Undressed: A Brief History Of Underwear, an exhibition which opened at London’s Victoria & Albert museum earlier this year, delved into our knicker drawers, looking into the role underwear – from the bra to the panty and beyond – has played over the years; with all its practicalities and impracticalities.
Judging by just how very much women spend on underwear, as well as the global obsession with Victoria’s Secret and their annual lingerie catwalk bonanza, underwear is, for many reasons, a big deal.
And like most women, I’m not averse to a bit of lingerie shopping. There’s just something about lacy, pretty, frilly sets that can make you both look and feel sexy, empowered and body-confident, no matter what you’re wearing over the top (if anything). I’ve certainly parted with my fair share of cash in Myla, my lingerie destination of choice.
Except no one actually ever sees my lacy lingerie because I rarely wear a bra. In fact, I pretty much haven’t worn one in a decade.
You know all those memes that celebrate how epic it feels to get home at the end of the day and whip off your bra? Well I feel like that all day, every day. And it really is epic. I’m morally and sartorially opposed to wearing something uncomfortable for long periods of time just because society might be afraid of a little unsolicited bounce. Nope, not gonna happen.
Here are the main reasons why I’ve chosen to set my breasts free and banish the bra…
A Bra Is Uncomfortable As Phuck
On the rare occasion I do wear a bra, it feels very much like someone is sitting on my chest. Where is the oxygen?! Does it ever not feel like that? And that’s only the beginning of the discomfort. Chances are the underwire is stabbing you, the straps are ingraining themselves into your shoulders and you have to fiddle and re-adjust approximately a million times a day.
Underwear Is Overpriced
And for the honour of this discomfort? A ridiculous amount spent on the offender in the first place. Apparently the average cost of lingerie is £95, meaning in your lifetime you’ll likely spend thousands of pounds on fabric designed to cover your bits and make you uncomfortable in the process. Itchy, tight, awkwardly-shaped, only to get further misshapen in the wash.
If You Don’t Got It, Don’t Flaunt It
I spent many of my formative years chanting ‘I must, I must, I must increase my bust’ while tensing my pec muscles (thanks for that one, Judy Blume) in an effort to get my boobs to look as big and cleavage-y as the girls in magazines and on TV. But it didn’t work. And, actually, I’m glad it didn’t. I love having small boobs and I don’t want a bra to make them look any bigger than they actually are. Less of a shock to everyone involved when the bra comes off, too.
They’re Really Hard To Put On (And Take Off)
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO PUT A BRA ON? I spent years fastening the clasp then pulling them over my head like a T-shirt. And years attempting to wrestle out of them mid-fumble. Not much ruins the mood more than getting tangled in your own bra while trying to get out of it. Believe me when I say a cup trapped under your armpit and one over your face is not a good look.
They Ruin Every Outfit
The seams and outline (let alone the padding) show under your clothes and give you four boobs if ill-fitting. Not to mention the fact that the straps always, always freaking show. Strapless bras are even worse, leaving misshapen mounds under your clothes and slipping time and again further down your torso. Waist belt anyone?
They Actually Make Your Boobs Saggier
For years people have been claiming that not wearing a bra will make your boobs saggy. Turns out, the opposite may actually be true. Professor Rouillon conducted a study on 330 women aged 18-35 and found that those who wore bras risked not developing supporting breast tissues, leading to saggy boobs. Refinery29 confirmed this with a plastic surgeon who said: “For younger women, not wearing a bra will lead to increased collagen production and elasticity, which improves lift in a developing breast.”
Also, Side Boob
Enough said, really.
The only time I ever feel envious of people who are wearing a bra is when I see them pull out cash and phones and whatever else from in between their boobs. But then again, my handbag does that pretty well, too.
This article was originally written for Refinery29.
What do you guys think? Do you like going braless?