• Fri, Oct 26 2012

Braless With Big Breasts

Dear Glossers, you certainly influence what gets written here quite a bit, and this is a perfect example. Yesterday, after writing about not referring to people as “classy” versus “classless,” two commenters brought up an excellent point:

I wanted to just reply, but then I realized that this is a pretty excellent topic for discussion because it’s one that I’ve been moderately struggling with for years with regard to my fashion choices.

First, I’ll get personal: I wear a 34-36D bra, which I’m pretty dern satisfied with. I have quite wide hips and, I must admit, my head is a little wide as well, so if I didn’t have large breasts, I think I’d be kind of shaped like a very strange dumbbell. Although my breasts aren’t Eva Green a la The Dreamers perky, I like them and I like to think they like me, too.

However, I used to to want to balance my shape out too much by wearing extremely padded bras in sizes too large for me (38C) because I didn’t know any better until two of my close friends informed me that not only was I wearing a too-big bra, I was also missing out on the wonders of unpadded bras. So I went to the store, found one, put it on and, oh my goodness, I felt amazing. I looked better, my clothes fit better, but most of all, I felt better.

Then, I tried going totally braless at their suggestion. Both of these friends also have relatively large breasts close to my size, so I trusted their opinions though I was simultaneously terrified I’d look ridiculous without a bra on. They assured me, though, that I wouldn’t regret it. So this time, when I found a shirt I couldn’t wear a bra with because it would show too much or look silly, I decided to just opt for no bra. IT WAS AWESOME. Free boobin’ it is, to me, one of the most comfortable things in the world now. As I write this, I’m wearing this cheap but incredibly cute bra which has no padding and looks quite nice. But having 0% support with large breasts is not always considered acceptable because there is, as our two lovely readers pointed out, a serious divide on who can go braless and who can’t.

When I, or anybody else I know with large breasts, wear a low-cut shirt, there’s a notable difference in how they’re looked at compared to how a woman with smaller breasts does. When a person is on the thinner side with smaller breasts, it’s seen as somewhat chic to show her cleavage or go out without a bra; it’s sexy, stylish and bold-seeming, or something like that. With large breasts, it’s seen as too sexy, trashy or attention-seeking.

Think of it as Posh Spice versus Ginger Spice syndrome: despite wearing short dresses and low-cut tops, Posh was seen as a chic and sexy. Ginger, on the other hand, wore the same type of clothes, but on a much curvier body, and was viewed as some form of sex bombshell. Women with larger breasts are often afraid they’ll look “saggy” without a bra, but the main reason I have for not wearing one is that it’s insanely comfortable (I have fibrocystic breasts so any pressure on them often hurts like hell), so I try not to think about the way that they look. However, there are plenty of times I’ve heard somebody say about a woman that she “needs to wear a bra,” but who says that’s true? Why do we need to wear one when some of the time, it’s both comfier and more stylish to go without?

In the event you’ve got large breasts, try going braless for a day if you haven’t yet tried it. Try a dark color and a flattering cut, just so long as you’re comfortable with whatever you’re wearing. Same goes for if you have smaller ones! If you love the feeling as much as I do, don’t let anybody tell you that you “need” to wear a bra.

Pic via CNN.

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  • Breezy

    Although I frequently go braless around the house, at a 38G it just does not seem like a possibility in public. Especially because I am in higher education and frequently see people I work with out and about after hours. I was just talking about the big-small double standard with my husband though. I’ve grown into dealing with it, but it was a huge issue when I was a C cup in 5th grade and couldn’t understand why my friends could wear spaghetti strap tank tops to school but I would get cited for a dress code violation.

    • Aquaria

      I got tossed for the spaghetti straps back in the 70s. I thought it was because it was the straps and no bra issue. Only later, I realize it was because I was a C cup in junior high.

  • Tits McGee

    I can’t do it. It’s okay for a while, but then every move starts to yank on the ligaments. Forget stairs. I usually wear a G cup, so my boobs aren’t that big, but it’s still painful. A well-fitting bra helps a lot – I used to hate wearing bras until I got my size right.

    • http://twitter.com/keanesian Meghan Keane

      Have to agree here. Wearing a bra is less about perceived sluttiness and more about comfort after a certain size (and age). I used to be fine without a bra, but now it just hurts after awhile.

    • k

      As much as I hate admitting it on the internet, mine actually… not perky at all, I’ve been a G cup for 15 years, so… I mean gravity and stuff. I would look ridiculous. Also it hurts. Some days, if I wear a sports bra, it hurts like hell when I take my bra off. Owie.

    • McGee

      K, I recommend thinandcurvy dot com. My first suggestion would be to get a really good bra fitting, if you haven’t already done so, but those can be pretty rare depending on where you live. There’s a good section on that site on how a bra should fit and where to find some that do.

      (And anyone here talking about “big” D-cups, take a look at that site. You might not be a true D. D is pretty small, proportionately).

    • Ara

      Definitely about getting fitted! I’ve worked part-time in lingerie to get through school since high school (PhD student now) if you think you’re a 38D it’s HIGHLY likely you’re probably anywhere from a 30-36 F-H.

    • Aquaria

      Huh. At DDD/F, I’m obviously not as large, but I go braless all the time. I hate bras with a passion. I hate how they dig into my shoulders, no matter how “proper” the fit. I hate the way the seams dig in all around and make me itch–no matter what the material or fit or cost–ITCH ITCH ITCH. I hate that they’re made for one type of boob, and not mine. Boobies are not all the same shape! I hate having to stuff mine into a pre-formed shape that puts the rack front and center, making it MORE obvious. My natural “icing on a cake” look doesn’t announce their presence as much as a bra does! Sports bras are better for me in that regard, but then the squashing down they do pushes tissues to the back, and makes it spill over the seams. Which is always ugly and trashy looking.

      There’s just no winning with bras for me, so I’m better off without them. Same thing with my daughter-in-law, who’s a G. She never wears bras anymore, if she can get away with not.

  • Shorter Than The Average Bear

    I have worked up to not wearing a bra at night. That’s as far as I can currently go! I’m not even that big, but I was pretty badly harassed in high school because I was the first girl in my year to get breasts (actually I would describe what happened as prolonged sexual assault), so I’ve always been very self-conscious about them and felt the need to keep them controlled. I can just about walk around the house without a bra before I get in the shower, but in public? I just couldn’t.

    • k

      I am sorry that you had to go through that :(. I, too, developed really early (I was a B cup at 8 when my mom made me start wearing a bra) and I went to a really small school. I wasn’t particularly popular anyway but I got picked on quite a bit more when I was the only girl in school with breasts, basically. And there was this one kid who was kind of weird, and he “had a crush on me” and would make comments that made me horribly uncomfortable. My parents and all the teachers just thought it was cute and that I liked the attention but it was awful. I dressed in huge, baggy clothes until my junior year of high school, and even then I just wore jeans and t-shirts, I was terrified of showing my body because of unwanted attention. (And I was freakin hot then, too, dammit.) It’s still something I am uncomfortable doing. It really fucking sucks that breasts are seen as something that can be discussed freely by others in front of the person with them, whether it’s children or adults. Sorry so long, I guess this is something I have wanted to get off my chest for a while. Pun not intended, but acknowledged.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      That’s horrible, and I’m really sorry you had to go through that. I think that some bullying, particularly when made about areas of the body that are considered sexual, can do even further psychological damage to a person. I’m so sorry that that’s something you had to endure, and I really hope that someday, that improves for you .<3

  • Haily

    When I was fifteen I was an A cup, and over the past four years I’ve crept up to a D cup somehow. I tried losing weight – 50 pounds!! – to get back to being an A cup, but my boobs remain a solid D. Although I don’t think I would ever go without a bra just because I feel more comfortable WITH one on, I agree with everything you said. I read a very sad article in Marie Claire magazine about how curvier women are seen as play-things for men – and are disrespected more – whereas thinner women are more “girlfriend material.” and deservant of better treatment. I’m at a low-ish weight and I’m still ridiculously curvy with big boobs and even bigger hips, and I feel I’m never allowed to wear fishnet tights when skinnier women do it all the time and it’s considered trendy and cute. The clothes I wear are all classic 50′s inspired silhouettes, so I’m lucky, but today’s in-style clothes are all designed with thin waifs and teenage girls with fast metabolisms in mind. Lots of layering and airy tank tops and chunky sweaters make me look literally about 20 pounds heavier. Yeah, I’m kind of complaining, but I have a good reason to….sorry for the long comment.

    • Colleen

      I was an A cup in high school, a D cup by the time I graduated university, and an F cup today–and through weight gains and losses, an F cup I remain. It is what it is. Trends will come & go, but you will always have your curves, so love them and dress them well!

  • lalala

    I hate how having big boobs is construed as sluttier and lower class, it’s so unfair. Even when I was 100 lbs at 5’5″ I had a D cup. Now I eat again, and so I gained the weight back, and my boobs are 3 times as big as they were. I HATE them. I wish I could wear backless tops and dresses but my boobs are unruly and they might knock someone out if I don’t keep them contained. I never wear a bra at home, though. I’m saving up for reduction surgery because to me, fashion is more important than the sex appeal of enormous knockers. Having big boobs makes me look fatter than I am, it’s harder to work out, it’s harder to find clothes that fit my relatively small body AND my huge chest. I’ve been called a slut simply for having big boobs, which is completely ridiculous. I just hate them, and I cannot wait until I’m able to get that surgery.

    • k

      Sorry to just be all commenting on everything here, but I feel you. I want mine gone. It’s simply not financially feasible and won’t be for years but I am doing it, one of these days. And then I can wear bras like she linked to in the article, so happy!
      And frankly, when someone mentions my boobs size in a snotty way or asks me why I haven’t had a reduction, I straight up ask them for 10k. “Are you going to give me ten thousand dollars for surgery? And recovery? No? Then go fuck yourself.” Hm, I sound really angry there. Whatever.

    • TH

      I had reduction surgery in 2003. Life Changing! I went from a G cup to a D cup, I’m curvy all around so the D cup fits my frame well. I had excellent insurance which covered the surgery because it was considered medically necessary as the weight of my breasts was causing back pain, posture issues and skin rashes where they rubbed against my tummy. I was off work for three weeks. I couldn’t go smaller than a D cup without having my nipples removed and sewn back on during surgery umm, Hell No.

      Love life with a D cup, I can buy regular bras and shirts and I look leaner without all th weight up front. It did take me awhile to mentally adjust to my new shape.

    • lalala

      This makes me wonder if my insurance WOULD cover it! How do they prove it causes posture issues and back pain? Because it definitely causes both for me….but it’s not like I’ve ever gone to the doctor about it because I already knew what was causing it. Right now I’m a DD (but spilling out of my bras) but I don’t want surgery until I’m at my ideal weight, about 15 lbs smaller than I am right now, just because I want them reduced to look good at that weight, not this weight. I would love to be a small C, that is perfect. What did you have to do to get the insurance to cover it? I have really good insurance so I’m sure mine would if I were able to prove it’s necessary.

    • lalala

      It’s hard not to get angry about these things. I’ve had people say “Why would you ever want a reduction, most people get implants to look like you,” to which I say stfu. Girls who want implants grow up with a small chest, which means they don’t grow up automatically being called a slut and having a hard time fitting clothes. They don’t grow up with guys focusing on nothing but their chest. It really sucks, I wish insurance would just cover it all. Call it emotionally draining or something and cover the whole damn thing! That would be awesome haha, but will never happen.

    • http://fitorama.wordpress.com/ Lauren Lever

      edited, sorry for sounding angry.. maybe it is my own envy, but it feels like complaining about big breasts is like complaining about losing too much weight, not really complaining but bragging in disguise…

    • lalala

      Trust me trust me trust me I actually hate them. It’s not fun to be sexually harrassed throughout middle and high school because of your DNA. It’s not fun to have a really hard time finding clothes that fit correctly. I’ve always been smallish with huge boobs, and it’s literally impossible. My back hurts, and I feel like they’re all people see. It’s just not fun.

    • http://fitorama.wordpress.com/ Lauren Lever

      Well, to be fair, it’s not just big boobs, if you are “thicker” and wear something tight as opposed to someone skinnier, it will look more sexual then if you had ribs and hipbones sticking out. I have the worst of both worlds, big thighs and small breasts, so I can only really get away with wearing a low-cut top and not being slutty, but a tight skirt, forget about it!

  • Jake

    Hear! Hear!
    Braless is beautiful. And to all those who talk about they supposedly becoming “saggy” because they lack support, then remember that, just a few years ago, they were more likely to be called “sexy cleavage”. What people say is just about fashion, nothing else…

  • jai

    For me, if I don’t wear a bra with padding I just have no boobs -_- I wouldn’t really call small boobs “sophisticated” because they can actually cause you to look unfeminine. There is a happy medium with sizes, I definitely feel for girls who have trouble with back pain. Exercising must be difficult!

  • HM

    I wouldn’t go bra-less in public- in bed is fine, but once gravity starts coming into play, it’s just uncomfortable. I don’t want them to be bouncing around when I’m trying to get on with stuff. And also, I really hate having visible nipples (or nipple bumps. You know what I mean). That’s why I always go for padded bras as well (not padded as it with the shelf bit at the bottom)- I’ve never understood the fuss about padded ‘first bras’ because it’s not like they add anything size wise.

    • Colleen

      Have you ever tried “invisibles”? They are little foamy pads you put in your bra to cover your nipples. I have very prominent nipples, so I need them to keep the nips from poking someone’s eyes out. It also reduces the need for a majorly padded bra.

  • Tania

    Small breasts really aren’t as good as people seem to think here. I get passed over all the time for having small breasts.

    I think the reason smaller breasts being shown off is seen as “more sophisticated” is because if I unbuttoned my button-up shirt down to my navel, you’d only see just the edges of my boobs, just a little hint. If my (much more endowed) sisters did the same thing, you’d see a lot more boob, like a whole lot. It’s not that showing off smaller boobs is “more acceptable,” it’s that the same style shirt worn by a small chest and a large chest are not equal in the amount they reveal.

    • karma

      Just like small penis men.

  • andrea

    as someone with tiny boobs that have been large in the past, i am so glad that i am back to having small boobs. i free-boobed a lot when i was younger, and then without realizing it, i hit that age where i stopped being able to eat whatever i wanted and gained a bunch of weight and my boobs were massive and i hated it. HATED. i had to wear bras again and i really despise bras. so now that i’ve gotten back in shape and have tiny boobs again, i am so thankful. if i wear bras, i wear unpadded ‘bralets’ with no underwire or adjustable anything, like american apparel’s lace bras, and they are super comfy and i don’t really care if they don’t give me any cleavage. whatever. so, this story is just to put my perspective out there. i don’t see big boobs as being slutty or not classy, i just see them as a hassle.

  • Alexis, brayola.com expert

    Sometimes it’s nice to have a day where you go braless–it can be more comfortable. However, if the situation isn’t appropriate or someone REALLY just doesn’t feel comfortable wearing a bra, there are lots of comfy alternatives out there. You could go wireless or for a bralette/bandeau style. I find a bralette to be more comfortable and I’m in the D-range.

  • Aquaria

    Oh–and I think the woman on the right in the examples looks better. The a-cup is shiny. She also looks mean and mad about being born a woman.

    But that’s just my take on the difference.