A Bra That Feels Like Not Wearing a BraOct 07, 2021 ● By Becky Connelly
Photo credit: Soloviova Liudmyla for AdobeStock
The bra, forever vacillating between function and fashion, is finding itself challenged once again to up its game for the better, big time. Having survived the feminist bra-burning and free-the-nipple movements, the bra is bending and reshaping itself to meet the demand of the most current, bra-that-feels-like-not-wearing-a-bra movement.
Perhaps, snapped to attention in the wake of the bra-less pandemic, this one’s been a long time coming. For years, healthcare professionals have warned that wearing restrictive bras with rigid underwire and boning designed to unnaturally support the breast can stifle lymphatic drainage, overstimulate reflex points relating to other major organs and weaken breast muscle tissue, causing sagging.
In March 2020, the pendulum began to swing to the other side, and women were skipping the bra all together. No one was leaving their house and women were seeking ways to self-soothe in the great uncertainty of it all. In keeping with the “stay at home” style, veering hard toward “pajamas all day” attire, going braless seemed to make perfect sense.
To wear or not to wear, that is the question, as the world merges back into more social meetings, offices and gatherings. Some women are still skipping it, but for others, not wearing a bra causes additional concerns as they look for support, concealment and other functional needs that meet their found-again lifestyles, so they're wearing bras again. This time, however, it’s different. Women have a new understanding of how they’d like it to feel: like not wearing a bra, and seamless knit certainly fits the bill.
With their extreme level of comfort shored up by medical research that restrictive bras can cause unwanted issues, seamless bras and bralettes have emerged as the no-brainer solution for breast health and overall well-being. Usually made from some combination of nylon and spandex, seamless bras are known for their softness and gentle support.
Unlike their “cut and sew” predecessors that are stitched together and have more structure and hardware, seamless bras are machine-knitted into a continuous circle, so additional stitching or a back clasp is unnecessary. In other words, seamless bras don’t have any pokey parts to jab you in the ribs, constrict your innards or awkwardly “prop up” your breasts.
Healthcare professionals are seeing the benefit of this new trend: seamless bras, specifically those with less than 10 percent Spandex, are a fantastic option for women having undergone treatment, surgery or reconstruction due to cancer. Andrea Felber, a breast cancer survivor from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, says her skin felt like it was on fire after radiation treatment. “I still wanted to wear a bra to feel supported, and a seamless bralette was the only one I could put on my body,” she shares.
Rachel Tamplin, lung cancer survivor from San Marcos, Texas, still suffers from chronic nerve and bone pain and says, “Comfort is key,'' when describing garments she chooses to wear. “The seamless bras I have are the most comfortable I’ve ever owned. I find myself sleeping in them regularly because I forget I have it on.”
Apart from the breast health-promoting benefits of a non-restricting bra, girls and women of all ages are looking to seamless bras and bralettes as an everyday garment. Bra companies are racing to roll out styles that are on trend. From the stylish layering piece to the strappy hot yoga accessory, seamless bras are morphing into whatever they’re needed to be. Tween girls, new to the idea of wearing a bra and demanding it to be comfortable, appreciate the slender straps of seamless bralettes to make it look as though they’re wearing a “cami”. Win-win.
While deliciously comfortable and a go-to for loungewear, seamless bras and bralettes have sometimes gotten a bad rap because they’re not as supportive as their “cut and sew” counterparts. The bra industry is accommodating this by developing seamless bras with wide straps, deep chest bands and camisole-style “shape wear” for additional support.
By nature, because seamless knit bras are lightweight, breathable and stretchy, they’ve been known for not providing adequate nipple coverage. In response to this and meeting the need for modesty, seamless bra companies are designing styles with removable padding or non-removable concealing petals in the cups.
The good news here is that the options are endless. Seamless technology is constantly improving to offer a broader selection of styles, fit and feel to better serve the end user. From the developing tween girl not wanting anyone to know she’s wearing a bra to the breast cancer survivor craving something soft and comfortable to wear under her clothes, seamless bras and bralettes are leading the pack for both style and extreme comfort. Hands down, they’re the solution for how women of all ages want their bra to feel: like a bra-that-feels-like-not-wearing-a-bra.
Becky Connelly is the founder of Non Disclosure Apparel, a first-of-its-kind bra company creating bralettes specifically designed for nipple concealing. For more information, visit ndapparel.com.