Never did I picture myself braless.
I was the type of person to always wear a bra. If I wasn’t in my pajamas, I was wearing one.
My severe lack of self-esteem regarding my breasts started early in life. At the age of 10, my mother insisted I start wearing a bra because I was “developing breasts”.
I was resistant to the idea—bras were uncomfortable, foreign. Eventually my mom bullied me to the point that she made me feel that my breasts were something to be absolutely embarrassed about.
With this mindset, I embarked on my teenage and adult journey wearing bras. As an adult, bras enabled me to feel good about myself. Buying from places like Victoria’s Secret made me feel like I was part of a group of women who were proud of their breasts, when really, I couldn’t stand the sight of them.
It’s surprising then that after finding out bras actually aren’t great for our health, I stopped wearing a bra cold turkey. Here’s what happened when I did.
1. I was more comfortable.
Of course, it felt weird at first. My breasts are in the DD range, and it felt strange to be feeling their weight there all day. It mostly made me feel like I was wearing my pajamas even when I wasn’t.
It’s amazingly comfortable to feel like you’re wearing your pajamas all the time.
I was surprised how my back and shoulder pain disappeared. I wasn’t sweaty, itchy, or uncomfortable any more. For those who would say I was wearing the wrong bra size, you could be right. Although I’ve been fitted several times, bras just weren’t comfortable.
When I took off the bra, I began feeling more immersed in the world and less burdened by the contraption on my chest.
2. I was more vulnerable.
Of course, while I was physically uncomfortable, I was mentally a wreck.
I will never forget the first time I went out in public without a bra on. Honestly, I felt completely naked despite wearing an oversized sweater. I walked in Whole Foods and felt like every single person in there was staring at me.
This is ridiculous; of course they weren’t. I became more vulnerable the second I took off what had been my security blanket for so many years. It was frightening to see just how much of my self-confidence was literally strapped around my back.
Without the bra, I suddenly realized I didn’t feel good about myself at all.
3. I became more confident.
It’s weird—when I stopped wearing a bra, I found it impossible to put back on.
I wasn’t even interested in trying. I literally did not put a bra on (outside of sports bras for running) for three months after I stopped wearing one. I tried to wear one after that, but found it so uncomfortable and impossible that I took it right back off.
My self-confidence was forced to grow. I learned how to feel secure regardless of what I was wearing. I became more comfortable and even confident about the way my breasts looked.
This has been one of the best things about not wearing a bra for me—discovering true self-confidence. Now, I cringe at the thought that I was so ashamed of my body for all those years.
4. I stopped worrying about bra straps.
One of the things I hated most about the bras was trying to coordinate them with different outfits.
Tube tops, halter tops, even loose tank tops and dresses were all impossible with the conventional bra. As such, my bra collection grew to include halter bras, strapless bras, bras with less padding, etc.
Worrying about bra straps made dressing for the day that much more complicated. Now, I literally put on a shirt and that’s the end of that. Whew.
5. Sexy time was easier.
Most of us have encountered frustrated lovers who can’t quite get your bra off. Especially if you’re wearing any type of fancy lingerie—they have no idea what to do.
It also wasn’t super sexy when my fiancé tried to touch me and instead ended up getting a handful of padding. What good was that doing anyone besides providing me with some push-up?
Now, sexy time is easy. Shirt off. Instant access. Done.
6. I saved money.
I’m not exactly sure how much money I spent on bras and lingerie to make me feel better about myself throughout the 15 years I wore a bra. I can guarantee you it was in the thousands.
Bras made me feel better about myself, so I took pleasure in shopping for them and having a pretty large collection of them. Now, I’ve sold my bras and while I certainly didn’t make all my money back, I did make some.
Now, I don’t have to buy bras and I’m saving some serious cash.
7. I gained closet space.
Cleaning out my closet after a year of being bra-free was pretty awesome. I now have lots more space and things just generally feel more clutter-free and open.
8. I had healthier and firmer breasts.
Wearing a bra actually hinders your pectoral muscles and can lead to sagging of the breasts as well as reduced nipple height. That doesn’t sound very sexy, does it?
My breasts feel firmer and healthier since I ditched the bra almost two years ago. My breasts are cooler—and cooler breasts have a reduced risk for breast cancer according to research. They are less hot without all that padding and extra material suffocating my lymph nodes!
Since axillary lymph nodes are accountable for 80% of lymphatic flow, I like to think my immune system is a little healthier too. Underwire bras can put pressure on the lymph nodes and prevent proper drainage of toxins.
Going bra-free isn’t for everyone. I work from home most days, so I have the convenience of not worrying about having a “professional” look. Others think wearing a bra is just common courtesy when out in public.
If you want to go bra-free but aren’t quite comfortable with it yet, there are some options. You can wear an oversized scarf to provide a little more privacy. You could also get a bralette, which is a non-underwire, more comfortable version of the conventional bra that still provides some support and coverage.
Ditching my bra has provided me with so much self-growth along with an inner cultivation of self-confidence and a love for my body that I would have never had otherwise. I also just feel better with less back pain and more money in the bank. Going bra-free and letting go of my self-esteem was one of the best things that ever happened to me—probably not to Victoria’s Secret, though.