BY JULIA GUERRA
You’ve spent the entire day working hard or hardly working — either way, you’ve been out of the house since sun-up and need a little TLC, ASAP. Stepping into your apartment, a few options present themselves to you: a tall glass of merlot calling your name from the kitchen, a stash of bath bombs just waiting to disperse in a warm tub. But all you care about right now is tearing your bra TF off. If this scenario sounds familiar, I’m right there with you, girl, and, apparently, so are most women. Taking your bra off after a long day is just so damn liberating; it’s a similar feeling to handing in your last assignment before the weekend. Unsnapping the hooks, releasing your breasts from their supportive, yet kind of restrictive net of lace — it’s just a sensation unlike any other, and I have no doubt every female knows exactly what I’m talking about.
According to a recent survey by apparel company Ruby Ribbon, the results of which were sent directly to Elite Daily over email, the general consensus seems to be that bras aren’t exactly a favorite wardrobe essential. Out of the 3,000 women surveyed about their breasts — how they feel about having to wear a bra, and about boobs in general — 46 percent of respondents said they essentially look at the relationship they have with their lingerie the same way they consider their relationship with a co-worker: in short, they put up with it.
Like a good pair of underwear, bras were invented to serve a basic purpose: to offer you support — which, BTW, is pretty much what the majority of women are really asking for. Sure, I can appreciate the feel and aesthetic of a silky set of lingerie as much as the next person in line at Victoria’s Secret, but according to the survey results that were sent to Elite Daily, 92 percent of women are simply looking for support and comfort in a bra, and not so much sex appeal or funky colors or designs.
At the end of the day, what matters most is that you can slip your bra on in the morning, and feel good wearing it day in and day out. But alas, when asked to describe their bras in one word, most women in the survey responded with “uncomfortable” — which probably has something to do with another of the survey’s results, which found that half of the women rip their bra off as soon as they get home for the day.
I know myself, and I definitely own a few bras that aren’t exactly the most comfortable to wear, but that look best under certain blouses and tank tops, which is why I haven’t ditched them yet. Foolish as it may be to someone else, that’s a choice I’ve made for myself (one that, I’ll admit, I’ve mostly made out of sheer laziness). Having said that, though, you should never feel like you have to suck it up and wear a bra with wires that dig into your skin, or one that doesn’t fit you properly, because, the truth is, wearing a bra that doesn’t fit or support your boobs the right way can actually result in some pretty irritating, to potentially more serious health issues.
Kaitlin Wilbur, a senior designer for the lingerie brand Adore Me, tells Elite Daily that worsening pre-existing back issues, pinching feelings in the neck and shoulders, and — if the bra strap is too tight — pain around your sides and across your back, are all potential red flags that the bra you’re wearing isn’t doing it for you. “Wearing a bra should be like a hug — it should feel snug but not tight, and it should not feel loose because it won’t support you,” Wilbur says. “If it feels uncomfortable, don’t keep wearing it!”
Of course, shopping for a bra isn’t exactly the most enjoyable experience. Personally, up until recently, bra shopping was one branch of retail I’d absolutely dread, because for the longest time, nothing I tried on ever felt especially comfortable.
So what’s the secret to buying bras that offer support without restraint? Wilbur says adjusting is key. “In fitting the band, try to wear it on the loosest hook so that you can move inward as the bra stretches over time,” she tells Elite Daily, adding that your bra straps should stay put throughout the day, but they definitely shouldn’t be digging into your skin. Wilbur also points out that the underwire of your bra shouldn’t sit on the breast tissue, but rather, under and around your breast. And, if your bra seems to fit well, but your underwire is still giving you trouble, the lingerie designer suggests going up a cup size. “The cups should fully contain the bust — you should not have a gap at the neckline, nor should you be spilling out.”
But even if you have a perfectly comfortable, supportive bra, it’s still pretty natural to want to rip the thing off as soon as you get home after a long day. Even if you can’t really relate to that sweet, sweet release you finally get when you take your bra off at home, though, do your boobs a favor and at least let them hang loose while you’re sleeping.
Why, you my ask? In an interview with Cosmopolitan UK, Dr. Seth Rankin, founder of London Doctors Clinic, explained that, when you sleep, your body is lying flat, which causes gravity to push your breast tissue upward rather than downward. In other words, your bra isn’t really offering any support while you sleep, so it’s kind of pointless to wear it to bed. What’s more, Dr. Rankin told the outlet, if your bra leaves marks on your skin because it’s too tight, wearing the thing 24/7 is only going to cause you further discomfort by potentially constricting blood flow, and it’s definitely not going to give your skin the “chance to recover and bounce back,” which may lead to “long-term indents in the tissue,” the doctor explained.
Bottom line: Bras are meant to support your chest throughout the day, but once said day is done, ditch it. Let your boobs hang free and your body relax the second you can — or, stop wearing a bra altogether. That’s also an option if lingerie just isn’t your thing.