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TO BRA OR NOT TO BRA Overthinking Underwear

No Bra

You know how it is. The thermometer hits 40 degrees, but you can’t stay curled up under the air conditioner all day. Partly because you feel like the environment is judging you—what with the machine making tsk, tsk noisesand partly because work, play, or a little bit of both, are calling.

In a state of heat-induced delirium (no, Mr Whippy did not drive past the window three times blowing kisses) you start to wonder why you have to put clothes on underneath clothes when you don’t even want to get dressed? It’s so hot that your garden gnome’s painted-on outfit is starting to slide off. Adding a bra to the fashion mix seems unnecessary. Pardon the pun, but what is the breast etiquette here?

First helpful hint: the fashion of famous people is not a starting point. Most gave up on bras a long time ago. What with underwear as outwear, and fashion tape holding clothes in place over boobs and butt cheeks, celebrities aren’t the best go-to for practical style advice.

Casual wear is an easy call; bouncy boobs seem fine in today’s day and age. Crochet mini-tops and off the shoulder peasant blouses (especially the elasticised crop version) are popular this summer, and neither look really lends itself to bras anyway.

The sports luxe trend can also render the bra question a moot point, since support is often included in the design. Please note: dressing like you might break out into stretches any second means you only have yourself to blame when random strangers start asking for tips on fitness apps.

The workplace is where things get a little tricky. While it’s true women are wandering around New York with no tops on at all (power to you, sister) that kind of empowerment/protest probably won’t go down well at the office. Then again, can co-workers really tell if the ladies are twerking?

The question flashes me back to episodes of TV show Charmed that were practically a nipple fest. Shannon Doherty’s character Prue would go to work with no bra and erect nipples, in stretchwear that was basically the fashion version of glad wrap. The dress code for appraisers at high-end auction houses in the ’90s? Ahead of its time.

For some a bra is part of the workplace dress code, but taking inspiration from film and television, the barely-there bra is close to not wearing one anyway. Used to subtly sexed up no-nonsense female characters onscreen, the extremely thin straps, minimal support, and mesh front numberunderneath a sheer silk or cotton shirtcreates a bra-free impression.

With conflicting reports as to whether the support of a bra is even necessary/beneficial for many women in the first place, it would seem more of us are choosing to ditch the brassière, especially when summer hits. In the end, it’s a decision every woman has got to make for herself (a Clueless quote seems appropriate right about now).

GILLIAN O’MEAGHER

 

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