Are Breasts Better Off Without a Bra?

By Linda's Online on April 12th, 2013

Yesterday I got a call from Good Morning America asking to interview me about a very interesting French research study. This study claimed something very surreal to me: that wearing a bra will actually promote saggy breasts tissue and back pain. GMA wanted to know if I had anything to say about the research. Boy, did I ever! Watch the clip below, and keep reading to see behind the scenes photos, read the article on the French study, and get my full opinion on the topic of going bra-less. Plus, share your own thoughts in the comments!

After the call from Good Morning America, my Bra Diva Kim and I sat down to read an article about this French study in our cushy Murray Hill fitting room. While we read it out loud, we gasped at several of its claims and findings. In fact, a customer in the fitting room poked her head out and said “Go braless? Are they crazy? No way. Not me! It just wouldn’t be comfortable!” I totally agree. Below, read some of the  exerts from the article in The Local, plus you can read it here.

The results of a mammoth 15-year study led by professor Jean-Denis Rouillon, from the University of Besançon in eastern France, are finally in and it looks like conventional wisdom about bras and back pain has been way off the mark. According to Rouillon, a sports science expert, the lesson to be learned from the preliminary results of his marathon experiment is that “bras are a false necessity”. “Medically, physiologically, anatomically – breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra”

All the women involved in the study were aged between 18 and 35, although the professor was keen to stress that the group were not a representative of the global population of females. After regularly measuring women who were not wearing bras the scientists concluded that “on average their nipples lifted on average seven millimetres in one year in relation to the shoulders.

…Rouillon advised certain women not to immediately throw away all their bras in the bin.”It would be of no benefit to a 45-year-old mother to stop wearing a bra,” he warned.

“These are preliminary results,” Dr. Rouillon said. “The small sample of 320 young women is not representative of the entire population – that would require something like 300,000 subjects.” However, Dr. Rouillon did confirm that the initial data indicated that when young women stopped wearing a bra, there was no disimprovement in the orientation of their breasts, and in fact, there was widespread improvement. “Of course, this is not the only factor to consider when deciding whether or not wear a bra – for example, many women simply find them very comfortable, especially in winter,” Rouillon acknowledged. Ultimately, however, he feels his work is not complete, since the findings are not definitive.“We will simply have to recruit a larger sample of the female population, and conduct further research,” Rouillon added.

Interesting stuff, right? Although I’m not a doctor or a research professor, I’ve done over 26 years of my own research on thousands and thousands of women of all ages and sizes. And after my research, I say that going braless will not stop sagging, and will not encourage perkiness. This is especially true for women with full or heavy breasts, those who have had children, gained or lost weight, or those over age 40! Not every woman needs to wear a bra all the time. If you are an A cup or a very firm B cup, you can most likely go braless. These women aren’t in desperate need of support from a bra. But most of those women prefer to wear a bra anyway – mainly for the shape and confidence that a bra can give you. I shared all of this and more with Juju Chang from ABC and Good Morning America. Here are a few behind the scenes shots from our TV Spot:

I was thrilled, and not surprised at all, to learn that my Bra Divas, customers, and even Juju Chang, agreed that going braless wasn’t the best idea. Heather, a very brave customer (it was her first time at Linda’s!) was so thrilled with the result of her first bra fitting, that she agreed to do an interview with JuJu and I – without her top! She proved that she was more comfortable and confident in her bra and no top, than in a top and no bra! When asked if going braless would be more comfortable and relieve back pain, Heather was quick to disagree. Now that she’s in a well fitting bra, she actually feels more comfortable! Here’s a sneak peek at this portion of the interview that didn’t air. You’ll only see it here on Linda Unhooked:

Most women agree: a great bra is the best way to support your breasts. In fact, I even encourage sleeping in a bra without an underwire for some extra support at night. Now listen: breast tissue is soft by nature, and gravity and age will take its toll on even the firmest breast tissue.  It’s my belief that wearing a well fitting bra has obvious short term benefits (great shape, lots of support, looking fabulous), and that there are long benefits, including less sagging! Part of the research suggested that women who went braless saw a 7mm raise in their nipple location every year. When Juju Chang asked me what I thought of this, I suggested “Maybe these women were standing on their heads for 12 hours a day!” You can’t escape gravity! Juju also pointed out that photos of women in cultures where they do not wear bras show lots of sagging breasts. To me, it’s just obvious: no bra = sagging breasts.

Kim got in on the media coverage, too, in this clip on New York’s Fox 5! She and several of our customers share their thoughts on the benefits of bra, and if they would ever go braless.

Who knows? Perhaps Dr. Rouillon will find the 300,000 young 18-35 year old women who are willing to go braless in France, but probably not in the USA. While there are plenty of non-bra wearing women here, it’s just not as typical. Mainly for cultural and societal reasons, but also because women in the USA have me to help them find the best bras! And let’s be honest, back pain and discomfort in a bra happens because the bra doesn’t fit properly. I’ve seen it over and over again, wearing the right bra actually helps ease back pain, ends sagging, and feels fabulous. Just look at me as an example!

What do you think? Would you go braless? Do you think not wearing a bra will keep your pair perky?