Why women wear bras?

Over 90% of North American women wear a bra, many without ever asking why. This article talks about different reasons women give for wearing a bra. Interestingly, bra wearing is not a necessity for most women for their breasts' sake; it is worn for cultural reasons.

a necessary garment?

A brief history of bras

Tere is not much evidence of garments that could be considered bras before the 1900s. 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. Two garments dating to the 15th century and resembling modern bras have been found in a medieval Autrian castle.

The corset became popular starting in the 1500s as an overall waist, bust and him shaper, and by the 1800s it had evolved into a garment whose 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.

Do you or your breasts really feel more comfortable with or without bras?

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!

So why do women wear a bra?

"Just a note to those who've commented before that bras give the female body a cleaner look. After I came across this site, that too was my first thought (and I am someone who has refused to wear bras for most of my life). However, as soon as I had that thought, I caught myself. Of course I (and some of you) think that - that's what our society has taught us. It has taught us that there is something a bit disgusting or wrong about breasts that aren't bound. When this kind of thinking has been pumped into you since day 1, it's obviously very difficult to overcome. I hope that someday we as a society will realize just how silly it is to believe that breasts must be bound to be beautiful or normal. It is just as silly as the old Chinese tradition of binding Chinese women's feet in order to make them beautiful."


So should I wear one 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 one, remember to always wear a good fitting bra. It should not leave marks on your shoulders or under your breasts, or feel tight. Find a professional bra fitter. Or order custom-made ones. Don't sacrifice your breast health to fashion.

Some bra alternatives

There are many healthy alternatives for dressing brafree (some women prefer the positive term "brafree" 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 camis 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. Nuudii "bra" system – an innovative design with two-strap design, completely stretchy and light-weight. They say it's an option between a bra and braless.
  6. Coobie bras, tube tops, and camis are seamless, comfortable products where one size fits nearly everybody.
  7. New alternatives include tops with two layers in front and one in back.
  8. Loosely fitted tops.
  9. Bra tops are supportive and shaping due to a careful cut and stretch cotton/lycra.
  10. Leotards work as a bra alternative. The leotard usually has lining like a bust panel which is where the "bra" help comes in.
  11. Or simply wear no undergarment depending on weather, confidence, self image, and nature of overgarment.
  12. 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.
  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.
  14. And there may be others, similar products that work as bra alternatives.

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