x112 (bras: a tmi adventure)

Come and go on a TMI adventure with me.

I want to talk about this article that appeared on Offbeat Home & Life last year. The article in question? A woman who’s a 36D ditches her bras. Let’s discuss.

The last time I wore an outfit that required me to go braless for fashion’s sake was the winter semi-formal during my junior year of high school. I wore a totally backless halter dress and it looked great, if I do say so myself. Not long after that, one of my breasts became noticeably larger than the other (about a cup size), and so I was too embarrassed to ever wear something with such a low back again. But I do remember ditching my bra for comfort’s sake (I had gone through a growth spurt and was having a hell of a time sizing myself, so none of my bras fit right) while I had a psych hospital stay. And you know what happened? A nurse approached me and said that it was inappropriate that I was going braless because my nipples were perky, could I please put a bra on? I was pretty pissed, especially since there was a man on the ward who had bigger breasts than I did and his nipples were perky, too. Since when are bras supposed to be for modesty purposes? Apparently a lot of people think they are, because how many damn times have I seen an article about a teenage girl who snaps a selfie while she’s wearing a shirt but not wearing a bra and some “concerned mother” writes her a letter about how she’d better cover up if she wants to date this woman’s son?

I call bullshit.

Can we not slut-shame women who choose not to wear bras? Please?

I think that wearing a bra should be about providing comfort and support. If you’re not getting both of these things from your bra, maybe you should regroup, as I did. Because I’m embarrassed about my uneven ta-tas I can’t ever see myself being as brave as the author of this article and going completely bra-less, but I did decide that I was done with traditional bras and traditional bra sizing, and I was going to be a sports bra girl from now on.

Folks, this may rank as one of the top clothing-related choices I’ve ever made, possibly even topping my quest for more comfortable footwear.

I have a large cup size and a small band size. My chest doesn’t look all that big, though, because technically it isn’t – if you go down a band size, you go up a cup size, and vice versa. So a breast that fits into a 32F bra (also known as a 32DDD) is the same size as the breast that fits into a 36D bra. That being said, most popular affordable bra manufacturers do not cater to large cup sizes coupled with small band sizes. In order to avoid back pain, sensitivity, and other discomforts, I was stuck dragging myself to Nordstrom Rack and shelling out between $30 – $40 for a bra that provided adequate support. And let me tell you, I was sick of it. So after reading that article and thinking, I decided, why not just stick with sports bras? My favorite is an underwire sports bra by Champion that provided great support during high impact exercise. I figured, why am I only wearing this bra when I go to the gym? Why can’t I just wear it all the time?

And so I do. I have two fancy, actual bras – I can’t be sure if they fit correctly because I haven’t worn them in a long time – for special occasions. And I have two Champion underwire sports bras – one in a peach color to wear with light colored shirts, and one in black – that I wear day to day. I decided that my comfort is more important than… I’m sorry, I don’t even know how to describe standard bras or their purpose. Nobody sees them except your partner or maybe whomever does your laundry, so if you want lingerie for sexy times then go for it, or if wearing something lacy makes you feel more confident you can do that too. But I don’t feel like any less of a woman because I sacrificed fashion for form. I just feel more… comfortable. And that’s a great feeling to have.

2 responses to “x112 (bras: a tmi adventure)

  1. My breast size fluctuates dramatically so I have to keep a half dozen bras around at any given time. It is a pain in the ass, but I usually don’t go braless in public because I have nipple piercings (which people consider wildly more inappropriate than a perky nipple alone, even in a city that considers itself liberal like Seattle).

    I also participate is historic reenactment events spanning 1740-1840 which has been something of an interesting history lesson. Obviously bras weren’t invented yet, which means if I am portraying a native character I am completely braless and if I am portraying a white woman I am corseted till Tuesday! Given that choice, I’d happily spend the rest of my life braless!

    • I think the author of the original post on Offbeat Home mentions having nipple piercings as well – it makes sense that whether or not they are considered “acceptable” depends on the area in which you live (I’m as surprised as you are that you have a tough go of it in Seattle!). Corsets are nice for special occasions – they help with my posture and are infinitely better than strapless, IMO – but you’re right; if it was corsets 24/7 or braless, I’d choose the same as you!

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