Dear Alice,

is it o.k. to not wear a bra? I haven't worn one for over a year now and I hope to never again! Is it really healthy to wear one? Will they "sag" quicker if I don't? Please tell me I can burn my old bras!!!

Dear Reader,

Contrary to popular belief, going braless doesn't mean that your breasts are destined to droop. There's also nothing unhealthy about wearing one as long as it fits properly. Bras do not preserve the shape or perkiness of breasts. Sagging results from a number of factors unrelated to brassiere wearing, such as:

  • Breast fat and tissue composition
  • Softening of breast ligaments and loss of breast tissue with age
  • Enlarged breasts during pregnancy, which causes the skin to stretch and remain
  • Stretched even after they revert to pre-pregnancy size
  • Effects of gravity over a woman's lifetime

But, don't burn your brassieres just yet... Some women feel uncomfortable if they're bra-free when they're out and about because of unwanted attention to their bouncing breasts and noticeable nipples. If you're on the generously endowed side, letting your breasts hang loose can be uncomfortable. Bras can protect the breasts from trauma, whether you have molehills or mountains. For example, wearing a properly fitted sports bra during workouts can limit jiggling (and being ogled), helping to reduce the possibility of breast soreness and discomfort. Some women choose to strap on a bra to limit friction between sensitive nipples and clothing, preventing any possible irritation or soreness that could result. Others bra up to boost what they believe is the appearance of breasts that have gone bust. And, for women whose bustlines have already started to sink, bras can help lift or provide support while they are worn.

Ultimately, to wear, or not to wear, a bra is up to you. If prevention of future fall-out is your only reason for wearing a brassiere, then let 'em loose.


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