do I have to wear a bra when I go back to the office?

A reader writes:

I (25, she/her) have been lucky enough to work from home this past year. I am halfway through the vaccination process, which has made me think about going back to the office sometime soon (it’s open, and for the time being management has left it up to us whether we’d like to return or not).

The thing is: I have not worn a bra (except for exercise) for more than 10 months, and I don’t ever want to again if I don’t have to. My boobs are free! It is amazing! Their underwire prisons have been relegated to the back of my closet and I do! not! want! to retrieve them.

The office is business casual, leaning towards the more casual side, and overall very liberal—many people wear jeans, and t-shirts in good repair are not unheard of. The dress code allows sandals but not flip-flops, and women wear dresses (some with spaghetti straps). We rarely interact with the public, and we have a very active staff, so more than occasionally people come in from their bike commute or back from their lunch break in workout clothes, and not everyone changes right away.

During the pandemic, we have been a video-on Zoom meeting crew. I don’t wear a bra, and I don’t think it’s very noticeable — I choose shirts that are loose or wear camis under ones that would maybe be more showy. But if I were to be walking around an office with my average-sized boobs in work attire, there may be some jiggle. When the AC is on blast, there will likely be occasional nipple. To a close observer, it could be apparent that I’m not wearing a bra. I know this seems trivial … but this year has shown me that life is too short to be uncomfortable for 40 hours a week, and I am most comfortable without a bra.

I’ve seen some of your previous columns about bras in the workplace (and on Zoom meetings), but I’m curious if your views have changed in light of recent events. All this is a long preamble to ask: Do I have to wear a bra when I go back to the office?

Aggggh, I really want to tell you that you don’t have to return to wearing a bra … but it’s probably still going to be a thing in most offices.

Of course, that’s only the case if people can tell when you’re not wearing a bra. Your underwear is very much no one’s business otherwise, so if your body or your clothing means no one can tell, then go to town. And this doesn’t mean you’ve got to bind yourself into something rigidly structured and underwired; sports bras, bralettes, and tanks with shelf bras are all options. But yeah, full bralessness is probably going to continue being seen as unprofessional in most offices.

That doesn’t mean that’s right. It’s not right that our ideas of  “professionalism” still require women to strap down and disguise their boobs, but that’s the world we live in. You always have the right to decide that’s a battle you’re going to fight, of course, but if you’re just asking about general norms … yeah, the dark days of bras’ return are likely soon to be upon us.

{ 586 comments… read them below }

    1. Lynn*

      Yesssss.

      A little bit of TMI: Bras never worked well for me and I ended up talking to my OB/GYN about it (I kept getting bruising at my sides from underwires). She told me that underwire bras will straight up not work for many people based on how their anatomy is built — but average women aren’t staring at each other’s chests enough to realize that their anatomy may be different than other’s (plus everyone is wearing bras which make things look more uniform).

      Since COVID I have ramped up my collection of under-wire free bras. It took two months for the bruising to disappear. I am never going back.

      (But also beware the “feature” of removable cups. IMO they never look quite right again after washing)

      1. Dragon_dreamer*

        I stopped wearing underwires after an inch of escaped wire had to be removed from my flesh in the ER one evening.

        Now that I’m fully healed from the reduction surgery, I’ll never have to wear a bra again unless I WANT to. (Maybe a very occasional comfy sports bra. That’s ALL.) Good luck, OP!

        1. KoiFeeder*

          This happened to a cousin of mine! Weird (and awful, I’m so sorry you had to deal with that!) that it’s happened twice.

      2. HarvestKaleSlaw*

        There is a Reddit group (yeah I know I know) called r/a bra that fits. So much stuff about boob variations and bra options that nobody ever tells you. Highly recommend.

      3. Medusa*

        I finally discovered underwires in large sizes this past year and they were a game changer.

      4. GammaGirl1908*

        I started wearing bras at age 14. I am now 45. I am, ahem, blessed in the chest. I have NEVER worn underwires regularly. I have a few for specific purposes, but I can count on my fingers the number of times in 30-ish years I have worn an underwire to work. I started out in no-wire bras and never left.

        Not that I puffy-heart love bras, but I wear them regularly and don’t think too much about them. I am honestly baffled by how many women wear horrifically uncomfortable foundation garments. Find a different style, try a different brand, get fitted, whatever, don’t stop until it feels decent, then buy several. Done.

        But to the LW’s question, I always feel it’s better to wear SOMETHING to keep the girls semi-contained, but it doesn’t have to be an underwire prison. I’m not shocked by movement or the evidence of a nip, but a bralette or light sports bra or snugger tank would provide modesty that is office-appropriate (which to me is the point. I wouldn’t expect a dude to be walking around in, say, light-colored sweatpants with no drawers at work either. I would expect office-appropriate modesty) but still be comfortable.

      5. 'Tis Me*

        I didn’t really twig that the permanent brown marks under my armpits were bruising from underwires until I was pregnant with my first, and a few months into switching to nonwired maternity ones they eventually faded… I have resisted them since.

        Number 3 is a lockdown baby (arrived the day before the first UK lockdown announcement was made!) and I spent most of my maternity leave braless. I wore them to leave the house (and now I’m back at work I’m wearing them to go to my home office at the bottom of the garden), but if I’m not exercising – and of course for ages I couldn’t – I find being braless more comfortable…

        My mother has no filter (and because Baby was delivered via an extended emergency C-section so I couldn’t pick up his big sisters – then 2 and 5 – and my husband has spent most of this time working on covid critical care wards, at times 80+ hour weeks, the children and I moved in with my parents for 5 or 6 weeks) so thanks to her I am aware that it may not be possible to tell if I’m wearing a bra or not, and that this is more because if you go for comfort as a primary consideration, you may sacrifice support and shaping in the process. (I’m not sure what size I am these days – I may have shrunk to something like an E – but I’m still on the bustier side, and 3 pregnancies and over 4 years of breastfeeding have not done wonders for shapeliness.)

        Pretty certain my mum is the only one monitoring my bust that closely/judgementally, though. (My husband monitors it appreciatively, my children view it as utilitarian, and most other people don’t pay [much] attention, or shouldn’t be, and definitely don’t comment on its status!)

    2. Sami*

      I’m medium chesty and have never worn one. SO uncomfortable. I don’t want to be stabbed all day.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Yeah, I have literally never worn an underwire. Except on very rare ocassions (strapless bras if the outfit called for one). Finding bras without underwire is hard but they exist.

        Wearing a bra is still a PITA but it’s less of one without an underwire.

        1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

          I’ve worn an underwire ONCE in several decades of bra-wear. I’ve never had a problem finding wireless bras, and I have fairly substantial boobery. But I’m happy with unadorned inexpensive ones, as long as they fit and keep me from sagging. Target or similar stores have plenty, or I order direct from online outlets once I know the size/style I like.

        2. Susana*

          I actually find underwire bras *more* comfortable. But then, I’m a D cup – I honestly feel more comfortable with my breasts fairly controlled (NOT jabbed or strapped in too hard!). Sometimes, it’s about fit and quality.

          But look, if no one can tell if you’re not wearing a bra, then don’t worry! Also, in the sports bra territory – I have a couple that are actually made for yoga. In other words, they are not supportive enough (for me) to go jogging comfortably, but they are soft and keep things in place. If you’re not big-busted, you could also wear a camisole.

          But I think Alison’s right – if they appear to be a distraction (and vastly unfairly, women’s anatomy is considered a “distraction”), you probably need to find *something* to cover up. Doesn’t need to be a traditional bra, though.

          1. SheLooksFamiliar*

            I’m a D or DD, depending on who makes the bra, and find an underwire bra or minimizer is more comfortable, too. My bust was and maybe still is distracting enough on its own, but underwires made things less jiggly.

            Also, talking to a good bra fitter made a huge difference. On my first visit, I learned my band size was smaller and my cup size was larger than I thought. Those underwires I used to hate didn’t bother me once I got the right fit.

            1. Tired of Covid-and People*

              I was told when I (finally) had a bra fitting that that a smaller band size and larger cup size is what most women need, which was true for me. No underwires here, never ever, miss me with that torture.

              1. Cathie from Canada*

                I was just coming here to say this, too — larger cup, smaller band. But I hate underwires too, so I use a “molded” cup (Bali brand) which is the most comfortable for me.
                I am also sometimes using a sports bra with a “racer” back so no more falling straps and that’s great too.

              2. old biddy*

                I got a professional fitting and got the same advice, but my official size is way more uncomfortable than the size I prefer. Bodies are funny.

            2. Free now (and forever)*

              Approximately 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. That’s one of the things that makes bras so uncomfortable for so many women. Most women wear too large a band size and too small a cup size. Measure right under your breasts. That’s your band size. Then, while wearing a bra, measure around the largest part of your chest. Every inch above your band size is a cup size. So if you’re 34 inches right below your breasts and 39 inches at the largest part of your chest, you wear a 34DD bra. 40G here. And if you’re large—or even if you’re not—Wacoal bras. They’re expensive, but oh so good.

              1. KayDeeAye*

                I’ve tried all the measuring tricks, with several different brands of bras of varying degrees of quality, and the best I can do is “eh, not too bad.” As Old Biddy says above, bodies are funny.

              1. Remote Worker FTW*

                same here, I’m a D or DD (depends on style) and I much prefer to go without.

            1. Magpie85*

              D-Cup here – I stopped wearing ‘real’ bras almost a decade ago when I had surgery on my lower back (I was in my mid 20’s) and no matter which bra was tried it wound up being to painful.

              I now periodically wear a sports bra (when working out) or a bralette for short periods in fancy dress, but otherwise I have a series of snug-but-comfy tank tops I wear under work shirts that keep the girls in check.

              No one has ever said anything to me (and I work as a professional), I’ve asked friends if they could tell while we were out and am always met with “no… really?” and my husband DGAF.

              Honestly, I’d never go back… *shrugs*

          2. Chilipepper*

            I came here to say I find underwire more comfortable too. I cannot wear other bras, I find them uncomfortable. I’ve never had an underwire bra dig in anywhere. Also a D or DD cup.

          3. anon translator*

            Yeah, same here. I’m FF and underwire bras are the only ones that work for me. I’m not saying they’re comfortable, mind. Just more comfortable than any sports bra I’ve ever tried, and vastly more comfortable than not wearing a bra.

          4. londonedit*

            D cup here and I’ve also never had a problem with underwired bras – and I agree that the ‘go for a larger cup and smaller band’ advice is solid! However, at some point last year I investigated lace bralettes with wide straps and moulded cups (mine are from Lindex) and they’re so comfortable and supportive that they’re all I’m wearing at the moment. If I ever get properly dressed up for an occasion again, I’ll wear a ‘proper’ bra, but for everyday wear these lace ones are fantastic.

        3. TiffIf*

          Finding bras without underwire is especially hard in larger band/larger cup/full coverage styles.

          1. Zsazsa*

            Came here to say that. Also, please be mindful that if you choose not to wear a bra and then a busty coworker follows suit, don’t throw them under the bus because not wearing a bra is really noticeable with larger breasts. I want all women to feel comfortable with their bodies and sometimes having D+ cups means it’s a little more in your face regarding the articles of clothing you chose or not chose to west.

          2. Tired of Covid-and People*

            42 DDD here, Cacique cotton full-coverage bras are my go-to brand and it supports well with no wires.

            1. HereKittyKitty*

              38-40 H here and Torrid no underwire bras have been my favorite so far! Big boobs without underwire is possible if you’re someone who hates underwire like I do- it’s just a lot of hunting!

        4. Librarian1*

          Finding bras w/out underwire has gotten so much easier over the past few years with the rise of bralettes and other comfortable styles of bras.

      2. Pigeon*

        I’m small end of large, and have always hated the damn things. It’s not a matter of fit because believe me, I have been down that road. They’re just never going to be comfortable for me. My mom had to force me to start wearing one when I had to start changing for PE. Unfortunately I’ve really struck out on finding anything that is underwire free in my size, which wouldn’t be ideal but would be something.

        1. Blue Meeple*

          I wear Decent Exposures bras. No underwires, customizable – pick your color, strap style, front or back closure (or pullover), and sizes 30-AA to 60-LL.

          It took me a while to switch over fully, but once I realized how much more comfortable they are than the molded cups or underwires I’d been wearing before and now that’s all I have.

    3. Boob freeeee, as free as the wind blowsss*

      I had a mastectomy and reconstruction (saline implants) last year. While recovering from the latter, I’m required to wear bras (no underwire!) at all times, including to sleep. There are super comfortable, soft, wireless bras that are all one piece of soft material, no seams, straps, hooks, or the tight bindy-ness of sports bras. They literally feel like nothing, but do provide coverage and support. They are so comfortable and completely forgettable once on. I’ll look up links to post under this one.

      1. KayDeeAye*

        Please do! I had a lumpectomy last year, and finding truly comfortable bras has been a HUGE challenge. Part of the reason is that I am more sensitive, but part of the reason is that I am simply less willing to tolerate being uncomfortable for hours out of every non-WFH day.

        1. CatMintCat*

          I was told after my lumpectomy that underwires were an absolute no. I am fine with that – I rarely wore them anyway, and now I live in sports bras from KMart.

        2. Quandong*

          I’m not the free boobed one but here are my suggestions for post-treatment bras:

          After my medical treatment I can’t tolerate most bra fabric, seams, etc but require something to wear to work.

          Though the size range is limited this is the best bra I have found – I hope it’s available to be shipped outside Australia and New Zealand:

          https://www.berlei.com.au/body-wirefree-bra-y196b-lat.html

          A relative who had treatment has found a few bras she can tolerate without discomfort from the brand Amoena (many more options with pockets for prosthetics too).

        3. virago*

          I haven’t had a lumpectomy but during COVID and WFH I’ve been wearing a pullover wireless bra that’s received good reviews from folks who’ve undergone breast surgery. I’ve practically been living in mine.

          It’s the Adaptable Crossover Cutout Bra from TomboyX. Price: $45. Colors: Iron (charcoal gray); Black; Hot Lime. Size range: XS-4X.

          In XL and L, it provides a surprising amount of separation and support for my 34FF/36F breasts. I have worn it in public; in a pinch, I would wear it in the office when/if we return. I ordered it in L when XL was out of stock and it fits OK, but the band rolls a little.

          The back is scooped and the straps don’t show under street clothes. The cutout in the name refers to a half-circle shape along the bra band in back.

          The Crossover bra’s Traveler fabric is cool and anti-odor and dries quickly. And you can wash it by wearing it into the shower. (Ask me how I know.) It has openings and pockets for foam inserts; people can use their own or buy them from TomboyX for $5 a pair.

          The Crossover bra holds prostheses securely, according to one reviewer. Another, who had a double mastectomy with reconstruction, said the Crossover didn’t irritate their drain sites and was supportive without being constricting. A third person gave it to their mother, who has shoulder issues that make it hard to put on a bra; Mom finds it “super comfy” and says it doesn’t bother her wonky shoulder.

          If you’re interested in TomboyX but you’re looking for something with adjustable straps, they sell an Adaptable Ruched Bralette that has adjustable straps.

          The size range is the same as the Crossover bra (XS-4X). Price: $32. Colors: Iron; Black; White. The fabric is 95% organic cotton and 5% Spandex.

          I’ve never worn this style, but it has a lot of fans, who say that the fabric is breathable; the ruching in the middle provides shape, and the straps offer a lot of support without being bulky and allow the wearer to put on tank tops in the summer.

          Several people who have undergone double mastectomies also appreciate the space for prostheses. One reviewer — who wears a 4X in TomboyX — said the bras that medical suppliers tried to sell her after her double mastectomy were “tight and uncomfortable under the arm” while her Ruched Bralettes “are fantastic” and “wash nicely.”

          PS I don’t work for TomboyX. I just had to give props to the maker of a unicorn: a wireless bra that gives decent support to people with significant tracts of land.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        A thousand thank you for your username…it was a much needed laugh on a stressful day.

      3. Wendy Darling*

        I am relatively flat-chested so I don’t need a bra for support, and a bra with a band snug enough to fit me properly gives me eczema breakouts on my ribs, but I do usually prefer to wear something for coverage/social appropriateness. Sometimes I do shelf camisoles and sometimes I wear knit bralettes in a size too big for me. It’s enough coverage/support to satisfy social mores without making my skin rage out.

      4. PersephoneUnderground*

        I can’t wear underwires anymore so definitely recommend the “Lively” wireless bras from Nordstrom. Inexpensive actually, come in molded cup and soft bra styles, and did the job. Can’t speak to the size range, but they’re a solid basic.

        I used to be more full-busted and love the blog SweetNothingsNYC. It’s got great reviews of full-busted styles, plus great posts about the whole bra conversation (sizes, body image, etc.) that would be right at home alongside Captain Awkward and the like. Plus she posts matching baking recipes paired with pretty lingerie picks- think chili brownies and chocolate satin lounge wear.

        1. PersephoneUnderground*

          Clarification because of where I posted this- these aren’t post-masectomy recommendations in particular. The wireless ones I found when I lost weight (medical thing but nothing serious) and, sadly, my underwires started bruising me so I had to switch to wireless. Before that I found a lot of things on SweetNothingsNYC and just love that blog for full-busted styles and because the writer is funny/awesome.

        1. KayDeeAye*

          Thanks so much. And thanks to the other responders, too! I have had some luck with Soma, but they are pricey, and while they look great on while being about a thousand times more comfortable than my old underwires, they are still only “pretty good,” and I’m hoping to find “really good” or even “great.” :-) It may be an idle dream, but a gal can hope.

      5. Rebecca in Dallas*

        OMG yes, my post-augmentation bra was SOOOO comfy! Not cute to look at but who cares?

        I found similar ones (but a little bit cuter) at Gap, that’s what I’ve been wearing while working at home. It’s perfect under a t-shirt and enough support that I can run errands in it. If/when I go back to the office I’ll probably replace my usual underwire bras with these.

    4. RussianInTexas*

      They do work for me, I have rather large tracks of land, and never been stabbed by an underwire, as long as those are quality bras.
      I am wearing an underwire bra now, working from home, without even getting on a video call.
      No wire-free bra could ever contain my size H, while simultaneously looking good under clothes while supporting for the whole day.

      1. onco fonco*

        Ditto cup size and ditto needing wires, sadly. I own wireless bralette type things but they’re just for wearing under lounge stuff on at-home days – they don’t offer me enough support for going out and about in. I have had wires work their way free a few times but never work their way into me – ouch.

        1. RussianInTexas*

          Yeah, when I was young and didn’t measure properly/didn’t want to spend money on bras, I had the wires come out, but never in to my flesh (yikes).
          I only wear wireless bras or a bralette lounging at home, or on vacation like in a beach house or something.
          Any physical activity requires a real support.

      2. Pippa K*

        Yep, the first time I wore a properly sized good quality bra, it was revelatory. I was one of the many women wearing a larger band and smaller cup than I needed, and going down a band size and up two cups radically changed how underwires felt!

        But everyone should get to wear what suits them, and I hope OP’s office allows them to do so.

        1. Susana*

          Totally, I went down one band size and up a cup size and it was a night-and-day difference.

          One thing – if the band rides up in the back, it’s too big! I used to think it was because it was too small! Also, buy one which fit comfortably on the last set of hooks -as it stretches out, you then tighten the band.

      3. Morning Flowers*

        I’m an I cup but wear Goddess bras with no underwires and they work great — OP, if you’re larger (which I doubt from your description but hey who knows), look for Goddess bras on Amazon. The key is a very good fit!

      4. Melissa*

        My G girls rebelled and now refuse to be transported in underwire. Luckily, with all the down time, I’ve found a sports bra that feels GOOD and doesn’t smash them together.

        I tossed all the under wires except one, in case of a fancy party or funeral.

        1. SimonKitty*

          what brand of sports bra? I am the same size, but I don’t want to wear wire bras anymore.

      5. Keymaster of Gozer*

        I got the HH problem with additional quirk of a serious upper spine injury – any bra hurts my back, but without substantial support (Brunel era underpinning) my chest hurts. The only thing I can wear that solves both issues is a corset (steel boned) and I’d love to see a ‘can I wear corsets to work?’ post ;p

    5. HailRobonia*

      I’m a man married to another man and have very limited knowledge of bras, so the first time I heard of a wireless bra I thought they meant Bluetooth or something!

    6. Empress Matilda*

      I’m generally more comfortable with a bra than without, but I am never wearing underwire again. Underwire is the worst!

    7. Lifeandlimb*

      Yess. I threw out my last underwire bra last year and felt it was long overdue! It had never even occurred to me before a couple years ago when my very large-chested friend said, “I wish I had AA boobs. If I were you I would never wear an underwire.” LIGHT BULB MOMENT.

    8. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Same here. While, with my ridiculously large size, I won’t feel comfortable without a bra altogether, I switched to wireless sports bras while WFH and cannot imagine going back to daily underwires.

    9. Bree*

      Yes, I have spent the past few months exploring my wire-free options after I wore one of my “normal” bras for an important Zoom meeting and it felt like torture. Never going back to an underwire, though I’m not brave enough to go completely bra-less. Thankfully there are increasing in-between options, and I suspect COVID *will* have helped those flourish.

    10. tangerineRose*

      I’ve tried underwire a few times, but it seems to poke me with a wire almost every time I move.

    11. Wenike*

      Not to proselytize but bras come in more sizes than 32-38 A-DD and that letter/number combo is describing a ratio of volume. Finding the proper size and shape of bra should be much more comfortable, absent actual sensory issues. Biggest issue for most women? We all think the straps are supposed to do the support (and have the grooves in the shoulders to show why that is wrong) when its the band that should be just snug enough to provide that support. Wireless bras and various types of bralettes also exist as well. Not disagreeing that bras suck, just saying that a large number of boob-havers have never been taught what a properly fitted bra should look and feel like.

      1. cord tac*

        This is the issue for me. I think underwires are more comfortable than non-underwire, because they provide support without having a tight band. I can’t bear a tight band, and intentionally wear a bigger band than the “correct” size for comfort (I will wear the tighter band for special occasions).

    12. Muddlethru*

      Curious what everyone’s comfiest recommendations are! My fave is a simple sports bra from free people that is so comfy I can sleep in it.

    13. TardyTardis*

      I have found a bra that doesn’t have underwires but is um, ‘sturdy’ enough for my women (they’re not ‘girls’. Trust me on this). Playtex makes it and the name implies it’s good for 18 hours.

  1. NancyPCat*

    LW, is it underwire or nothing for you? Your comment about camis made me think of camis with built-in shelf bras as an option. And for non-cami options, what about bralettes or even light sports bras?

    1. ThatGirl*

      I like underwires, but yeah, I’d definitely go for camis or bralettes before no bra at all.

    2. Smithy*

      Maybe it’s either sinking with what I search, or a realization during COVID – but the cami/bralette market seems to have exploded.

      Depending on 101 things, there are likely going to be outfits the OP owns where it may be more or less possible to get away without wearing one (i.e. heavy sweater weather), but I also think that there are a lot of options without returning to full underwire push-up bra styles.

      1. DJ Abbott*

        I think find a comfy option and wear it every day. One day with a bra and one day without could change your look enough to throw people. Depending on how big you are and your clothing style, of course – If you wear long flowing things it may not be noticeable.

    3. Catalin*

      +1 to bralettes and wirefree bras. I don’t think I own a wired bra (why would anyone?) but there are a variety of wireless options that even above-average sizes can use to keep the girls under control without full-on dictatorship.
      Also, it’s probably time to check your measurements against your bra size; most women are wearing the wrong size and that’s going to cause a lot of discomfort.

      1. bubbleon*

        I haven’t had a bra without a wire since I was like 15, anything less and I get absolutely no support at all.

        1. LDF*

          Same. I am glad there are options for other people but wirefree is completely unworkable for me if I’m doing more than chilling at home.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            Same here! And I have definitely been wearing bras this whole time. I need the support.

            1. Excel Jedi*

              I’m so glad I’m not the only one. I’m most comfortable putting on a (wired) bra when I wake up in the morning, and taking it off when I got to sleep at night. That’s what works best for my body, but I know I’m in the very small minority.

              1. Properlike*

                Same. Plus I have weird anatomy where my chest is not “flat” (it dips in by a fair amount) so bands will never lay flat. A particularly insult in the summer with thinner shirts that require a cami — but you need a cami + a bra with thick straps, so really it’s a tank top + bra + shirt, and then what’s the point?

                1. Gumby*

                  I have heard good things about the tank tops at Bravissimo – which are camis/tanks with built in underwire bras. They still look like just camis or tank tops though.

              2. SarahKay*

                I’m right there with you in the wearing of wired bras every day. The first time I was fitted for one it was a revelation about how much less everything jiggled without being any less comfortable than my old non-wired bra.

                1. Cedarthea*

                  For me it makes me feel ready for my day. I put it on to signal the start of my day (even if its just lounging on the weekend) and then it comes off at the end of the day.

                  I have large breasts so I like the feeling of being “locked and loaded” and knowing that I don’t have to think about them for the day. I have worked in many active and male dominated fields, so I like to just take my breasts out of the equation.

              3. rubble*

                this is me too. I can’t do the whole “lounging around in no bra” thing, it’s just not for me. they move too much without a bra for me to be comfortable even cooking breakfast without one on, tbh.

              4. anon translator*

                I’m also in that minority, but I’m size FF… Anything else simply doesn’t provide enough support.

              5. matcha123*

                It works for me, too! I don’t think you’re in a small minority, it’s just that the internet attracts people who are in the minority in various ways and they become the online majority.
                I’ve tried bralettes and camisoles with built-in bras and none of them work for me.

              6. Julia*

                I even sleep in a soft bra or molded camisole these days. I guess because I put on my PJs a few hours before bed time and often lounge around in them, so I want the support.

                As a bra-lover, I do like some of Uniqlo’s bra tops though, although it was hard to find the right fit, as all the styles seem to vary a little in size.

            2. Rachel in NYC*

              Sports bras. I’ve completely replaced my collection of sports bras this year. It was a bit of an investment but they all fit AND they don’t hurt my shoulder when putting them on.

              I still wear wire bras because they provide the best support for my DDD boobs. Or more the point for my poor back.

            3. LDF*

              I’ve been going bra free for most of the day while wfh during sweater weather, but any time I do an activity more strenuous than “sitting at computer, walking to restroom, sitting on couch” the bra goes back on. I don’t need static support but if I’m moving around you bet I need to corrall the girls.

            4. Mockingdragon*

              I think the real revelation is how different we all are. When I was still young and growing my mom insisted I was much too big to ever be able to wear bras without wire. I got to college, discovered friends wore sports bras, and never looked back. I actually don’t need much support at all beyond keeping my skin from rubbing, so a $10 seamless is fine for me. If I’d listened to my mom and her generation’s conventional wisdom I’d be buying $300 bras instead.

          2. RussianInTexas*

            Same. I would never go out in public in a wirefree, and a bralette is a completely no go, I am 40H in the US sizes.

            1. LDF*

              For real, so many people comment about bralettes etc working for their large bust but their “large bust” is 38DDD or something and mine is like, 32H. Not gatekeeping “large bust”, just those are incredibly different situations. XL bralettes might work for 38DDD but definitely not for 32G.

              1. RussianInTexas*

                Right? I have one from Torrid and it covers the nipple showing, but has zero support. It’s like wearing an extra short tank top.

                1. LDF*

                  Yupp. Or when people mention sports bras but like. My sports bras absolutely have an underwire! They’d be useless otherwise lol.

                2. RussianInTexas*

                  Checked TomBoyX – that kind of sizing, for bralettes, does not work for me.
                  I need sizing that goes by the bra size, not XL/1X/2X etc. It never works, because you have not only increased cup size when you go by regular clothing sizes vs bra sizes, but you also get longer straps, much wider back, etc.
                  I have to buy sports bras that use bra sizes, and swim suits that use bra sizes, otherwise everything just gets bigger, with wrong proportions.
                  And I can tell by the styles they will absolutely not support enough. And the thin straps will kill my shoulders.
                  Unfortunately these things been tested and tested again.

                3. Walk on the left side*

                  I normally have the same issue that S/M/L-sized things are a total failure (~30H in UK sizes these days). TomboyX was an exception, specifically in their racerback and classic bra (the ones with wider straps). I sized specifically for the band size, and they hold my boobs in well enough for things like a trip to the drug store, walking my kid to school etc. I get some amount of squishing/uniboob effect, but they’re great sleep bras and I was shocked to find myself occasionally forgetting to swap for a real one in the morning because they were supportive enough that I didn’t notice I hadn’t changed it.

                  They are basically the only non-wired thing that has ever worked for me, and I’d actually be pretty comfortable wearing one to work if my regular underwire bras were, for any reason, not an option on a given day.

                4. Wendy Darling*

                  “It’s like wearing an extra short tank top” is the exact vibe I was going for when I bought my bralettes. In winter I just layer up but for summer I wanted nipple coverage with as little fabric as possible because it got real hot and my AC sucks.

                5. Lizzo*

                  @Russian: have you checked out Title Nine Sports? I’m not sure that their sports bras would be good for every day wear, but they have a rating system for their level of supportiveness, and my friends who are blessed with generous chests have spoken highly of the most supportive options.

                6. anone*

                  Thank you everyone for mentioning TomBoyX–it seems like they’re the clothing designer I’ve been looking for my whole life!!! I had to hold back from ordering everything they have.

              2. Anonys*

                This is so so true when you have a small underband and large cup size – non-underwire bra and bralettes usually come in “normal clothing sizes” and not bra sizes and an even the largest xxl size I can find in normal stores is usually too small for the my boobs but there is no point going to the plus size section because its already so much too big for my circumference.

                It took me so long to even find bikini tops that come in actual bra sizes and unfortunately I’m yet to find a swimsuit that fits the bill

                1. Walk on the left side*

                  Panache and Freya are my go-tos in my unfortunate journey from ~28F to ~30H. (Kids, man….)

                  I’m guessing you’ve probably already tried a lot of these things/places, but for those reading along and thinking to themselves “oh my God I have the same problem, where do I find those?” I will add:

                  They aren’t cheap, but you can (should you be willing to give them your business) often find them on Amazon with free returns these days, allowing you to try them on with low risk. Also available in the UK from Bravissimo or in the US from Bare Necessities, Breakout Bras, HerRoom, Figleaves…probably a few more I’m forgetting, honestly, but those are the ones I’ve looked at seriously and/or actually ordered from and know to be legit businesses.

              3. boop the first*

                I just got a little confused at first because a 38DDD is still technically bigger than a 32H. You managed to come up with almost an exact size equivalent on the fly! :O You have bra superpowers.

                (I get what you’re actually saying though, lol. I am #team32G or H, I forget because nobody sells it)

            2. HereKittyKitty*

              I wear 38-H to 40-H and I do not own anything with wires because they just won’t work for me. I love Torrid’s wirefree bras and sports bras, it’s so much more comfortable for me!

              1. WS*

                44F here and because my boobs are very close together, anything wired is awkward and painful and doesn’t actually give me support. Sports bras all the way!

        2. Generic Name*

          Yeah, I tried wearing sports bras and bralettes while working at home, and sadly discovered that my menstrual-cycle related breast pain was nearly unbearable while wearing those “comfortable” bras, so it’s back to underwire for me. I wear a D+ cup, and apparently that extra support really does matter. Le sigh.

          1. TeacherTurnedNurse*

            This is my problem too! I have fibrocystic 34Gs and sports bras hurt like hell, as does anything without a wire. But I’ve never heard someone else voice this issue before. It’s nice knowing it’s not just me.

        3. Give me underwire or give me death*

          Same here!

          Minimizers with underwire rocked my world (my mom hated underwire, so just went with what she used until a proper fitting and world of new options at a lingerie store my 20s). The comfort and ease of movement I finally got with the proper support was life-changing. I haven’t gone a day without underwire since then. You’ll pry my Lilyettes and Wacoal out of my cold, dead hands — or should I say, out from under my cold, dead petunias.

        4. MusicWithRocksIn*

          I’ve worn some wireless bras that work…ok for the big-chested, but honestly there is so much else going on with them I prefer a wire bra. They have to put in so much extra thick fabric to make everything work right. I will take a bra with a wire over an extra three inches of fabric hugging my ribs.

        5. A Poster Has No Name*

          Yeah, I get weird gapping or rolling if I don’t have underwire, but my boobs are also not terribly large so I can get t-shirt bras or whatever that are fine.

          I should really get new ones before RTO. I haven’t worn them as much, but they are, oh, probably 2 years old by now…

        6. Miss Muffet*

          Yeah same here, even my bathing suits and sports bras have wires. I mean, I’d love to not be a DD/E and have more freedom of choice in this department, but I also have gone to really good lingerie stores and gotten properly fitted, which does make a huge difference. I think most people who have severe bra discomfort just haven’t been fitted right!

          1. Filosofickle*

            I share this opinion. If you can go without a bra or without wires, awesome. And if you’re super sensitive to things touching you, I get it. But I suspect for the majority of women, if you spend all day wanting to rip it off then you are in the wrong one. Not only get fitted for the right size, but also for shape and style. Learning I’m unusually wide-set was a game changer for understanding why some bras fit and some don’t.

            That said, I have never minded underwires but now that’ I’ve found some awesome wireless and structured bralette options I will probably save wired for special occasions. I’m a DD with a relatively smaller ribcage for my overall size, so there aren’t a lot that work for my proportions and look as good under clothes but I have found them.

            1. Elisa*

              Hi! I have this exact same thing (E with a smaller ribcage). Please can you share your structured bralette secrets!? Thank you!!

      2. Butterfly Counter*

        Wires help give structure to the cup and help keep the cups separated. For me, in comparison to other types of bras, means less smushing. Each boob helps maintain its own supported shape which, to some people looks better in some clothes.

        But I do NOT think that underwire bras should be mandatory for all people with boobs, but do agree with Alison that in most professional places, if it’s going to be noticeable, you should probably have something.

        1. Crooked Bird*

          “You should probably have something” brings up a thought for me, and please inform me b/c I have never been an in-person office worker… but is it perhaps true that as long as you have “something” you’re basically in the clear? I’m aware it’s seen as unprofessional to go braless (and as a woman who doesn’t find them uncomfortable I prefer to wear one when out of the house anyhow) but if OP were to wear a sports bra, cami with bra shelf, whatever, and someone complained about still finding her breasts too noticeable (slight jiggling or something), does the complainer maybe look more unprofessional than OP at that point, when OP can say “Yeah I’m wearing one, sorry it doesn’t appear adequate to you”?

          Honest question, I’m curious.

          1. Butterfly Counter*

            I’m not sure, but I would say yes, it looks worse on the complainer. They looked close enough to be offended but not so close that they didn’t notice there was underwear there. Also, as a big busted person myself (34G), a simple sports bra is enough to stop all jiggling.

          2. Smithy*

            I used to work in a fairly lax but still relatively traditional environment and one day a coworker work a dress where it was very clear that her nipples were pierced. For that day, most people just treated it like an oops similar to spilling coffee on your shirt – but I know she was given the chat around the fit of her dress not being professional enough.

            I think that strikes me as a good way to consider a situation where someone’s bra/breast choices would get flagged as un/less professional. That’s still going to be subjective from person to person and how public-facing someone’s job is, but “her boobs jiggle” is gonna be a tough complaint to register on its own.

            I do think the harsher reality for choosing to go bra free – similar to choosing to go make-up free – is a quieter loss of capital that is harder to judge. Am I not the best choice for this high profile account because of my work or how I look? Am I not the best choice for a promotion because of my work and potential, or because of how I look? This is also not the same sector to sector and workplace to workplace.

          3. DJ Abbott*

            From time to time I’ve seen or known women who wore items that were too apparent under their clothes. I remember one who was relatively small, and it was obvious she was wearing a thick cotton bra-type pullover thing under her blouse… I could see the outline and knew what it was because I had one too. To me it looked awkward and frumpy – it indicates she’s not aware of how she looks.
            Other times I saw women on the elevator at work who were wearing blouses made of thin filmy almost see-through material – and a thick lace bra underneath where I could see the lace and outline of the bra. The same impression of not being aware.
            IMHO this sort of thing is unprofessional. The way a person looks should be intentional.
            So a person should probably have something, and it should show an effort to look professional.

      3. Lacey*

        Wired bras offer more support and a more defined shape, especially if you have a large chest (as I do).
        For a long time it was all I would wear and even though I’ve been doing wireless for a few years now, I kinda miss my wired bras for how they look.

        But, this person doesn’t sound like she’s got a particularly large chest, so it seems like she should be able to easily find comfy wireless bras.

        1. Observer*

          But, this person doesn’t sound like she’s got a particularly large chest, so it seems like she should be able to easily find comfy wireless bras.

          That’s the thing. Someone who is totally comfortable without any bra probably does not need an underwire. And it’s totally possible to get a good bar with all of the definition that an underwire gives in that case – assuming good quality construction and proper fit.

          1. The Rural Juror*

            I’ve migrated over the years as I’ve grown older and my chest has grown with my weight. When I was small-chest (B cup) the underwires didn’t bother me. Now that I’m a little larger (D cup) I HATE them. I now only wear wireless bras with wide bands that stay in place better. The good quality, construction, proper fit are what make that possible. (Thanks, Lively!)

            On the weekends, though, I’m still happy as a clam to wear no bra at all. I absolutely love the washable/re-usable pasties to disguise the nips. That’s all I need when it’s hot and I want to wear tanks! I need to buy better quality for those, as well. That way they last longer and don’t get thrown away.

        2. Pibble*

          I have a large chest and don’t wear bras because I have issues with any compression anywhere from clothing. So if OP can find a bra that works for her, that’s great, but it may very well not be easy or even possible, regardless of chest size.

          (I got a job with a dog training company and have plenty of clients without ever wearing a bra – granted it’s a nice-jeans-and-t-shirts kind of dress code and a large west coast city, but there are workplaces where it’s possible!)

      4. curly sue*

        I wear underwires because I need the serious architecture – in the war between bralette elastic and gravity, gravity wins.

      5. So long and thanks for all the fish*

        Because wireless bras have to be so much tighter to get the same support as you get from a wire (not that everyone needs that same support, but if you do, wireless bras can be torture). I want to plug the resources over on r/abrathatfits here, it’s such a refreshing perspective on what bras can and should be for women of different sizes and shapes. So many women are wearing the wrong size, and even if you aren’t, how different bras even of the same size can be constructed makes a world of difference. Life is too short to be uncomfortable for 8 hours a week, and many women can’t get away with bralettes at work.

        1. RetailSurvivor*

          Absolutely this. I went from wearing a 10B bra (that was uncomfy but fit) to a 12DD. My boobs are wide set, so they just don’t fit into the smaller cups even though it looks like they do. The difference switching made was absolutely astonishing, and now I’m incredibly comfortable. I can also still go braless, and love my cute bralettes, but I don’t dread wearing a bra now!

        2. Sleeping Late Every Day*

          Saying unwired bras have to be tight may be true for you, but not everyone. I’m a DD (well, until a lumpectomy shrunk one so I’m really mismatched now). I’ve never worn an underwire except for one formal occasion, and I started wearing bras in the early 1960s. Mine aren’t tight, I’m not doing that to myself. I like soft bras with shaped seamless cups and a little padding. Those cups don’t press against me and they disguise my lopsidedness.

      6. SometimesALurker*

        The answer to “why would anyone?” is that for some of us it’s more comfortable. I don’t know enough about bra construction to know why underwire is more comfortable for me, but in my current shape I have never met a non-wired bra that fit me right.

      7. RussianInTexas*

        I kind of like the bras that Do. Not. Let. My. Breasts. Move. No movement is my ideal. No juggle, no movement, structure forever.

      8. RussianInTexas*

        I have not have a bra without a wire to be out in public since puberty. I don’t find them uncomfortable at all.
        Bralettes do not hold me in at all, and wire-free does not look good under clothes on me. Nor is it easy to find one that fit my size AND offers enough support.

      9. onco fonco*

        Are you saying that with the personal experience of being an above-average size? Because I’m a 40H with a long torso and low-set breasts, and I have searched but never once found a wireless bra that could support me enough for clothes to fit properly over the top. If this magical device exists I wanna know about it.

        1. RussianInTexas*

          H cup sister! I have a short torso, and I’ve never found a properly supportive wire-free bra either.

        2. Walk on the left side*

          More H solidarity…I wore wire-free nursing bras for the year I breastfeed each of my kids (and late pregnancy). They did actually support ok and clothes *fit* fine over them, but I didn’t really enjoy the look of the shape they gave, and wouldn’t choose them over underwire except for the thread of plugged ducts and mastitis. The Panache Alisha was the only one that really actually worked for me. (And for the audience looking to try things, it seems this style has been discontinued. Ugh.)

          Nursing bras in a 30HH/J made sad.

          1. 34H but knows secrets*

            I nursed for a total of six years (three children, extended bf) and discovered nursing converters – essentially a nursing clip and a length of elastic that you put into your normal UNDERWIRED bra and proceed as normal. They’re perfectly comfortable and safe if the bra is properly fitted.

        3. WS*

          I am, but I also like firm compression around the chest and have close-set boobs that make wire uncomfortable, so it’s wire-free sports bras for me at 44F. If the compression was uncomfortable for me, I’d be very short on options.

      10. Kate LJ*

        My “large bust” is a 36G. I only wear wire-free “soft bras” from Uniqlo unless I’m getting really dressed up, like special occasion going out.

    4. KHB*

      Yeah, when I discovered wireless bras (I got them at Target, I think the brand is “Warner’s”), it changed my life.

      1. Peep*

        I got some of the Target Auden brand, lightly lined racerback … which apparently are out of stock on the site even though it said in stock on the google page? idk. They were only like $13 and a slippery fabric. I also got some of the Jockey brand from Target, only $16. (“natural beauty racerback bralette” lolol ~*natural beauty*~) They’re very comfortable and a more breatheable fabric and I only wear them out of the house to work when I have to go on site. The racerback is a little visible under the occasional shirt because of the strap placement, but I don’t care. They’re supportive even in the XL size, and I have… uh…. “shrunk” all my clothes… during the pandemic. Now I’m not sure where to buy a normal but comfy bra if I have to have something for more formal outfits in the distant future! That’ll be a problem for future me when you can try on clothes in stores more…

        1. A Poster Has No Name*

          Side comment, never believe info on Google or other sites when it comes to stores. I don’t know how often Google checks stock or where it gets its data from, but I doubt it’s as frequent as the website (and even that may not be up to date). Same with hours. We had a guest come in a couple weeks ago who was big mad that “the website” said we were open until 11 (we haven’t been open until 11 for a year, except between Thanksgiving & Christmas). Turns out Apple Maps, Yelp and probably some others have (or had) our pre-COVID hours out there.

          1. RetailSurvivor*

            I don’t know about Google checking stock on websites, but for hours information that’s up to the company to change. If it’s a recurring problem, I would recommend letting head office know so they can change it.

          2. MCMonkeybean*

            Yeah, I’ve been burned by Google giving me incorrect hour information before. I always double-check on a business’s actual website now if possible.

        2. ophelia*

          The Jockey ones from Target are also my go-to; I was about to say the bands stretch out pretty quickly, which is a bummer, but also I just realized I’ve had the one I’m wearing for 2 years, so maybe I shouldn’t be so judgy! Hah. I have generally used the non-racer-back ones, but now I might go seek out the other versions as well!

    5. LW*

      It’s me, letter writer. Part of the issue is that sports bras don’t work with the necklines of a lot of my work shirts. The other part is that I’ve never managed to find a bralette that felt comfortable without worrying about my boobs falling out, the band riding up, or it squashing me into a uni-boob (my boobs are average-sized, but I have a very small frame so it’s hard to find pieces that fit both my band and cup size that aren’t padded underwires). I guess the answer is to just keep searching for one—but I resent that bras are so expensive and considered necessary for women, while men just do not have to worry about this stuff at all.

      Anyway, thanks all for your help. Seeking good bralette suggestions, I suppose.

      1. Frank Doyle*

        Uniqlo has a few wireless bra options, I found one that worked for me and have only worn them for the past four or five years. (I work from home and don’t wear bras often, but sometimes I think it looks better with than without, and I grudgingly put one on.)

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Seconding Uniqlo as a 32C. They’re molded cups – no seams, no padding, no underwires, and I’ve not paid more than $20 for a bra in years.

        2. JF*

          The uniqlo ones are the best. I gave up on wires/hooks years ago due to sensitive skin, and these give the most bra like shape and have enough padding to cover for office AC moments.

        3. Hanging Naturals*

          34G here with another vote for Uniqlo. When I had my own I’LL NEVER WEAR A BRA AGAIN moment, someone recommended their bra tops. I was super skeptical that they’d fit me/work for my size, but they had one on clearance so I figured what the hell. Now I’ve got three and I love them. They’re shockingly good at holding things in place for how low-profile they are.

      2. Generic Name*

        There are underwire-free bras out there too. And as for the neckline issue, maybe wearing a cami/tank top would help. Target has stacks of cotton tanks in a bunch of colors I use as a layer under flimsier blouses for work.

      3. anonny*

        There are so, so many out there these days! I actually have slightly the opposite problem where I have been on the hunt for a bralette with a little padding where the pads are NOT removable (I have very noticeable nipples that I prefer to keep hidden), and I can tell you it is basically impossible to find. Which is to say, basically all bralettes out there have removable padding or no padding at all. If you use social media and have cookies, once you start searching for bralettes/wirefree bras, you will be inundated with ads for them! A few companies offhand to start your search: thirdlove, knix, cosabella, true and co. (I don’t happen to have bras from any of them because of the above issue, but I hear good things).

        I also recommend checking out r/abrathatfits on reddit.

        1. Pikachu*

          Ooooooooooo ThirdLove is the best! Those half cup sizes changed my life.

          Re: bralettes, have you tried Aerie? I have a few from there that have non-removable padding. It’s just enough to keep things covered. I think “lightly lined” probably describes it better, and might be a better search term than padded to find what you are looking for. Mine are a year or so old, so they might not have anything similar anymore. I have a Spanx one with convertible straps too, which I love… expensive but worth it.

        2. Filosofickle*

          I want to put in a plug for Cosabella. I have several of the curvy sweetie bralettes (larger cup, smaller band) and while they are very expensive, they are also magical and worth every penny. They create as good of a shape as any wired bra I have. They are pretty on. They support without squishing. They are so comfortable I forget I have them on! The lace isn’t itchy, and I’m extremely sensitive. What keeps them from being my only bra every day is that the lace texture is visible under thinner fabrics. I have tried a couple others of theirs and not really liked them, though.

          Nice thing about True & Co is you can search by shape. They only sell like 2 bras for my shape, but when I’ve ordered the ones they’ve told me to they’ve fit well.

      4. Lacey*

        Totally with you on resenting how much bras cost.

        Target has nice, cheap bralets. Or, I sometimes buy their nursing bras (even though I’ve never had baby) because they’re made out of super comfy material and come in a wider range of sizes.

      5. katertot*

        True&Co Bralettes have worked for me- I’m a B cup and it’s literally ALL I’ve worn during the past year besides sports bras. Target has a line with them, and they’re on Nordstrom also- highly recommend them!

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          I second the recommendation of True&Co. I had a colleague at my previous job who had a bigger bust and she swore by their bras too.

        2. AuntAmy*

          True&Co bras are so comfy! They have a deeper v-cut option. The material is so soft! I got them to wear when I got a tattoo on my shoulder/back and it was the right choice. Didn’t realize there was a Target option!

        3. hayling*

          I also love True & Co! I wear the True Body Lift and I am impressed at how supportive it is, and it’s super comfortable. I have fairly large breasts and they feel quite supported. Not as much shape/lift as an underwire, and I wouldn’t jog in it, but would totally be appropriate for work.

      6. Lynn*

        I have really liked Soma’s enbliss wireless; it looks like a standard two-cup bra, just without an underwire. It’s a tad on the pricy side (I know that’s relative; they’re about $50) but Soma runs frequent sales. Good luck!

        1. Elliott*

          I absolutely love their classic soft bra. It doesn’t offer a ton of support, but enough for day-to-day stuff (and I have a really big chest). It’s also the only pullover bra I’ve tried that fits both my ribcage and cup size. Usually, pullover bras that are large enough for my chest are also too big in the band.

      7. desdemona*

        This is a very specific suggestion – there are bralettes that are basically sports bras without a uniboob. They have the thicker straps, full coverage, and are v-necked so most shirts cover them. I got 2 at Kohls a year or two ago. I just checked, and they are now sold as “SO Lace Plunge bralette”. Weirdly a juniors listing, but that means they’re also only $20 – I don’t know if they sold out of the adults or if I bought juniors without realizing it.

        Maybe getting into TMI – I’m a 34B and I wear the M’s comfortably. I don’t think this will work for everyone, but I’ve basically only been wearing these ‘lace plunge bralettes’ the entire pandemic.

        As an aside – if you’re worried about nipples mostly, maybe you could get pasties? I’ve had to wear them before (was in a wedding & couldn’t get my bra to work with the neckline of the dress) and they were surprisingly comfy.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          Pasties every day becomes painful. Even those larger ones intended to go under strapless or deep necklines end up hurting after the 5th day or so. (on me, 3rd day, but I have tender skin; my friends say 5 in a row is usually the limit).

      8. EventPlannerGal*

        I adore Esthe’s bralettes – they’re really soft and comfortable and come in really cute colours. They’re not super super cheap but the brand is really committed to ethical manufacturing and I believe they use recycled textiles where possible.

      9. MissCoco*

        Not a bralette suggestion but I have found a tighter fitting cami under another cami hits the sweet spot for me. Not 110% nipple coverage, but with a shirt on top, it has to be *really cold* for it to be an issue, and if I’m still cold enough that it’s an issue with nipple coverage, it’s usually cold enough that I want to be wearing a cardigan or scarf anyways.

      10. Nea*

        It’s annoying that the good ones are also the expensive ones, but in my experience, the misery of having a bad bra or shoes means I’m willing to pay top dollar for the right ones.

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            Well, maybe the Sibyl Vimes Bra Theory. Sam Vimes would be talking about the Protectors.

        1. Filosofickle*

          Exactly. I used to resist spending on bras — I’d buy whatever $15 sale maidenform that basically fit. Then I realized that it’s probably the most important and most worn thing on my body. How many wears do you get out of a bra?! A comfortable bra that makes me feel a little pretty, looks great under clothes, and holds up to laundering is worth its damn weight in gold. Same for shoes.

      11. Tiffany Aching*

        I’ve found that I’m really liking the combination of reusable silicone pasties (to prevent nipples from showing), and a fitted tank top/cami (to reduce jiggle). I have a fairly small chest, though, so your experience may vary.

      12. PostalMixup*

        I have heard that the small band-large(r) cup combo can be easier to find from UK brands. Seems like no one in the US makes bands smaller than 32, and good luck finding that paired with larger than a C cup. I’ve heard very good things about the subreddit abrathatfits in finding the correct size. I fully intend to follow this advice myself once I’m done with nursing bras and need a “normal” 32DD bra again!

        1. Generic Name*

          I’m a 32/DD and I get all my bras from Nordstrom’s. They’re not cheap, but totally worth it.

      13. Dark Macadamia*

        I really like Soma’s wireless bras. They have a wide variety from basic to lacy, different closure styles, removable liners, etc and give a decent amount of support but feel comfortable.

      14. Miss Muffet*

        Find a proper bra store and get fitted. Not victoria secret, like a real lingerie place. It will change your life.

      15. Observer*

        The other part is that I’ve never managed to find a bralette that felt comfortable without worrying about my boobs falling out, the band riding up, or it squashing me into a uni-boob (my boobs are average-sized, but I have a very small frame so it’s hard to find pieces that fit both my band and cup size that aren’t padded underwires). I guess the answer is to just keep searching for one

        There are bras that fall between padded underwire and bralette. They don’t have to be massively expensive, but they DO need to fit.

      16. LimeRoos*

        I second the Auden brand from target. I just picked up another Women’s Bliss Lightly Lined Wirefree Bra – Auden™, because the first one was super comfy after I decided I was tired of the underwire bruises I was getting. They’re $14.99, I’m a 38D and they are fantastic so far. They seem to hold up well in the wash too – put in bag, wash on delicate, tumble dry on low heat because I’m a monster lol. You can even hook them for a racerback style or wear them normally. It looks like they have a few different styles/cuts too.

      17. Higher ed is complicated*

        LW, I’m going to go against the grain here. I’m late 20s, work in a professional higher ed environment, wear a C / D cup, and one day several years before the pandemic I just… stopped. It was almost like a game of chicken, would anyone dare to say anything to me if they could tell? If they could, they didn’t dare. I worked a job where I gave public presentations, and have interviewed and moved to a different job all bra-less. The only thing I do is take care to not have prominent nipple issues (scarves or cardigans, layer tank tops, usually) but everyone of any gender presentation and undergarment choice should really be doing that anyway. I have to say I have the genetic shape that is more socially acceptable for these sorts of things, so maybe that’s worked in my favor. But there are some things that I’ve decided that if it’s going to be an issue, I don’t want to be in that environment anyway.

        1. Higher ed is complicated*

          Oh, and just to clarify before comments: I am not a professor or instructor, who are often (rightly so) dismissed as examples here because they have such a different working environment. I work a very typical M-F office job, just at a university.

        2. Ashley*

          I do think bra-less and not noticeable is easier to pull off in winter with bulky layers then in a summer. I am not sure I will be comfortable in an office without one but the rest of the time it will be hard to convince me unless there is a specific outfit that requires it.

        3. It's a fish, Al*

          I played a similar game of chicken. First around shaving legs, when I went to go work for the provincial government. My grandboss’s first conversation with me, I don’t think his eyes went above my ankles (I had very hairy legs under very professional Capri pants). Not a single comment, besides the look of horror. Eventually he got over it and made conversation to my face. The 30 or so student workers I was supervising at the time didn’t blink an eye.

          I’ve decided to play the game again with bras. Late 30s professional, C/D cup, and heck it all – my neck hurts when I wear a bra. A lot. I’m not modifying a part of my body that causes me no physical discomfort so that other people find my body more palatable to share an office with. I don’t smell bad and I do my work well, and I’m thankful that the chicken game has worked so far, because I don’t enjoy the tension headaches that arise from bra straps sitting on my shoulders.

          I’m going to respectfully disagree with the advice given. I dare anyone to take issue with the way your breasts present.

          1. Retail Not Retail*

            I have a job that allows shorts (and the heat requires it) and I just do not shave my legs. I’m in the south and no one has said word one, customer, coworker, boss at any level. Nor have they done any weird looks. (I’m also big and unafraid to wear shorts over my knee because it. is. HOT.)

      18. Psammead*

        I wear hidden support vest tops for work (or other times when I need a bit of support). No wire and super comfy. Mine are cheap from Primark, but I don’t think they’re that established in the US yet

      19. Qwerty*

        Aerie has some wireless bras and lace bralettes that are pretty comfortable. They run sales pretty often too, so I’ve never paid full price. One thing to watch out for is they feel a little tight at first until the elastic stretches out a bit (I wore mine for an hour or so at a time for a few days).

        If you are just concerned about headlights rather than jiggle, one option would be silicone cups. They are basically re-usable pasties and are commonly used for backless dresses that don’t allow for a full bra.

        As for the guys not having to deal with this – sometimes I wish they did! I used to work in multiple offices full of men wearing very thin athletic shirts that left nothing to the imagination, especially when the AC is on. So if people commonly wear workout clothes at work, you might have some ability to push back on bra-wearing if that’s the battle you want to fight.

      20. Remote Worker FTW*

        I bought a sports bra on Amazon (listing title: LVU Women’s Sports Bras Workout Tank Tops -Sports Bra Running Fitness Yoga Camisole Crop Top) which has removable cups. It’s great for working out and with the cups looks great under shirts. There are lot of similar ones out of there. It has no underwire which I love.

        I’m with you on the no bra thing. That’s one of literally dozens of reasons why I want to stay remote forever.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          Seconding this – I got the same. I haven’t had a problem with removing / replacing the cups, though I do air dry both the bra and the cups, maybe that makes a difference.

      21. kaybee*

        I feel you on not being able to find a good fit for both band & cup in non-bra options. I recently came across a small boutique called HeyMavens that has extended bralette sizes including one they call “extra medium” for small band/larger cup. Haven’t gotten the chance to try one yet, but definitely plan to!

      22. So long and thanks for all the fish*

        If you’re willing to give real bras one more shot, try checking out the community info on the r/abrathatfits subreddit. It was a real education for me on how and why bras are constructed the way they are, why not all bras will work well for everyone, and what kind of bras work best for me. They also have lots of retailer suggestions for where to find good sales, which was super useful. Good luck, whatever you wind up doing!

      23. Spotted Kitty*

        Check out European brands. I’m a 36F/G and can’t find that size in a US brand to save my life. I went to a speciality brand store and they introduced me to the brand Panache and now that’s all I ever want to wear. I paid about $90 for the first one, realized how wonderful it was, and then started shopping Ebay. I’ve been able to find three more of the same bra (different colors) for no more than $30 each. It’s been a godsend.

      24. Not A Girl Boss*

        Shoutout for Underbares “Mesh U”. Eco friendly and made in America!

        I was really suspicious of uniboob but they are my holy grail magical fit (for C-cup wide set gals). I own 4 of them now and will never wear anything else. They somehow lift instead of smash, and have the lightest coverage ever without showing any nip. Only caution is that the straps are set a little wide, if you have narrow shoulders it might slide off.

      25. Anax*

        While I totally agree about societal double-standards, I have to say, it also sucks to be a busty trans man, lol.

        This might not suit your needs, but for an off-the-wall suggestion – GC2B makes some pretty comfy tanktop binders, which can pass for a standard tanktop but provide support/disguise similar to a sports bra, and while there’s no “lift and separate”, squishing down might reduce the uniboob look.

        1. Lucien Nova*

          I’m going to piggyback off this a bit and recommend Shapeshifters!

          Yes, they’re a company that makes (custom fit) chest binders (I own one – it is amazing), but they also make custom fit sports bras. Might be worth looking into!

      26. DC*

        Spanx Bra-llelujah bralette. Lightly lined version for the blasting AC, or put those silicon concealers from the drugstore in the unlined version. All one piece, no hooks/chafing, no uniboob. Works with V necks. Has about 1 inch straps so wouldn’t work with a very wide boatneck neckline or a thinner tank top strap, but works with most anything else.

      27. BraHater*

        I’m with you LW. Petite. 32 C/D. I never want to wear a “real” bra again. Ever! Sports bras are just as uncomfortable to me as a wired bra. Lululemon makes a bra called “like a cloud” and it’s amazing. $58 and the only thing I’ve wanted to wear since Covid has started.

        My plan is to go braless or wear my Cloud bra and see what happens. I’m in an unusual industry that ranges from formal to old-school hippy so I don’t think people will be too shocked. Plus I’m pretty respected and have worked hard to get where I am. What is the point of gaining influence if I can’t use that to normalize a little nipple or jiggle now and then?

      28. Magpie*

        Hanes! They’re cheap and comfortable and seamless, and a lot of them have deeper but still full-coverage necklines that won’t show under a work shirt. I’m similar to you in that I have average-to-small boobs to contain (28DD which is about the same volume as a 36B, I just have a tiny ribcage), and I don’t like underwire or spaghetti straps. I have a few of the Comfort Flex ones from Walmart, and they have just enough shape to them that you don’t get sports-bra uniboob without being aggressively supportive.

      29. kfc*

        hi! i recommend aerie bralettes as a comfortable bra alternative, and agree with the users recommending uniqlo as well. but i really have to say, even though offices aren’t going to stop considering bras “professional”, does that mean you have to? would anyone at your office say anything? would it actually effect your professional development or opportunities if they did? have you seen wardrobe choices lead to repercussions for any of your coworkers?

        you’ve already described an office environment that doesn’t adhere to “professional norms” in a lot of ways. maybe you don’t have to force yourself to just yet either. just my 2 cents.

      30. Sleeping Late Every Day*

        Hanes For Her has lots of wire-free options at reasonable prices, and there are other similar brands.

      31. Maeve*

        I recommend the “Aerie Seamless Strappy Padded Bralette.” Would link to it but have had issues with that before, so just search! Really holds them in, should be ok with most necklines, super comfy, and it’s not so much “padded” as there are very thin…you know, those triangle things that come out every time you wash them…I just take them out, personally.

      32. PNW Labrat*

        I first have to say that I am loving all the bra talk and it’s making me wish I had people willing to talk this openly when I was a teenager/early 20s when I was too ashamed to discuss the comfort of my own body parts.

        That being said, I’m 36C but was previously trying to pass as an Forgotten#B until one day I decided there has to be something more comfortable out there. I did a lot of new measuring with the help of the internet/youtube and landed on my current size. Then I found Warner’s brand at Kohl’s and they have a wireless option without a band that cuts under and has a decent stable shape to the cups. Sooooo much more comfortable.

        Although I still prefer without wearing bras, to be honest. I’m mandated by my company to come in one day a week and that’s my bra day. The rest I’m hanging free in my yoga pants. That may be a thought for you too – think of advocating for a hybrid home/office combo if work from home really works well for you and that would also give you a definite 1+ braless workday.

      33. Double A*

        Just a thought…what’s wrong with a uniboob? If it’s uncomfortable that’s one thing, but if it’s aesthetic then… maybe embrace it?

        My single requirement for a bra is that my nipples don’t show. If I can achieve that without a bra, then great. Then I move on through the next most comfortable options for me. A uniboob is a common outcome of my bra choices (usually a bralette).

        1. 34H but knows secrets*

          In all seriousness, uniboob can prevent your car seatbelt from lying correctly (it should pass between your breasts) which would contribute to greater injuries in an accident.

          But for aesthetics? You’re absolutely right.

        2. anon here today*

          I find uniboob deeply uncomfortable because of sweat issues. Earlier in the pandemic I decided to try wearing the bralette/cami only and I found it really icky by the end of the day. I feel much better with some separation. Fully acknowledge that different folks are different!

      34. beurre rouge*

        Richer Poorer are my favorite quarantine find – they are supportive and nipple-camouflaging enough for my C cups. Their necklines and straps (per your concern) work for every top I own.

      35. Quinalla*

        I’ve been very happy with my wire-free bras from Torrid. I saw someone else mention their bralettes, haven’t tried them, but I know what I am going to snag next when it is on sale!

        I’ve been wearing Torrid camis instead of bras during the WFH times and that has been perfect, but yeah I can’t get away with that outside of when I am wearing a sweater in public.

      36. StarHunter*

        Maidenform has a good selection of bralettes. I also now just shop for a bra that’s fits comfortably and if they have wires I take them out.

      37. Mockingdragon*

        Is it possibly cheaper to get a few work shirts with necklines that do work with a sport bra? It’s not a problem I’ve had….but then I’ve always chosen the uniboob over an uncomfortable bra so I can’t really offer much.

      38. Wendy Darling*

        I have a similar problem with necklines — I’m small-busted but my boobs are relatively high on my chest so stuff tends to show.

        For low-cut shirts my favorite is the TomboyX tencel bralette with the cross-back straps. It goes REALLY low in front. They’re kind of spendy by undershirt standards but cheap by bra standards. (The cross straps bug me so I cut them in the back, uncrossed them, and sewed the elastic back on as regular straps, but I think that’s just an issue with how my shoulders are shaped?)

        My other go-to is Hanes shelf camis. 95% cotton, $10 each, and not inappropriate if it peeks out the neckline of a shirt.

      39. Lizzo*

        REI offers a few low impact sports bras made by Prana and that have been great for me (34B) for work. There are some liners that add some shape and padding, and those have held up well with cold water washing and line drying.

        Also, as others have suggested here, if you haven’t been professionally fitted at a bra specialty store, DO IT. They know what they’re doing, and they know their products.

        1. Lizzo*

          LW, I see below in another thread you’ve indicated your size. The Prana bras I mentioned may not offer enough support/coverage, but maybe there’s something else among REI’s offerings that will work? I see others have provided excellent brand options based on personal experience, so disregard my comment if it’s not helpful.

      40. Shelly*

        Truekind Daily Comfort Wireless Shaper Bra has been my go-to for the last year. Extremely comfortable, no wires, adequate coverage. Sold through Shapermint or Truekind’s website.

      41. Maggie*

        Even though it’s not what you want to hear maybe my greatest advice is just do not give up. There is a best bra out there for you, and finding something that fits properly could change your life. If you have a Nordstrom within driving distance, I’d recommend that. My first bra fitting with them ever around age 32, and postpartum, had lots of tears, but I learned a lot, and I found clothing I didn’t hate. Trying on garments is exhausting, and it is incredibly helpful to have someone else hook/unhook/adjust all the straps/put the damn things back on hangers, etc. I must have tried on 20 things, and they made it bearable.

      42. matcha123*

        I second the Uniqlo mentions.
        This is the one I wear:
        https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/women-3d-hold-wireless-bra-428759.html?dwvar_428759_color=COL09&cgid=women-intimates#start=1&cgid=women-intimates

        They used to (or still do) have similar wireless ones but in sizes like S/M/L. I don’t recommend those. I think the sizing on the ones I linked to can differ slightly by color? or material. The same size will fit slightly tighter or looser. I still prefer wire, but this is also good.

    6. Retail Not Retail*

      I’ve never had a job that did not have a uniform or let me wear what I wanted (TA) – my internship I was required to wear my school’s tshirts.

      I’ve only worn a structured bra to interviews and whatnot. I live in my sports bras and that hasn’t been a problem in any of my jobs. If/when I get a job that is more than just tshirts/tek dry/cheap polos, what is the cut off for sports bras? (I’m a noticeable one, I have to wear a bra for comfort!)

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        There isn’t one, as long as your straps aren’t visible and your nipples are not really obvious. I wore sports bras for years in a fairly conservative company.

    7. Dragon_dreamer*

      If the OP is on the larger size, Goddess makes larger sized wireless bras that work well. (I did always extract the side stays, but that’s me.) HerRoom.com is where I got them. They have universal sizing, too! You input the size and brand of a bra that does fit you, and they’ll show you everything they have in your universal size.

    8. Jules the 3rd*

      I’m stretchy-cami-only under my fairly thick work shirts, B cup and largeish nipples (post-child). Once in a while I notice the nipples, but it’s rare. If I want to wear a thinner shirt, I find a shelf-bra cami and pop in a removable bra cup. If you can live without the underwire, so can everyone else.

    9. Magpie*

      I’m gonna plug this specific bra from Hanes – I am similar to this LW in that I’ve got an average-to-small amount of boob to contain, and I find most bras pretty uncomfortable. Hanes in general is awesome for this, they’re cheap and comfy and provide decent coverage/shape without a lot of aggressive support, and like this particular one because the wide seamless straps don’t show under clothes.

      https://www.hanes.com/hanes-invisible-embrace-comfort-flex-fit-wirefree-bra.html

    10. SuperBB*

      Go to Nordstrom or an independent bra store, or the A Bra That Fits Reddit board, and get properly fitted. Do NOT go to Victoria’s Secret. A properly fitting bra should not be uncomfortable.

      1. Lizzo*

        +1000 for the advice to avoid Victoria’s Secret. They’re not knowledgeable about fit, and their product leaves a lot to be desired.

    11. Jessica Fletcher*

      Seriously. I also wonder if a 25 year old in a very casual office is wearing materials that are more sheer than she thinks, and it’ll be embarrassing not to wear anything underneath.

  2. Colleen*

    I totally and completely am with you. I don’t want to ever wear a bra again.
    However, life is life and I know I’ll need to occasionally.
    One thing I’ve done is find more comfortable bras — I have done away completely with my underwires and have found more comfortable ones for when I really, really need them (like when we go back to work).
    Alison is right — it shouldn’t matter. But it does. Which sucks.

    1. Mental Lentil*

      Man here, but several of the women I know have told me that if you go to a store with a person who is trained to fit bras (yep, that’s an actual job) it makes a world of difference between a bra that fits and a bra that fits well and is comfortable. Maybe this is an option for some. I know when I worked at JCP, a couple of the women there were trained to do this.

      1. Cat Tree*

        There’s certainly a difference between good bras and bad ones, but even the good ones are never truly comfortable for some women.

        1. MissBaudelaire*

          Yup. The only thing that’s ever felt comfortable for me has been nursing tanks. I finally shredded my last one right when COVID started and figured “Meh, I’ll sort that out when I go back to work.” Been working from home I have a few bras sold as ‘sleep bras that are very soft sports bras basically, and that’s all I wear if I even feel the need to wear a bra.

      2. MusicWithRocksIn*

        Finding a bra that fits has been such a nightmare this year. I bet online bra orders have shot up, and probably a lot of women are living with a less than perfect fit because even if you know what your exact size should be, buying online can be such a crap shoot, but few people want to actually go into a store and have a saleslady be in bra-fitting range.

        I do hate getting a bra fitted though, because then there is all that one on one salesperson pressure and I find the words ‘Oh yes, this bra fits perfectly, but it is ugly AF and itches horribly’ very hard to vocalize.

      3. Bernice Clifton*

        Getting a professional bra fitting for the first time since I was fitted for a training bra in 6th grade made all of the difference for me comfort-wise.

  3. Persephone Mongoose*

    Honestly, I never stopped. I have large breasts and it’s actually more uncomfortable for me to not wear a bra.

    That said, I absolutely would never begrudge anyone who went braless during the pandemic and kept doing so back in the workplace in person. I hate that this is still an issue and hope that the tide turns toward common sense. Breasts are not inherently unprofessional!

    1. Beth*

      I also wear a bra every day, due to actually needing the support. I feel like we’re in a different case than OP just due to differing body needs. But people should get to do what suits their personal body best! OP, I’m rooting for you to find an option that’s comfortable and workable for you.

        1. Solely Cami*

          And big bodacious scarves! I’m allergic to even a small % of elastic or synthetic (even wear cotton underwear inside out to avoid poly thread or elastic edges touching me), and my collection of rayon scarves save me.
          A little tougher in professional office attire, but with blending colors and subdued designs might be possible. Also look for the type of confuse-the-eye prints in tops that could disguise enough to obviate the issue.

    2. ...*

      It’s infuriating, because of all of the things you should be focusing on at work, anything below a person’s face shouldn’t be on that list — unless you’re a tailor/doctor/etc.

    3. AnonEMoose*

      For working from home, I went to bralettes (I get mine at Torrid). They do a good job of keeping the girls under control and offering some support; they work fine for working from home and things like running to Costco. For anything more vigorous, I’d want more support and would probably put on an actual bra, but having the option of a bralette instead is a big improvement.

    4. MissBaudelaire*

      I can’t understand why it’s so ‘unprofessional’ to not wear a bra. It shouldn’t matter one single iota what sort of underwear someone is wearing.

      1. Llellayena*

        It’s not a matter of wearing (or not wearing) a specific piece/type of clothing, but about what the final appearance is when fully dressed. With some people, no bra can be more revealing than is workplace acceptable. Not everyone and not every outfit, but it can happen. There’s not really a male equivalent in common culture, but it’s kind like a guy deciding to wear a codpiece (under the pants). Depending on the pants the codpiece could still be acceptable, but in some pants with some guys…no.

        1. Peg*

          Isn’t the equivalent male nipples? You can argue that women’s breasts are inherently sexual in which case I’d have to disagree. It’s fine for men to reveal the outline of their pecs and nipples–doesn’t matter the size or shape–dudes don’t have to pretend they don’t have nipples or squeeze any excess tissue into cups. Some wear undershirts and some don’t, but I’ve never heard anyone say anything about a dude with a little extra on top not wearing an undershirt.

    5. Anonys*

      agreed, I cannot actually sit up straight without one. And i hate it when people are all like “why would anyone WANT to wear a bra its such a patriachial flesh prison”

      However, honestly , if I had the option (aka smaller chest) I would totally go bra free too. With most of my small chested friends I canot tell at all whether they are wearing one and OP with a medium chest can probably defo get away with a light cami or bralette. Maybe just dont wear spagetthi straps as that might make it more obvious and drar more atttention to the no bra wearing. More power to her!

    6. Stephanie*

      Yeah, I’ve worn them the whole time (I’m an H cup). The underboob sweat (I don’t have central air) was just too much in the warmer months.

  4. LDN Layabout*

    Bralets or Bralettes, depending on spelling, are a lifesaver in terms of comfort but also a touch of jiggle restriction.

    There’s a bunch in soft fabrics like ribbed cotton and microfibres that barely feel like a bra (I’m a ‘lace is scratchy’ person too)

  5. Fergus the Llama Juggler*

    I stopped wearing underwires years ago, best decision I ever made.

    That said, I’m fat and have the boobs to match so no way could I get around not wearing a bra. But if you don’t think your office culture will be ok with you not wearing one, I highly recommend non-underwire or even sports bras (I got a bunch of those a few years ago when I broke my wrist and couldn’t hook a regular bra).

  6. Pippi's Mom*

    This made me laugh out loud…I have been going into the office once a week for a while now and putting on anything other than a sports bra now makes me crabby. I have been scouring amazon for comfortable bras that don’t dig in….I’m convinced that most bras are made for women with no body fat. Anyway, I haven’t found anything yet (I have a few I want to try on the way from amazon as we speak) but I completely get it. I’m in my 50’s and have given up on heels, lipstick, high maintenance hair styles….and hopefully soon uncomfortable bras.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        That, as most bralettes, does not go to my size. Like, 99.9% bralettes do not. :(

    1. Midwest Manager*

      If you have curves, you may want to check out Lane Bryant. Their undergarment line, Cacique, is really great for curvy women. I’m in love with their no-wire bras

    2. RagingADHD*

      I’ve found that taking my band size just a skosh lower on my ribs (resulting in a smaller band size and larger cup size) helps it support better without digging in. It’s just a less squishy spot, and the back stays down better.

    3. Trisha*

      You may want to check out “Just my size”. They make several styles of sports bras of various materials. I am very plus size and love not just their clothes but their sports bras are my everyday (with some Pennington’s T shirt bras for special occasions where the girls need superior lifting).

    4. PersephoneUnderground*

      Panache is a nice brand for this, but also see the brands covered on the SweetNothingsNYC blog (there’s a Polish brand that’s apparently awesome that I can’t remember right now). It’s where I used to go for a while rundown of full-bust styles. It’s a bit fashion-y but also really practical and realistic about comfort.

    5. just a small town girl*

      Try the subreddit or FB group A Bra That Fits. Sometimes finding the right size and looking at UK brands will get you a bit better comfort.

  7. vic*

    meh i think you would be fine. as a fat person i know my boobs are too big to get away this, but god i wish i could

  8. PrarieEffingDawn*

    I’m just hoping WFH lasts until I’m done nursing because if I have to wear a pumping bra to work every day I will not be happy about it.

    1. d*

      They have nursing sports bras now! I got mine from Target but they were great and still comfy even when not nursing/pumping.

    2. NotQuiteAnonForThis*

      A bajillion moons ago, I wore nursing tanks. Nobody was the wiser as they looked just like the tanks and cardigans I typically wore pre-kiddos, and they were so much simpler (and less stomach baring) to pump in!

  9. Detective Amy Santiago*

    Let me recommend the best bras I have found to all of you – TomboyX. They have bralettes and sports bras that are super soft and comfortable.

    1. Goose*

      When I win the lottery, the first thing I’m going to do is replace all of my undergarmets with TomboyX

      1. RainbeauxStego*

        For years I have been slowly replacing my underwear with this brand. They last longer and if you get them when there are sales, it might be doable says lottery.

    2. DeeBeeDubz*

      Just ordered a non-conventional female bathing suit from this brand and I love it! I will be going back for bras and underwear anytime there’s a sale!

  10. Bra-less wonder*

    If you can get away with a support tank for the days when you may need a little extra support why not. I myself would prefer to go without my size makes it so that I have to wear one. I am however very picky about which ones I wear. Its comfortable or I’m not wearing it.

  11. Sunshine's Eschatology*

    In the realm of bra advice–because it sucks and I will be happy when this is no longer true, but I agree with Alison that in many workplaces, including mine, visible bralessness would be seen as unprofessional…

    As someone who is currently breastfeeding, I may never go back to normal bras from nursing bras and nursing tank tops! They are soft, adjustable, a bit padded, not fancy, and no underwire. Some are more bra-like (ie more structured), and some are more sports-bra like. Plus, the sports-bra type I have would be great for V-necks. The sizing is pretty flexible too, since breastfeeding boobs change size during the course of a day. And when I’m wearing one of the nursing tanks, I don’t bother with a separate bra. They machine wash easily. Even if you are not breastfeeding, they are sorta great! The only thing that marks some of the them as nursing paraphernalia is a snap at the strap, which doesn’t look much different from a regular strap piece. All that said, this is from a fairly small-chested person. I don’t know the experience of larger-chested people with nursing bras.

    1. RagingADHD*

      I had some awesome all-cotton nursing bras with no underwire, but they were seamed and constructed for great support. They looked like the ultimate granny dowdy utility underwear. But they felt fantastic.

      After we were done nursing, I kept wearing them as sports bras until they fell to pieces. RIP, ugly comfy bras.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      Yes, I loved the wrap-looking sleep bras from Motherhood Maternity. Not the level of support I’d need now for daily use but for someone on the small-to-average side it’s a comfy minimal-coverage option you may not have thought to look into.

    3. Sled Dog Mama*

      I quit breastfeeding 5 years ago and I’m still wearing nursing bras. In fact I’ve actually gone out an purchased more since then, they are much more comfortable to me.

    4. Boof*

      Yeah I got nursing cami’s when I had my babies and have worn them ever since.
      I do like wearing a (comfortable) bra more than no bra and I’m not huge – everyone’s different but I think the main thing is not having NOTICEABLE bralessness just like I don’t really want to notice someone’s not wearing underwear or see a dude in a sheer shirt at work either… I guess it’s really just going to depend on the shirt. Undershirt + overshirt that isn’t sheer or super clingy (ie, is made out of typical business casual shirt attir) I can’t imaging would look “unprofessional”

    5. Recyclops*

      I’m about to have my first – do you have any favorite nursing bras or tank brands that you’d recommend?!

      1. Sunshine's Eschatology*

        My bras are Motherhood Maternity–the only brand at the department store I happened to be. And my tank tops were just from Amazon; “Daisity” appears to be the name of the seller. I bought one multi-pack of about 3 colors and liked it enough to buy another one. I followed the advice to buy them shortly before my due date, but considering that they’re stretchy enough to still fit 15 months (!!) later, I think the timing is more flexible than a lot of the advice made it seem.

        Best of luck with your first!!!

  12. Taco Cat*

    Am I a traitor to ladies? I am just as happy wearing bras as not. I’m fairly busty and even with underwire it’s so comfortable.

    Is everyone stuck in ill fitting bras that wearing them is the devil?

    That being said, sports bras and bralettes are good options if you feel like you need a little support or coverage without something so formal.

    1. Beth*

      For those of us with large chests, a well-fitting bra can actually increase comfort overall–for me, wearing a bra distributes the weight better, reduces the boob-touching-other-skin-area sweat issue, and keeps them from bouncing painfully when I do everyday things like walk down the stairs, so it’s well worth it. There are uncomfortable elements too—the band is tight (as it needs to be for support, not overly so, but I know I’m wearing it), the underwire can poke a bit if I lounge or slouch the wrong way, the straps like to try to slide down so I have to fix them throughout the day—but for me, the pluses easily outweigh the minuses.

      But for someone who doesn’t need that support? They still get all the cons, with none of the pros. That’s not nearly such a good deal, and I absolutely get them being frustrated about having to put up with it on the off-chance that someone might be watching closely enough to notice their nipple showing in an over-AC’ed building.

      1. AY*

        It’s the sweat for me! Even when I try to do a bra-less day, I have to give up after a few hours due to the sweat.

        1. Metadata Janktress*

          Same! I keep a bunch of bralettes for kicking around the house, especially during the summer months.

      2. KoiFeeder*

        Also, I would get absolutely terrible cystic acne from wearing a bra. Having a silhouette of blind spots is not a good time!

        (Also also, there’s a family curse just for underwire. Going through puberty and hearing all the horrible stories about having to pull shattered bits out with tweezers, getting tetanus shots, and one case of actually getting tetanus… I’m genuinely afraid of underwire bras now!)

      3. Double A*

        No, but the problem is that z lot of women genuinely don’t need bras. I’m one of them. I literally ran a marathon braless. (This has now somewhat changed since having a baby and breastfeeding, but I still mostly prefer to be braless).

        The ONLY purpose of a bra for me is to make my boobs socially acceptable. Which is not a super compelling reason.

        1. Boof*

          I would think an undershirt + typical office shirt wouldn’t make the bralessness a thing? I mean, the days when women needed to have pointy boobs showing through their office shirts is I think done… and I’m not sure what other function a bra has besides lifting/shaping boobs one way or another?

      4. ibtc representative*

        Just to share another perspective, I definitely don’t need the support (my breasts are too small even for an A-cup) but I’m more comfortable in a bra than no bra — I like having something snug against my chest, for warmth and to avoid the yucky sensation of a loose shirt brushing against me when I move. So there are still pros for some of us! (Of course, not needing support means I don’t have to deal with underwire. XL training bras FTW)

    2. Lynn*

      As long as you aren’t shaming or denigrating the experience of others, you aren’t a traitor! (But I’m jealous!)

    3. OyHiOh*

      For those of us with no sensory needs, who wear the range of sizes that are easy to find, and have more or less “normal” shape breasts, bras aren’t bad.

      As soon as you change A, B, or C, though, all bets are off. Ill fit is not always easy to solve and even when it is, the available fabrics may not be satisfactory if someone has sensory issues.

    4. Cat Tree*

      You’re not a traitor, just supremely lucky. Most women’s bodies just don’t fit the expectations of bra designers. I’ve been fitted numerous times because my breasts are larger than any size carried in department stores. I go to stores that specialize in fitting bras for people like me. And while there is a vast difference between a good bra and a bad one, even the good ones aren’t truly comfortable.

      It sounds like bras are fine for you, and that’s good for you! But maybe this isn’t a conversation that you can offer insight on? Surely we can all recognize that other people have experiences different from our own. When women complain about morning sickness during pregnancy, I don’t chime in to tell them how easy my pregnancy was with no morning sickness at all. Because that’s not the point of the conversation, nor is it helpful to that person in any way.

      1. Salmon Dean*

        Yes I couple a very large cup size with a relatively small band size. Finding any bra that fits is difficult and I have never found a sports bra that does. I am much more comfortable braless and sometimes finding myself resenting that I have to be uncomfortable all day so that other people won’t be.

    5. Wool Princess*

      I think is everyone’s individual underwear choices should be their own business and nobody else’s. You’re not a “traitor to women” for wearing a bra anymore than a woman who chooses not to wear one. Women are individuals with individual preferences. Wear whatever the heck you want and let others do the same.

    6. Qwerty*

      nah, you do you! I think it makes a huge difference when you’re able to find one that manages to give you the right support while also being comfortable. I like wearing my bras for the first 6-8hrs, but can’t deny the satisfaction of flinging it off once I get home.

    7. Lacey*

      I can’t be comfortable without one and I prefer to have a nice, well fitted one, but just finding the wretched thing, let alone being able to afford it can be so impossible sometimes!

    8. Stratocaster*

      You’re not a traitor, it’s just really really difficult to fit such a vast range of bodies and shapes with a clothing item that is mass produced! I prefer to wear a light bralette because I don’t like my skin rubbing, I like the support, and also my small children seem to think nipples make great handles when they are climbing up me, and even a non-padded bra helps with that issue.

      But most bras with padding (wired and wireless) have the same issue for me – the cups are not far enough apart. My boobs are wide-set so they either get squished together uncomfortably, or the bra is constantly shifting back and forth depending on which boob it wants to fit.

      So I will probably keep wearing bralettes when I go back in, but I will have to get creative about the coverage, because they keep it COLD in my office, and I can cut glass when it gets that cold. But luckily cardigans can solve that issue most of the time.

    9. Saby*

      Some of my best underwire bras are so comfortable I sometimes sleep in them! (especially while PMS-ing — having support even at night reduces the achiness/tenderness at that time of month.) But it was def a journey to get here, in terms of finding the right size, style, and shape that best fits my body, and if I wasn’t so large-chested I don’t think I would have ever gone down that road to begin with. (My best bras are all from Polish companies, followed by some pretty comfy bras from UK companies, it is Definitely Not Cheap.)

    10. Spicy Tuna*

      Not at all…I personally am so uncomfortable with going braless, I even wear a bralette to sleep. My girls are far apart and without some support, they get in the way of my arms :/

    11. No Tribble At All*

      *laughs in K cup* don’t worry, you’re not a traitor. I’ve definitely enjoyed going braless at home, but as soon as I’m doing anything more vigorous than eating cereal, I need a bra. I like the structure of underwire bras, as long as they’re sized properly. Having underboob sweat, knockers knocking in to things, and knife nips showing through shirts are all good reasons to wear a bra.

      1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

        I get dreadful rashes if I go more than a few days without, then I have to smear jock itch cream on the underboob and midriff and that starts feeling slimy… yuck. It’s easier to wear the damn bra.

    12. bik*

      Same same! I hate when “bra or no bra” discussion turns to “well everyone shouldn’t wear a bra” but that’s how I’m most comfortable! I don’t wanna have my N cup saggy sacks of fat on display for everyone.

    13. aebhel*

      Eh, I’ve had many professionally fitted bras that were utterly unbearable (that whole ‘you probably have too large a band size and too small a cup size!’ thing is uh… very much not the case with me). Anything other than a soft bralette with a loose band is uncomfortable, tbh, and if I never had to wear one again I’d be delighted.

    14. anon here today*

      I am much happier in a bra (usually an underwire) and I don’t understand folks who think sports bras are comfy — probably because when I’m wearing a sports bra it’s usually for high-impact exercise and due to my size I am looking to keep things STRAPPED DOWN. My sports bras are like armor and I take them off immediately after exercise.

  13. Jennifer*

    It really depends on your comfort level. If your body type would make it obvious that you aren’t wearing a bra, people are going to notice. People noticing my breasts makes me feel self-conscious and I wear a bra and less-fitted clothing so they don’t attract as much attention. If it wouldn’t be noticeable with your body type, or it would but you just don’t care, by all means, set the girls free.

    As others have mentioned, there is a happy medium here of wearing camis or more comfortable bras. There are many varieties. Going to a specialty store, telling them your needs, and having a fitting may be a good option for you.

    PS Let’s not start the BS about people not noticing women’s breasts at work. They do.

    1. ...*

      People who “notice” women’s breasts at work often notice them regardless of presentation, in which case the lack of bra isn’t the issue.

      1. Jennifer*

        It definitely can be, depending on the presentation and size, based on personal experience.

    2. Happy*

      I mean, people may notice but if they are professional they will pretend like they do not.

      1. Ari*

        Exactly! My breasts are very large on my frame and I’ve been braless for 6 years without a single comment from any coworkers or bosses in multiple workplaces. It is 100% within every person’s control to not comment on my breasts. It’s also very easy to not comment on them. It requires no effort to keep one’s mouth shut.

        If anyone were to be so rude as to comment on them, I would go full on “my eyes are up here” conversation, loudly and within earshot of everyone else. Call them out. Even if coworkers notice a person’s breasts or other body parts, it’s not up to them to provide commentary about another person’s body. Be professional and polite, and don’t put make the person with breasts feel bad about their body. Trust me, we already know they’re noticeable. We don’t need the reminder or the shame.

      2. Jennifer*

        Not everyone is professional. But even if they are, some women still feel self-conscious if their breasts are really noticeable. It’s about their comfort level.

        1. Happy*

          I absolutely agree that you and anyone else who feels more comfortable wearing a bra should continue to wear one!

  14. Formerly Ella Vader*

    When I go back, I’m not planning to return to 100% foam + underwire coverage. I’ll still wear that sometimes, including when the (male) company owners are expected to come by, but I’ll probably include the sports bras, the bralette, the non-underwire full coverage bra, and various combinations of undershirts+shirts, shirts+sweaters, etc in my rotation. I’m feeling pretty secure in my position, and I like the idea of doing a little bit to normalize the nipple and the sag. I’m old enough to remember when Deanna Troi’s sternum was unprofessional but we all had nipples.

    That being said, if I find myself uncomfortable telling the delivery driver where to put the water jugs when I feel like my own jugs might be too free, or whatever, I won’t feel bad about reverting to more rigid undergarments or more layers of coverage. I’ll play it by, er, ear.

  15. Cat Tree*

    See, this is why I get so annoyed about anti-maskers. If they think wearing a mask is onerous, they should try wearing a bra every day for the rest of their lives. I’d rather wear a mask than a bra any day.

    I have very large breasts so I don’t even entertain the notion of going braless in public. But, I hope that if there is any silver lining to this pandemic, it’s that yoga pants and sweatpants become acceptable to wear in the office at least on casual Fridays.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      Heck! I can remember when women were expected to wear pantyhose if their legs showed. I’ll take a mask over that any day! At least a mask isn’t a super expensive that could tear with no notice. Even while putting them on…

      1. Cat Tree*

        Yeah, I’m soooo glad I missed out on the pantyhose thing. What really gets me about that is that a sheer, nearly-invisible piece of skintight nylon was somehow considered more “modest” than just a bare leg.

      2. Salamander*

        Yup. My first professional job required a skirt suit, pantyhose, and heels. I do not miss those days.

  16. bean*

    It’s brutal. I haven’t worn an underwire since ~2017 and they are excruciating for me now – I can’t even wear it for five minutes without wanting to die. And since the pandemic, I haven’t even been wearing soft bralettes, so whatever tolerance I had built up to those is mostly gone too.

    I’ll definitely have to take things slow as I re-emerge into the world, but I’m also really questioning what all is still necessary. I doubt I’ll ever wear an underwire again in my life, and soft bralettes only in places like in-person work – not for everyday things like going to the grocery. I have an enormous, impossible chest so there’s no hiding it, but it’s hard to go back to being uncomfortable once you’ve seen the light.

    1. mreasy*

      I tried an underwire for the first time in a year – the same style I’d wear for 10-12 hours/day or more during work days – and I made it maybe 3 hours before I screamed and took the thing off. Bralettes, even the “made for large cup” types with extra support, are not viable for work because they don’t cover/lift enough (and aren’t actually that comfortable!). I am getting a breast reduction for medical reasons but honestly I’m not sure what I would do if I weren’t.

  17. Nevermind*

    I could not go without wearing a bra – it would affect my personal comfort. Another example of varying personal preferences.

    I do, however, wear bras that are supportive but don’t have underwires. Yes, they are full coverage and not sexy but I don’t need to portray myself as sexy at work, so who cares?! If the real issue here is about the underwire .. I would suggest getting past the reservations about the comfy but supportive non-underwire bras.

    1. Midwest Manager*

      +1 to this!

      I haven’t been able to tolerate an underwire since I was pregnant 10 yrs ago. Wide bands/straps is the secret, I think.

      1. Nevermind*

        Yes! I am a devoted “Just My Size” bra fan. The idea of a bralette or tank top just makes my back and neck hurt.

      2. RagingADHD*

        Wide straps are indeed the key – and they seem to be getting harder to find in ordinary non-sports bras!

      3. Jyn'Leeviyah the Red*

        Yes! Wide bands and straps are a must. If there are fewer than 3 hooks, I have to pass on the bra. It just won’t do the trick or be remotely comfortable.

    2. wishing bra-free was comfortable*

      I have also switched my everyday bras to be wirefree ones. I still own a few wired bras, dark and light strapless/convertible ones for formal occasions. The wireless ones I’ve been using are the Playtex 18 hour ones.

    3. Batty Twerp*

      Yes, they are full coverage and not sexy but I don’t need to portray myself as sexy at work, so who cares?!

      *Batty peeks in her neckline at the full cup, used-to-be-white-now-decidedly-grey, antithesis of sexy, comfy bra she’s worn since BEFORE the pandemic and giggles at the concept that not only requiring bras, but requiring them to be sexy could ever be a workplace thing, when it’s underwear.*

  18. Engineer*

    I have a couple traditional looking bras that are wireless, and are STILL bothersome. I wore one the other day, and combined with me gaining a few pounds (and likely affecting my bra size), and only wearing sports bras/camis for last year, it was unbearable. I’m burning those when i get a chance!

    That said…i found some very comfortable bralettes that might fit pretty comfy. Check out True & Co and Adore Me at Target. Super soft material, wide straps, wide chest band, and lightly padded enough to safeguard against blasts from the AC.

  19. Annie*

    Not seeing why it should be anyone’s business!
    But, are you sure you are wearing the correct size? Most people are told the wrong one by the stores. So I’d just give the tips to measure yourself online on ABraThatFits.

    1. Ari*

      I also second going to A Bra That Fits. It helped me be able to pick out a binder type sports bra. Although, i will say that even properly tailored and fitted bras do absolutely nothing for me. So, it’s not a guarantee that even at a correct size you will have a comfortable bra.

  20. Wool Princess*

    It’s really upsetting to see “not wearing a bra will be considered unprofessional” in an office where people sit around in their exercise clothes. Wear what you want to be comfortable, OP. If this stupid sexist “professional standard” is ever going to change, now seems like the time.

      1. littledoctor*

        If it’s important to you, then I think it absolutely is a battle worth fighting. You could help normalize bralessness in your workplace for the next young woman there who wants to go braless herself. JMO.

        1. Data Analyst*

          I agree. I still don’t feel comfortable braless if I step even a toe out my front door, as much as I wish that wasn’t the case…but if someone in my office had the guts to stop wearing bras, I would defend the hell out of them and be very impressed.

          1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

            Me too! I’m too large and saggy to go without comfortably, but I’m all for chesticle freedom for those who can do it.

      2. PersephoneUnderground*

        Cheering for you if you decide to do this- normalizing it is really the thing here. Underwear choices really don’t belong in the dress code beyond “please don’t flash anyone” and no, jiggling a bit doesn’t count as flashing. (Maybe those petal things would be a baby step if you’re self conscious or particularly worried about AC? If not, get down with your bad self!)

    1. Nevermind*

      So I’ve been working in my work office throughout the pandemic and the dress code has not changed. People still wear hard pants and structured shirts. So yes, there is still social pressure under some circumstances. There’s definitely a trade-off if how a person is viewed socially if it matters to them, one way or another.

      However, this is very personal and whatever your find works for you … go for it. I am not judging anyone that doesn’t want to wear a bra for the various personal or political reasons that exist.

      I think that personal preferences have a way of creating conflict that isn’t really necessary. So please try not to stress about doing what you want to do.

      1. Wool Princess*

        A number of industries have been fully remote for the last year (variable by region, employer, etc. obviously) and it is inevitable that those industries will see shifts in their workforce due to the effects of the pandemic. So now is the time to dig in to pandemic changes that we want to shift to be the professional norm (like how the option to work remotely where feasible will likely be much more common in the coming years).

        I don’t really understand what your second to last sentence means in this context, although perhaps we agree that people’s undergarments are their personal choice and nobody else’s business at work.

        1. Nevermind*

          >>I don’t really understand what your second to last sentence means in this context, although perhaps we agree that people’s undergarments are their personal choice and nobody else’s business at work.

          Yes, basically this. I may have not worded my thoughts well.

  21. Decima Dewey*

    I’m old and I used to weigh a lot more than I do now. Not wearing a bra would be uncomfortable, and I think breasts at near waist level wouldn’t count as professional, even by public library standards.

    1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      Same size and similar profession before retiring. Uncaged, they make great book weights to hold pages open! UU

      1. aunttora*

        Same! Except for the library part. Also I haven’t had a haircut in two years. I am now almost able to tuck both breasts and hair into my pants. I’ve worn nothing except a shelf-bra camisole in over a year. It’s going to be a rough transition….

  22. Midwest Manager*

    I rock a D – DD and haven’t had underwires since before pregnancy (my kid is 10). There are wire-free options that don’t create uniboob the way sports bras, bralettes, and camis with a shelf would. They lift and separate just like a wired style – and they’re much more comfortable! I’d suggest hitting the internet and do some research. There’s no reason you couldn’t be comfortable AND have the socially-accepted professional look.

    1. LW*

      I’m the letter writer, and this is the size range I’m in. Any suggestions on brands to try?

      1. Dragon_dreamer*

        HerRoom.com. Seriously. They have universal sizing, so you don’t have to guess, and they have a huge selection. I’ve even gotten swimsuits from there.

      2. Daria*

        I wear a 32D right now and I like Gap Body. I like their Breathe Wireless Bra, which goes up to 38DD. It’s not the world’s greatest bra, but it’s pretty comfy and Gap has sales often enough that I can typically get it at some kind of discount.

      3. Rachel :)*

        For you and anyone in a larger size who’s reading: Bravissimo for DD+ (some styles include D) bralettes!! I always thought I could never go without an underwire and they have changed my life (I promise this is a real person not an advertising script I just have to shill). I also have a very nice unlined DD+ bralette I got on Playful Promises. (I do feel that I’m wearing something in these, although with my size I prefer that, but there’s no pressing or digging.)

  23. kitty's mama*

    I have never worn an underwire bra! I actually prefer bras with front closures as well and almost all mine have them. I did not have large breasts when younger but advancing years and a few more pounds has resulted in drooping- so now I would never go without support of some kind. In younger years, when wearing sweatshirts, etc., I often went without- which also may have contributed to the drooping!

    I second the idea of checking the fit- it makes a huge difference in comfort.

  24. Amber*

    Nope. I don’t care if its considered unprofessional – not going back to a bra! We can make the change if we decide as a group. If someone has a issue with my body, that’s a big ole Not My Problem.

      1. Getting out from under!*

        I bought nipple covers, sometimes I wear them, sometimes I wear a bra.
        I may use pasties in the winter (thicker clothing) and bralettes other times.

        I also bought an extender for my bra closure, it helps it not be so tight. I may or may not have put on a little weight :)

    1. Phlox*

      That’s where I am! I’m pretty sure (only hesitancy is that I’m still working remotely so haven’t had to choose) I’m going to keep no-bra for 98% of worklife because at this point I’m not thinking about what/how my nipples show when wearing shirts, which would have occurred to me pre-pandemic. I do think that professional office norms haven’t completely switched to “eh, no one care about whether folks with boobs wear bras” but I do think that standards have changed in many industries in that direction – with more folks in the wear-sometimes depending on their goals for the day, what shirt they’re wearing, etc.

  25. CatCat*

    I need a bra for some support (it would be physically uncomfortable for me without the support), but I have cast aside the underwires for some soft bras. They are sooo much more comfortable and I wear them when running errands and arround my home. IDK if it’s noticeable to others that they’re LESS supportive/structured, but I’m not going back to the underwire boob prisons of before.

    1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      I have never once noticed what kind of bra a person is wearing. Not sure I’d be able to tell, actually. A few times I’ve noticed obvious spillover that creates a quadraboob situation and thought “Aw, that looks uncomfortable” but that’s it.

  26. Miss Bookworm*

    Definitely look into bralettes or underwire-free bras. I have some good ones that barely even feel like a bra: they’re soft and comfortable. I also frequently go bra-less to work; I just make sure to wear a cami, sometimes in a thicker material depending on what I’m wearing for a top.

    There are a ton of more comfortable options now for bras (or alternatives) that fit and feel better/more comfortable (except for the larger-chested women because as always clothing manufacturers focus on the “ideal” body type, but that’s another issue…)

  27. Elle by the sea*

    You can do a sort of a compromise and wear bras which don’t have wires in them. They are comfortable enough but give the impression that you are actually wearing a bra.

  28. Ms. Moneypenny*

    I personally don’t care whether a woman wears a bra or not. I do think some types of tops and blouses and dresses are designed with the consideration that a bra will be worn underneath, so unless your breasts sit high, you might not necessarily get a desired look. And just in general, a truly well fitted bra will not be very noticeable when being worn. If you are feeling digs, or trapped, or the straps fall, or its riding up, or whatever, it might be worth going to go to a specialty bra shop, get sized, talk to the experts, and try on different styles. Wearing a bra doesn’t have to be torture.

    1. Generic Name*

      This is a good point. I remember years ago on a clothing discussion board someone posted a vintage nightgown shown on a dressmaker’s form. The cups looked weird and droopy because the nightgown was designed to be worn without a bra, so the designer made allowances for a woman’s natural, unsupported shape, but the dressmaker’s form assumes that the person is wearing a bra. So if you have more fitted tops that have seams or gathers designed to accommodate the bust, they might not fit correctly if you’re not wearing a bra.

  29. Ciela*

    I can think of VERY few instances where your underwear choice should be a work discussion. So assuming you don’t work in adult entertainment, or a lingerie store, it should not matter at work.
    But also, why oh why were you wearing an underwire?!? If you do decide to wear a bra, I really love the t-shirt bras from Glamorise. No underwire, no seams on the cup, no itchy lace. Yeah they look boring, but they make me feel about 10 lbs lighter! Yeah, I am decidedly well endowed.

  30. Youngin*

    I wont tell you to just find more comfortable bras because that doesn’t feel helpful.

    Have you looked into petals? They have a lot of different types, all without wires and backing. They are essentially just stickers that go on your nips to hide them when they are cold. They also have a few kinds that offer a small lift to keep the girls from jiggling too much. I buy in bulk on Amazon (about 11 bucks for 5 reusable pairs, i use each like 10-15 times before moving on, but that depends on the glue). They are very comfortable too! Feels like you are wearing nothing.

  31. Beth*

    OP, if support isn’t something you’re worried about, one option to keep nipples hidden but avoid any kind of bra might be pasties. They make silicone skin-colored kinds that are basically for this purpose; I know some people who prefer them over a bra or bralette.

  32. I don’t find bras uncomfortable*

    OP – Have you tried different types of bras/brands? Perhaps there are some that are better than others for you?

    Personally, I don’t find bras uncomfortable and don’t understand how they make others so uncomfortable.

    – 30+ year old female with what some would call “large boobs”

    1. LW*

      I’ve tried so many brands (everything from in-person stores that have fitters to online “innovators”), and never found one that was as comfortable for me as going without entirely. And it’s so expensive to try them out! I’ve definitely spent $50+ on bras that were custom-fit before only for them to leave abrasions and angry red lines on me after only a few hours.

      1. Generic Name*

        This makes me wonder if you’re allergic to latex or some other component in those bras. I won’t lie and say that my underwire bras never leave a mark on my skin, but well-fitting bras don’t leave me with abrasions or red marks. That sounds super painful. :(

      2. Observer*

        were custom-fit before only for them to leave abrasions and angry red lines on me after only a few hours.

        That’s a rip off. There is no earthly excuse for someone to do such a poor job on the fitting.

        I’ve had some uncomfortable bras in my time, but abrasions? That is nuts. In a custom fitted item that’s theft. I mean it.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Might not have anything to do with the fitting. I’ve had custom-fit bras where that just happened with me anyways. Some people just don’t have very good luck with these things, and I’m one of them.

          1. Observer*

            I’m going to say that you either were reacting to the material or were sold a fraudulent bill of goods. I’m sure that the abrasions happened. And I can see someone being uncomfortable with even a custom fit.

            Something that comes up almost every time the topic comes up is the number of women who have been improperly fitted even by so-called experts. I have no reason to believe such faux expertise exists in the custom sphere as well.

            1. KoiFeeder*

              I have more than enough medical issues that there’s a strong chance that it was medical in nature, yeah- no arguments there! My point was more that some people just are gonna have issues no matter what, it’s not a fault of anything except genetics (and obviously they shouldn’t have to suffer because of bad luck).

              1. Observer*

                Oh, of course no one should get penalized for that. My point was not “for sure you can wear one” but that if a bra is custom fit it should AT LEAST fit well enough not to cause marks. Which is something for people who don’t have those other issues to be aware of.

      3. KoiFeeder*

        No, I get you. I’ve had the same issues. Some folks just can’t wear bras without issue, and it just got worse for me trying to tough through it and wear them anyways.

        I wear camis, usually, because I’m not brave enough to go completely without, but I’ve certainly given up on bras.

    2. Wool Princess*

      Sensory issues; body types that are less in-line with bra shapes; limited financial resources (no flexibility to find the right brand/bra type for your body). I’m sure there are others but these are the first things that come to mind. I hope this helps you understand.

    3. Woah*

      you don’t need to understand it, just take other people’s words at face value (like the majority of afab people commenting on this post)

    4. anon for this*

      Well, they tend to dig into my ribcage if they are snug enough to offer much support, and if they are NOT snug enough, then they ride up (which is also uncomfortable), and also the straps leave visible marks on my shoulders, and I feel like I am always adjusting the sliders on the straps. The foam-cup type does not fit my natural shape at all and just look weird. Plus my breasts naturally sit low enough on my chest that no bra really gets them up to the position that is considered stylish. And yes, I’ve been professionally fitted and my bras still range from “tolerable discomfort” to “intolerable discomfort.”

      If you’re always comfortable in bras, you’re very lucky.

    5. KoiFeeder*

      I literally cannot wear bras without getting rashes, abrasions, and cystic acne in a silhouette of the bra in that order. Doesn’t matter if it’s a $5 or a $500 bra, it’s going to hurt me.

    6. Llama face!*

      I have a weird back thing where both bra bands and belts (on pants) sometimes give me back pain. Just the presence of them laying across that part of my body aggravates it somehow. And I haven’t worn underwire bras for years; they always poke in weird places and make pressure marks. Even the more comfortable wire free bras bother me some days. Shelf-type sports bras are better- I think because the pressure is more widely distributed- but nothing is 100% comfortable except… well, nothing. No idea why this is the case but it’s definitely a real issue for me.

    7. YetAnotherAnalyst*

      I have legit abrasion scars from wearing bras that supposedly fit me as an adult, and a dent in my ribcage from wearing bras that definitely *didn’t* fit me as a preteen. Count me among those who won’t be going back to a traditional bra in the post-covid era. Currently I’m debating if TomboyX’s soft bra gives me coverage and support enough to feel “professional” in the office, or if I’d be better off commissioning a corset.

  33. Mary-Christine*

    Soooo, not just me then?! I’ve been wondering about this too, working as an executive assistant for a professional services firm. Since WFH, I’ve been wearing bralettes (way more comfortable), and will never go back to anything with structure, and underwiring. I’ve found Calvin Klein and Commando to be very comfortable. I would not be comfortable going braless however – I would be too self-conscious.

  34. Retired Lady*

    I’ve been retired for years and have been at home every day since the pandemic started, other than a few doctor and dentist appointments. On the few days I’ve ventured out, I actually had to write myself a reminder to “wear a bra” before leaving home.

    1. BadWolf*

      Yes, pre-pandemic, my leaving-the-house-checklist was “key, phone, wallet.” Now it’s key, phone, wallet, mask, deodorant, bra and “When was the last time I showered?”

  35. Exhausted Trope*

    I’ve found several delightfully supportive bras in the past year that give good support but don’t make me feel like ripping them off and torching them after an hour. No wires. I’m busty and can’t wear bralettes but these others work for me.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          In other words, you’ve seen ads. ;-) (Please don’t assume influencers are impartial.)

      1. Ciela*

        Glamorise. They have lots of underwire free styles, and come in large and hard to find sizes.
        Sometimes I find the lace to be a bit itchy, so I opt for the lace free styles.

      2. iBarley*

        I HIGHLY recommend Free Label bras. They are the only bralette style bras I’ve found that actually support and they are such nice fabric and incredible craftsmanship. also an incredible size range!! I love the Becky and Andie Bras.

        The designer has a very strong slow fashion ethos, so they are on the pricier end (but SO worth it) and it’s a good idea to get on their newsletter and be aware of pre orders and launches (they will often do a preorder to minimize overproduction, which then is made and shipped in the following few months. A lot of my friends won’t buy solely for this reason because the “order and receive in under a week” expectation has been so engrained by big box/fast fashion places).

      3. Exhausted Trope*

        Bali Women’s Double Support Front Close Wirefree Bra is one I wear to work. Good support.

  36. Eeyore's Missing Tail*

    I haven’t tried them personally, but I’ve seem camis with shelf bras and things like that. The one that pops in my mind is Knix. Their padded Evolution bras were a lifesaver when I was pregnant.

    1. Temperance*

      If you have any kind of boobage, camis with shelf bras just give you uniboob or worse boob sag than not wearing a bra.

    2. Anonyme*

      Did you find them supportive? I’ve been looking at them but worried as I am in the DDD-J range depending on brand.

  37. Daisy-dog*

    I’ve made the switch to some lightweight cotton bralettes and they are amazing. However, they are not padded so nipples are still an issue. My favorites also only come in bright colors, so they could show through lighter colored shirts. Neither is a major issue, but matter to me.

    I’m currently on a quest to find a super comfortable, nude bralette and haven’t had good luck so far. I got 2 from Target (3 if you count the one that didn’t fit – will need to see if that brand has plus-size options). Both are fine, but not all-day comfort. I got 1 from Aerie and same thing.

  38. Kelaine*

    Ugh! Bras. I’m old enough and from the West Coast – and I remember when NO ONE I knew wore a bra, because it just wasn’t cool. Even to work. Especially in a dress or formal wear. My 6th grade school teacher, included!
    As a small A cup, I’ve greatly resented the trend over the past 30 years, where in order to be “proper” or look “decent” or “professional”, I’m forced to wear a bra to make my tiny pointy boobs more acceptably rounded and larger looking with foam padding and to disguise my nipples. I hate the feeling of having a band around my ribcage restricting breathing and motion; I have broken blood vessels on my ribcage from wearing too-tight underwires which are literally useless for someone my size! It’s bizarre to me that even AA-A cup bras have a MASSIVELY TIGHT band, even when there is literally nothing to “hold up” – I wish manufacturers would appropriately adjust the band tightness and make them looser when constructing smaller bra sizes. Bralettes are great however they often don’t disguise the nipple much, and they also are made extremely tight and compressing. For work, I mostly “get away” with wearing no bra at all, by wearing dark, patterned, loose blouses or a dress, and I always wear a blazer.

    1. JSPA*

      I know, right? It was OK when I was a kid; then (just before the shoulder pads?) it went out of style. If offices could function with unstrapped chests for most of a decade, there’s zero reason it has to be a non-negotiable now.

    2. misspiggy*

      Yes, blazer of some sort, and scarf, dark blouse or dress are the way to go. I can’t wear bras due to nerve problems, and I promise people don’t notice.

  39. Dwight Schrute*

    I hate not wearing a bra almost as much as I hate wearing padded bras with underwire. I almost exclusively wear unlined bralettes or sports bras because it’s definitely noticeable if I don’t wear anything (DD here). Also using the subreddit a bra that fits is a total game changer in comfort!

  40. Charlotte Lucas*

    I’m fine with bras (I need the support). However, I’m not sure how I’ll handle having to wear shoes all day again.

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      Yeah, I’m with you on the shoes thing. I find it very difficult to buy comfortable shoes – my feet are big, wide and slightly different sizes. Not looking forward to having to put mine on again!

    2. Emi*

      Apparently I’ve been smushing my feet for years, because they changed size in quar and now I don’t have a go-to size/brand anymore. RIP me.

  41. Observer*

    Their underwire prisons

    I want to highlight this. If you do decide that you should probably wear a bra, get rid of the underwires. And make sure that you have a bra that fits right. A well fitting bra should NOT feel like a prison.

    Lots of people are making similar comments. For your own comfort, please keep this in mind.

  42. Jyn'Leeviyah the Red*

    Welp, if I went braless, I would give myself a black eye walking down the stairs. But — a good “control top” (i.e. tighter/smoothing/spandex-y) tank can do wonders to keep the ol’ gals pretty well in check when I’m lounging about the house. If you’re on the small side of average, maybe that could do the trick!

  43. KC*

    The Target near me sells really simple, reasonably-priced bralettes by Jockey that are SUPER comfortable (I’m about average sized), and they have light pads in them that you can add and remove if you feel so inclined. I, too, hate underwired bras with uncomfortable clasps in the back, and these have been a lifesaver in transitioning from my free-boob quarantine workwear to my in-office workwear.

  44. Miraculous Ladybug*

    I gave up wearing bras probably…. three years ago, at this point? I’ve got a relatively small chest, but it’s definitely noticeable sometimes, but for me it’s a gender presentation thing—I feel so so so gendered in a bra that I just can’t make myself do it. It feels wrong. My NB afab partner, who is not so lucky in the small chest department, just started ordering these super-soft crop tops from Girlfriend that seem to contain their nips and prevent too much bouncing while feeling nothing like a bra (which they hate, and will not wear). So that is an option!! Girlfriend is also like hella eco-friendly, it’s all recycled water bottles.

    It’s such nonsense that amab people’s nipples and general pec & chest area is a-okay, but afab people try it and any deviation from standard beauty norms makes it a whole Thing. I hate that so much.

  45. Woah*

    I have never and will never wear a bra and now only wear loose fitting, dark colored clothing and make sure to always have a layer. I think it surprises some people (since I’m a religious Jew and dress very modestly and cover my head) but bras have always been torture devices for me and I’m just not interested in wanting to die from discomfort every day. And I’m busty- a DD. Loose fitting, dark layers. I’m not a fashion person so I’m fine with this but I know other people who care more about clothes and thus try to figure out work arounds so they can wear more fashionable things, but I’m comfortable over here in my two layers of dark cotton so I’m good. :)

  46. Margaret*

    Not sure if this is info the OP is necessarily seeking, but for anyone who might be: my new daily “bra” is a bralette from Montelle – it’s lacy and pretty, has ruching in the center so you get a little bit of cup separation, and comes in band/cup sizing, so you can get a better fit than some bralettes that just come in S/M/L type sizing. I’m sure there are other brands with similar items, but I think the key to it being semi-supportive is the sizing model.

    I haven’t gotten rid of my underwire bras yet, but after a year at home, my threshold for what level of public requires support of a real underwire bra has definitely changed! Not sure about what I’ll do when I have to go back to the office, but I definitely will be considering options and not just defaulting to underwire.

  47. Forkeater*

    After a bout of prickly heat a couple years back, the skin on my chest remains very suseptible to itchy outbreaks (doctor said meh, it’s probably eczema). Having the fabric of a bra right on my chest is sometimes totally intolerable. Working from home has been wonderful in this regard, though I have been paranoid ever since that weird letter from the person who said they could tell their employee wasn’t wearing a bra on zoom (how?). I am NOT looking forward to going back to the office. If anyone has similar skin, would love suggestions, I’ve tried so many different options.

    1. 2 Cents*

      Did you go to a dermatologist? Only asking because I have itchy skin on my bra line that I thought was heat triggered but it turned out it’s a bacteria or something that needs a special cream to be rid of (anti fungals don’t work — duh to me). The dermatologist took one look and was like, “oh, this is X and will be cleared up with Y, no problems.”

      1. Forkeater*

        Ah, I really should, I had a lot going on when it happened (new job +elderly parent crisis) so I didn’t go right away, and then COVID… but I got my vax and have a check up scheduled for May, so I’ll ask for a referral then.

    2. Getting out from under!*

      I wondered about that letter as well. Sometimes it appeared my coworker wasn’t wearing a bra, sometimes she sat at odd angles on video meetings. But she WAS wearing a bra (she’d fidget with a strap)…

      So…people just need to chill out, LOL.

      I just don’t feel comfortable “pointing” at people all day, so I wear pasties. Haven’t gone back into the office to see how I feel wearing them all day yet.

    3. Polly Hedron*

      I was uncomfortable both without (because I need some support) and with a bra (because the fabric of every bra I’ve tried is itchy). My solution is finding a well-fitting bra and wearing a soft cotton camisole under it.

      1. OyHiOh*

        I did the cami under a bra thing a few years ago when I had an outbreak of shingles. I had a big patch of lesions across my back, right where my bras sit. A soft t shirt bra over a cami was the only way I got through the worst couple weeks.

  48. Anne*

    I wear a sports bra now, but I wouldn’t wear it for sports because it is NOT super supportive. Just enough to smooth out my look and make me feel like I’m not waving all over the place and its super loose and comfy.

  49. Gravity Idol*

    I was only home due to the pandemic for two months, but after two months of only wearing my less supportive, around-the-house bralettes, wearing an underwire bra again HURT. I did stick with it for a while and mostly get used to them again, but eventually I was like…to hell with this! I started wearing my bralettes to work months ago and haven’t worn an underwire bra since. Sometimes I’m self conscious about my boobs sitting lower like this and jiggling more, but for the most part I don’t think anyone’s looking, and I’d rather be comfortable. Even these don’t fit perfectly – I have a weird body shape, I’m never finding a “perfect” fit of ANYTHING – but they don’t HURT me, and the removable cups provide my desired nipple coverage, so I’m fine with them for now.

    I spent so long trying different bra sizes at department and chain stores, and going to specialty lingerie stores and getting fittings only to discover the seemingly well-fitting bra I’d spent $90 wound up FAR too painful to ever wear again after about five hours of wearing it at work. I no longer care about getting the “right” bra fit. Life is too short to keep torturing myself about this. I can handle a little self-consciousness about the look of these bralettes in exchange for the comfort and not having to think about this anymore.

    Side note, can we start a support group (HA) for those of us who always hear older women on TV go “oh, you’re so lucky you’re young and your breasts are still perky” and wind up scratching our heads because ours have NEVER been perky? Mine have simply drooped off my chest since the moment they developed, lmao.

  50. Happy*

    I’m not going to wear a bra anymore.

    If other people think I’m unprofessional, so be it. I think that’s a ridiculous thing for other people to care about (and sexist), but whatever. They can take my professional expertise or leave it.

    1. iBarley*

      +1. If it weren’t for willingness like this we’d still all be in skirts only and pantyhose.

      1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

        Well, in the seventies, a lot of us went braless to work but still wore skirts and pantyhose. Things like that change with the times.

        1. Happy*

          Let’s shoot for everyone being able to wear any or none of bras, skirts, and pantyhose in the future, as they choose. : )

  51. Language Lover*

    I have a skin condition that has made bra wearing complicated from before the pandemic. I moved to bralettes and even nursing bras (even tho I don’t have a child) which was always tricky because of my size. During a breakout, it got so bad that I stopped wearing a bra a few months before we went home.

    I have a few dresses where I could get away with it. The material was thicker and the top was structured. They kept things in place with minimal movement. But for other tops, it’s trickier. I would often base it on what I was doing that day. If I was moving around a lot, I’d go for more structured dresses. If I was mostly in my office, I felt I could get away with cotton sweater tops that were still thick but not as tight.

    I am glad you asked this question because I don’t know what I’m going to do when we go back. Winter isn’t a problem like summer is. I do not want to spend tons of money just to try out the bras that are comfortable.

  52. introverted af*

    It doesn’t work as well over the summer, but in the winter I just wear a tank top under my shirt. Even if it doesn’t have a shelf bra on the inside like a cami would, it still contains things a little bit more than nothing, and the layer is nice cuz it gets cold. I have bought a couple more bras recently though – I’m not a fan and if it was up to me we could do away with them, but finding good fits in-store with no underwire and a minimal silhouette has helped.

    1. Yes Anastasia*

      Cosigned – when I’m dressed casually I often wear a thick cotton camisole or tank top beneath my other clothes. (For work, I wear wireless bras from Hanes, which fit like a sports bra but aren’t as constricting.)

  53. Marzipan Shepherdess*

    I hate underwire bras, too – but fortunately, there are a LOT of alternatives to either underwires or going bra-less. Try sports bras; they offer gentle support but they’re made to be worn by women who are moving freely. And you can even buy reusable silicone “nipple covers” to give your chest a smooth look (with or without a sports bra.) Plenty of women won’t wear constricting underwire bras (hey, we did away with corsets for a reason!) and I’m sure you can find a comfortable bra that gives you a professional appearance.

  54. 2 Cents*

    I went wireless during pregnancy 3 years ago and haven’t looked back (and I’m a 46DDD). There are great options for most sizes now—wireless, bralettes, light impact sports bras. My mom, a wireless advocate, actually buys underwire bras, then tears the underwire out, since the construction is usually good enough to keep the support there, just without the pokey wire.

  55. WindmillArms*

    I stopped wearing bras when I was about…20? I skated through with a combination of tight elastic tank tops, careful fashion choices (patterns, layers, scarves and structured vests or jackets) and deciding not to care beyond those efforts. I’m certain some people noticed, but not enough for anyone to say anything. It can definitely be done if you pick clothes carefully.

    1. Budgie Buddy*

      The outer layer advice is good. I’m flat enough to where I don’t need the support, so the bra is more to hide nipples. (Although this might not be OP’s situation since she mentions underwire.) Anything looser like a a scarf or thicker material like a blazer can disguise that area.

  56. awesome3*

    The only way (maybe this is hyperbolic, not sure but it feels sincere in my heart) I’ve survived being an essential worker who has to use an office-style dress code is by foregoing traditional bras completely. I have button down shirts that hide the straps of sports bras with their cut, and I think that is the way to go if you want to switch to tank tops or sports bras exclusively. There are also sports bras with the straps of “regular” bras, which are harder to find as they work much better in the office than actual athletic feats. But definitely worth it IMO

    Side note, the main time I remember I’m an essential worker is when WFH folks complain about clothes I’ve been forced into this whole time lollllllllcry

  57. littledoctor*

    OP, straight up, if you really don’t want to wear a bra, don’t. It might be seen as unprofessional, but I would be enormously surprised if anyone outright commented on the appearance of your breasts. If this is something that’s important to you, IMO, it could be worth it to not.

    I’m a 36K. Obviously, it is noticeable that I don’t wear a bra. But I don’t wear one, and it hasn’t really come up in any workplace I’ve been in. It’s not about it being underwire or not, comfortable or uncomfortable. I just genuinely do not want to wear one. I deeply disagree with the idea that it should be an expectation that women must wear bras in order to be professional. I want to set an example for other women or girls who may wish to go braless some or all of the time, to show them that it can be done. That’s why I make such a point of never wearing one. It honestly hasn’t been too big of a deal, and my workplaces have often been more formal than yours sounds. So if you want to go braless, I say do it.

  58. Weasel007*

    Snickering a lot during this thread,, but I TOTALLY GET IT!! Before the pandemic I was the one that yelled “Release the Craken” when I took my bra off after work. I would LOVE to never wear another one again, but I also know I can’t wear my pjs to the office either (not sure if I will fit into any of my business clothes again soon).

    Just as banding together has changed office culture in some places, I would love to see all the women in the world (over 50% of the population ) band together and refuse to deal with this insane double standard for women’s business attire. It is time for this standard to change.

  59. Anonymous just this time*

    You wrote the letter I’ve been wanting to! Yesterday I threw away all but one of my bras and I’m going to burn the one I saved, just for a statement. I bought a package of Fruit of the Loom men’s white tank tops. They keep things in place, nipples might be a problem but I usually wear something over my tops. I’ve always worn soft bras but the thing that I hate is that tight band around the ribcage. A larger size would not stay in place, and I’ve never found anything that doesn’t drive me crazy. People where I work walk around with a lot of cleavage, so a little nipple can’t be worse than that, can it?

  60. Boobs McGee*

    First, thanks to Alison for acknowledging that the expectation to wear a bra is indeed unfair.

    I wear a G cup (and my band size is 40, so my bazongas are… sizable) and I don’t even own a single underwire bra. The Elomi Cate bra provides decent support and nipple coverage. That is my “formal” bra. The Auden brand at Target has some scoop neck and deep-v bralettes that will work with most necklines without creating a uniboob.

  61. Ms. Pessimistic*

    I mean, I have very large boobs and they jiggle in pretty much all of my bras when I’m walking, washing my hands, etc. And even now, I’m breastfeeding and you can see my nipples sometimes. I used to care more but I don’t have time to worry about my natural body. I try to dress the best I can for my body type and leave it at that.

  62. Lucious*

    The choice of whether or not women wear a bra should begin and end at her wardrobe. I fail to see the logical connection between visible female anatomy and “unprofessionalism”.

  63. Managamber*

    I’m personally never wearing a bra again unless I *really* want to. Even in public. (And I’m a D-cup.) Sometimes I’ll wear a tank top or cami (no shelf bra) if I want to feel more “tucked in.”

    If enough of us stop wearing bras post-pandemic, they won’t be able to stop us…

  64. Delta Delta*

    I feel a little… off if I try to work while I’m not wearing a bra or “real” clothes. I feel icky if I wear sweatpants – that kind of thing. That said, my WFH wardrobe has generally been jeans, long-sleeved t, sweater/sweatshirt of some sort, socks, Haflinger wool clogs (which were one of the best purchases I’ve ever made!). But that’s how I’m comfortable, and I recognize other people may have different comfort thresholds.

    Joining lots of others in the chorus, though, of finding non-wired bras, camis, sports bras, or other garments that could do the trick.

  65. Madeline Wuntch*

    I stopped wearing a bra about a year or so before the pandemic. I’m still work from home for now, but I did it & I’m planning to stick with it forever, and it was worth it to me, so I just thought I’d share my experience. For the record, I am oftentimes self-conscious, like I’m truly not a person who just doesn’t care what other people think, but I have just decided not to concern myself with if people are trying to tell if I have a bra on. My breasts are medium size, I wear an undershirt and button down, at least, always, I don’t and don’t want to have any cleavage at work. If any of my coworkers are watching for jiggling…well…I just can’t care about that, that feels utterly ridiculous to me that someone would clock that and penalize me. And I totally get it, women are punished for their appearance/not putting work into their appearances, and I am aware they might be doing it subconsciously, I might lose out in some ways, but for me, I’m privileged enough to choose that penalty, and I’d rather do it and make a tiny change in expectations. I’m just not interested in enforcing a standard on myself that I think is ridiculous and don’t think should be enforced on anyone.

  66. HiHello*

    I haven’t worn a wired bra in years. I forgot they even existed. I go for comfy tshirt bras. If you find the right one (I like Lively), you won’t even notice you are wearing it. You can also wear a comfy bralette. If nipples are of your concern with think bralettes, you could wear, as I call them, sticky nipps.

  67. DrSalty*

    Gosh, I have really been debating this as well. On one hand, it’s so cold in my office I can’t go braless without the high beams coming on. I also much prefer how my boobs look in an underwire bra – pulled up to the front and center. Bralettes just don’t have the same effect. On the other hand though … not having to wear a real bra over the past year has been pretty great. I don’t know what I want to do yet. Honestly I will probably go back to wearing one.

  68. Fomer Teacher*

    Breast Petals are life savers! I wear them everyday, and even with sensitive skin have had no reaction to the adhesive. They are inexpensive, I buy them in bulk on amazon.

    1. Llama face!*

      I’m curious: Are they single use items and are they made of biodegradable materials? I’d be tempted to go this route except that I don’t want to add to the plastic waste I’m producing already (and disposable bra alternatives seemed like they would be environmentally unfriendly).

      1. this is ka*

        I use reusable silicone ones! I wash them with soap and water ever few uses and they seem to hold up pretty well.

        1. Llama face!*

          Good to know! Do you have to wear them under something more fitted or do they just stay on with no help? Also, if you’d be willing to share the brand/store that’d be awesome.

      2. Fomer Teacher*

        There are 2 kinds – the silicone ones that are “washable” and reusable and ones that are almost like band-aid material with a cotton pad to cover the nipple. Those are single use. I prefer the single use ones, only because to me, the silicone ones have more of an edge, and are more noticable under thinner materials like chiffon tops, which I wear a lot of. It does suck that they are single use, but I only wear them when I am at work, not on weekends or when I am off.

  69. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

    Comfortable bras are out there!

    Check out Soma for options – there was a thread in this past weekends open thread for other options.

  70. NoBrasEverAgain*

    I’m not sure if you’d be comfortable with it, but even pre-pandemic, I started buying clothes that make my nipples not show, and figured to hell with the rest. Especially in the winter, sweaters (and possibly a cami) can really hide a lot. Even in the summer, thicker shirts make a big difference.

    I honestly would bet that if you tried to dress around it (maybe a cami if necessary) no one would be tooooooo sure if you are wearing a bra or not. Literally no one even knows what I look like wearing a bra at this point.

  71. Rusty Shackelford*

    It’s interesting to me that so many of you are more comfortable going braless. It’s kind of like when someone says “these shoes are so comfy, it’s just like being barefoot!” And I’m like, barefoot is more comfortable for you? Because I need the support of a good shoe. Same thing with bras.

    And if you want to wear a bra, but underwires are a problem (not really talking to the LW, but just to bra-wearers in general), then stop wearing underwires. Your other options are not limited to bulky sports bras and camis with shelf bras. There are tons of really nice, supportive wire-free bras out there. I mean, I even have push-up wire-free bras.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I hate wearing shoes (or socks), but won’t set foot outside my bedroom without a bra on. :-P

  72. Roaring Twentysomething*

    Oh I’m not returning to normal bras if I go back to the office. I’ll squeeze into one for a special event but working to make a more comfortable work wardrobe.

    I’ve found some really comfortable things to wear at home. Many have suggested Auden and Soma, I second those. Overall, I look for “cami bras,” they have necklines that work with a variety of shirts. I also look for things that DON’T need number sizes—it can reduce some of the sizing guess work and usually means it’s less structured.

    It can also depend on the style of shirt/fabric material…if it’s heavier or tighter and layered, it may look fine. This is all pretty dependent on your body type and chest size, but it might be worth examining.

  73. bluephone*

    Am I the only one who’s more (physically) uncomfortable when I *don’t* wear a bra? Having everything be “free” and loose is not the ra-ra-ra utopia that Internet Land thinks it is.
    If your bra hurts, you’re probably wearing the wrong size. It’s not your fault–bra sizes and measuring guides are notoriously inconsistent and a lot of “non-standard” sizes (anything above a B cup usually) are more expensive, harder to find, etc.
    Wear a bra or don’t but the internet’s obsession with headlighting-everyone-to-destroy-the-patriarchy is getting a little weird.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Not just you. I’m physically uncomfortable without support. I had to get new sports bras because the ones I had did not keep things in check while I was running in place. This is purely because of how my particular, individual body is shaped.

      I feel the same way you do. I don’t care who wears a bra and who doesn’t, but I do care if someone implies that I am some sort of pawn of the patriarchy because I wear bras. Underwire ones.

    2. JSPA*

      It got way more comfortable after a few weeks (~28 years ago). Muscles (small and large) strengthen, posture and gait shift a bit, nerves adapt.

      It makes sense; humans lived for tens of thousands of generations before “breast support” (beyond crossing one’s arms) was a thing.

      I’ll pull a sports bra on for high-impact activities–usually over my clothes, so I can shed it as soon as I’m not bouncing over bumps–but for regular walking / road biking or even running a half block for a bus, I’m fine without.

      Same for going barefoot. Living in a changeable climate, the first few times my feet hit concrete or asphalt in the spring is something of a shock. I grew up in a “barefoot time iw possible, during almost any month” climate, and was quite unprepared for my feet feeling as sensitive as fingertips. More delicate, too.

    3. Snoop2#*

      Or perhaps your experience isn’t universal? Other people have had different experiences from you; that doesn’t mean they live in “Internet Land” (not sure what that would be, even?). It just means that they had different experiences from you. Do you think that people who exist on the internet don’t also exist in real life? I’m genuinely perplexed.

    4. Double A*

      You know what I have very little interest in? Spending a ton of money and time finding the “right bra” for me when literally the only reason for me to wear a bra is to make my boobs socially acceptable. Women pay enough women taxes (birth control, menstrual products, make up) to take on an additional one if they don’t have to. If you prefer to wear a bra, that is awesome! Go for it! But for people who don’t like to wear a bra, “With enough time, effort, and money, you can find something that is equivalent to the free option you were born with (ie going braless)” isn’t exactly appealing advice.

      And like, I also prefer to wear shoes at all times. (I am currently sitting in my home not wearing a bra, but wearing shoes). But if someone says they’re more comfortable barefoot, I’m going to believe them and not insinuate they’re some kind of dirtbag hippie for the way their body works.

      1. JSPA*

        Nor a figment of the internet.

        This reminds me of all the time classmates and roommates and housemates invested in explaining how there was makeup I could wear despite allergies (Oh, quite possibly, but I have no interest). Or how if I reacted badly to cheaper metals, I could get my ears pierced, so long as I got 24 carat studs, which would have been a lot more relevant if I’d wanted to have my ears pierced in the first place.

        If someone bemoans the misery of their endless search and bad outcomes, then sure, have at it. But if someone’s just as happy not to, and in fact, thrilled not to, and in fact, they’ve explicitly said so… how about squelching the urge to make sure they have “all the facts.”

    5. aebhel*

      Plenty of people are more physically uncomfortable without a bra. Those people should get to wear bras!

      Plenty of us are more uncomfortable *with* a bra, and we shouldn’t have to wear them! See how easy that is?

      I don’t need the support, I don’t find them comfortable, I’m not interested in spending a lot of money on an item of clothing that I don’t need and would only be wearing to reshape my body into something socially acceptable. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    6. Rebecca Stewart*

      Not just you. I am currently in a 34H and if I am not in a properly fitted, supportive bra, my upper back and neck ache terribly.

      Weight loss has been a problem for me. I started at a 40F, and figured that the boobs would shrink along with the rest of me. Um, not so much. This is starting to be problematic. At this point, since I know I’ll need abdominoplasty when I reach goal because of all the loose skin and split abs from pregnancy, I may just roll a reduction in with it, if they stay this size. I’m not going to spend the rest of my life with a sore back.

    7. gamesgamesgames*

      I’m more comfortable without a bra. and I would be wearing a F cup.
      I’ve been professionally fitted at several different high end stores (like boutique bra stores, not VS). I’ve worn those “Magical bras that are exactly my size” and you know what? they still kinda suck.
      There are a lot of commenters here saying that if your bra is uncomfortable then you must have the wrong size, but I just am genuinely uncomfortable in a bra. Even bralettes, which I occasionally wear, are less comfortable than free-balling it.
      The level of condescension from some of the commenters, that some women, even with *gasp* larger breasts, might not be comfortable even in the best fitted bra is… weird?
      Like, I’m not sitting here going “you say you are comfortable in a bra? then you are clearly doing it wrong. Go braless for 6 weeks and see how you feel.” I’m trusting you when you say it is comfortable to wear a bra. Why don’t you trust the rest of us who say that we are uncomfortable?

    8. NaN*

      Same here! I am also uncomfortable without support — and I’m a B cup! Disliking wearing a bra is NOT universal.
      Of course, I fully support anyone who doesn’t want to wear a bra. To each their own.

    9. biobotb*

      It’s weird that you apparently can’t wrap your brain around the idea that some of us don’t see why we should be peer-pressured into wearing bras just because other people find them more comfortable.

  74. Elliott*

    I’ve mostly been living in my TomboyX Soft Bras. They don’t offer huge amount of support and don’t do much to minimize my chest, but they keep it comfortably contained. And my US bra size is a 40L.

    I did get a couple new “proper” bras recently (I gained a little weight during the pandemic)–one underwire one and one wireless one. Both fit well, but I’m accepting that I just don’t like underwire. It’s uncomfortable (I have sensitive ribs) and I don’t really like how it looks on me. Also, for some reason a lot of the underwire bras I’ve found in my size have a lot of lace, which shows under my shirts. I do like the wireless bra, which I ordered from the UK site Bravissimo. I wear it when I do want more support, but my TomboyX bras are much more comfortable.

  75. Locked and Loaded*

    Must be nice. As a 38-F cup, you’ll take my underwires from me when he5’ll freezes over! lol

  76. employment lawyah*

    My wife went to a specialized bra fitting store after reading a (I think) New Yorker article on bra fitting. She said it was transformative and resulted in a MUCH better fit.

  77. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

    In related news, I had to go shopping for new bras this weekend (I haven’t replaced mine for more than a year and my quarantine-workout regimen had measurements shifting). While I have been very happy to go bra-free at home for the last year, I am not someone who can get away without underwires in a professinal setting. I went to a specialty store that offers quality bras for average to above-average sizes and their stock. was. decimated. Clearly we are not the first ones considering the wardrobe realities of returning to the office.

    So, sadly, I think that bras (and the fiendish underwire) are still very much necessary for most work environments even though it appears that the women in my area enjoyed their freedom to the fullest extent during lockdown.

    1. CupcakeCounter*

      Also Soma Enbliss Wireless bras are great and come in larger cup sizes (I’m a DDD)

  78. Sherri*

    Get thee to a bra fitting professional. Many department stores still have them, or find a lingerie store with a broad selection. If you are uncomfortable wearing a bra, you are wearing the wrong one and will benefit from professional help! Bras should absolutely NOT be uncomfortable. You need someone that sells bras for a living and can properly fit you. And, no, it doesn’t have to be expensive, though if you end up spending a bit more to find a comfortable one, it will be so much easier to find others.

    I wear a 34D underwire, and have a couple times forgotten to take my bra off and slept in it!

    If you still want to avoid it on principle, I get it, but please find one that’s comfortable. Everyone should have a well fitting bra option, and I promise it is out there for you.

    1. JSPA*

      I’m sort of tired of this mantra. I have an actual named genetic condition that will eventually lead to decreased function in my shoulder girdle (and perhaps pelvis). In the meantime, the area locks up / binds up / cramps at triggers like, “seatbelt runs over my shoulder.” “Turned head too fast.” “Bathing suit straps run over my shoulder area.” “bras, no matter how well-fitting.” “chest strap for fitness test.” “handbag strap.” “backpack straps.” “climbing harness.” Or for that matter, the weight of my own unsupported arms.

      Every time someone helpfully suggests that I take my hands out of my pants or sweatshirt or jacket pockets while standing or walking…or insists that I’d be fine with “the right bra”–it lands supremely badly. I didn’t somehow fail to notice the options and check them out in the past couple-three decades. Same for my pelvis, and sitting. I don’t owe anyone more sessions of terrible charley-horse level cramps in my upper body, to demonstrate that this remains so.

      Some of us don’t actually get to be pain-free by making “give it a try” level changes. If I can deal with that fact, and the many minor accommodations actually required, then surely others can deal with it, as well. For them, it’s only affecting their senses of esthetics and of propriety, as opposed to their pain receptors.

      1. Sherri*

        I’m so sorry about your condition. I of course would never have given you the same advice. The fact of the matter is that most women who hate wearing a bra have never been properly fitted, so that’s why I suggested what I did.

    2. J.B.*

      I actually have had the worst luck with bra fitters. There just aren’t options that work for everyone.

      1. NoBrasEverAgain*

        Yeah, I really wish the idea of “you just haven’t found the right bra!” would die. I just don’t like wearing bras, period.

    3. biobotb*

      You shouldn’t make promises that you can’t keep. There is not a perfect bra out there for everyone.

  79. Msgnomers*

    I’m in the same boat as OP. I think I have found a good alternative in the form of fitted tanks with thin removable liners. I have been wearing these pretty exclusively when I go to work. They are smoothing and flattering, but comfortable enough to sleep in.

    I even bought some nipple covers and that works well enough for me with many outfits. Never going back to underwire!

  80. JSPA*

    As many people as as post-covid, and

    a) needing all the air they can get

    and

    b) having anxiety in response to chest constriction, I sure hope offices will consider looking the other way (literally, if need be) rather than forcing people to get an official accommodation to take off a (binding or semi-binding) layer in the chest region.

  81. Erin*

    I wear a bra 24-7. Always have, always will. I am just uncomfortable without one. I know I’m in the minority here tho, lol.

    One of my fave wireless bras is the Victoria’s Secret Body By Victoria wireless bra. It is very comfortable, and you can usually find them on sale if you aren’t picky about colors.

  82. iBarley*

    Put this as a reply to LW elsewhere but for all the bralette recommendations, I want to reiterate Free Label!! I keep seeing so many Target recco’s so I wanted to offer other options for my fellow Canadians (though fully agree: burn em if you don’t want em!! You don’t NEED a bra or a bralette or anything if you don’t want it)

    As I wrote to in my other reply: They are the only bralette style bras I’ve found that actually support and they are such nice fabric and incredible craftsmanship. also an incredible size range!! I love the Becky and Andie Bras.

    The designer has a very strong slow fashion ethos, so they are on the pricier end (but SO worth it) and it’s a good idea to get on their newsletter and be aware of pre orders and launches (they will often do a preorder to minimize overproduction, which then is made and shipped in the following few months. A lot of my friends won’t buy solely for this reason because the “order and receive in under a week” expectation has been so engrained by big box/fast fashion places).

  83. RussianInTexas*

    I just want to tell y’all that my sports bra absolutely has underwire, and has a structure of a medium size tank., multiple layers of fabric, and seriously padded shoulder straps.
    It’s significantly more uncomfortable than my regular molded wired balconettes.
    Size 40H. I need serious engineering to hold them.

  84. Secretary*

    I have a very large DD chest area and bought one bralette because my sister convinced me. I ended up only wearing that bralette every day to the point that I had to replace all my bras w/wire with bralettes.

  85. Antisocialite*

    I’m disabled and can’t do the whole traditional hook closure bra any more. With my cup size, I’ve settled on those “comfort bras” you can pull over your head. They’re less restrictive than a pull on style sports bra. If my cup size was smaller, I would do a lined cami (the kind that has a “shelf bra” or additional piece of fabric) as an under layer instead of a bra. Could be a good compromise for your work.

  86. Alyn*

    I’ve been going braless at home, where I control the thermostat. My main issue when I go out is underboob sweat; otherwise I’d be perfectly comfortable staying braless forever. I’m large-chested (44HH) and can’t stand underwires, so I ended up getting these Bandeau bras from Amazon:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077GHY4LP/

    They stay in place, the padding is removable (I don’t use it personally), and they’re reasonably comfortable. Also they work under a variety of tops. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to ‘traditional’ bras.

  87. Silverose*

    I’m a plus size girl with a plus size chest. I realized many years ago that I had markedly more headaches and migraines on days when I wore bras than days when I didn’t – even after going to a fancy bra shop to be “properly measured and fitted”. I went bra-less 7+ years ago, except for special occasions, and have never looked back. I work in a professional environment – first academic libraries, then social services – and have never had questions or issues. I wear camisole tank tops as undershirts and have never had a complaint from clients, coworkers, or supervisors. My dress code in general over the years has been business casual or casual, depending on the position, and going bra-less drastically reduced my headaches, increasing my work productivity and decreasing time off. Perhaps people with a more formal dress code in their office would run into issues, but I think American culture, at least, is changing its mind on this issue.

    1. Case of the Mondays*

      Do you not get pain in your breasts from going braless? I have to at least have a Coobie or the like on or else the weight of my large breasts hurts!

      1. Pibble*

        Also plus sized with large chest and don’t wear bras – absolutely no pain unless actively jumping up and down. No idea why when so many people need support like you, but I’m happy about it!

    2. learnedthehardway*

      I’m not surprised about the migraines – I used to do a lot of photography (back before digital cameras were affordable for a hobbyist), and the weight of my camera bag with the equipment was one of the reasons I gave it up – every time I went out and had a camera bag over my shoulder, I ended up with a migraine. There’s something about having pressure on the top of the shoulder that irritates nerves.

  88. mf*

    Hi, fashion-obsessed woman here. Maybe it’s just me but unless a woman is VERY small chested, it tends to be very obvious when she is not wearing a bra (or some other foundational garment that provides hold and structure, like a cami or undershirt).

    If she’s small to medium chested, a very tight top of thick and opaque material can do the trick. Loose or oversized tops/dresses does not work—the material drapes off your boobs and creates a totally different shape than if you had a bra on.

    I often go braless in the summer, and I 100% agree that a woman shouldn’t have to wear a bra unless she wants to. But let’s not pretend it isn’t noticeable.

      1. JSPA*

        This. We, societally, don’t “notice” all sorts of other bodily issues. I mean, if you look at crotches, you can probably notice if a (cis) guy “dresses” to the right or the left. If you check out butts, you can possibly figure out who’s wearing what sort of more or less supportive or controlling undergarments. And anyone with a belly can have some degree of belly bounce.

        But it’s not polite to check out crotches and butts. The act of noticing is a faux pas.

        And if there’s belly movement, well, there’s belly movement. (Unless you’re someplace where bellies are considered enticing or erogenous.) Same for shoulders, elbows, knees. They move, and so what? In the victorian era, ankles were sexy and scandalous; now, they’re ankles.

        The whole, “there is detectable residual or harmonic or pendular motion in a part of your anatomy–or mere assumed potential for that movement–and I’m not only looking at it, I’m making it your problem” is disproportionately breast-focused. So’s the self-consciousness. It’s not a law of nature that this must be so; it’s a societal convention.

        1. SoloKid*

          “The act of noticing is a faux pas.”

          So there’s an argument to help others save face by not giving them a chance to notice. And plenty of people do ‘notice’ other body issues like muffin tops, double chins, camel toes etc.

          Noticing and saying something are two completely different things. I would be against a manager saying something to a braless employee. But it’s unreasonable to expect people to NOT notice something society says should be a certain way.

      2. mf*

        Oh I totally agree. Even when I do notice, I wouldn’t say a word about it to the other woman because her body is none of my business.

        But a lot of people on this thread are basically saying “nobody notices because I have C-cup boobs and I wear dark shirts.” My point is: if you decide not to care and not to wear a bra, you need to embrace the fact that other people are *definitely* going to notice.

        You need to be comfortable and confident that people are thinking about your boobs in the workplace. I care if other people notice *my* boobs, which is why I choose to wear a bra at work. You do you, as long as you’re fully confident in your choice.

  89. Cat on a Keyboard*

    Bras serve 3 purposes:
    1 prevent distracting nipple show-through
    2 minimize jiggling / distracting movement
    3 make the wearer feel comfortable/secure/supported as needed
    4 satisfy the male gaze.

    The takeaway from all these comments is that as long as you find something that accomplishes the first 3, ditch the 4th. for me a stretchy sports bra keeps my chest uninteresting to the casual observer without discomfort.

    1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      Yes to #3. Screw #1, #2, and #4. Not the wearer’s (or unwearer’s) problem.

      1. mf*

        Hmmm. Disagree on #1 — I think everybody (male and female) ought to avoid nipple show-through in the workplace. And to be fair, most men in professional settings wear undershirts for this purpose.

        1. 34H but knows secrets*

          That’s really culture-dependent. In drizzly Britain, men don’t wear under shirts (which they would call vests) unless they need thermals.

  90. Colorado*

    Came in solidarity. I have never worn an underwire bra and I’m big chested. I wear Soma wireless bras or have recently discovered bralettes from Duluth Trading Company. They’re truly amazing, supportive (cause I need something), and have great patterns (wearing the garden tools one today) ;-) you do you!

  91. Burn The Bras!*

    I was just finishing up nursing when the pandemic hit.

    I’LL NEVER GO BACK. VIVA LA BRALESS/COMFY REVOLUTION!!!

  92. Case of the Mondays*

    Just coming here to plug the Coobie. It fits my 34G if I get the “full” size or whatever they call their plus size. I am not plus sized but my chest is. I don’t get a ton of support but it stops the major jiggling and hides the nips. It’s all I’ve worn all WFH. I may occasionally wear them back at the office too. I definitely look more attractive w/ a “real” bra but there are definitely days that comfort wins over attractiveness!

    1. Goldenrod*

      “Just coming here to plug the Coobie. It fits my 34G if I get the “full” size or whatever they call their plus size. I am not plus sized but my chest is. I don’t get a ton of support but it stops the major jiggling and hides the nips. It’s all I’ve worn all WFH.”

      Me too! I discovered the Coobie during the pandemic and it’s all I’ve worn all year! I’m 36C and it’s the only non-wire soft bra that has worked for me.

  93. BralessTX*

    I’m on the smaller cup side, but I haven’t worn a bra in years. I only wear undershirts to slightly reduce the affect nipples have on my shirt and because I’m always cold.

    I find this is so rarely an issue for me since I dont present very feminine with my clothes, which makes it seem like an even greater offense that any women cant choose to not be uncomfortable if bras make her feel constrained. It would be ridiculous to come at me for a little nipple impression being seen in a tee shirt, when I could probably point to a couple guys who had the same amount of definition.

    I know it would get me fired but If I wanted to go out in flames, I would say that any policies that applied to my chest should apply to everyone’s, and be crazy pedantic about it. My chest cant jiggle? Than neither can johns. That’s body shaming John? Then why is okay to do this to me?

    I have responded to “I can see your nipples” with “I can also see yours” to a chilling affect on the line of conversation, but I dont think that would work in most environments!

  94. Buni*

    Jumping on the bandwagon because it is a pet peeve / crusade of mine, but if your bra hurts, if it digs in, if all you want to do when you get home each day is fliiiiiiing it to the back of the wardrobe, then you are wearing the wrong bra.

    Not a bad bra necessarily, just bad for you. Two people of exactly the same label size could be wearing the same bra and it would be right for one and rubbish for the other. And the answer is not necessarily ‘throw more money at the problem’ either; I’ve plenty of cheap-ass bras that are as good as / better than my £35 ones. Never buy a bra you haven’t tried on first, defo.

    1. Wool Princess*

      But like…I would much rather not wear a bra then spend the energy to try a bunch of different ones. Also if you look in the comments above OP said they’ve tried all kinds of bras. For some people, the correct bra may be no bra at all!

    2. NoRightBra*

      It is a crusade of mine that it would be really nice if people stopped assuming there was a “right” bra for everyone.

      The reason I want to fling my bra off is that my bra reminds me that the world perceives me as female, and I’m not. There is no “right” bra for me. Binders work for some people, but for me having something constricting across my chest just makes me more aware that I have a body part I don’t want. This year has been amazing for me because it allowed me to dress in ways that reduce my dysphoria, and I am going to be weighing hard whether I’m willing to go back to where I was before in terms of my willingness to conform.

    3. Pibble*

      Yeah, any pressure at all on chest = pain and want to rip it off ASAP. Some of us have sensory issues, not bad bra fit issues.

    4. biobotb*

      Just trying bras on isn’t going to solve this problem. Some feel great at first, but then hurt like the dickens about an hour in. You can’t tell which ones those will be just from trying them on in the store.

  95. Jane*

    I have a theory that if you’re a good / valued employee, you can get away with picking one professional dress convention to ignore. You’ll maybe lose a bit of capital from some people, but life’s too short to be uncomfortable.

    I’m putting off trying on any of my lovingly collected comfy heels because I have a horrible feeling that after the past year my feet will not find them comfy any more. Watching the thread avidly for bra alternatives, I’ve been wearing Uniqlo body shaper camisoles for the past year which provide some support without the uni boob (mine are several years old, can’t see anything similar on the website right now), but I’d rather have something more breathable and with a bit more support for work. I’m a 32F and seem to have similar problems to you LW – bralettes can be even more uncomfortable than bras, no matter how great they are at the start the underbust band always ends up rolling up and cutting in.

    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      I’m a 34F and I’ve had luck with QVC’s brand- Breezies and Soma. Unfortunately, their small band, large cup sizes tend to sell out super quick. I find that the best trick for me is to never buy anything that comes in small, medium and large, but rather to look specifically for band sizes, cup-sizes and adjustable straps. But yeah, the struggle is real for those of us with small rib cages and large breasts. I have a terrible time with sports bras too.

  96. Spicy Tuna*

    I’m a member of the IBTC and if forced to interact with the public, I will wear a non-underwire bra or a sports bra. What little I have migrates towards my underarms if not supported at all.

    Look, this may not seem “right” but why put yourself and your colleagues in an uncomfortable situation? I would feel the same way about a male colleague that was obviously not wearing undies and had privates visible through his pants. I also think if a male colleague is wearing a thinner shirt, an undershirt is needed so I can’t see chest hair or nipples.

    There is a way to compromise so that you don’t have to be uncomfortable and your colleagues don’t either.

    1. Wool Princess*

      From how I read the letter, it sounds like you’d have to be looking pretty closely to notice she’s not wearing a bra. “I can tell you’re not wearing a bra when I closely observe you and it makes me uncomfortable” is not a reasonable standard to impose on your coworkers.

  97. YRH*

    I worked with someone that didn’t wear a bra. It only became an issue because she wore see through shirts. Otherwise, I don’t think anyone would have cared. I think it would be fine to not wear a bra as long as you’re making sure to wear thicker fabrics, camis, etc.

  98. Funny Story*

    My wife works for an engineering firm. One of her coworkers sounds similar to the OP and she has literally never worn a bra to work in a male dominated office. As far as i know if has never been a problem.

    One time I visited my wife for lunch with our 1 year old. Coworker, Hermione, asked to hold our baby. She is super nice and I said sure. My baby proceeded to yank on her shirt immediately exposing one of her boobs. She recovered quickly so it was only out for a moment. But until then I don’t think I realized she didn’t wear a bra. I mentioned it to my wife and she said Yeah Hermione never wears a bra she finds them uncomfortable.

    So OP i think you are safe. However it’s entirely possible that my wife’s company is an exception.

  99. Majnoona*

    I haven’t worn a bra in decades. I do shop more carefully – wearing more tops with prints or textured tops. When my daughter was a teenager she was very concerned someone would notice but approved 95% of my wardrobe.

  100. This Old House*

    I haven’t gone so far as braless – I’ve spent enough of this pandemic running around after kids to know that, even relatively small-chested, I’m not always comfortable without a bra – but I’ve only worn sports bras for the past 13 months and I don’t ever want to go back. My main wardrobe question now is what professional tops I can wear that doesn’t show the straps of a sports bra. I dread it every time I have to put a real bra on. (And when I tried the reddit thing, I ended up with the most expensive, most uncomfortable, most ill-fitting bra I have ever ever had, so I’m not anxious to go that route again.)

  101. Prof_Murph*

    I recommend any version of a seamless bra – I use a tank version from Jockey. They’re cheap so I can buy a bunch at once. They’re not really designed for support per se, but they do the job of keeping me and the nipples covered. (And I swear this is a veiled advertisement/commercial for the product! Just a happy customer.)

  102. Amethystmoon*

    Be glad you have somewhat of a choice. I am plus-size & my uh, chest area has always been bigger, even when I was a teen. I have to wear tops a size bigger than I would have to wear if it was only my waist size to worry about. And no plunging necklines, either.

    Totally agree with underwire bras = yuck, I hardly ever get them.

  103. learnedthehardway*

    I quit wearing underwire bras after I had my kids. Not going back. I wear sports bras in public, but that’s it. Anyone who doesn’t like it can DIAF. I’ll light the match!

  104. this is ka*

    I’m also loathe to go back to wearing a bra at the office. I’ve been going in a few days/week throughout most of the pandemic and last week went the entire week with just wearing silicone nipple covers. It felt so great! I was a little nervous because it’s so ingrained in me that I need to wear a bra to be professional, but it was amazing to not adjust my straps all day. I highly recommend this approach if you don’t need a ton of support and are just looking to hide obvious nipples. I work as a project manager in a business casual office for a relatively conservative employer, nowhere near as casual as the LW.

  105. Ginger Baker*

    I have not worn a bra at my Very Corporate Office in over five years. I am a C or D cup (probably more a D now) and have very pointy nipples (years of breastfeeding). What I do is always wear patterned tops, even better if they are textured in some way. In recent years I have taken to throwing a blazer on most days, but it’s not necessary. My daughter joking-but-serious pointed out the other day that my shirts are like animals camouflaging themselves in the wild: I have nipples, I put on the patterned top, BOOM nipples disappear. I guarantee exactly zero people notice (since I am careful to check Nipple Camouflage Action before purchasing any new shirts) and honestly since I upgraded to the blazer I generally look *more* professional than I did in the bra-wearing years. I will never ever return to those days and highly recommend you don’t either. (Also strongly recommend taking someone with you for the shirt-shopping as that outside set of eyes.)

    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      Yes, I think this once again comes down to the- you can get away with not wearing a bra a long as it is not obvious you are not wearing a bra. My ex worked in banking and he always wore an undershirt, because if he didn’t, his very dark nipples were very visible under the white fabric. So, in the summer it was either blue shirts or undershirt. There was no other option.

  106. lilsheba*

    Before the pandemic I wore tshirts every day and no bra at all. I am of the opinion that it’s not their business what I wear underneath anything. It was also a call center so yeah. But now I work from home, will for the rest of time, and definitely don’t wear one ever. I don’t feel they are necessary. They are torture devices invented by men who don’t have to wear them.

  107. Kathlynn (Canada)*

    I’d suggest anyone who is going back to an office and doesn’t find their bras comfortable get resized for a bra. At least 30% of people are wearing the wrong size of bra. (I am one of those just gained a lot of weight and am not comfortable bra shopping without trying them on first)
    And few things I’ve learned about underwire bras
    If it digs into your Brest (or the cup is turning out) your bra is to small. If the band also fits go up a cup size. Other just go up a band size (the cup will also be bigger)
    If it digs into your ribs it’s too big. If the band fits go down a cup size and keep the band size. Or try just going to a lower band size.
    If your trying on a bra and the band is on the last hook you need a bigger band (so go down a cup but up a band. The cup on a 36c = 34d). It it doesn’t lie in a straight line the band is too big.

  108. Nelly*

    When I want to feel braless but need to keep my nipples to myself somewhat, I use tomboyx.com bras. A bit expensive, but SO comfortable! I also like their non gender binary underpants as they are good for any chub rub issues.

    On the other hand, as Bimini Bon Boulash says: “The Nipples Are the Eyes of the Face”.

  109. bullet bras or bust*

    This question has been on my mind too! In my case, because I’m considering a career shift that could find me in much more formal work environments than I’ve been in previously. I work in a very casual small biz/volunteer environment; before this I was in restaurant work–plenty of tattoos, piercings, coloured hair, etc. there. I even remember a friend at one place did an experiment one month to see if she’d get more tips with or without a bra!

    From an emotional standpoint–I get angry thinking about this sometimes!–I find it helpful to keep the long view in mind–not just the shifting bra/no-bra trends, but the actual types of bras. I’ve always loved vintage clothes and lingerie, and this time last year decided to get myself a What Katie Did bullet bra–but, since I’ve been braless for the past 10 years, I had no idea what my “usual” size was or even how to measure! Of course I wound up on a lot of non-vintage sites, and spending so much time looking at bras in general brought me some peace. I was like, so, 65 years ago people wanted pointy breasts, nowadays and we seem to be trying to… erase nipples and make perfect circles? It’s all just passing fashions, and it helps me keep my cool when I keep this in perspective.

    For practical suggestions, something I’ve taken to recently is bodysuits; I bought several last summer from Blush. For wearing under button-downs, I find them less bulky than camis and tanks, and they make me feel prettier/sleeker–like it’s an added lingerie choice that says something about me, not a required foundational garment that is totally utilitarian. Prior to this I’d just wear nothing, and often I still do. FWIW I’m small-chested and my only concern is nipple silhouettes (though outside of work, I don’t worry about that at all; I like how they look! If other people don’t, that’s their problem, same as any other part of my body).

  110. Ari*

    OP, you do whatever you need to feel comfortable with your body. Your body does not exist for anyone but yourself and your breasts are nobody’s business but your own.

    For me, I’ve tried every bra under the sun and every one caused me to have major back, neck, and shoulder pain. I quit bras 6 years ago (when I was still only a D) and it was the best health decision I’ve ever made — including times I’ve abstained from alcohol and tobacco. The results were immediate and I’d never been happier with my body.

    In that time, I went to law school and worked a few jobs and internships and not once has anyone commented on my breasts (even though now they’ve ballooned to DDD/F because genetics lol). I’m sure people have noticed because I’m otherwise quite a petite woman, but no one has said anything to me because people are professionals.

    For work, I wear those large pasties that cover basically the front of the breasts because they keep the nipples from showing. I also tend to wear looser shirts or stereotypical manly clothes because I hate pant suits and cookie cutter professional women’s wear that only looks good on very skinny bodies. So, maybe try some of those if your worried about “showing” with your current work wardrobe.

    Lastly, I’ll add that my breasts probably sag a little low due to their weight. It’s probably very noticeable in our society that pathologically idolizes “youthfulness” and with it, the notion that breasts need to be lifted up to be seen as acceptable. I’m not a person who needs the lift for my comfort and so I get to actively reject that concept by just going about my life with my braless self. And by doing that, I’ve been a positive xample for friends who were afraid to make the jump away from traditional bras. Obviously, gauge your workplace and personal comfort levels, but definitely consider remaining proudly braless – both for yourself and as an example for others (if that’s something that appeals to you).

    1. Citruspeel*

      Thank you. I’m here to second going braless if you want to. Pre-pandemic, working in science in a very relaxed college town, I stopped wearing bras at all, and it was a great decision for me. I’m certain people noticed, but I was never given any kind of talking-to, and it didn’t seem to affect how my work was perceived. I might have worn one while giving a talk or at a conference, but never in the lab.

      Like the letter writer, I find bras extremely uncomfortable, a nuisance, hot in the summer, and way too expensive. I think it’s wrong that women are expected to wear a garment whose purpose is often to squash our breasts into a more pleasing yet less obtrusive shape. Plus, I don’t want to spend a ton of money and time finding “the right” bra, which is what people tend to suggest when they find out I don’t wear them!

      It’s a point of privilege to be able to “get away” with not wearing a bra with minimal professional consequences, for sure. But it shouldn’t be! If you can, and you want to, do it, and maybe we’ll help change the culture for other women.

  111. Goldenrod*

    Have you tried Coobies? They stretch to fit most sizes, they are VERY comfy and they are cheap! It’s what I have been wearing since the pandemic started. HIGHLY recommend!

  112. shirleywurley*

    As a slim, but very busty, lady (30G-H), I am often extremely physically uncomfortable if I am not wearing a bra.

    That said, I am always very happy for my sisters who can go bra-free! (And also a little jealous, haha.) You lucky people! Enjoy the freedom! Let the girls loose! :)

    Some people will always be weird about breasts, and bras. These people need to stay in their lane and mind their own business.

    LW, Alison is right that many professional settings will continue to be vomit-inducing regarding the policing of women’s bodies, but depending upon the size of your breasts, and your own physical comfort, there may be some ability for you to leave the bra at home on some days, depending on the material your clothes that day are made of, how your clothes fall, etc.

    1. NaN*

      I don’t know that it’s size-dependent — I’m small and I like wearing bras. Maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome?!

  113. Raida*

    Well I mean my first question is – why are you using underwires if you don’t like them?

    And for the office I’d suggest a ‘bralette’ style unless you’re wearing bodycon tops, which you aren’t. There are plenty of alternatives to an underwire bra, and they don’t have to be a tight sports crop option. Soft, breathable, natural fabrics that really just cover the middle section of boob, similar to a string bikini, are great. Your boob size will of course change the types you’re comfortable in and how they look under clothes.

    Chuck OUT the underwires, keep the very best one like a strapless one for specific outfits. Buy new underwear, focussing entirely on comfort and needs.

  114. Iowa Teacher*

    I threw out all my underwire bras last March and replaced them with super comfy seamless wire-free bras, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done! I never thought I’d be able to be in public without an underwire bra, but I’m a teacher and continue to wear my comfy wire-free bras since we went back to school in August, and I’ve had zero issues or regrets!

  115. staceyizme*

    It’s probably been mentioned in comments above (below?), but if a bra is too awful to contemplate, why not look at what can work for your average sized self? Maybe camisoles, layering, nipple shields, leotards or some really good coverups such as the right shrugs, shawls or blazers? Draw the eye more to the face, hands or feet with colorful makeup, footwear or nails (if any of that is to your taste) and you should be fine. I agree that in an ideal world, this would not be a question, but it’s not an ideal world. Fortunately, there’s a lot of space on the spectrum between boob commando and an underwire cage.

  116. MAB*

    There are bras that don’t have underwire :)

    Some of my fave brands (all big boob friendly): CUUP, Skimms, ThirdLove

  117. nobadcats*

    NOPE.

    Not going back. Tanks and camis under other shirts. Even though I have super soft bras. NOPE. I am done with bras!

  118. Marzipan Shepherdess*

    Try a sports bra; no underwires AND they’re made for women who need to be able to move very freely and comfortably. They give you support without feeling like 19th century corsets (which we abandoned for a reason!) And there are even reusable silicone nipple covers to give your chest a smooth appearance. Down with underwires – there ARE better alternatives!

  119. Workerbee*

    I stopped wearing a bra 5 or more years ago. I too used to believe in the underwire myth, the lace, the nip petals (which just pop right off), and all the other eager marketing fallacies.

    And I just got sick of it.

    As we are still in a Women’s Breasts Are Public Property kind of world and I can only fight so many battles at a time, when it matters, I disguise the fact that my breasts aren’t bra-shaped and have all their parts by:

    -Wearing “popover” tops that have a shell layer and an attached, floaty piece on top. This can come down to a triangular point or be squared off.
    -Wearing patterns instead of solids.
    -Paying attention to how tops are structured, be they shirts or tops of dresses.

    So many clothes are made with the expectation of a bra underneath—and oh, the contraptions they come up with for those backless/strapless numbers!—but once you train your eye for what to look for, it’s really easy to gauge what’s going to work.

  120. Happiest in sports bras*

    Sports bras! I’ve been wearing them for years now and it’s a million times more comfortable and a bajillion times cheaper. I’m a double D so braless isn’t an option, but feel wise, this is as close as I’m going to get. I buy the kind with the metal clips and the U back. They have the lightly padded “cookies” so no nipples are visible even when it’s freezing. I get two in white and two in black and that’s all I need. Good luck.

  121. FYI*

    Someone may have already said this, but please, please, PLEASE to all the people out there who think that all bras are uncomfortable (no matter how big or small you are), please consider going to either Facebook or Reddit and looking up ABraThatFits. Most women/people do not have bras that are correctly sized and even if they do, finding one that is correctly sized AND fits the shape of your breasts can be difficult. But finding actual bras that fit is amazing. Bras with or without underwires should be comfortable.

  122. TeacherLady*

    I feel you, LW!! I’ve never met a regular bra I didn’t kind of hate, and sports bras for me just get uncomfortably tight around the ribcage over the course of a work day.

    Last summer I noticed some folks going braless about town, and I rejoiced, hoping that maybe lockdown had launched us into becoming a bra-free kind of utopic society…it doesn’t seem to have stuck around here, where people are now more or less going about their daily lives (minus you know, gatherings).

    Personally, my ratty “at-home” bra that’s basically just comfy leggings for boobs has become my everywhere, every day bra, and it’s glorious. I will never be wearing a regular bra again. It’s supportive enough (I also have an average-sized chest) to keep me decent while also being almost weightless.

    Try looking for bras with names like “barely there” if you find you have to wear one. Highly recommend. Also, stretchy fitted camis under chunky knits work very well.

  123. Dennis Feinstein*

    I also hate bras so a few years ago I ditched them for crop tops (still some support/coverage but no hooks, wires etc).
    I still rip it off as soon as I get home, but it’s not as constrictive as a traditional bra.
    I also prefer to have bare feet but that’s not really an option at my job either. :(

  124. Allonge*

    I think you don’t have to wear a bra, ever, if you don’t want to. It’s just that this is also one of those problems that are only a problem if you got to work from home this last year. I don’t think a lot of cashiers ditched a bra just because it’s pandemic time.

  125. Rain queen*

    Realistically – if your colleagues can tell that you are not wearing a bra that would most likely be seen as unprofessional and potentially even inappropriate.

    Just like if your colleagues could tell that you were not wearing underpants.

    It’s fine to say “people shouldn’t care” but the fact you are asking suggests you are in a society where people do care – that’s the norm and the culture. You can fight it, but you have to be prepared for the potential of a battle and the reality that you may lose.

    Your underwear is your own business until it is obvious to your colleagues, at which point it is theirs if it makes them uncomfortable.

    Would you be comfortable having a meeting with your boss while they sat there in a bikini? Objectively there’s nothing wrong with bikinis in a work place, it is simply a cultural norm that says it’s not ok. Would you feel uncomfortable if you knew your coworker on zoom was naked from the waist down even if you could only see their top half? Even if you would be comfortable in these situations can you see that others might not? It’s the same thing with your bra. If you live in a (workplace) culture where bras are seen as essential underwear, it being obvious you aren’t wearing one is not appropriate in the workplace.

    I hope you can find a bra (or equivalent) that is comfortable for you.

  126. 32JJ*

    Just coming here to pour one out for my fellow very busty peeps, breastfeeders, older folk, etc for whom going braless causes logistical rather than aesthetic concerns, and who don’t have a real choice.

    If I don’t wear an underwire then they swing about like bolas. There are underwire free options, but the main difference is my boob shelf sitting about 4 inches lower on my ribs; for the band to be supportive enough it has to come close to digging in, so sucks just the same. I’ve been freeboobing for a year despite the mechanical issues and the transition back to bras is going to be atrocious.

    Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. :(

    1. Blazer205*

      What if I’m uncomfortable by someone’s jiggly stomach or backside? Should they be required to wear constrictive garments to prevent me from noticing? People wear ill-fitting clothing all the time and it’s never addressed as inappropriate or unprofessional.

      1. Observer*

        People wear ill-fitting clothing all the time and it’s never addressed as inappropriate or unprofessional.

        That’s actually not really true. Go through the archives on this site alone to see how much discussion there is about properly fitting clothes.

  127. Blazer205*

    I have a somewhat unconventional view on bra requirements I suppose. I think it would be highly inappropriate for a manager or coworker to comment on your underwear or lack thereof. Also if some jiggle when walking is unprofessional, then why isn’t shapewear isn’t required for everyone as well? Double standards and out dated norms have to change at some point. Wear what makes you feel comfortable, mentally and physically!

  128. 34H but knows secrets*

    Commenters who want to wear an underwired bra (or similarly constrictive garment), are confident they have the right size, and are resigned to discomfort, I may have a solution for you.

    Don’t wear your bra (/binder/whatever) next to your skin. Try a cami, tank top, t shirt or whatever *underneath*.

    I know this sounds completely bizarre, but it honestly works. Our ancestors wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing their bodies/stays/corsets without a good wicking layer underneath. It protects your skin from friction and sweat, and protects the $$$ bra from bacteria and from needing frequent washing.

    An NB friend gave me this tip last year and it’s been so useful. The exact same bras that used to leave red marks by bedtime are now comfortable all day long, with no loss of support and no difference to the overall silhouette.

    1. Lacey*

      Makes sense! I wish I didn’t just loathe having that many layers of clothing on, because I do struggle with with the underwires rubbing my skin raw. Back in the day I just built up a tolerance for it, but now it feels like a nightmare to try.

      1. 34H but knows secrets*

        I guess it depends what your total outfit would be.

        For example, yesterday I wore a black tank, black bra, then semi-sheer red shell thing over the top. Visually indistinguishable from the usual order of layers, and no extra layer to add heat.

        It may all be different in summer. I don’t live somewhere that gets hot, and LW and others may work in air conditioned workplaces that never get warm.

  129. Keksilein*

    I feel like I am one of the few people who dislike *not* wearing bras. I hate the feeling of not having one, likely because of sensory issues related to me being on the autism spectrum.

  130. Ladybird*

    Soo…I have huge boobs and this is not really an option for me, as I look better/professional attire fits better up top when wearing a bra.

    HOWEVER — my BFF from college (A or AA cup) hardly ever wore a bra until having kids/nursing a few years ago and it drove me nuts. Like…I am a feminist and you do you, but it really is distracting, even to other women. It really is not fair, which I recognize. And it is pretty rare that I encounter this in the office environment or amongst retail or service workers.

    What I WANT to say is “fuck ’em, don’t wear a bra,” but there are so many non-underwire bra options now that I really envy as a big-tiddied person.

  131. Cat the Cat*

    I can’t wear bras (including bralettes and any number of ‘but these are DIFFERENT’ recommendations – please don’t do that) – for me it’s because I have autism-related sensory issues, so I’m pretty sure I have a legal right to go braless. But no-one’s ever mentioned anything, or looked at me askance, so I’ve never had to test whether that’s the case. I do wear little silicone pasty things so no-one can see my nipple outlines, and am a little careful about what I wear (e.g. wearing baggy clothes and/or having a scarf to drape over my front).

    I would encourage the OP and anyone else who hates bra-wearing similarly to free themselves!

  132. DataGirl*

    During the pandemic I have fully switched to bralettes and they are so comfortable I don’t take them off except to shower or put a clean one on each day, I even sleep in them. I got mine online from Duluth Trading Company, if anyone is looking for a good source. They do nothing for shaping and there is definitely jiggle if I run or dance in them, but for normal activities- sitting at a desk or walking around an office they are sufficient.

  133. Naomi*

    Be the change. They are just part of the human anatomy. Natural hair wasn’t okay until people of color pushed back, long hair/ponytails on men, make-up-lessness. Social norms change. You might be on the leading edge of women normalizing bralessness, so it might mean uncomfortable conversations. But be matter of fact and unapologetic. PS: No more shaving for me!

  134. yala*

    Oh man, I’ve just loved the past year of No Bra! I pretty much only wear one in the office.
    But if you really don’t want to, maybe a sports bra or just a particularly thick/tight tank or cami? I’d feel dicey about it, but it’s also Really Cold in here.

  135. Carol*

    I unfortunately will always have to wear a bra, not for support, but for “coverage.” Camis and tanks just don’t do it, unfortunately.

    BUT I’ve actually found some pretty cheap, lined, non-underwire, comfy bras from Target–not a brand name anyone would recognize. They look slightly like “granny” bras, honestly. One of the keys is they have a wide band of comfortable elastic so it doesn’t dig. I bought them for pregnancy when my rib cage got bigger and actually they’re the ones I wear the most now during virtual meetings or when running errands. They provide a bit of structure and enough lining . I would seriously recommend a try-on session at Target/Kohl’s/similar and focus on the granny stuff.

  136. Nicole*

    I’ve been wearing Meundies bras/bralettes for the past month and been pretty happy with how comfy they are, perhaps you could check them out OP. Bonus, they have lots of awesome patterns!

  137. Arts Akimbo*

    If your fashion style extends to wearing vests, they’re great wardrobe accents that also disguise the lack of bra! I used to wear mens’ suit vests or tuxedo vests with a plain oxford-cloth shirt, sometimes with a scarf or even a tie, and I thought it was a great look, as well as being comfortable.

  138. Anonymouse*

    to add to the list of everyday clothes we’ll have to wear again:
    don’t get me started on regular pants!

    In other news… Another idea for the LW may be something like nipples covers. I don’t know all the ins and out of those so feel free to chime in if you do. But if shape and movement is okay and part of the issue is “smuggling raisins” then maybe just covering up those bits would be good enough.

  139. Malory Archer*

    I sympathize. Over the winter I had a prophylactic mastectomy and reconstruction, and I in fact was *not allowed* to wear an underwire bra for a good period of my recovery. I recently started wearing them again, but not all the time – sometimes I wear bralettes or camis with built-in support instead, or even go braless now. My cup size is actually a little bigger now, and my cleavage is more prominent, but as far as I’m concerned no one has the right to comment negatively on how my breasts appear due to my medical situation.

    All this to say, my opinion is do what you want. Do what makes you comfortable. And if you are someone who is uncomfortable by your coworker’s breasts, PLEASE consider what may be going on for that person.

  140. CaptainMouse*

    60plus here and braless since mid-college. I’m a D plus/minus depending on the cup style. I always wear a cami (rarely a shelf bra) or an undershirt that fits fairly snuggly. You can get little flower pastie things if you’re concerned about the nips in AC.

    Go for it!

  141. AnonyMouse*

    No more underwires!
    But seriously, since COVID I have gone to sports bras or bralettes and do not regret it at all. I’m even fairly well endowed but I figure as long as it ‘looks professional’ it’s nobody’s business but mine what I’m wearing under my shirt.

  142. Sara*

    You might try the Nuddi system, I’ve totally replaced my underwires with them and I wouldn’t go back for anything!

  143. 42 G*

    I don’t know if this will be a controversial opinion or not, but I’d say that it depends on the size of your breasts. Women with B cups or lower can go without. Women with D cups or higher need them in the office. Which sucks. I’m a G cup and I hate it. Yay to remote work and webcams that only show my face and the very top of my collar.

  144. Jonquil*

    My boobs are too big to do without support altogether, but I switched to wire-free bras when I was pregnant and have never looked back. A bit like high heels, I will break out wired ones for special occasions/outfits, but I find them too uncomfortable for wear for long. Along with liking a bit of support, at my size I prefer a bit of coverage, but you will know your own comfort levels. Maybe try some lower stakes or shorter outings without bras before committing to a full day in the office. Or pack a bra or extra cami in your bag for the day in case you get to lunch time and start to feel uncomfortable.

  145. Boadicea*

    I cycle to work, and am giving fewer and fewer damns about showing up for the 30 seconds in the morning and evening it takes for me to get to or from where I get changed, with nipples akimbo. (Though usually nobody sees me anyway.) I used to even wear a bra while cycling to avoid this time, till I realized the damage it was doing to my bras.

  146. I take tea*

    My, what a thread. A little fun comment at the end for any late readers. You know what the International Women’s Movement is? That’s when you adjust the straps.

    Also, do check out Bette Midler’s song Otto Titsling (or listen to it again, it’s fabulous).

  147. Jingle all the way*

    A year before the pandemic I pierced my nipples and wearing a bra during the healing period wasn’t comfortable so I stopped wearing one to work… and no one noticed. Or if anyone noticed, no one cared. When I had to move in with my parents last year for 6 months, my mother made exactly one remark about going without a bra and I told her “no one ever notices” and that was that.

    If your office is full of weirdos, look into some nursing camisoles. I wore those long after I stopped breast feeding, and they have a smidge of support, but are super comfy and don’t feel like wearing a bra. Good luck!

  148. moneypenny*

    I hear you and I’m a D cup. I’ve been living in underwire-free bras for the year and it’s so hard to think about going back to them again. Thing is, they’re big so they sag even in underwire-free so for me, it would be inappropriate and distracting to me to be wire-free. However, I did find an excellent wirefree bra that offers great support and even some lift. I’m going to try that out in public and see how I do. Part vanity, part not wanting to draw attention from others, part comfort.

  149. closetpuritan*

    -Building a bit on other commenters, since the LW says she might be interested in recommendations from people with a similar size, I’m maybe a similar size (34DD/36D). I’ve had good luck with *some of* the bras from TomboyX, Jockey, and Duluth (only one I’ve tried so far is the Free Range Cotton). Full coverage seems to be especially important for low-structure bras (to avoid lines at the edges of the cups or breasts full-on coming out of cups), and wide straps are helpful too. The Jockey ones are loose around the band but not quite so loose as to not be useful. None of them are quite as supportive/anti-jiggle as a “real” bra–I like support and wouldn’t want to go for a brisk walk in them–but I think they would be OK for work-presentable-ness purposes.
    -I think if you choose your shirts well *or* use “camouflaging” stuff like vests, cardigans, scarves, etc you can probably go without a bra at work without expending political capital, especially if you’re willing to use a cami/undershirt. I think anything that’s more structured and very opaque will be your friend… A lot of semi-casual Jersey knit stuff or T shirts probably wouldn’t work, though, especially “ladies’ cut” ones/ones with thinner fabric.

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