Over 90% of North American women wear a bra, many without ever asking why. What are reasons for bra wearing? Interestingly, bra wearing is not a necessity for most women for their breasts’ sake; it is worn for cultural reasons.
Before 1900s, there is very little evidence of garments that could be considered bras. In ancient history, there are mentions of a strip of cloth tied under the breasts to support and to reveal them, or strip of cloth tied around the breasts to flatten them.
The corset became popular starting in the 1500s, and its one function was to lift and shape breasts upward. The modern bra with its two separate cups was gradually developed from the corset in the early 20th century, in an attempt to manufacture a more comfortable underwear piece.
Today, the bra has “evolved” from simple underwear into an actual sexual garment that emphasizes the sexual nature of breasts. This can be readily seen, for example, by the terminology used to advertise bras: enticing, hot, ravishing, seducing, etc. It is no wonder feminists symbolically threw their bras into the trash in the 60s. Even today, going braless is sometimes connected with feminism.
Bra wearing – is it comfortable with or without?
Bra wearing – yes or not?
This would depend, first of all, on the breast size, and secondly, on the woman’s habits. Very large and heavy-breasted women usually need to wear bras for support, and they feel pain and discomfort if they don’t wear bras.
Women with small-to-medium size breasts, if they are used to wearing bras, probably feel a little uncomfortable without them. However, this is more a psychological issue and a question of habit: women tend to feel awkward or self-conscious without bras if they are used to wearing them. In fact, when a person gets used to automatically wearing bras, it’s possible to not even notice or pay any attention to the slight discomfort from bras.
Thinking about it, can you sense any discomfort and/or tightness from your bra? When you take your bra off, do you feel something similar to the feeling when you have eaten your belly full at a restaurant, and you loosen your belt a little? Can you possibly even see little red marks on your skin after taking bra off? If you answer yes to these questions, your breasts may be trying to tell you something!
Bra wearing – breast cancer risk
Bra-wearing has been linked to breast cancer in a study done by Sidney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer. They found, for example, that women who wore a bra 24 hours a day had a 113-fold increase in breast cancer incidence compared to women who wore bra less than 12 hours daily! They suggest that bras exert enough pressure to the breast and surrounding areas to inhibit the flow of lymph, which then causes toxins and other waste material to remain in the breasts instead of being flushed out.
Now, this effect may be due to the fact that most women just wear the wrong size bra that is too tight somewhere. No one has done any studies investigating the link between breast cancer and how well the woman’s bra fits. Either way, for your breast health’s sake it is better to avoid wearing bras whenever possible, and for those occasions when you do need one, get well-fitting bras.
Bra wearing or not?
The choice to wear or not to wear a bra is yours. Many women are very used to wearing bras, and feel uncomfortable in public without them. Social occasions may require you to wear one.
Bra wearing is not going to kill you (or ‘kill’ your breasts) if you follow the simple guideline of giving your breasts free time as much as you can – at home, while sleeping. And, if you wear a bra, remember to always wear a good fitting bra. It should not leave marks on your shoulders or under your breasts or feel tight.
There are many healthy alternatives for dressing bra-free (some women prefer the positive term “bra-free” rather than “braless” because they say women don’t really need to wear bras).
1. Camisoles are inexpensive, and there is a huge variety at many department stores with variety of fabrics and weights, from silk to cotton. Some have straps similar to those of a bra, with adjustable clasps, so others may assume that a bra is being worn or that there is a bra under the camisole. You can find thin and/or cropped camisoles for summer.
2. Men’s singlet undershirts, also called A-shirts, sleeveless undershirts, etc. They are inexpensive and comfortable.
3. Vests, similar to those of a man’s 3-piece suit, over a blouse at work to hide breast outline or movement.
4. Shirts with pockets over both breasts; extra fabric layer conceals.
5. New alternatives include tops with two layers in front and one in back.
6. Loosely fitted tops.
7. Bra tops are supportive and shaping due to a careful cut and stretch cotton/lycra.
8. Leotards work as a bra alternative. The leotard usually has lining like a bust panel which is where the “bra” help comes in.
9. Or simply wear no undergarment depending on weather, confidence, self image, and nature of overgarment.
10. NuBra is just two adhesive cups that you place on your breasts. They keep the nipple from showing through clothing, if that is a concern.
11. Breast Rest is a comfort and support system – or a bra alternative – that allows the breast freedom and light support. Sleep with your chest supported without confining and compressing breasts.
12. While technically a bra, ZeeBraz is an interesting new kind of bra – developed to allow a woman the freedom to breathe and move and to allow the breasts to be supported in their natural position without being constricted.
13. We got a comment that a bandeau bra is really comfortable without any straps to dig into the shoulders. It is a bra, yes, but might work well for some women as an alternative to regular bras.
(information from 007b.com – //www.007b.com/why_wear_bras.php)
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.