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I Went A Week Without Wearing A Bra

No Boulder holder for the better

By Samantha ParrishPublished 2 years ago Updated 10 months ago 15 min read

I have something to get off my chest, and one of those things is my bra.

I did a piece similar to this where I talked about when I went 27 days without shaving. I've been slowly changing my ways as a woman to not follow what has been drilled into me to do in my evolution as a woman. After stopping the stress of shaving, knowing it wouldn't change how I look. The second embedded habit I wanted to test was how it would affect me physically and mentally not wearing a bra.

The placement of these boulder holders in our society, how does it hold up in society than just holding up the chest? Studies show It goes back to the 16th century when the bra was just a corset, then it became a girdle. Then in 1869, the corset went back to the drawing board to separate the corset into two for the hips and chest. BUT the bra wasn't sold separately until 1905, so if women wanted a bra, it was a package deal the to have the lower hemisphere portion of the undergarments' purchase. In 1910, that's when the bra took a lax look for comfort, a woman named Mary Phelps Jacob took two handkerchiefs and two silk ribbons; creating a comfortable and durable bra without being suffocated. Throughout the rest of the 1900s, the bra had different types like The Torpedo Bra (1940s), The Sweater Girl (1950s), and The Pushup was invented in 1964. The combination of durability, containment, and comfort came with the creation of the Sports bra to help out athletes in 1977. From 1977 to the present, the evolution of the bra expanded into style with the creation of Victoria's Secret, Madonna's twist on the Bullet Bra, and star-studded bras in 2000. Today, bras are made for both comfort and style, in balance.

This underwire undergarment does help shape a woman and help out various clothing, but there is a pressure women do get for not wearing a bra. There is an uncomfortable and judgmental shunning to see if a woman isn't wearing one. I've lost count of how many times I've been with someone and they've pointed out if someone wasn't wearing a bra due to weight issues or if they took the risk and wore what they wanted to show off their chest. I'm gonna have to mention Madonna again when it was seen as a provocative risk when she showed her bra straps in her music video Like A Prayer.

Going into this experiment, it wasn’t something like trying to fight society. It wasn't because of the pressure I went through about how my chest is supposed to look (but we'll get to that later). It was just something for my evolution to think back about what I was taught to do in my teens and then decide if I still want to continue those or at least tweak those routines.

But, I also have to admit that the ladies from Buzzfeed's channel As/Is had a part to play in this. When I watched their video about how the women with the bigger chests took the no bra test for a week. Throughout the video, they shared the way the felt emotional, or how empowering. It was an experiment just for them to see how they could do in their confidence as well push their boundaries.

Now onto my story of the stress of what I went through when I started wearing a bra. When I was developing my body as a teenager, it was a rough time that made a terrible mindset of myself when it came to my chest. I have two different-sized breasts, which searched for bra very hard to accommodate the bigger part of my chest. My grandmother and my mother kept after me about making sure I had a good bra, something to hold me up and keep me contained. From the time I started wearing a bra at 10 years old, it took three years for me to have an unhealthy dependency on wearing a bra because of what I was told. I was told if my bra wasn't good enough because the laps of the cups could be seen through my shirt, or the hooks weren't in the right placement to hold everything up. Earlier I mentioned how the ridicule of other women, impacted me to be sure to wear a bra at all times so I wouldn't be ridiculed too. Throughout my teens and adulthood, I never liked the feeling of having a shirt on when I wasn’t wearing a bra, even if it was in the privacy of my own home because I was taught that you had to wear a bra at all times. It made my brain obsess over the fact that I constantly have to wear a bra because I need to maintain the image of what I want my clothes to look like on the outside. I was also taught I had to wear a bra because it would keep my boobs in a higher posture (that doesn’t work, gravity still pulled these mountains down).

Before I decided to ditch the boulder-holder for a week for a self-experiment, I already had some test runs. One was lazy and inadvertent, and there was one that was on purpose for being an actually planned test run.

The first one was completely by accident, I woke up one morning having to go to the grocery store for my grandpa, and I just didn’t feel like putting on a boulder-holder. I already had a T-shirt and a hoodie with a big parka on. I was a bit apprehensive, and then the thought came to mind that no one’s ever gonna notice because I have three layers on, and also I was too tired to care that morning. It was too damn cold to take off my layers to put one very uncomfortable later on.

The next time was when I wanted to see what it would be like to not wear a bra with a fashionable outfit and see how it would work. I’ve seen women wear these fantastic outfits without a bra on. I wanted to see for myself my own style for what it would do for me. I was very surprised at how well it turned out. I wore an off-shoulder top that wasn’t too tight on my chest and when I looked from side to side to see my boobs, you couldn’t tell the difference if I was wearing a bra or not. I left the hours with a little apprehension, I had this automatic paranoia that someone would point it out, but no one ever did, no one even looked at my chest. Turns out, I psyched myself out into shameful anxiety about my body and my choices when I didn't have to be worried in the first place. Now that I had a boost of confidence, knowing that I can pull this off. If I could do it for a couple of hours for a day, I wanted to see what it would be like for a week.

But as the Genie once said in Aladdin-

I had to make the rules for this experiment, I couldn't just wear anything, I had to be safe and comfortable.

  • I had to make sure that I wore things that were flattering to my figure but things that wouldn’t be too tight in my chest.
  • I had to make sure that I wore T-shirts or Bardot tops. The Bardot-styled tops would be easier because they have elastic from the shoulder to shoulder and if I lean down there would be no exposure of my chest everything would be completely contained.
  • No tank tops because they would be too low, or the arm sleeve might expose my side boob.
  • And my only coverage will be wearing pasties.

The public test would be the hardest one because of an assessment that I already have in my mind to assess the risks that I will be going out to the public and people might or might not know that I’m wearing a bra so it’s two things that come to mind that a people might not care or b, people might point that out in a leeching way. I’ve mentioned beforehand that I have gone out in public without a bra on but this is different considering that before it was just assessing that I had extra layers on or that I was lazy. because this is an experiment for me to see if I can go a whole week doing it that is something take to consideration because of having to have all of my outfits orchestrated and organized for this experiment.

I want to share the exact outfit I wore on certain days so if you would like to do your no bra for a week test, You can see exactly how I went about that to be comfortable and stylish at the same time.

Outfit for the first day: Sunday

Thoughts after - This was comfortable to wear. I was glad that I started the week with an outfit that I already knew would work to my benefit of covering up my chest, and getting away with how it looks to not be too obvious that I'm not wearing a bra. I felt a bit uncomfortable, but that's a given for any woman (or man or non-binary, I don't want to leave all genders out). It did feel a bit weird to know I would have to get used to not wearing a bra for the rest of the week.

Outfit for the second day: Monday

Thoughts after - When I made my clothing list, I didn't think that vests would work, but I was happily proven wrong. This was a spur-of-the-moment idea for an outfit because I had some gardening to help my grandfather within the morning. So I knew that I had to wear something that would keep my chest compacted. Clearly, on my list, I put down NO TANK TOPS, and yet here I am wearing one with a vest, and it worked out better than I expected. It helped to have the vest on to hide the tank top and only using the bottom fabric to tuck into my shorts. When I looked in the mirror, and did my usual check to see how it works, checking the placement of my boobs, and making sure nothing was *ahem* pointy in my chest. This vest flattened out my chest very well without making it push up or push out. I wore it for the entirety of the day.

Outfit for the third day: Tuesday

This is a black body con dress that I have rolled up and hidden under the skirt.

Thoughts after - Now this outfit is a personal favorite outfit of mine to wear, when I was putting together some outfits for the week, I thought- why not? I'll throw that in the ring. But there was a little hesitation at first, I tested this top out without a bra, and it does work, but the tightness in the chest is what I was worried about. That was another one of my rules was not to wear anything tight. I was a bit worried, but I already had it in my mind to keep going despite how it would be, I accepted that this was for me. While I was getting ready, I noticed how comfortable I was not having to chase my bra to be situated. Having to constantly rearrange my chest and get my bra to be set in my top without being seen, then worrying about it being seen would take up a portion of my day due to the anxiety. It's hectic, but it's what we women do for fashion. It was a relief for once not having to worry about it and discovering that one of my favorite outfits can work without a bra.

Outfit for the fourth day: Wednesday

Thoughts after - Wednesday was a chill day, only a few errands to run, but I still wanted to do a cute outfit. This is just a slightly altered outfit from Tuesday, a different colored top, and just switched for a comfier skirt. There's not much to say about this outfit except I look cute as hell.

Outfit for the fifth day: Thursday

Thoughts after: I put this outfit with the lineup, there are padded cups and underwire, which is basically like wearing and not wearing a bra at the same time. But the bodice could cause problems if I didn't make a tiny test, and when I wore it, I could have easily had a fallout. I had to see how I would contain my chest while still being confident in public. Sure I want to be spontaneous and not let my apprehension stop me. But, I knew I had to wear this carefully, I opted to not have my breasts in the dress cups, knowing my puppies, would pull a Janet Jackson super bowl incident without a Justin Timberlake. So I pulled it up despite it looking a little off, I wanted to be comfortable and wear this dress that makes me feel like I’m red carpet royalty. How does that Hannah Montana song go? Oh yeah, You get the best of both worlds.

Outfit for the sixth day: Friday

Thoughts after - I just wanted to take it easy for Friday. I had to get up early in the morning and head out for a house-sitting job and I just wanted something comfortable. So I went for a T-shirt. This is the first T-shirt I’ve worn in this whole experiment. My past experiences of wearing a T-shirt that a bra were always negative and feeling that I have to wear one to feel complete even in a casual outfit. But I just felt comfortable and content. I didn’t think about the judgment from others if I happen to go out into a store or drive-through. I just thought about what it would do for me and knowing that I’m just in my own company I’m just working.

Outfit for the final day: Saturday

See! You even get to see a face that is emanating with happiness about this outfit (There's a lot of proof on my Instagram @themysticalspacewitch

Thoughts after - Ok, whoa, I'm still in shock at how this worked out. This was an outfit idea on a whim. I didn't think about it all week, didn't even lay it out to see what it would look like. I just stashed both items in my suitcase and knew I'd just have to gamble on the selection of the attire and see how it would work together. From the get-go I knew I wanted this crop top to be a part of the outfit lineup for this experiment. This article of clothing has been a major step in my confidence for body confidence, it was interesting to see how this outfit would go without a bra, I've always worn a bra with this shirt, and this was another big leap into body confidence. To be bold and test my confidence by not wearing a bra with this top. To my surprise, it worked out and I loved it, now it's one of my favorite outfits that just happened on accident for experimentation. During the entire little mini photo shoot I did for this outfit, it was nice to just feel comfortable and confident at the same time. I didn't think that all it took to give the extra lifting of confidence was to not wear the very thing that was lifting mp.

Throughout the week of doing this test, I didn't expect how comfortable I would be. A bra always held me back in some of the outfits I wanted to do. I never liked myself without a bra on because of my upbringing to wear a bra to look good. To my surprise and relief, not having a bra on didn't affect it at all. Looking at the pictures it doesn't look too obvious (sure, the differences in the cups are a little obvious) but the clothes I chose helped out with my progress to being comfortable with my body.

I had to constantly remind myself that this test was for me to be at peace with the chest I had difficulty accepting. I was a little concerned about having to go in public and wondering if my breasts were going to be having a fallout or if I was going to be gawked at. I was the only one that made the paranoia and assumptions.

I'll reveal this little story, On the last day of my self-experiment, I ran a couple of errands but I opted to wear my green velvet jacket to cover up in case I felt it was too much boldness. I went to Tropical Smoothie for a quick little semi-healthy splurge, and I saw this woman with her boyfriend, her outfit was almost on par with mine. She wore a green tube top, a big jean jacket, and a white skirt. This random stranger won't know this, but looking at her outfit, with as much skin as she showed with the obviousness that she wasn't wearing a bra, it gave me the comfort and confidence right then and there to go ahead and unzip my jacket and just be proud of my body and not care what anyone thinks. It's fashion, and a bra shouldn't have to hold me back from it.

A week after I did this test, I went to put on an outfit, I wore the same black crop top and a pair of plaid pants. I put on my shirt without putting on a bra and didn't think anything of it. Now after not wearing a bra, I'm happy to be content with my body. For years I used to hate not wearing a bra, I hated how my boobs would rest on my stomach I would hate to feel loose and had to be contained. Now I just feel confident, proud of my body, and at peace with the younger Sami that didn't feel happy about her body.

If you want to do the no-bra for a week test, by all means, go for it! Use my little rules as a guideline, and you'll be surprised like me how there were a few unexpected discoveries to your new limits to what you'll wear without a bra.


About the Creator

Samantha Parrish

What's something interesting you always wanted to know?

Instagram: parrishpassages

tiktok: themysticalspacewitch

My book Inglorious Ink is now available on Amazon!

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