Underwire bras have been called boob jail, and I 100% agree. For my whole life, I’ve loved nothing more than the feeling when I get home from work and finally can take off my bra. However, until recently I believed that I had to wear an underwire bra if I wanted to look presentable. This belief was only strengthened after I had my kids because while they made my life undeniably better, they made my breasts undeniably saggier! But is it worth it to wear underwire bras just to appease men and society as a whole?
My Introduction to the Underwire
I remember being 14 years old and my mom taking me to the mall to pick out my very first bra. I was so excited, finally, I was going to be a “woman”. When we got there my mother informed me that I would have to be fitted by one of the ladies working in the store, a fact she had conveniently left out. I, like most shy women, found this experience to be mortifying, but my mother assured me that to have an underwire bra that fits properly you had to be measured. I wish I could say that since that truly embarrassing day my experience with underwire bras has gotten better but the truth is, underwire bras have continuously been the bane of my existence.
Now, not to get too personal, but I’m a rather curvy individual. I have a big butt, big hips, and have always had larger breasts. Throughout my life, I always envied the fact that my friends got to go braless with certain tops or dresses while I could not unless I wanted to cause some sort of traffic accident. More than the fashions I have to avoid, underwire bras feel extremely tight on me, and no it’s not because I’m wearing the wrong size I learned the first time!
Through the years, I’ve tried out many different styles of underwire bras, and still summer after summer I suffered through boob sweat and tears because I thought that was my only option. You see, I pride myself on trying to look at least halfway decent most days, to look attractive and maintain my sexy curves which I thought meant I needed a full-fledged underwire bra. Particularly after my second child was born, things –more specifically two things on my chest– started to migrate south. I wanted to combat and keep my figure looking more like it did when I was in my 20s. I’ve been married for 15 years, and although I know my husband loves me unconditionally, I didn’t want him to notice how my body had changed, or that the dark angel of age had finally come for me.
Suddenly, I Opened My Eyes
One day, I was lamenting to my best friend Rachel about how frustrating being a woman was, and how it seems wildly unfair that men didn’t have to wear bras (something I still full-heartedly believe) when she told me, partly in jest, about No Bra Day. I started to research what exactly National No Bra Day was about, assuming it was created either by pervy men or new-age bra-burning feminists. As it turns out, National No Bra Day is about spreading Breast Cancer Awareness, which I know to be a horrible disease and one to which I lost my grandmother. While the thought of going braless terrified me, I decided that yes, I would be participating in No Bra Day on October 13th, leaving my bra behind, even just for the day.
Let me tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever loved a day more. I was comfortable and felt free, and the best part was when I got home that day I didn’t have the marks on my shoulders and back from where the straps were pulling on my skin. While the experience had been lovely, I knew I could never go braless full time, because without the weather permitting me to wear a sweater or coat I knew the gawking and glancing would lead to me feeling insecure or objectified.
By looking around the internet to see if there were any alternative options I found myself in the big wide world of wireless bras. I’m the kind of woman who buys a new bra only when I have to, meaning that some of my underwire bras are the same age as my 10-year-old. I had no idea how far we’d come with wireless bra options. Company after company is making supportive bras with the same stretchy breathable, comfortable fabric as they do our underwear, many designed specifically for larger breasts.
Time to Make the Switch
I anxiously awaited for my new purchase to arrive, and when it finally did, I was like a kid on Christmas. Nearly every wireless bra I bought not only felt great but did the job, which with my body is no small feat. Making the switch, I threw out/donated all but one of my underwire bras, just for special occasions, and set about living my life free of the underwire.
While my personal issue may be sagging breasts, I know plenty of women in my life who exclusively wear underwire bras to increase the look of their breast size. I’m continuously struck by how unfair it is for women in today’s world, how we’re asked to wear things that are uncomfortable simply because we want to fit into some cookie-cutter formula. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wearing whatever the heck you want, but I do think I found some insight through this experience.
Comfort Equals More Comfort!
The outside world affects women in so many ways, dictating how we should look, dress, feel, and even think. We really don’t have to adhere to society’s standard of beauty. Women should always be allowed to choose comfort, choose what’s right for them, and more importantly, women should be celebrated for what makes them unique. As Dr. Seuss wrote, "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You".
If all women banded together and said enough is enough; we’re all different, we’re all beautiful, and you all are just going to have to get used to it, what would happen?
My bet is the world would be a happier place.