October 28, 2016

Going braless.

Here's a nice Buzzfeed video from last year about a bunch of young women who go braless for a week and talk about how they feel about the experience, before they do it and after:



I ran across that just now because my mind went in that direction when I was writing the previous post about a pencil test to see if the floors are slanted in that apartment you're considering renting. In my experience, the "pencil test" is a way to determine if you can get away with going braless.

I've got many things to say about going braless, but I've been blogging so long that I've probably already said everything worth saying. So, from the archive:

1. From July 2007: A summer associate texted a senior partner to ask if bras were part of the dress code. Hmm. Maybe the real question there was are you people strait-laced. Maybe that woman had a lot of options. Anyway, I offered my advice for going braless at work: Figure out how to do it so no one knows. If you can. Jackets. Layers. Come on, people. The women in that Buzzfeed video did not even attempt to do that.

2. September 2005: Critiquing a new Maidenform ad that has the "I dreamed I" woman staying home with a baby, I said: "If I'm staying home with kids, that bra is coming off! A bra is for going out into the male-dominated world and achieving. As soon as you cross the home threshold, that bra is off. Right, ladies? What is the lag time for you between when you walk through the door and when you take off the bra? Five minutes, tops? Is it the first, second, or third thing you do when you come home?"

3. March 2008: From an 8-point list of things people might question in the image of a law professor, #4 was bralessness: "I've always assumed the rule here is that you can go braless in class if no one can tell. There are many other breast-related questions, but perhaps you would think it unprofessional of me to ask them." I nip that discussion in the bud.

4. June 2009: "'There is, so far as [The Straight Dope] can discover, zero evidence that bras prevent saggy breasts.' I recommend bralessness. At least don’t let fear of drooping breasts stop you." Someone in the comments says a bra "sops up sweat under your breasts," and I retort "Go braless so you don't develop a place called 'under your breasts.'"

5. April 2013: More scientific news that wearing a bra doesn't prevent breasts from becoming saggy. It accelerates sagginess. "Medically, physiologically, anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity. Instead, it languishes with a bra."

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a big-breasted woman (naturally), I can't stand NOT wearing a bra! My nipples are sensitive to chafing, and feel like they're swinging everywhere. Yuck. That's not the oppression of the patriarchy, that's just uncomfortable. Taking off my bra is the last thing I do before going to bed!

rhhardin said...

As a lady said long ago, it depends on how big you are.

As for work, make sure you can't actually see nipples through the blouse, or you get rounds of applause in the comapny cafeteria. Actual fact.

Curious George said...

"5. April 2013: More scientific news that wearing a bra doesn't prevent breasts from becoming saggy. It accelerates sagginess. "Medically, physiologically, anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity. Instead, it languishes with a bra."

Anyone that has ever read National Geographic knows this is bullshit.

traditionalguy said...

What a great day. The Breast Blog is back and Trump is winning. The days of cleavage and roses are here again.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

It generally takes a while, but eventually I start wondering why my meat-and-two-veg are feeling kind of weird and then an underwear check confirms that the elastic around the leg openings is about shot.

EDH said...

Here's a nice Buzzfeed video from last year about a bunch of young women who go braless for a week and talk about how they feel about the experience, before they do it and after...

Can't believe I just watched that entire video and did not see one protruding nipple.

Damn you Althouse!

MadisonMan said...

How did I miss that post from March of 2008!

Laslo Spatula said...

The Bra has a Magic to it.

There is That Moment when you first see a woman taking off her clothes in front of you, and she is down to the bra and panties.

Then the bra comes off, you see her naked breasts for the first time, and you can now decide if you ever want to see her again after that night.

This also works for evaluating strippers.

I am Laslo.

dbp said...

The Middle had a great snippet on the bra as a necessary garment for being in public.

The mom had picked up a prescription for her son on the way home from work and was very tired from the long day. Brick (the son) insisted she go back to the drug store for the syrup formulation rather than the pills she (Frankie) brought. She signified her absolute refusal by taking off her bra and brandishing it.

Jupiter said...

"Figure out how to do it so no one knows."

That may have been a reasonable response in 2007, but it is now body-shaming.

rhhardin said...

Braheit macht frei.

rhhardin said...

Visible bras were big in the 60s and 70s, a fashion statement among ordinary uptight office women that puzzled me.

It's a nice frilly blouse but why one that you can see the bra through.

Maybe only men can see through blouses, was the best guess. It looks fine to her.

Laslo Spatula said...

I had a girlfriend in college who went always braless.

Very nice breasts.

It hurt when we broke up.

But now I am thankful that I did not have to see what time would wreak upon those breasts.

I should've taken a photo.

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

There's a book on the history of bras called, I think, "Lifts and Separates."

rhhardin said...

Extend your wifi range with an underwire antenna.

rhhardin said...

The missle nosecone shape was hot in the 50s.

What bras sell is shape.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Kinda fun and interesting, but as a male with two eyes who was a teenager in the 1970s, the main thing I took from it is "this has all been done before, except people didn't make videos about it".

Unknown said...

How does the pencil test determine whether you can go bravest? Is it a pencil under the boobs?

surfed said...

I stood still and the 70's swung back around. I could do without the hairy female armpits and earth shoes though...

William said...

When did bras first come into use. Male underpants were introduced into England by Beau Brummel. That's the relatively recent past. ........ If you look at old photos of Eleanor Roosevelt it doesn't appear that she's wearing a bra. Probably not all that many people looked closely so she could probably get away with not wearing a bra. The tree in the forest thing......Brassieres is a French word. Were bras introduced by the French? That's kind of ironic. They introduced topless beaches, and Marianne is always shown leading the revolution with one bared breast.......This promises to be an interesting and informative thread.

Paul said...

Ok Ann, now do a piece on men going Commando!

BVDs don't stop... er whatever and the heat can cause sterility!

Go Commando men! Do it for manhood, er, mankind, uh manliness!

William said...

Old bra joke recalled from childhood: There's the Stalin bra that uplifts the masses, and then there's the Drew Pearson model which makes a mountain out of a molehill.

buwaya puti said...

This has been done since pre-history. More, bras are just a modern artifact of an ancient evil conspiracy.

One day Igorot or Minoan fashions will have their day again, finally, and this great nightmare will be over. We can hope.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I agree with poster Anonymous. As a person who is "endowed" going braless in public is completely out for the reasons she stated. Uncomfortable and your clothes don't fit as well either.

Lounging around at home, of course I go braless. Sunning on the deck braless at the very least :-) However, working in the yard or other physical activities or going out in public a bra is mandatory.

I've always wished to be smaller, especially in the 60's when Twiggy was the beauty ideal and there was no way I could fit into the store made clothing for that body type. More Mae West than Twiggy. (I had to make many of my own clothes so they would fit around the chest and not be hanging off my shoulders, with sleeves that hung well below my hands and which would fit my waist instead of fitting like a Mu Mu.) However, barring a surgery (which my husband is against LOL and whose sentiments I appreciate and honor) it isn't going to happen. So...I live with a bra. At least bras are more comfortable these days due to better engineering :-)

Lucien said...

I wonder what Titus would say about this post.

mockturtle said...

I went bra-less for a while in the early 70's but I noticed that, when I was trying to hold a serious conversation with a male, he would be looking at my boobs. I could blame the male for being a sexist pig OR I could dress more decently.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Brassieres is a French word. Were bras introduced by the French?

Funny you should ask. Bette Midler answered this question in the movie Beaches

Relevant Sorry not full screen.

Owen said...

rhhardin: various comments above, especially WiFi signal gain. Made me laugh, thanks.

Laslo Spatula said...

mockturtle said...
"I went bra-less for a while in the early 70's but I noticed that, when I was trying to hold a serious conversation with a male, he would be looking at my boobs..."

When I find myself talking with a woman and staring at her breasts I just say "Sorry: I have Aspergers."

They can't get made at you now.

I am Laslo.

Pettifogger said...

Re going braless only if others can't tell:

The main thing I remember about another student in law school is that she wore no bra. I am sure there are many facets to her personality and that she has had a fine legal career (this was in the mid-70s). But I remember what I remember. On the other hand, I don't remember most of the other students.

MathMom said...

I was going to make the National Geographic comment, but I see I am late. Also, they do the studies on young women who still have lots of elasticity in their skin.

I have read that if you are going to lose weight, do it when you are young so your skin can snap back into shape, because when you are older, all that excess skin will hang loose, like Bingo wings, and you'll get lots of lines on your face. Well, that's why the study stopped with women in their 30s. It's bullshit, and can be proven if you do this and then check in on those women in their 50s.

My mother had very small breasts, and even those sagged as she got older. My sisters and I got big knockers from somewhere, and though I run around without the bra for awhile when I get up in the morning, I feel MUCH better when I strap on the double-barreled slingshot.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Math Mom. Titsling. (see the video)

The WiFi signal gain is a brilliant idea!!!! Rhhardin should patent it. I would buy that product.

CJinPA said...

Boob Talk: I approve.

Beyond that, just know, ladies, that we care about nothing more than what makes you feel empowered, and we are willing to continue rearranging society to suit your wants.

Big Mike said...

Here's a good reason for a woman to wear a bra.

Bruce Hayden said...

I had a girlfriend in college who went always braless.

Ditto. It was the times - late 1960s, and early 1970s (she was in Ann's class in college). I got pretty good at undoing her bra one handed, and I think that she just gave up at some point. Wore band aids over her nipples, at least for awhile. Loved it. She would go months without wearing one.

But, it really does, I think, depend on how endowed the woman is. My partner is a bit larger, and her bras hurt her back, which she injured a decade or so ago. Around the house these days, she goes braless, but never out of it. Too big, and, thus, too noticeable. I wouldn't mind, but I am invariably outvoted.

John said...

Little known fact:

What we call a bra was actually invented by Otto Titsling. However, in the race to be first, Luc de Brassiere stole the idea.

Bette Midler told me. How could she possibly be wrong?

John Henry

Freeman Hunt said...

A guess: nursing effect > gravity effect.

MaxedOutMama said...

Whenever I see pics of older women in cultures that don't do bras, their boobs are hanging down half a foot. And mind you, these are in cultures that move a lot, etc. Not the modern sedentary lifestyle thang.

So regardless of Western studies, I believe that bras do prevent extreme boob sagging.

Breast feeding produces some sag, and of course weight gain can.

But does anyone in our bleeping culture even know what natural boobs look like any more? Seems like our collective boobs have been treated like the lips of the poor guy who just died after an infinity of plastic surgery.

coupe said...

We had this lady who decided to wear a dress with a lot of cleavage one day. She added in a push-up bra and then went upstairs to where the engineers worked.

She was escorting some contractors who didn't have a security clearance. So while they did their job, she would sit on the engineers desk.

All of a sudden the engineer network chat channel was full of messages about where the location of all the emergency defibrillators were, and that some of the older engineers were starting to have symptoms of heart attacks.

The manager went upstairs and grabbed her, and took her away. She came back to work in a regular dress. But it was a notable event to reminisce about at the Christmas party.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Big Mike - don't know how novice she really is - her finger comes right off the trigger after making a shot. The video automatically loads into another one that actually shows how it works. Not sure though that you could actually hide that much with a small breasted woman.

Reminds me of another reason for wearing a bra. Something my partner calls her secret purse. Apparently her grandmother was extremely well endowed, and kept a lot of things there in hers, esp. change that to give her grandkids.

mockturtle said...

Laslo reports: When I find myself talking with a woman and staring at her breasts I just say "Sorry: I have Aspergers."

To which I would reply, "Aspergers, my ass!"

Howard said...

With a trained eye and appreciation for fluid mechanics, one can always tell. Braless is fully independent front suspension and the girls go up and down out of sync like each had a mind of it's own. No nipple shot required. The bra'ed breasts bounce together in sync.

hombre said...

I know the post is about boobs, not politics. But don't you just know that this video represents the intellectual depth of Hillary voters.

Meanwhile, I'm going to switch from briefs to boxers this week just to explore the feeling of nuts unfettered. Anybody else? Want to make a video?

coupe said...

hombre said...Meanwhile, I'm going to switch from briefs to boxers...

The switch is the other way. Tight scrotums can do boxers, sagging scrotums need briefs.

I haven't worn boxers for years. i.e., When I started accidently sitting on my scrotum when wearing boxers...

mockturtle said...

Meanwhile, I'm going to switch from briefs to boxers this week just to explore the feeling of nuts unfettered. Anybody else? Want to make a video?

I think men should bring back the codpiece.

buwaya puti said...

Always have worn boxers.
Briefs are an invention of the devil.

buwaya puti said...

Men evolved to swing free.
Nobody on the African plains had briefs. Nor bras.

damikesc said...

Yeah, hard to miss a braless woman. Even if she is small up-top, the movement is pretty obvious.

MadisonMan said...

That these women think so much about whether or not to be braless makes me think they have really very little else going on in their lives.

Earnest Prole said...

Young women were once more comfortable revealing evidence of both the nipple and the natural shape of the breast — not all women, not all the time, and not even necessarily by going braless, but there was definitely more of a sense of breasts as a natural, biological fact. Today the sight of visible nipples through fabric turns young women off, and the ideal shape is more toward the compressed hemispheres of a breastplate. To the extent the breast reveals itself at all today, it’s as a pushed-up mound of flesh whose geography seems closer to the throat than the nipples. We now understand that women dress more for other women than they do for men, so it raises questions: are nipples and natural breast shapes concealed due to slut-shaming? Do women find the nippleless, rounded Barbie shape attractive in a presexual kind of way? Inquiring minds want to know.

mockturtle said...

Gosh, Earnest! I wear a bra but my nipples sometimes show--especially if it's cold. I didn't know until now that was a bad thing.

eddie willers said...

LSMFT

mockturtle said...

LSMFT

'Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco'?

Earnest Prole said...

mockturtle: Do tell more!

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Let's Stop, My Finger's Tired. (From an old Redd Foxx routine)

John Constantius said...

Agree with Curious George that old issues of Nat'l Geo trump(!) any study. Harness those flesh zeppelins at a young age, or you and your husband/partner need to be okay with them swinging at or below your waistline when you get older. My impression is that, surprisingly, size is not a major factor in this situation - small breasts sag and lose elasticity just as much as big ones (again using Nat'l Geo for data points).

I've always been lucky enough that my girlfriends and now my wife have huge nipples that only ultra-padded bras can contain (maybe that's part of what attracted me). My impression is that they just find a way to get comfortable with always having "high beams on", and if there are genuine professional situations where it will be a problem they wear a sweater and/or drape a scarf to hide them.

Jon Ericson said...

@ MT: Loose straps mean floppy tits. (it's a sixties thing)

GRW3 said...

One of the things I told my boys was that once you've in a serious relationship, manipulating a bra becomes a matter of convenience - not theirs. Among the sure signs the relationship is fixed is the simple declarative sentence: "Unhook my bra." It might not be as final as "Hold my purse" but it's up there.

Martin said...

“Such anathema to us as Americans — and a painful reminder of how long it took modernism to take root in the U.S., after the Enlightenment, the 14th, 15th, 16th, 19th amendments,” she wrote. “Much to discuss when we talk, hopefully tomorrow?”

For all her elite credentials, she does not have an elite education, as she does not even grasp the concept of "modernism," but throws the word around as if by its mere presence it elevates her thinking.

Bad Lieutenant said...


GRW3 said...
One of the things I told my boys was that once you've in a serious relationship, manipulating a bra becomes a matter of convenience - not theirs. Among the sure signs the relationship is fixed is the simple declarative sentence: "Unhook my bra." It might not be as final as "Hold my purse" but it's up there.
10/29/16, 4:54 PM


Sorry? Please explain.