When we were still in the first few months of lockdown, I wrote about my decision to give up wearing a bra. I wasn’t the only one; women all over were giving up these uncomfortable undergarments, secure in the knowledge that their Zoom screens only showed them from the shoulders up anyway. 

The great Gillian Anderson (of The X-Files and The Crown) announced her arrival on the no-bra train in a Twitter video, and thousands of people liked, retweeted, and commented. “It’s just too f***ing uncomfortable,” she said. Gillian, I hear ya.

But that was a while ago, and my boobs and I are now in what is basically year two of the pandemic, so the three of us are out in the world a lot more. We’ve been through two summers, the season I was most uncertain about when it came to the bra question, since I spend the whole summer in T-shirts.

Bralessness begins at home  

At home, I’m still braless. Doesn’t matter if someone’s coming over, doesn’t matter if there’s a Zoom, it’s just not happening. I have big boobs (I wear a DD cup) but I have noticed literally zero discomfort from going without a bra; in fact, it’s been quite the opposite. I’m footloose and fancy-free!

Okay, how about day-to-day errands?

Still not doing it. We have a terrific grocery store across the street, so I pop in there every couple of days to pick up fresh produce, and my phase of putting on a bra to go there did not last long. If anyone’s looking—which I doubt, because let’s face it, I’m not in the right demo for that anymore—then they’re not doing it in a way that I’ve noticed, which is really all I need.

Get-togethers with friends?

Now that we can see people again (hooray!), I had to make a fresh decision, because these aren’t strangers I may never see again, these are people who already know me. Well, that’s enough reason to keep skipping the bra. My friends don’t care. A few have been surprised when I mentioned it, but no one has told me it’s problematic, and I trust them to speak up if need be.

How about at work?

Right now my work is all remote, so work is home and home is work. Hard no! But the last time I did a job onsite was in July for three very long days, and I will confess that I did wear a bra for those. I was working with a bunch of new people and didn’t want my boobs to be the thing they remembered next time they were staffing up. (Or did I, asks my inner voice, who’s happy to get hired for any rason.) I probably didn’t need to though; we were working on live coverage of NYC’s Gay Pride parade, and once the event began, there were much more interesting things to look at than me.

Going anywhere fancy?

I don’t often find myself at upscale events, but my sister is getting married in a few weeks, and whatever I end up wearing will probably include a bra. I’m not sure why, but I guess when it’s more formal, I figure that applies to undergarments as well. Also, if I do decide to wear a dress, it will help define my waist a little, I guess. I’m not going to wear heels or Spanx or anything, but I’ll put on the bra for a special event, and this one’s pretty special.

Anywhere else?

My son started college this year, and he’s not that far away from us. I made plans with him one weekend to take him to Target to get him all stocked up with kitchen supplies, and I put on a bra for that one, for the sole reason that I don’t want to become “Nipple Mom” at his college. He probably doesn’t care, but I do try to include the potential effects on my children in my decision-making.

Any more variations?

On a flight? No. Visiting family? No. But I went to a convention in Vegas a few months ago (with lots of rules about vaccination and Covid testing, before you ask), and I ended up wearing a bra every day. All right, all right, it was a Star Trek convention, and since I brought my collection of my favorite nerdishly awesome T-shirts, basically inviting people to read words on my chest, I opted for the sports bra.

Sports bras only, by the way

That reminds me: I’m ONLY wearing sports bras now. No clasps, no lace, no bulgy pieces. Just sports bras, which do come in larger sizes and are definitely an improvement over what I was wearing before, although I can’t do the much-admired-by-my-husband trick of removing my bra without taking off my shirt. (I like to add a final flourish of me pulling it dramatically out of one sleeve and tossing it for extra effect.) Giving that up is a small price to pay, and if I asked my husband if he prefers the bra trick wife to the braless one, the answer would be a very definitive no.

But wait—aren’t there health benefits to wearing bras?

Nope. None. Some women say they feel better with one on, and they should go ahead and wear them. And I would bet that women who are runners find them helpful, or anyone doing very active sports. I’m on the treadmill every day, but I’m not running, and I have had exactly zero moments of discomfort. The idea that your breasts will sag without one is a much-debunked myth. Of course there are women who experience back pain because of the weight of their breasts, and a bra can help with that, but there are also many women out there experiencing back pain BECAUSE of their bras, usually because they’re wearing the wrong size. Even when I got properly sized, I still found the bra created pain instead of removing it.

So? To bra or not to bra…

I’m not here to dictate what anyone else should do. To each her own. But I get braver by the day about being out and about without even a sports bra, and I’m enjoying every freedom-filled minute of it.  How about you? 

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About Laurie Ulster

A transplanted Canadian living in New York, Laurie Ulster is a freelance writer and a TV producer who somehow survived her very confusing adolescence as the lone female Star Trek fan in middle school. She writes about pop culture, lifestyle topics, feminism, food, and other topics for print, digital, podcasts, and TV.

View all posts by Laurie Ulster