Bras Suck

The first time I asked for a bra, I think I was 12, and I had no breasts whatsoever. Literally. Just great gaping holes in my chest where they might otherwise be, because I’m a horror movie monster (I’ve since perfected my human costume). I told my mother I needed a bra (because the girls in gym class had said I was a lesbian for not wearing one, and I had begun changing in the bathroom stall). She stared at me blankly. “Why?” she asked.

“Because I am becoming a woman” I replied.

And then I burst into tears. 12 is a difficult age.

My mother explained that she was also a woman, and had never worn a bra in her entire life. Not because she was out burning them, just because, well, I guess we are a family that really hates exposed bra straps. She also explained that since we had identical physiques it seemed unlikely that I was ever going to really need to wear a bra. And that we could wear beautiful camisoles, and everything would be great! Or at least, that it was worth going by the pencil test, which dictates that if you can put a pencil beneath your breast, and it stays up, then you should wear a bra, otherwise you should not.

I ignored this. I bought a leopard print push-up bra at Victoria’s Secret. It was horrendous. And I went around wearing bras about two sizes too large for me for the next six years. Then I realized that if I wasn’t wearing clingy shirts made out of cheap polyester (the teen years as a whole are difficult years) no one was going to notice that I wasn’t wearing one, and I more or less gave up on them.

Obviously, since then I’ve discovered that bras work a lot better when they fit properly and are not push-up bras from Victoria’s Secret. But I’ve still yet to find a bra that feels as comfortable as “no bra whatsoever.” Because I am pretty sure it doesn’t exist.

Admittedly, I have friends who talk about how they sleep in bras because that’s the only way they feel comfortable. Still, there’s always a part of me that wonders if this is like the way I wear high heels around the house, because I’ve worn them for so long that if I walk on flat feet I waddle like a little duck. I think they might have been duped by society, is what I’m saying.

Look, call me crazy, but I don’t think you were really made to wear a garment that heaves one of your body’s more sensitive areas up into an unnatural position. And I think that if men were told that they were going to have to wear something to keep their penis from “drooping” while also accentuating it, they would laugh at you. As long as it was not the 16th century. Then they would just be like “that is called a codpiece.” [tagbox tag="bras"]

But it is not the 16th century, and, for the record, bras will not keep your breasts from sagging. To wit:

Dr. Matthew Schulman, a New York City-based cosmetic surgeon, claims sagging mainly results from three things: “Loss of skin support or elastin; loss of the internal supporting structure of the breast-known as Cooper’s Ligaments-which serve as an ‘internal bra’; and involution or loss of breast tissue with age, weight changes, and pregnancy.” Dr. Schulman states that there is no scientific evidence that bras have any bearing at all on whether our breasts sag.

So there’s no actual medical benefit at work here. Certainly wearing a bra won’t benefit your looks in the long run as much as, say, wearing sunscreen – and no one thinks that you’re unladylike if you go out without sunscreen on.

You know what? Just take off your bra. Right now. Lets go. Just hurl it across the office. No one is going to think this is weird. They’ll all get where you’re coming from, I promise. Or barring that, if you also do not always wear bras, and yet are still pretty discrete let’s start a club. I’m working on a handshake, but all of my ideas are coming off kind of perverse, so you get to be club president and make dificult decisions like that.

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    • Ashley Cardiff

      You manage to look uncomfortable AND confused in a sexy camera phone vanity shot. That’s mighty impressive.

      • Jennifer Wright

        I worked so hard to get that look!

    • Caroline

      they totally do suck. i used to freak out that i didn’t have any chest to speak of, and now it just means i have one fewer article of clothing to worry about buying/wearing.

    • Lauren

      I hate wearing bras as well. Unfortunately I fail the boob pencil test pretty badly (I rock the butt pencil test!). My boobs hurt if I walk around without a bra so I pretty much wear one until like 9pm when I’m settled in my house with nothing but watching TV or reading on my to-do list before bed.

      There are these pretty cheap bras by Aerie from the Sophie collection that are the most comfortable every day bras I’ve been able to find.

    • MM

      Between this and the article about being alone, I must say you’re a lot like me, Jennifer.

      Everyone told me that I just needed a properly fitted bra, so I went and shelled out good money for one of those, and the tiny band size that is apparently ‘correct’ was SO FREAKING TIGHT. Fuck that shit, I wear pretty camisoles instead.

    • Rachael

      I have enormous breasts, and a bra is really quite necessary for me, or else I get back pain. I don’t even want to go into what exercise would be like without one. Bras suck for some women, but not me!

    • Brianna

      I don’t wear a bra as often as possible because they do indeed suck.

    • cjane

      One great thing about a bra:
      There are few things more satisfying than that moment unhook it and slide it out under my shirt when I get home. Aaaaaaaaah.

    • Elizabeth

      Wearing bras helps determine if things are actually worthy of your attention. I call it the, “I’m not putting on a bra for that” scale. Friend’s boyfriend’s birthday party? Fuck it, I’m not putting on a bra for that. I’m staying home and spending some quality time with my best friend, Internet.

      • S.

        Hee. I like your style.

      • Jennifer Wright

        It’s cool that we have the same best friend.

    • Lo

      They’re definitely uncomfortable, but you forgot one of the main benefits of bras, which is they cover up any nipple-age that happens when you get cold. To me that’s worth the back fat.

      • Fabel

        Yes, this is my main concern– I can get away with no bra (that pencil would definitely be on the floor) but my nipples show through everything, no matter what.

      • cjane

        I’d like to see a world where a woman’s nipples don’t need to be concealed. Men can show nips, but women can’t? WTF.

        I have incredibly aggressive nipples that will show through anything, including bras.

      • Lindsey


        I’d like to see a world where everyone’s nipples need to be concealed. Except for at the beach or if it really truly is THAT hot. Then everyone’s nips can take a breather.

        My problem is that I’m short and my face is about equal with normal-heighted people’s nipples (and armpits… it sucks on elevators). Nipples are all symmetrical and exactly at my eye line. BASICALLY like eyes are for other non-short people. If someone’s nipples are out, or noticeably hard I can’t NOT look.

    • matbo

      I’ve never really hated bras, but at some point in my twenties I realized my boobs weren’t really quite big enough for wire and lace and big old fuss, so now I weat strictly American Apparel’s all fabric “bras”. I did go home with a guy once who sorta paused when I took of my shirt and was all like “you’re wearing a sports bra?” I laughed it off, but man! Why give a shit?

      • Ashley Cardiff

        Those lace ones? That’s all I own.

    • Magda

      AHHHHH! I am so envious of women who can go with out a bra. Most of my friends are (at largest) a B cup and go with out all the time… I cant. =(
      I’ve dreamed of getting a lift since I was 15 so that I would no longer have to wear a bra.

    • KeLynn

      Bras are the BEST. I am wearing one 24/7 unless I am showering or sexing. When it’s bedtime I change into one without a wire.

    • Ninargh

      Bras are the devil’s work. I have bitched for YEARS about how uncomfortable and ridiculous a contraption they are – in fact, since I started actually needing to wear one (like Jennifer, this time did not coincide with when I begun wearing them) only to be met with the cry of ‘Oh they’ll be EVER so comfortable if you get measured and buy one that actually fits!’ First of all, that is fresh bullshit. I now have a collection of properly fitted bras that each as uncomfortable as the last I shelled out for. The best part of my day is the point at which I can remove the offending garment and hurl it across the room. Secondly, WHERE are these women buying their magical comfortable bras?!

      Also, the backfat. The HORROR.

      • AudriG

        I’ve been measured so many times!!! Comfy bras are not made in my shape apparently. Strange… I look perfectly normal. lol

    • Rose D.

      I love bras! I feel awful if I’m not wearing one! Also, I’m glad the doctor says that, but I have been wearing the correct bra always, and still have pearky breasts. My sister hasn’t (same genetics, same lifestyle) and hers are all sorts of saggy. Yay bras!

    • Tobi

      I’d love to not wear a bra most of the time, but I’m a D cup. =(
      I started growing these puppies in 5th grade and they grew FAST, so I’ve been in bra-land for quite a long time.

      I do sometimes get to go braless at home, but after a while it feels uncomfortable.

    • Ali

      I go without a bra all the time, C cup be damned (I’m very perky though). I do enjoy lacy, elaborate bras though, which doesn’t go well under clothing. Practicality be damned!

      Also, Jennifer, where did you get that gorgeous bra you’re wearing?

    • Chesty LaRoux

      Bras are good. Poorly-fitting bras, and most of the bra industry in general, are Satan’s work. I’m just a couple of underwear articles away from standing on a street corner and screaming, “Get reliable bra advice! A D cup is not big! Most people wear band sizes too large because that’s all they can get and sorry, officer, I’ll come along quietly.”

      • GoddessdotMariaatGmaildotCom

        Get rid of those old bras! Get fitted for a proper bra, and send your old bras to support (pun intended) the Athena’s Cup, a fundraiser to collect old bras, link them together to break the world record, and raise $500,000 for breast cancer research and awareness. is a registered 501(3)(c) organization, and we have 80,000 bras right now – please help! Tell anyone who asks that Maria sent you, and contact me with any questions!

    • Cassie

      GOD you are so lucky! I wish mine were small enough to go braless, that’d be so awesome!! I can only take mine off to sleep, but if I go out in public without one it would quite literally be a spectacle.

    • judy

      try the coobie….

    • lin

      I hate bras and I wear the stick on kind so I can wear ANY KIND OF CLOTHES..I love them..and have recommended them to many women who now also wear them exclusively..try them! No straps falling and no squeezing of chest.

    • Kristi

      I’m curious Jennifer, what size is your chest?

      I have small a-cups and I can’t not wear a bra because clothes don’t look right. Also.. Nipple coverage?

      And I hate that you posted that picture because I love that ridiculously over priced bra that you’re wearing.

    • Jamie Peck

      I only wear bras when I leave the house and need to get my boobs under control so people don’t stare at them bouncing to and fro. Otherwise, I do not. It’s one of my favorite things about working from home!

    • Claire

      I’d love to not wear one, unfortunately one breast is significantly bigger than the other. I did the pencil test, it was supported by lefty but righty is just too perky so it fell. :(

    • mary

      I hate bras in college whenever i was in my apt i never had one on. If I went to class i just put on a sweat shirt and never wore one either. now that i have a job i have to wear a bra most of the day because I have to wear nicer clothes and my breasts are a C Cup. I absolutely hate it everyday i can’t wait to get home and take the awful thing off. I have found sports bras are a lot more comfortable than any normal bra but I can’t wear those under a lot of clothes b/c it looks weird.

    • Carla

      I try and wear a bra as little as possible. I loved the part about taking my bra off at work and throwing it across the room, because I’m at work at the box office at a music venue and people on the street would totally be able to see me do that… if I wasn’t wearing a bra already!!!

      And I never really have nip showing issues. I guess they’re just not “aggressive”, as someone put it. I am ethnic so they’re a darker rose color, but I don’t wear enough light colors for that to affect me much at all.

    • lucygoosey74

      Grrr, I am very “boobalicious”, as my husband would say, and going out in public without a bra, no matter how heavy the sweatshirt is simply not an option. that being said, I never ever wear them if I’m just hanging out (literally) around the house. Now that the weather is getting much warmer, I must deal with my old dreaded nemesis…boob sweat. I wish I could frolic about, unfettered, on these hot summer days!

    • baneofexistence:bra

      may i join the club? i also cannot assume role as president.