Being a woman is hard in today’s society. We are pressured to look a certain way, modify and adjust our lifestyles to better suit what is socially defined as “healthy living,” adhere to specific diets, detoxes, and cleanses, find time to visit the gym to engage in various fitness regimens in an effort to better our physical health, act as classy as our temperament will allow, and to find time for our families, significant others, and our friends. Where does this equation leave time for us to practice self-care, or even remotely listen to our internal cues about what actually feels good for our bodies and souls?
Enter in a (possibly?) unpopular opinion: If society is suggesting that I have to engage in all of the practices stated above in order to be healthy, happy, and perceived as socially acceptable, then I’m going to find at least one thing–one very small, personal thing–to do that will always make me feel good: Not wear a bra.
Now, before you shriek in utter disgust at this personal declaration, hear me out: I don’t not wear a bra. Instead, I opt to wear bralettes–perhaps the most revolutionary, practical, and comfortable piece of lingerie recently introduced into the fashion industry. Traditional bras are so uncomfortable, and given that I’ll be sore enough from the latest fitness routine I try, why induce more personal suffering by strapping on a heavily padded, shoulder-denting bra? I just don’t see the point.
I kid you not, I can’t recall the last time I wore a traditional bra. I don’t think I even wore one on the night of my oldest brother’s wedding, of which I was a bridesmaid in. It certainly helps that my chest isn’t as big as my brain is (see what I did there?), so it’s fairly easy for me to find comfortable, affordable bralettes that provide just enough coverage and support. Not only are they comfortable, bralettes come in a plethora of styles, colors, and fabrics. And did I mention just how ridiculously cute they are?
When on the hunt for new bralettes, I frequent Aerie, American Eagle‘s lingerie line tailored for women and, more recently, Urban Outfitters. In my personal opinion, Aerie has the best selection of bralettes. However, their promotion of the #AerieReal Campaign is what helps keep me a loyal, devoted Aerie bralette-buyer. I believe in having natural, non-photoshopped models in the fashion and cosmetic industry. As a real, natural young woman in today’s society, it helps to see realistic, natural female models advertising clothing and cosmetics. I don’t know about you, but one of the hardest knocks to my self-esteem that I’ve experienced in my twenty-one years of living is walking into a clothing store, flipping through a fashion magazine, or seeing an advertisement on television that promotes a waft-like, airbrushed woman adorned in an article of clothing, showcasing a chic hairstyle, or flaunting a flawless face of make up that catches my eye. It only serves to reiterate and reinforce the idea in my head that I will never be able to pull off that particular article of clothing, that chic hairstyle, or achieve anything remotely close to that flawless make up look; nor will I ever look as good as the model promoting such fashion and cosmetic brilliance. Sigh. Yet another sobering, unavoidable reminder of just how hard it is to be a woman in today’s society.
All right, I will step off of my soapbox for a minute for the sake of discussing the main topic of this post: Bralettes. I am entirely supportive of bralettes, and I hope they continue to become a more and more popular, affordable lingerie option for all women. I’m talking about the small-chested women, the bustier women, and all of the women who fall somewhere in between the two. Bralettes are so wonderful, and every woman should be able to confidently experience the magical satisfaction felt from wearing a cute, lacy, colorful bralette.
As fashion trends shift, I’ve noticed that more shirts are lower-cut, revealing more skin, which is something I’m not particularly “on trend” with. Enter in bralettes, the perfect solution to low-cut shirts, loose hemlines, oversized boyfriend-style shirts and tank tops, and gapey armholes. They’re practical, comfortable, and help us women feel a little less constricted by heavily padded cups, tight straps, and stubborn clasps.
In a society where being a woman is already hard enough, why not cut ourselves some slack and do something–even if it’s something as menial as not wearing a “real bra”–that makes us feel good? Chances are, the other practices we’re engaging in aren’t always the most pleasurable: New exercise routines leave us sore and achy, lifestyle shifts shake up our once familiar routine, and changes in our diets leave us needing to learn to like new, different foods. So why not give ourselves–and our girls–some feel-good freedom?