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Ditching Bras - The Braless Trend Takes Center Stage

A liberating and empowering trend has recently been sweeping through Hollywood and the fashion world - the embrace of going braless. The braless trend is the new black!

Elisa Mueller
Feb 26, 20244 Shares622 Views
The braless trend, a captivating and liberating movement in the world of fashion and body positivity, has recently gained remarkable momentum.
Challenging conventional beauty standards and redefining comfort, this trend encourages individuals to embrace their natural bodies.
How? By opting to forgo the traditional bras.
What could be the reasons behind the braless trend? Let’s find out.

Is Going Braless A Trend Now?

In 2014, Free the Nipple, an independent film directed, co-written, and co-produced by actress Lina Esco (S.W.A.T.), where she’s also part of the main cast, was released.
This comedy-drama focuses on the issue of going braless in public as it explores:
  • gender equality
  • censorship
  • women’s rights
The real-life “Free the Nipple” campaign, which started in 2012, inspired Esco’s film.
This movement is not about initiating as braless trend.
It advocates for gender equality and body positivity by challenging the societal double standards and censorship that exist around female nipples.
If men can go topless in public, why not allow women, too?
Some years later, as part of the 2018 celebration of the “National No Bra Day” (more on this later), a survey was conducted where women were asked to describe their bra.
Originally published by the American City Business Journals (ACBJ), iHeart, an American radio network, reposted the survey results:
Bra DescriptionPercentage of Respondents
“A Business Partner - I put up with her.”46%
“An Enemy - I wish I had never met.”21%
“Acquaintance”16%
“Friends”14%
“Lover”4%
It’s safe to say that based on the results, women and bras aren’t exactly Bff (best friends forever) but they are civil to each other.
Additionally, according to the survey, 52 percent of the respondents said that they would remove their bra during the first 30 minutes they got home.
Furthermore, 25 percent of them admitted it’s the first thing they would do once they’re back home.
In September 2019, the “Free the Nipple” movement tasted victory.
KGUN-TV reported that a federal court made it legal for women to go topless in public in these states:
ColoradoOklahoma
KansasUtah
New MexicoWyoming
In November 2021, American TikToker Rachel Levin (@rclbeauty101) posted a 7-second reply to this comment by another TikToker: “Stop trying so hard to show your t*ts!”
Levin, who is also a YouTuber and singer, said in the short clip:
Am I showing off my boobs? Or do I just have boobs…and exist?- Rachel Levin
The video went viral. It already received over 1 million views, with more than 2,700 comments and has so far been shared 6,898 times as of this writing.
Not wearing a bra, or going braless, is currently a trend in 2023.
Go and checkout TikTok and the hashtag “no bra” (#nobra) has so far garnered more than 698 million views.
At the forefront of this trend is the Gen Z(people born in 1997-2012), according to The New York Post.
Do the Free the Nipple movement and film as well as the “National No Bra Day” celebration, in some ways, contribute to the emergence of the braless trend?
How about the COVID-19 pandemic?
A June 2023 Elle article says it did. The pandemic affected women’s mindset about wearing inner garments.
Fashion also initiated the braless trend, as observed by Stacey Chia, a New York-based Singaporean senior communications manager for Canadian fashion designer Tanya Taylor.
Chia told Elle that certain dress cuts and designs compel the wearer to go braless. If women insist on covering their breasts, the best option, according to Chia, will be “to use nipple covers.”
Now when we talk about fashion, we begin to talk about celebrities, and several Hollywood stars have embraced this braless trend.
Salma Hayek sitting and posing on a red couch in a plunging lime green Giambattista Valli gown
Salma Hayek sitting and posing on a red couch in a plunging lime green Giambattista Valli gown

Braless Trend Celebrities

When she was 52, Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Crown) revealed something personal on an Instagram Live with her fans in 2021, as quoted by People magazine:
I don’t wear a bra anymore . . . I’m sorry, but I don’t care if . . . my breasts reach my belly button . . . It’s just too f***ing uncomfortable.- Gillian Anderson
In November 2022, at 48, supermodel Kate Moss was confident to go braless in a see-through outfit when she attended Diet Coke’s 40th birthday celebration at Annabel’s in London.
Moss, who has a daughter who will turn 21 in 2023, showed the same level of confidence when she ditched the bra again at the September 2023 Paris Fashion Week.
The braless trend became more evident in two major Hollywood events.
Many Oscar attendees graced the red carpet of the 95th Academy Awards in March 2023 braless, such as:
  • Halle Berry
  • Mindy Kaling
  • Eva Longoria
  • singer Janelle Monae
At the 2023 Met Gala in May, those who came in gorgeous dresses sans bra included:
  • Rachel Brosnahan
  • Anne Hathaway
  • Kim Kardashian
  • Florence Pugh
  • British singer-songwriter Rita Ora
At the after-party in the New York City nightclub The Box, Kendall Jenner, Jennifer Lopez, and model Lara Worthington participated in the braless trend.
Florence Pugh and Rita Ora did it again - plus, Kylie Jenner - when they attended the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week in July 2023. Pugh wore a sheer Valentino gown on two separate occasions during the week.
In various events in 2023, these celebrities made the braless trend alive:
Alessandra AmbrosioKahyun Kim
Christina AguileraHeidi Klum
Sabrina CarpenterDua Lipa
CiaraLea Michele
Julia FoxEmily Ratajkowski
Megan FoxHunter Schafer
Julia GarnerHailee Steinfeld
Laura HarrierIrina Shayk
Salma HayekSuki Waterhouse
Elsa HoskZoë Saldana

Braless Day

If the braless trend exists, there is also a dedicated day to celebrate being braless.
The “National No Bra Day” is an annual awareness event that takes place on October 13th.
Renowned Canadian plastic surgeon Dr. Mitchell H. Brown, who is also a Full Professor in the University of Toronto - Department of Surgery, launched it in 2011, according to the South China Morning Post.
Its primary purpose is to:
  • promote breast health
  • raise awareness about breast cancer
The event encourages women to forgo wearing bras for a day as a:

Countries That Don’t Wear Bras

Slate mentioned in a 2010 article about a New York Times report published in the same year concerning Somali women getting detained for wearing a bra.
Hizbul Islam (founded, 2009; disbanded, 2013), an Islamist armed militant organization in Somalia, carried it out.
Not that the said East African country strictly implemented its own braless trend in that particular year. After all, no one gets - or should get - jailed for not following a trend.
It’s more of wearing one being offensive.
According to Kenyan newspaper The Standard, per Slate, members of the said insurgent group would order women to jump around to check if they’re braless or not.
The Standard reported, as quoted by Slate:
From the resultant chest motion, the militants are reportedly able to isolate those wearing bra.- The Standard (standardmedia.co.ke)
When they caught women wearing bra:
The immediate thing is to strip them of the offending bra. These are then burnt in public as an example-setting warning to like-minded bra lovers.- The Standard (standardmedia.co.ke)
Well, there are countries where women don’t wear bra not because of the braless trend but because they simply like to - out of their own free will!
Culture, though, sometimes plays a role, too, in making them go braless.
Based on a list prepared (updated in 2023) by World Population Review, here are three nations where women can go braless in public without being controversial:
  • India
  • Japan
  • Peru
Even before the so-called dawn of the new millennium, which started on January 1, 2001, a great number of women from several countries already followed the never-before-heard braless trend.
In a 1999 public travel forum by travel guides creator Fodor’s, participants said that it’s common among Americans and Europeans (e.g., the French) to go braless in public.
As one participant named “Caryn” commented:
European women are more likely to go without [wearing a bra] and you wouldn’t fell [sic] uncomfortable or stand out if you didn’t wear one.- “Caryn” from Fodor’s Travel Talk Forums (March 1999)

Braless Benefits

Those following the braless trend can benefit from it in several ways.
Still, even though going braless can have several potential benefits, note that these advantages can vary from person to person.
Here are some potential benefits of not wearing a bra:
1. Comfort
Many people find going braless more comfortable, as it eliminates concerns associated with wearing a bra, such as:
  • pressure
  • tightness
  • constriction
This can be especially true for individuals with:
  • sensitive skin
  • sensory issues
  • certain medical conditions
Yes, there are medical conditions that can make wearing a bra uncomfortable or even medically inadvisable for some women.
These conditions can vary in severity and can include:
Medical ConditionDetails/Examples
benign/fibrocystic breast conditionthe development of noncancerous (benign) lumps, cysts, or areas of thickened tissue in the breast
breast surgerye.g., mastectomy or breast augmentation
costochondritisan inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone
fibromyalgiaa neurological (affecting the brain, nerves, spinal cord) disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal (bones, tendons, ligaments, etc.) pain
lymphedemaswelling in the breast area after lymph nodes were removed as part of cancer treatment
mastalgiabreast pain
neuropathynerve damage in the breast area
thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS)compression of the nerves and blood vessels in the thoracic outlet (the space at the base of the neck and upper chest)
Some individuals may also have allergies to certain materials used in bras (e.g., latex and certain dyes), which can lead to skin reactions.
2. Improved circulation
Not wearing a bra can allow for better blood circulation in the breast area, potentially reducing the risk of issues like:
  • breast pain
  • clogged lymph nodes (small, bean-shaped structures located throughout the human body, including armpits, neck, and chest)
3. Reduced breast sagging
Some believe that not wearing a bra can help strengthen the chest muscles, which may lead to firmer breasts over time.
However, the scientific evidence supporting this claim is limited.
4. Increased body acceptance
Going braless can promote body positivity and self-acceptance, as it challenges societal beauty standards and norms related to breast shape and size.
5. Cost savings
Bras can be expensive, and not wearing one can save you money in the long run.
Perhaps the braless trend could also be about minimizing women’s expenses when it comes to their inner wear.
6. Enhanced body awareness
Going braless may help some individuals become more attuned to their bodies and breast health, as they may be more likely to notice changes or abnormalities.
7. Improved sleep
Sleeping without a bra can lead to a more restful night’s sleepfor some individuals who find bra straps or underwire uncomfortable during sleep.
Assorted brassieres in different colors hanging from a clothesline in a grassy field
Assorted brassieres in different colors hanging from a clothesline in a grassy field

People Also Ask

What Are The Disadvantages Of Not Wearing A Bra?

The impact of going braless varies from person to person. Here are some potential disadvantages of not wearing a bra:
a. Lack of support
Bras are designed to provide support to the breasts, and not wearing one may lead to discomfort, especially for individuals with larger breasts.
This can result in any (or all) of the following:
  • back pain
  • breast pain
  • neck pain
b. Sagging
Over time, not wearing a bra may contribute to breast sagging, especially in individuals with larger or heavier breasts.
A bra can help lift and support breast tissue.
c. Discomfort during physical activities
For some, not wearing a bra during physical activities (e.g., jogging or playing sports) can lead to discomfort or pain due to breast movement.
d. Nipple sensitivity
Without the protection of a bra, some individuals may experience increased nipple sensitivity or discomfort, especially if the fabric of their clothing rubs against the nipples.
e. Clothing fit
Some clothing items may fit and look better with the support and shaping that a bra provides. Not wearing a bra under certain outfits may result in an undesirable appearance.
f. Social norms
In some social or professional settings, not wearing a bra may be considered inappropriate or unprofessional. It can lead to discomfort or judgment from others.
g. Self-esteem
For some individuals, not wearing a bra can affect their self-esteem or body confidence, especially if they are self-conscious about their breast appearance.

How To Go Braless In The Summer?

If you’re not keen on embracing the braless trend but starts wondering if you could not wear one during summertime, then here are some tips on how to go braless in the summer:
1. Choose the right clothing.
a. Wear loose-fitting, breathable fabrics that provide some natural support, such as:
  • cotton
  • linen
  • lightweight blends
b. If nipple visibility is your concern, these can help conceal the nipples:
  • flowy tops
  • dresses
  • oversized shirts
c. Consider wearing layered clothing to add extra coverage and minimize any discomfort.
2. Use pasties or nipple covers.
a. If you’re concerned about nipple visibility, you can use nipple covers or silicone pasties to provide a little coverage and prevent chafing.
b. Make sure to choose a color that matches your skin tone for a discreet look.
3. Wear a bralette or a camisole.
a. If you’re looking for minimal support or a bit of extra coverage, you can opt for a bralette or camisole. These are typically more comfortable than traditional bras.
b. Choose styles that are wire-free and made of soft, breathable materials.
4. Embrace braless-friendly styles.
a. Look for clothing styles that naturally lend themselves to going braless, such as:
  • halter tops
  • backless dresses
  • loose, open-back tops
b. Some summer fashion trends are designed with braless comfort in mind like:
  • off-the-shoulder
  • bandeau tops
5. Know your comfort level.
a. Be aware of your personal comfort level when going braless. Some people may find it liberating, while others might prefer some level of support.
b. Listen to your body and make choices that allow you to feel confident and comfortable.
6. Build confidence.
a. Going braless is about comfort and confidence. Embrace your body and its natural shape.
b. Remember that society’s beauty standards vary, and what’s most important is how you feel about yourself.
7. Experiment and adjust.
a. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different clothing and styles to see what works best for you.
b. Adjust as needed. If you’re uncomfortable or feel exposed, consider using:
  • pasties
  • a lightweight bralette
  • other alternatives
8. Observe good hygiene.
a. In hot weather, be mindful of sweat and odor.
b. Keep your underarms and chest clean and dry to feel fresh and confident.
9. Practice self-care.
a. Pay attention to your breast health.
b. Regularly perform self-exams and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

Should You Wear Bra While Sleeping?

Yes, you may (even if you’re a fan of the braless trend)!
A 2020 Healthline article medically reviewed by Tennessee-based registered nurse and health psychologist Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., stated that, at the time of its publication, “there are no peer-reviewed medical studies” indicating that it’s bad to wear a bra when going to sleep.
Wearing a bra when sleeping can even be helpful to women who have certain conditions. As breast cancer surgeon Dr. Regina Hampton from Maryland told Healthline:
Some women have painful, lumpy breasts, and wearing a soft bra to bed can help limit breast movement while sleeping.- Regina Hampton, M.D., FACS (Fellow of the American College of Surgeons)
Dr. Terri-Ann Samuels, a urogynecologist and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgeon from Texas suggested to women with breast implants to wear bra when sleeping.
They just need to make sure that the bras they’ll be wearing are not constrictive.
Moreover, California-based chiropractor Suzanna Wong said in an article published by Nike that it’s not only fine for women to sleep with their bra, it’s also okay to do so regardless of the type of bra.
A chiropractor, by the way, is a healthcare professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders, particularly those related to the spine and nervous system.
New York-based plastic surgeon Dr. Constance Chen, who also specializes in microsurgical breast reconstruction, agrees with Wong.
In the case of a sports bra, Dr. Chen told Nike that it’s fine to wear it when sleeping. She even added that doing so “won’t stunt breast growth.”
A smiling blonde woman in red sports bra, with arms bend while holding small pink dumbbells
A smiling blonde woman in red sports bra, with arms bend while holding small pink dumbbells

Final Thoughts

Even though it has become a symbol of empowerment and self-expression for others, the braless trend is not for all women.
Remember that going braless is a personal choice. What works for one person may not work for another.
The key is to prioritize your comfort and confidence while embracing your individual style and preferences.
In the end, the braless trend has sparked conversations about gender equality, body confidence, and the evolving perceptions of beauty.
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