Why I Haven't Worn A Bra In Over A Decade

This week, Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, is opening at the Victoria and Albert museum in London. The exhibition delves deep into our intimates drawers, examining the importance of undergarments in not just fashion, but the personal and political lives of women.

Judging by just how very much we spend on bras and underwear each year, as well as the global obsession with Victoria’s Secret and its annual catwalk extravaganza, this exhibition couldn't have come at a better time. Because, put simply: Lingerie is a big deal.

I’m not averse to shopping for a new pair of panties. There’s just something about pretty, lacy sets that can make you both look and feel sexy, empowered, and confident, regardless of what you're wearing on top (if anything). But those matching sets may be lost on me, because I rarely actually wear a bra. In fact, I pretty much haven’t worn one in a decade.

You know all those memes that celebrate how epic it feels to get home at the end of the day and unhook that clasp? Well, that's how I feel all day, every day. And it really is epic. But I’m not just morally and sartorially opposed to wearing something uncomfortable for long periods of time just because society might be afraid of a little unsolicited bounce — there are other reasons, too, why I've chosen to set my breasts free and banish the bra. Here are seven of them:

Bras Are Uncomfortable. Period.
On the rare occasion I do wear a bra, it feels very much like someone is sitting on my chest. Where is the oxygen?! Does it ever not feel like that? And that's only the beginning of the discomfort. Chances are, the underwire is stabbing you, the straps are ingraining themselves into your shoulders, and you have to fiddle and re-adjust approximately a million times a day.

Underwear Is Overpriced
And for what? The aforementioned discomfort? Apparently, the average cost of a bra is $100, meaning in your lifetime, you'll likely spend thousands of dollars on fabric designed to cover your bits and make you uncomfortable in the process. I'd rather not earmark such a large slice of my budget to things that are itchy, tight, and awkwardly shaped — and that get further misshapen after every wash.

If You Don’t Have It, Who Cares?!
I spent much of my formative years chanting "I must, I must, I must increase my bust" while tensing my pecs (thanks you, Judy Blume) in an effort to get my boobs to look as big and cleavage-y as the girls in magazines and on TV. But it didn’t work. And, actually, I’m glad it didn’t. I love having small breasts and I don’t want a bra to make them look any bigger than they actually are.

They’re Hard To Put On (& Take Off)
Seriously, why is it so difficult to put a bra on? I spent years fastening the clasp first, then pulling it over my head like a T-shirt. Nothing ruins the mood quite like getting tangled in your own bra while trying to get out of it. Believe me when I say a cup trapped under your armpit and one over your face is not a good look.

They Can Ruin An Outfit
The seams and outline (not to mention the padding) show underneath your clothes and, if your bra's ill-fitting, can make you look like you have four boobs. Not to mention the fact that the straps always, always show. Strapless bras are even worse, though, leaving misshapen mounds that slowly slip down your torso. Thoughts on renaming that a waist belt?

They Actually Make Your Boobs Saggier
For years, people have claimed that not wearing a bra will make your boobs saggy. Turns out, the opposite may actually be true. A study conducted in France found that those who wore bras were at risk for not developing supporting breast tissues, a lack of which can eventually lead to saggy boobs. Refinery29 confirmed this with a plastic surgeon, who explained: "For younger women, not wearing a bra will lead to increased collagen production and elasticity, which improves lift in a developing breast.”

Also, Side Boob
Enough said, really.

The only time I ever feel envious of people wearing a bra is when I see them pull out a wad of cash, or a cell phone, or whatever else they might be holding in between their boobs. But then again, my handbag does those things pretty well, too.

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