Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To Bra or Not To Bra - Part 2

My first post on this topic explored the idea that there may be a connection between bras and cancer due to constraint on the lymphatic system, which in turn causes toxins to build up faster than they can be eliminated. Please follow this link to read this post, which discusses the book Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras by Sidney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer.

One of the best parts about this post is all the wonderful comments so I hope you will check it out and be sure to take the time to read the comments too.

Part 2 presents reasons to stop wearing your underwire bra or stop wearing a bra altogether in a fun (but informative) Top Ten List format. There are also a few bra reviews following the Top Ten Lists. Enjoy!

So, without further ado, here's ten reasons to ditch the bra altogether.

Top TEN Reasons to Ditch Your Bra:
10. Pretend every day is National No Bra Day-- July 9.
9. Without a bra artificially constraining your breasts, they will feel freer and more natural.
8. Wearing a bra may actually make your breasts sag more by causing the muscles/ ligaments used to naturally hold up your breasts to become lazy. In the interest of full disclosure, this is a topic of significant contention with no definitive conclusion either way (at least that I could find).
7. The bra was invented as a replacement to a whaleback bone corset--corsets being invented on the whim of Catherine de Medicis, wife of King Henry II of France, who enforced a ban on thick waists at court. The whole basis for wearing a bra is flawed, so why the heck are we still doing it?!?
6. Unsightly bra lines, bra bulge, and visible straps do nothing for our sense of style.
5. Your husband/ significant other/ partner will be thrilled if you go bra-less.
4. Save money never ever never buying another bra again, and with typical prices from $20 to $50+ each, that can really add up.
3. You will feel a little naughty going bra-less and who doesn't like being the naughty girl every once in a while??
2. They are uncomfortable. They are uncomfortable. They are uncomfortable.
1. And, what if that study is right, and there is a link between bras and breast cancer??

However... if you're not ready to ditch the bra altogether, here are some really good reasons to at least ditch that underwire bra.

Top TEN Reasons to Ditch Your Underwire Bra:
10. Underwire bras were invented by the devil. Ok, that's not really true (at least I have no evidence that it is). Seriously, the first commercially produced underwire bra was invented in 1931 by Helene Pons and they were meant to be comfortable.
9. The TSA recommends that women do not wear underwire bras because they can set off metal detectors. See here, that's actually true (go figure), and if you search "bras" on the TSA main site you can read about a lawsuit involving just this! Now in the interest of full disclosure, I have worn an underwire for decades and flown quite a bit and never personally set off any metal detector.
8. Use of an automated external defibrillator on a patient wearing an underwire bra can cause burns, although it's not likely unless the metal underwire is exposed and the paddles are very close to it. Read the official result here. Admittedly, this is a stretch, but interesting, so I included it.
7. They are a pain in the butt to wash and if you just throw them in with the other laundry, they wind up all misshapen to the point of additional uncomfortableness and possible wire impalement or breast enclampment (and yes, I just made up that word, but you know what I mean).
6. They do not accommodate changes in breast size, resulting in additional discomfort.
5. They may contribute to clogged milk ducts in lactating women.
4. The wires may cross the body's meridians and obstruct the flow of energy or qi.
3. The ends can poke into your skin and the bras are often extremely uncomfortable.
2. Wearing an underwire bra in the Tropics, especially East Africa, can lead to severe furuncular myiasis of the breast caused by the Tumba fly, whose eggs and larvae are deposited in clothing and especially along the length of the metal wires of an underwire bra. Need I say more????!!!!!
1. They are occasionally linked to health conditions including breast pain, mastitis, and allergies.

If you decide you are not quite ready to go braless, but are ready to try a wireless bra, here are a few choices to consider:

Sources for Wire-less Bras and Brief Reviews
1. Victoria's Secret: they actually sell wireless bras online that are comparable in appearance and overall appeal to their plain wire bras only more comfortable. They only thing I don't like about the wireless bras is that they all seem to be either full coverage (I prefer demi) or a sports type.

Also, they have this silly tiny bow on the strap that has an itchy knot on the underside on some of the bras (I bought four and two were that way). I mean, what the heck?? These bras were ok-- I was ready to take them off by the end of the day. Not incredibly comfortable.

The prices range from $40.00 to $58.00 and the only one advertised as "cotton" is the Cotton Lingerie and it is not indicated to be organic (or free trade or even made in the USA) online, but I looked on the bras (duh) and the particular bras I purchased were stamped "Made in Indonesia" and only 94% cotton. This was my least favorite bra of those I tried and I probably won't buy another.

2. Sports-type bras, including the Coobie: The Coobie was recommended to me and reportedly extremely comfortable with a reasonable price at only $18.00 to $20.00. They are all seamless, but without hooks in the back this really just seems like a "sports bra" type of bra to me. Coverage is definitely full. It could serve as pseudo outerwear as well-- peeking out from under dresses, low cut sweaters, hoodies, etc. Coobies are made of a blend of Spandex and Nylon and reportedly lightweight. The website does not indicate where these bras are made (I did email the company but did not receive a response).

I actually saw similar types of sports-type bras at Kohls for around the same price and if you are ok with the sports bra model and no hook in back, then this type of bra might work great for you. I did buy two of the sports bra style at Kohls, just to give it a shot, and they are very comfortable, although I personally miss the hook in the back.

I don't wear my sports-type bras at all because of the awkwardness in pulling them on and off without a hook, but this is obviously a personal preference and if you dont' think you'd miss the hook you might give this type of bra (Coobie or otherwise) a try.

3. Various Other Online Choices:
If you google "wireless organic cotton bras" you wind up with a large variety of choices including Pristine Planet, which offers a variety of brands ranging from about $28.00 to $50.00 for wireless bras. What is great about this site is that each bra is labeled with tags such as "made in USA", "Certified Organic", and "Dye Free" just to name a few. However, this site just directs you to other sites where you can purchase the items, like the one below.
  • FairiesDance.com (see this link) also sold many wireless bras, but you have to search through all bras (including wire and sports), which really isn't a huge deal. Price range about the same-- from $34.00 to $45.00. I purchased two bras here, shown in the pictures below. One of the great things about these bras is that I received them really fast, like within a week. Wow.
This is the Princess No Wire bra by Love Nature for $36.00. It was made in Italy and 100% organic cotton exclusive of trim. The bra I purchased was a 34C, shown above. It ran a little big and with trim (lacy parts) was not really wearable until I dried it in the clothes dryer so that it would shrink. I was able to wear the bra after it shrunk, although the front was still a little crinkly from the trim. It was comfortable, though, and overall I liked the bra and will probably wear it under sweaters so the lacy trim is not noticeable.
This is Eternelle No Wire bra by Peau-Ethique for $40.00. It was made in Turkey of Turkish-grown organic cotton under certified Fair Trade labor standards and was imported from France. I bought a size 34B. Before I dried it, this bra was extremely comfortable. I am definitely buying more of them; however, it did shrink after I washed and dried it in the clothes dryer.  I think I would prefer one size larger (in the band) just for comfort's sake or I would suggest line drying this bra only. This was my second favorite.
  • Bare Necessities also sold organic cotton wire-free bras but they are really proud of them - at $74.00 to $80.00 each. They were really pretty, though, and you could buy the matching underwear for $39.00 to $42.00. Holy cow. That is ONE pair of underwear.
  • Hessnatur (a German company) sells organic cotton wireless bras with one reported to be 100% organic and 100% "fair" (I wonder if they mean fair trade...). These bras are made in Croatia and the prices are reasonable from $18.00 to $35.00 after a 20% discount that was available on nearly all of the items. I purchased one of these as well.
 This bra was very pretty with lace trim and the cotton felt very soft (it was 96% cotton and 4% elastane). My only complaint was delivery time, which was three weeks and two days. I actually emailed the company a day before I received the bra and they indicated that I should expect up to four weeks delivery since the item had to go through customs. Overall, it was worth the wait, however. I loved this bra. I bought a 34B and it fit well and was very comfortable. There did not seem to be any shrinkage after washing and drying it. I'm definitely ordering more. Of the bras I tested, this was my favorite.
  • On Rawganique.com I found a beautiful wireless organic cotton bra. No spandex, no latex, unbleached and undyed. The cotton is 100% certified organic USA pima cotton and the bras were made in Canada. The price is $65.00, or $63.00 if you buy three or more. This website has some other choices in wireless but most seemed to be the sports bra type.
  • Nancy Meyer had numerous wireless bras with the majority being extremely pricey ($60.00 to $388.00 wow). However, not all were cotton and details regarding where the bras were made was not available on all bras shown. I did find a Huit Biotiful Soft Cup Bra that was really nice-looking but expensive. It was made of organic cotton and sold for $74.00.
  • Finally, I ran across some Peoples Cotton brand organic cotton bras with no wire. But the interesting thing was that I could only find them on Ebay (all new and in packaging). I think this was a UK company and they are very reasonable at about $12.00 each. I purchased one of these via Ebay as a "guest". It took about 2 1/2 weeks to receive this bra, but when I finally got it, it was stamped, "missent to Vancouver, BC", which probably explains part of the delay.  
This bra is made of organic cottons and dyes under fair wages and working conditions packaged in recycled and biodegradable packaging. You might notice how little this bra looks, and that was really my problem with it. I purchased a medium (for a size 34B/C) and the medium was too small. The strap around my chest was ok, but the cup was really small and the shoulder straps seemed oddly placed--that is, the point where the back strap was attached seemed too far forward forward. I think this bra might be a great choice all around except that it fit weirdly. However, since these bras are so inexpensive and have many great characteristics, I may try again with a larger size and will update this post if I do. However, I just don't think these bras would work for someone with a larger bust.

4. Majamas: I found Majamas online at Diaper.com Green Baby section and they are advertised as The Easy Bra solution for organic support. The organic bras are 91% organic cotton and 9% lycra and Made in the USA. They don't specifically say either way, but I am assuming they are wireless based on implied verbiage in product descriptions on various other websites. However, if you are interested in purchasing definitely check into that beforehand. Anyway, they indicate they are not just for pregnant or nursing womem, and are perfect for larger busts. Prices are very reasonable at $17.79 on this website, which is indicated to be 48% off regular price, or $33 to $37 on Amazon. Keep in mind, though, these are also sports type bras.

Update: You can find reviews for D+ bra sizes here. They'll be updated periodically.

I would love to know how you've addressed this concern or if it is even a concern for you. Also, if you have any great bra recommendations, please leave in the comments!

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  1. ....I am never travelling to East Africa.......

    I've been waiting for the part 2 of this post! All interesting things to think about. But being a DD, there's just no way I'd go out in public without a bra as amazing as that sounds! I'm curious though, does a wireless bra keep the girls up just as good as a wire bra for someone with a larger chest?

    1. I'm in the same boat Lorraine. I'm a D - DD and I just need coverage...more so if it's cold out side (ya know?) I've worn wireless bras before but it was way back when I was still a C or so...

    2. I'm in the same boat. As a DD I'm actually uncomfortable going bra-less and have yet to find a wireless bra that just doesn't have the girls flopping over.

    3. I hope that someone with DD cups will leave a comment to answer your question!! I am B/C and the wireless works just fine for me, but I know there is a big difference in cup sizes. That is actually why I included the Majamas discussion above - those bras are supposedly for women with larger busts. If you decide to try something, I hope you will come back and share! Actually, if either (or both of you) are interested, pick one of the bras above $50 or less and I'll buy it and have it mailed to you if you come back and do a review of it, which I'll post as a follow-up to part 2. If you are interested, email me privately letting me know which bra exactly and your address and I'll buy it today.... ??? What do you think?? lmv1074@rocketmail.com

    4. By the way, check out the Hessnatur #35622 (item number), but that will take about three weeks for delivery, or Eternelle no wire bra. Or the majamas, or lastly I would probably recommend the Victoria's Secret wireless. Let me know! :)

    5. I have a molded cup, wire-free bra from Victoria's Secret and a double-layer cotton no-wire no-padding bra from JCPenney. The VS bra is awesome - hubby really liked the look and couldn't tell it had no wires. I even bought it at the semi-annual sale! The cotton one is too flimsy, imo. It doesn't have enough to it to support my 38DD's without a wire. Not sure if the foam is just as bad as the wire...

    6. Thanks for the information for the larger cup size!

  2. Linda - Oh mine... I didn't see part I, but this is good. You gave me a reason to feel good about being flat. I once posted on FB that I had a tank top on backwards and it looked good (then I realize that it was backwards). I prefer no bra. Too confining. ;-)

  3. Very interesting post! I would love to go without, but I'd have to go and live on the moon!

  4. I think this is a great post! I actually end up talking about bras with my coworkers all the time. When I was in college, I worked at a department store as a bra fit professional. It really meant that I took a class and got certified to fit bras. I never realized how difficult it is for women to find the right bra until I no longer had that job. I guess I am lucky because I know what to look for, how to test it to see if I like the fit before I purchase, and know how to fit. I also didn't realize that so many women had awful experiences with fittings. I used to laugh at the ads about 80% of women wearing the wrong size bra. It is so much more than that. Some women are wearing the right size but the wrong brand. Bras are so complicated! Thanks for posting!

    1. I think you are right in that it does have a lot to do with fit. What is so bizarre though is that the vast majority of women seem to just resign themselves to being uncomfortable in their bras and I think that is so sad. This book did help me make a change to a more comfortable option and I'll never go back.

      Thanks so much for the comment!

  5. Wow! I have always hated underwires (I have a misshapen ribcage, and the wire digs into it; anyway, a bust my size doesn't need that support) and I tend to take off my bra when I get home, but I never realized there might be a link to breast cancer!

    For cup sizes A-C, a very comfortable no-wire bra style is "Beyond Bare by Barely There" (that name cracks me up) and it's just thick enough to avoid that "cold" look.

    1. Thanks for the referral - I am definitely going to try one of those bras! http://www.barelythere.com/ I had to laugh at the name too. :)

      I was also referred to Title Nine - http://www.titlenine.com/category/sports-bras-and-undies/wireless+bras.do?nType=1. They look interesting as well.

  6. Wow, you are a bra-buying machine! Since your first post on this I've pulled out my old sports bras and have been wearing them much more, or going without when I'm around the house. While hubby certainly doesn't mind when we're *inside* the house, he's not thrilled about it *outside* ;p I'll have to look into getting some more wireless bras now!

    As always, thanks for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday - also, if you haven't seen it yet I'm giving away a copy of a new Paleo cookbook called Primal Cuisine, so come on by and enter to win :)

    1. Ha! Tell me about it. My husband didn't know what to think about all these bras showing up. :)

      I made some similar changes after I read this book - just started going without "in the house" and wearing wireless otherwise. Honestly, I really feel like it is a change for the better.

      Thanks for the comment! :)

  7. What a beautiful post. Thanks for researching and sharing the info!

    1. Ahh I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. I put a lot of time into it....

  8. Great post! Another company offering great organic cotton bras is Ohganix (ohganix.com). They offer several styles along with other intimates for men and women.

  9. Good post! In fact, cotton is one of very few materials that become stronger when wet and it can be sterilized after use.

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