I quit wearing a bra 6 months or so ago. I am much more comfortable without one, even running. I run lighter and more gently without one. Having experienced a range of breast sizes through out my baby making career, I can say from experience,that a DD milk filled breast needs support when running and my post baby size barely B cup is much more comfortable without.
Memories of wearing two or three sports bras at once trying to get some purport just came back to me as I was looking at pictures of sports bras and how tight around they can be and yet the bounce just keeps on going. For those of you still doubling up, I send out a little prayer your way. I feel for ya sister. I really really do.
For me, I had issues with bras being too tight around. At the end of the day it feels so good to take that bra off so I sacrificed a little in the bounce department to ease my breathing. I have also noticed that my digestion is better without the squeezing.
I have yet to find the great combination of holding the girls up and yet not being too tight around. Being a barefoot runner though, I have practiced at the art of landing lightly and gently while running and it makes a difference when going without a bra. I also sometimes wear a bikini top or a tank with a shelf bra. I think a bikini top is fresh looking with a t-shirt in the summertime. Makes me want to listen to Will Smith's Summertime and shoot some hoops and ride around in a convertable....
The hard part of going sans bra is knowing that when I am in public people are probably noticing that the girls are free. Everyone wears a bra. Very rarely do I see someone without one.
I remember when I lived in Hawaii and was working at this place called LuLu's, the bosses girlfriend was this gorgeous tall willowy black women who had just gotten a boob job. It wasn't drastic but perky with class. Maybe between a B and C cup in size but she didn't have to wear a bra. I will always remember her saying that it was awesome to never have to wear a bra anymore. That was the only time I have ever considered a boob job.
I am not too self conscious about going bra less these days, unless in the freezer section of a grocery store, but I have had to work on my inner activist and remind myself that I don't have to wear a bra and maybe society needs to change. Fat chance at that but it makes me feel better to see myself as a rebel instead of a dysfunctional failure of a bra shopper!
I suppose if I googled I could find the origin of the bra and why they seem to persist but I think that underclothes are over rated and only should be used sparingly and for special occasions like a long run. It's not a feminist thing per say but a comfort thing. Its like choosing yoga pants over tight jeans. At some point comfort wins over fashion. That or fashion changes and we begin to dictate what we think is hot. I know that if I carry myself as though I think I look good, I can pull off just about any style. Even if its a braless, girl of the 90's with four boy spawn in tow look. Its the old trick of looking like you know what you are doing, making people think that indeed you do know what you are doing, even if inside you are not always so sure.
I think this goes for big breasted women as well. When I see a chic with large breasts go without a bra I think "right on sista" instead of "oh, my how shameful". Fuck that!! Do what makes you happy and for goddess sake don't torture yourself for fashion or being "propper" for any reason!
If people can go around in pajama bottoms, my personal pet peeve, then by all means go without a bra whenever you feel like you can.
Breasts are beautiful. Breasts are all different. It feels so good to take that bra off. No more chafing or straps digging into my shoulders. It's not like I burned the bra forever, just when I feel like it, I give myself permission to be comfortable. I do know that I have made a few old fellas smile more than once this week while out and about, so there is that and my super hero husband is definitely a fan of my fashion sense.
In the mean time while the perfect bra search goes on and we all work on loving our bodies and being nice to them, check out this study posted on Runblogger about breast movement during bare breasted running. Geek meets free titties and a dude posted about it! Good on ya Pete!