Today is the first day I’ve worn a bra in over three months. I put it on because it’s been so long, I almost forgot what wearing one felt like, but now I remember. It’s suffocating. I feel like my shoulders are being forced to stay down and like my back might fall apart if the clasp wrapping the black satin cloth around my chest pops open. I am eager to take it off.
You know what, I’m going to take it off. I probably never should have worn it in the first place.
Then again, though, it does look beautiful peeking out from under my black muscle tee, offering a delphian sense seasoned femininity.
A woman’s relationship with her foundation garments is an interesting one. Robustly endowed (excuse the pun) ladies might argue that considering the internal manipulation they are capable of achieving with just a mere patch of fabric is a point of power and victory. While others, like myself, will search and subsequently find that same blazon of power in the comfort of choice; that and feeling – which is different from looking – like one of those impossibly cool French models (or, you know, Erin Wasson) who harbor bodies like little boys but still command a very distinct brand of sexiness.
I stopped wearing bras last winter. They seemed unnecessary underneath my sweaters and I hated when sometimes they would show through my button down blouses. Call me profane but as far as I can tell, the slight glance of a nipple appears far more, dare I say, elegant when peeping through my blouse than does a bra.
Often too, I will wear white t-shirts. And when I do, my nipples will spare no detectable remorse. I don’t mind this so much as I do feeling like I am disrespecting all the men who have ever cared about me but that makes me uncomfortable for a number of reasons.
Why, on the one hand, do I feel like I’m disrespecting anyone in choosing how to express myself sans verbiage but on the other, I can’t kick the initial question impregnating my inquisitive mind: why should my dad, or brother, or grandpa have to stare my chest in the face when they see me? It’s awkward and slightly afflictive. This then leaves me to wonder, if I feel most powerful when I’m not wearing a bra, must I accede to putting on one when I feel uncomfortable?
As it turns out power and comfort are not mutually exclusive.
But what I’m more concerned with is in understanding why I feel that sense of dynamism in the first place. Is it because I work in fashion and therefore find myself driven by the lithe nature of the industry’s architecture? If that’s the case, I’m essentially conceding to act and look like people who are not me. If I think hard enough about that, it likely puts me in a fairly powerless position. So maybe this reverts back to my initial point about the latter group of bra-debunkers and that power of choice.
If you ask my mother, she will never tell you that she feels better when she’s not wearing a bra. For as long as I’ve known her, the nude colored, satin bras that feature lace work on their back ends have almost defined the identity that she projects. I, on the other hand, can fare both ways. Though my proclivity is obviously in forgoing the cups, every so often, a beautiful piece of lingerie will sneak into my Cosmo and become just as important to my outfit’s infrastructure as say, a pair of shoes are. Knowing that I can be both–the wearer and the shunner, that’s my power.
And here’s where a camp of larger-breasted protestors might argue they don’t holster that same choice.
We all have that choice, though. It’s just a matter of growing to love and appreciate the vision you will project and affirmatively declare ownership over it. The result might not be “beautiful” to the rest of the world but whatever happened to change the sentiment from ‘I must wear a bra’ to ‘I will wear what I am comfortable in’ is all that really matters. So, maybe I’m going to put my bra back on now.
Or maybe I won’t.