In our modern double-standard society of the sexualization of women’s breasts, pressuring societal expectations, and championing cries of “Free the Nipple,” it comes as no surprise that some women may feel reluctant to abandon the discomfort of bras.

Its my hope that my experience can give you the inspiration, assurance and confidence to explore and try this alternative way of living too.

I haven’t worn a traditional underwire bra in over a year and I can’t tell you enough how proud and happy of my decision I am. I was first intrigued to try going bra- free for the same reason I explore anything “radical in my life.”

I wanted to try something new, challenge myself and see what I would learn.

This pursuit would fall under similar ventures as trying no make-up, juice cleanses, discontinuing shaving and no longer wearing nail polish.

I have radically changed my lifestyle in terms of health, cleaning products, body hair removal, what I am consuming, where I live and things I do on a regular basis, so going bra free was another opportunity to explore what works best for me.

From middle school to my early years of college, I wore push up bras. For you who are not familiar, push up bras have a lot of extra padding and push your breasts up creating the illusion of larger breasts. As a smaller, petite person with smaller breasts, I felt pressured to wear push up bras to look and feel attractive. And that’s something I was lead to believe through my conditioning.

Perhaps you can relate and have felt as if your boobs needed to be different to be perfect. Well let me tell you, your boobs are perfect because they are natural… natural on your body.

Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and we should strive to celebrate our aesthetic diversity, including breast size and shape.

You don’t need to change your chest in any way. I’m grateful I know this now, even if I didn’t know it then. During college, I started to realize how uncomfortable these bras were, and with an increase in exercise I started wearing sports bras more and more. The difference in comfort was so apparent! And not wearing a bra to bed was even MORE comfortable.

I was truly given the assurance I needed when I met my friend Erin a year and a half ago. Erin didn’t wear bras and made a video sharing of her experience. In it she spoke to the constant discomfort she felt wearing bras and the questions that had arisen for her regarding conforming to society’s expectations in the face of obvious decrease in value of life. It was her video that gave me the inspiration to try it out and see how it felt.

She’s fairly petite like I am and doesn’t have large boobs, which many people will say is the only body type able to try going bra free. Many women with larger breasts have told me that its not possible for them to go braless and that they’re concerned about being in pain when exercising. This is completely understandable. Even as a smaller bust woman, I find more comfort in wearing a sports bra for support while I’m working out. So I can only imagine this is that much more true for women with larger breasts.

Perhaps there are also shirts you like to wear a bra with. I hope this does not leave you feeling limited in exploring the comfort of going bra-free all other times. Maybe you want to go bra-free only when you’re in the comfort of your home as a start. Go for it! Though I’d also encourage you to explore the more comfortable alternatives to a traditional padded or underwire bra, such as bralettes or bandeaus.

The topic of going bra-less often conquers the “controversial” issue of nipples showing. If there’s one take-away from this discussion, I’d beg for you to consider, is to challenge this conventional norm. While its socially acceptable in most places for men to be shirtless, women are shunned for allowing their nipples to be visible under their clothes.

Question these expectations and instead ask yourself…
Why does this expectation of “modesty” exists?
Do you want your nipples showing?
Does it seem inappropriate? Why?
Is it disgusting or weird?
What if our nipples get hard?
Do we shun away?
Is it okay to look?

Women’s nipples should not be sexualized the way that they are. Men have nipples. Are they expected to hide and cover them the way women do? I know there might be discomfort in addressing the subject, but you need to get over that, because nipples are NATURAL. Just as fingers and armpits are natural! You should not have to hide or feel embarrassed over what is natural. Be proud of it instead. Be proud of the shape of your breast, the amount that they show in a shirt, or don’t show!

Be proud of your body.
Challenge the norms.

When it comes down to it, this “experiment” helped me understand that I don’t see how wearing a bra benefits me in any way. If this resonates with you, maybe you want to give it a try too!

~ Gravitate towards and embrace comfort. Deny and reject anything that compromises your quality of life ~
Mahalo,

Alyse

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