Bra or no Bra: The Battle for comfort, health and confidence

By Jane Babirye
On 9 September 2023 at 06:16

The third Wednesday of October every year marks ’World Bra Day,’ a day when every female fit to wear a bra goes ’bra-less’ as a way of standing in solidarity with those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Of late, however, many females, particularly the youth, have made it a norm not to wear a bra, regardless of where they are or what they are doing. Some say it’s a trendy style, while others cite comfort reasons.

Societal concerns about cultural erosion aside, breast health experts note that going bra-less has multiple benefits:

Alleviating Back Pain: According to Dr. Cassann Blake, MD, people with a larger cup size should wear a bra, as it helps alleviate or prevent back pain, often caused by the weight of their breasts. "A breast can weigh more than a kilo when you’re a D cup or above, putting significant pressure on the back," says experts.

Improved Muscle Tone and Breast Shape: "Women who have gone long periods without wearing a bra often report that it makes their breasts firmer, rounder, and perkier over time," says Dr. Sekhon.

Improved Circulation: Dana Donofree, CEO of breast-inclusive bra company AnaOno, says, "Not wearing a bra improves circulation and blood flow, which can help keep the skin healthy. Not to mention, there are no irritations or rashes from underwires and itchy elastics."

Better Sleep: The combined feelings of comfort and better circulation can contribute to better sleep. However, this depends on one’s breast size; women with smaller breasts may have less drastic improvements in comfort compared to women with larger breasts, as the weight of larger breasts can cause more tension on the shoulders.

On the other hand, not wearing a bra also has its downsides:

Major Muscular Discomfort: Not wearing a bra can cause major muscular discomfort in areas like the back, neck, and shoulders, especially for those with bigger breasts.

Breast Sagging: Breasts tend to sag due to various factors like age, weight loss or gain, and health issues. However, not wearing a bra can further worsen the condition.

Aesthetic Concerns: Not wearing a bra with certain outfits, especially if they are ’body-hugging,’ can ruin one’s overall look and affect their confidence level.

Furthermore, experts caution about wearing bras that don’t fit well. Stephanie Montes, founder of Nue breast tape bra brand, says, "If your bra doesn’t fit correctly, it can be painful and affect the muscle tissue." Donofree urges those with large chests to embrace underwire and padded bras that provide the necessary support. For those who despise bras, he suggests looking into wire-free, unlined options, or bralettes.

"Ultimately, the bra you should wear comes down to self-love and not trying to fit into anything that doesn’t feel good," he notes. "Too many people force themselves into ill-fitting and uncomfortable underwire bras, which isn’t necessary. Going wire-free and loving your breasts in the shape and size they come in can be freeing in so many ways," he adds.