If you don’t like boobs, you should probably stop reading this.
I wanted to know what it was like to go bra-free for three days and share my experience. I’m not used to talking publicly about my body, and I’m sure most people aren’t either. Our bodies are a taboo subject despite all of us owning one.
In Western society, bras are becoming an increasingly optional piece of underwear. With movements such as #freethenipple, some groups are encouraging acceptance for women to leave their over- the-shoulder-boulder-holders at home and follow similar modesty guidelines as men. I’m not sure how I feel about the #freethenipple movement in particular, but anyone who knows me will immediately say I am a creature of comfort. This means the less straps and cups I wear, the happier I am.
In preparation for this experiment, I laid out some ground rules:
- No bras of any kind (sports bras, pasties, tape etc.)
- No hiding under baggy hoodies or the like
- Go about business as I normally would (no skipping classes, appointments, work, etc.)
- For the duration of the experiment, the only people who will know are my editors, photographer and husband.
It was a bad week to commit to going to the gym every day.
I always wear a sports bra to workout, but I opted for a tight workout tank and another shirt layered on top. When it came to cardio, that was still not good enough. My girls were flying around like caffeinated kids in a bouncy house on the treadmill. I didn’t feel like I got enough running in because I was worried about people seeing the uncontrollable jiggly jello that was my chest. When it came time for weightlifting, I was much more at ease, which helped me forget the traumatic treadmill experience.
The rest of the day was enjoyable. One of the daily annoyances of getting dressed is worrying that my straps will show. I wore a top that otherwise would have shown bra straps, which was refreshing. The top was snug enough that it kept everything in place. The almost constant shoulder pain I normally experienced from having a desk job and wearing a boobie basket disappeared. I felt an overall sense of freedom and happiness, but I’m not sure I can give my bralessness all the credit.
I struggled to decide on a shirt to wear on day two, and finally settled on a flowy tank top that had a vibrant pattern to distract from anything going on underneath. I had a little bit of anxiety driving to my morning class, at one point considering turning around and changing clothes.
It was an unsettling experience feeling more exposed than normal, since bras normally shape every woman’s breasts into perfect half-spheres. After constantly wearing some type of support since middle school, leaving my bra at home definitely took away a conditioned sense of security.
The sisters were really missing some support and coverage by the end of day two.
I realized the quality of my workouts were more important than following the rules strictly on the morning of day three. I caved, wore a sports bra, and benefited from a wonderful, tiring cardio session.
The highlight of the day was actually going to Dixie Rock to have my photo taken for the article. The short hike was fairly crowded, and it was a hilariously strange experience having tourists watch as I waved my bra around in the air.
Normally, I take pride in not caring too much about what people think of me. These few days made me realize I actually still worry about it more than I’d like to.
I hope sharing my experience has brought more encouragement for women to feel comfortable and proud in your skin and help men gain more understanding about what it’s like to have a pair of milk-makers.
There are definitely days, occasions and outfits where I will be donning a hooter holder in the future, but it was nice to know I could still feel relatively comfortable not wearing one in casual situations. It was definitely an enlightening experience, and I’d encourage every woman to try this at least once in her life.