takes up a lot of length, making their stuff too short on me. Recently, I ordered a cropped top from another brand that was all over the internet, touching the top of most women’s pants. On me, cropped meant that it hit the bottom of my rib cage, due to the real estate my chest took up, leaving way too much exposed skin before the waist of my pants.
So, it’s a comfort thing, it’s a professional thing, it’s a trying not to reveal too much thing, but, yes, I wear a bra every day and that will not change. I get why some women don’t, but, honestly, I get enough perverts saying weird stuff to me when I’m wearing a full coverage bra and a high neck t-shirt, so I’m not going to go asking for more attention.
I haven’t worn an underwire bra in forever, hate them. I can’t go without very comfortably though, sensitive skin and chafing. So I alternate between Target cheapies and Cosabella lace, for feeling fancy.
I know some people like underwires but I am mystified as to how;).
Esther Bonny says
I do always wear a bra, even when I go to bed I’m kinda well endowed in that area, although they are quite perky and firm (for their size), I don’t like all the bounce and my breasts even hurt when I run or something like this. My bras are also comfortable enough. But I don’t think it’s disgusting at all if someone doesn’t wear a one… it’s completely natural. It’s up to you if you decide to wear it or not so Like Alison said “we’re all different
Gina D says
Wearing a bra has been linked to cancer. A tight fitting bra can cut off lymph drainage, which can contribute to the development of breast cancer. If you google, there is a lot of information online supporting this.
The worst is the underwire bra. I wear a comfortable bralette since I learned this. It doesn’t have a lot of support but it feels good. I like the Skin organic cotton bras also.