After experiencing epic breast tenderness (Hack My Sore Boob) back in November, I decided to take the plunge and start going bra-less. I love it! And more importantly my boobs are happy. They don't even get tender during my period. Any other ladies, either large or small-chested, start giving their ta-tas the freedom to go au naturel?
EDIT: I'm beginning to think that all of these hang-ups about boobs are really just in our heads. If fewer women wore bras it would become more socially acceptable. Are women self-perpetuating a vicious cycle? Yikes.
EDIT2: Wanted PH'ers to discuss this as well--Are large breasts a Neolithic phenomenon?
While representations in the form of carvings and paintings of large-breasted women were common throughout the Upper Paleolithic, those seemed to be more of an ideal/fetish than based off of actual women. I'd imagine that having to forage and even join in hunts for game would not favor those with large chests. However, with the advent of a more sedentary existence brought on by farming and lots of downtime, large breasts would not pose as much of a hindrance.
Large chest, two years of nursing....um no. I would look like I had two tumors coming out of my belly after about a week. It hurts to even go braless at night.
I've always felt better with a little something fitted to prevent nipple chafing, but even with mondo tatas, I prefer something with minimal support like the Barely There ones that look kind of like sports bras, but are very thin. Nips shine through those loud and clear, but so effin' what? I am a female mammal with functional mammary glands, I am not a Barbie doll. I am fed up with the notion that letting one's nipples show through is unladylike, it is in its very essence the definition of ladylike. Dudes will fetishize anything that is feminine and in short supply, not so many years ago a glimpse of ankle was considered scandalous, then knees, then bellies. This is all about desensitization, so my call to arms this week is for my fellow ladies to stop fearing their nipples. If the men around you can't concentrate on their work because of it, that is their problem, not yours.
I'm also not anti-underwire, and have found few "real" bras that hold the girls like a "rose in full bloom, cradled gently in a tea cup" as once saw written as the ideal bra fit, but I I've worn each and every one of them to death, and have not found a sufficient replacement yet that is breastfeeding compatible.
I switched to completely wire-free a few months ago, and go without whenever possible (at home, with thick/looser clothing). I'll never go back. I have a couple of CK wire-free padded bras for occasions that call for them, but otherwise wear a Shimera bralette or something similar that I got at Nordstrom Rack.
This is all anecdotal, of course, but I had a cancer scare almost two years ago at 28 (several years after my mom had cancer and died from it). Everything turned out fine, but the massively swollen lymph nodes around my breasts were worrisome. Since I went wire-free and mostly shaped-bra-free I haven't had swollen lymph nodes at all, and the inflammation has gone down considerably. Coming from a family in which at least half the women on my mom's side have had breast cancer, I'm going to keep with what's seemed to help inflammation for me. So wire-free it is!
PS- I wear a 34DD and I'm pretty comfortable unless I'm running. (Then I wear a real sports bra.)
Not completely, but the thought is intriguing.
I refer to the damn thing as a "medieval torture device" and wear it as little as possible. The first thing I do when I walk in my door is rip the thing off, toss it somewhere and declare that the girls want to be free. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I'm into seeking alternatives... those shelf bra tank tops may not be a bad idea....
I have a trademark "stair run" in my household that my mother believes is very un-lady like: because I usually whip my bra off as soon as I get home, and we have a million stairs (yay for building houses into hills) I have to hang on to my chest as I run up and down. My ex-boyfriend thought it was so weird (he likened it to him running up and down grabbing his crotch, no wonder things didn't work out). All I can say is that it is the best of both worlds- no wild-flying girls and all the freedom of bra-free. Probably wouldn't fly in public however.
That being said, I find that when I am bra-free (graphic description coming) I still tuck my shirt underneath there to prevent rubbing/sweat/that weird sticky feeling. I'm a C, up from a B when I was too skinny, and wear a sports bra for most of the time (MEC has some fabulous ones), or a lacy-wireless-thing for fancy occasions.
I got razzed by a drunk at a bar for being bra-less. Really obnoxious. It was entertaining when another guy at the bar razzed him about his tits.
Frankly, I go without as often as possible and I'm a D-cup. Bras are helpful with certain fabrics though.
I'm a 34E and in my fifties and rather drop dead than go braless in public. But at home I'm usually without. Last year I discovered decentexposures.com, a group of women in Seattle who sew bras and other underwear, leisure wear, maternity stuff. Since then I've been telling every female I meet (grocery store, post office) about them. If you have a larger cup size I'd recommend the 90%cotton/10% lycra material , double lined with regular elastic band for outdoors/good support, and single lined with 2" ribbing for at home/leisure wear, both with front closure. And made in the USA by adults for good money.
I hadn't worn a bra in over a decade when I accepted my current job -- unfortunately, one of the clauses of the dress code REQUIRES that women wear, specifically, a BRA and Panties -- I tried to get them to let me wear camisoles instead, but that didn't fly -- so I wear as minimal a bra as I can get away with -- really, not much more than a sleep-bra -- and I get out of it as quickly as I can get my little tuchus home.