The bra-free life is a comfortable one, but how does it affect your body?
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues on worldwide with uncertainty of what the “new normal” will entail, many of us with breasts are sure of one thing: our boobs are finally free. Yes, after many years of having them locked up in “boob prison,” working at home and remaining indoors has allowed us to kick our bras to the curb. The consensus seems to be that if you’re not going anywhere, then there’s no point in wearing a bra. Just let those babies breathe and do their thing!
But while the bra-free life is a comfortable one, it does beg the question: Does shunning my bra affect my body in any way? Short answers from experts: yes and no. So let’s unwrap that, shall we?
Will not wearing a bra cause my boobs to sag?
To understand how bras affect our breasts, it’s important to understand how they were created in the first place. According to Amsterdam-based clothing company, Hunkemöller, bras can be dated back to 2500 B.C., when women wore a corset-like belt that pushed their bare breasts up. The first modern bra didn’t arrive until the 1889 World’s Fair when French inventor Herminie Cadolle decided to cut the corset into two pieces, giving the upper portion the straps we know today. Then, in 1913, Mary Phelps Jacob came along and perfected what Cadolle had started, by creating the most-widely used type of bras we see on the market today. But while these innovations over time were created to keep breasts in place and create a desired silhouette, nowhere does it say they were made to prevent sagging. Probably because they were mostly designed with aesthetics in mind.
As Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine, told Prevention there’s no evidence that bras prevent sagging. Nor does the myth of wearing a bra to bed to keep breasts shapely and perky hold any water either.
Laura Tempesta, bra expert and founder of Bravolution, echoes this sentiment, recalling an interview with CEO of Platex, John Dixey for a documentary called, “Bras—The Bare Facts,” where he said, “We have no evidence that wearing a bra could prevent sagging, because the breast itself is not a muscle, so keeping it toned up in an impossibility.”
“Lifted breasts are considered attractive in our culture which is why bra-wearing is a cultural development,” Tempesta tells HelloGiggles. However, specific types of bras like sports bras were developed for functionality, support, and comfort during exercise. “There are lots of scientific studies showing the need to wear a sports bra during athletic activity.”
One such study by Professor Joanna Wakefield-Scurr of the University of Portsmouth found that breasts can bounce up to 21 centimeters (about eight inches) during exercise. This bouncing results in breast pain in 50% of women, no matter if they’re an A-cup or an FF-cup.
So whether it’s running, yoga, or any other exercise that’s likely to jostle your breasts, you definitely want to reach for your sports bra—if only to prevent aches and pains after your workout.
Original publication 19 May, 2020
Posted on NatCorn 4th June 2021
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