No Bra: Why more and more women are doing without a bra

no bra
Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / LN_Photoart

The “no bra” trend, i.e. the omission of a bra, is becoming more and more popular. Here you can find out what it is all about, how healthy it is and how you can approach the trend.

More and more people* who are read as women are deciding to join the so-called “no bra” trend – i.e. not to wear a bra anymore. Here you can find out how the trend came about and the health consequences of not wearing a bra.

*Disclaimer: In this text you will find the term “female reading person” instead of “woman”. We want to point out that people who do not identify themselves as “woman” can also have an anatomically female breast.

The origin of the “no bra” trend

Feminists have already taken to the streets against the bra.
Feminists have already taken to the streets against the bra.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / OpenRoadPR)

The bra looks back on an eventful history. Over time, the brassiere has transformed from a revolution to a symbol of oppression. At the beginning of the 20th century, the invention of the bra was a liberation for people who were read as women: the brassiere allowed them much more freedom of movement than the corset or bodice that had been common up to then.

About 50 years later, however, attitudes toward bras changed. The women’s movement in the 1970s campaigned for people read as women to be able to decide for themselves how they want to live and what they want to wear. The bra, as a piece of clothing that was expected to be worn by all persons read as female, thus became a symbol of oppression and paternalism by patriarchy. However, the lingerie industry was not deterred by this. She developed the push-up bra and thus created the beauty ideal of perfectly round, erect breasts, which has lasted to this day. Because breasts of people read as female have also been strongly sexualized since everyone, bras have always served to bring them into a socially acceptable form. That’s why bras should also serve to make the nipples disappear optically.

The Covid-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to question the habit of wearing a bra every day. In the home office, many people read as female left out the bra. They no longer want to do without the newly gained feeling of freedom and comfort outside their own four walls.

The “no bra” trend is therefore an expression of the fact that people who read women have become more concerned about their personal body image than society’s beauty norms. They no longer want to be told how to show their bodies in public. This should go hand in hand with the de-sexualization of anatomically female breasts: Female nipples and different breast shapes should be just as naturally accepted in public as male nipples.

The health aspect of the “no bra” trend

Some find the no-bra trend comfortable and liberating, others don't want to do without the support.
Some find the no-bra trend comfortable and liberating, others don’t want to do without the support.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / Counseling)

Some people find the “no bra” trend comfortable and liberating. Many report that they can only breathe properly and adopt a more upright posture without a bra. For others, however, not wearing a brassiere is physically uncomfortable. This is related to the individual nature of each breast.

However, not wearing a bra is not fundamentally harmful to health, as breast oncology doctor and surgeon Cassann Blake explains:

  • Not wearing a bra does not increase the risk of breast cancer.
  • Wearing a bra does not make your breasts firmer, nor does not wearing a bra make the breasts sag. The shape of the breast depends on fatty tissue, age, genes, weight fluctuations and pregnancy.
  • For those with a larger cup size, it may be better not to go without a bra. The doctor explains that wearing a bra can help relieve or prevent back pain, which is often a result of the weight of the breasts.
  • On the other hand, if you are wearing the wrong cup size, it is advisable to omit the bra or replace it with one of the right size. The reason is that both a bra that is too big and one that is too small can have negative effects. If the bra is too tight, it can cause pain; if it is too big, it may rub heavily, which can lead to skin irritation.

So it’s best to listen to your own body feeling: If you find that your breasts don’t need any additional support, there’s nothing wrong with joining the “no bra” trend. On the other hand, if your breast tissue is very soft, not wearing a bra can put an uncomfortable pull on the fascial system of the breast. In such cases, the gynecologist Micha Bitschnau also advises zett not to forgo the support.

Some experts recommend not doing without the support of the bra, at least during sports. Joanna Wakefield-Scurr, Head of the Breast Health Research Group at the University of Portsmouth, explains that without a sports bra, breasts can become painful and stretched, causing them to sag.

Tips for skipping the bra

If you decide to wear a bra, it is very important that you choose the one that fits.
If you decide to wear a bra, it is very important that you choose the one that fits.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / Hans)

If you are now considering trying out the “no-bra” trend, these tips will make the transition to bra-free easier for you:

  • Start slow: You would like to stop wearing a bra but are still a little uncomfortable with it. So approach it step by step: At first, only leave the bra off for a few hours at home or a few days a week.

  • Cover nipples: Without a bra, many female readers feel naked and exposed to unwanted looks because of the exposed nipples. If you’d like to ditch your bra but don’t want to show it all off to everyone right away, nipple covers might be an option for you. These are rightly often criticized when they engage in body shaming with their marketing and support the sexualization of bodies read as female. But they also offer you the opportunity to decide for yourself how you want to show your breasts. You can read more about this here: Lion’s Den: Product under criticism

  • Bra alternatives: Don’t want to wear a bra anymore, but still want some support? Then bralettes are a good alternative. They offer slight support, but come without underbust wires and cups and are therefore less pushing and shaping.

  • Clothing: You can also decide for yourself whether you want to show your breasts or not by choosing your clothing. For example, breasts are not as obvious under dark clothing or patterns.

  • Bodysuit and Camisole: Both bodysuits and camisole can give you some shape and support if you skip the bra.

In the end, the most important thing is that you choose what you’re most comfortable with. Just try out whether and to what extent the “no bra” trend works for you.


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