UPDATE: As you've probably noticed, this story is causing quite a stir on the internet, mostly from people who just aren't buying the research. Here to add to the debate is Dr. Stafford Broumand, a plastic surgeon at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Says Broumand: "On the surface, this claim seems plausible. For younger women, not wearing a bra will lead to increased collagen production and elasticity, which improves lift in a developing breast. Also, tension on the connective tissue and ligaments supporting the breast can be beneficial to prevent sagging." But, according to Dr. Broumand, the same is not true of older or pregnant women because that collagen and supportive tissue is going away no matter what — a bra provides the necessary support that your bust has lost with age.
We all love our bras — and while you might have originally signed on because your mom politely suggested things were getting, erm, out of hand, chances are now you're in it for the lace, the frills, the fancy patterns, and colors that look great under your favorite sheer blouse. But did you ever consider what your lovely lingerie is doing to your health? No? Well, that's what science is for.
A study involving 330 women aged 18 to 35 has concluded that, “medically, physiologically, and anatomically," breasts are not benefiting from the near-constant wearing of bras. That's to say that, according to this study, women who didn't wear a bra regularly actually experienced less "sagging" over time, greater comfort, and less back pain. Wait, what?
"If a woman begins wearing a bra from the moment breasts appear, the suspension muscles don't work correctly, and tissues slacken," explains a Mr. Rouillon, who oversaw the study. So, it's essentially an issue of dependance, in his view. But, he notes, this is still a very preliminary study and not representative of women in general.
Women have ditched their bras in the past in the name of liberation, but will the trend now come back around under the guise of health and beauty? Frankly, we're not so sure a bra is going to make a huge difference either way when it comes to your aged bosom, and certainly many women start wearing bras specifically to avoid back pain. For now, we're skeptical — what about you?
Bold Lace Balconette Bra, $38.50, available at Lane Bryant.