Being as revealing as possible, but pretending not to be.
I remember wearing a bra for the first time when I was 12 years old. It was just two pieces of cotton ' little triangles sewn together -- which neatly covered my flat chest. I probably had bee-sting sized boobs and didn't need a anything even resembling a bra, but I wore that white bra with the blue embroidered flowers on the straps proudly! I basked in the glory of my older brothers' girlfriends squealing with joy when they discovered I was wearing a "training" bra. I was proud. I felt grown-up and special, I had arrived at womanhood's "front door." And everyday since then I have worn a bra. Even to this day, while I am writing this article from the comfort of my home in my grubbiest sweats, I am wearing a bra, a rather nice bra.
20 years later, I wish I hadn't become so dependent on my bras. I still wish I could be carefree as a child and could get away with that little white bra, or nothing at all for that matter. Ahhh, to go out and be braless intentionally. That feels so foreign to me. I wish I were able to go braless with the intention of being revealing, but not look like I am a mess, drunk, or like I am asking for it. To be able to go without that under wire digging into my sides or to not have to deal with the back hook unsnapping and then make a covert move to secretly re-hook it without looking positively embarrassed. I wish I could intentionally go braless in the summer and feel the open breeze on my chest when those hot and humid days we have here in NYC hit. Wow, that would be glorious!
Some women can get away with going braless and be revealing, while pretending not to be, in a really tasteful manner. Many of these women have relatively small boobs and usually their style is a hybrid of messy, hippy, boho-chic. Somehow the carefree look they espouse just works for them. I am admittedly envious. Some women simply exude healthy sexuality. They can pull on a perfect fitting pair of trousers (that probably didn't have to be hemmed) and a luxurious button down silk shirt, do expertly coifed hair (the quintessential perfect messy bun that probably took fifteen minutes to style even though it looks like it took fifteen seconds), wear an impeccable no-make-up make up look, and appear perfectly put together, albeit a bit on the messy side: the messy chic-look. If I did that, I would look like I was half dressed and missing some major parts of my outfit.
In the fashion world, we see so many women who go braless, intentionally. Thin runway models tend to be very small chested and do not in any way resemble a "normal" woman's physique. Those that do have something that resembles breasts are taped up the kazoo, so whatever extra flesh they do have doesn't jiggle or wiggle too much when walking down the runway. As a result, only a hint of a nipple shows through. Just enough for a tease. Sex sells!
A different species of model proudly wears the male fantasy look: large, impossibly firm cantaloupes perfectly located way up high, in obvious contrast to narrow pre-pubescent hips and tooth-pick thin legs a mile long! Of course, with silicone implants, there is no jiggling or wiggling to sully the effect. Most women with natural breasts the size of overripe melons need a garment of major engineering just to keep them corralled and in the correct hemisphere!
In my older age, I try not to be too judgmental when I see other women go braless. But honestly, it's just not realistic in the world I live in. When I do see it and it doesn't look good, I tend to judge, and judge harshly. I start to wonder just what was that person thinking? What is her aim? Does she have a clue as to how inappropriate she looks? How cold? How dumb?
Curious about how others felt about trend, I asked several friends (both male and female) and I got a bunch of answers that I want to share. Most of my male friends were on the same page, saying they love it, but if the person had big boobs, it would be horrendous, ugly, a big turn off because it would be just too much in your face. They also said it would depend on what the person looked like. On an attractive person, going braless would highlight her prettiness, whereas on a person who may not be as attractive, it would just ad to an already dismal picture. Another male friend also said that bralessness suggests that the women is carefree; when men see a women go braless it gives them the sense that they are getting an unintended peek at something that they shouldn't be seeing. In other words it acts as a tease. On the other hand, one friend dismissed it all together and likes it best when very little is revealed because it builds up a mystery for him. I should also mention many of my male friends wanted help in doing research for this story and I appreciate their eagerness!!
My female friends, for the most part, said "to each their own," although some did say that it does look low class if its not done in an attractive way. And yes, that could be somewhat subjective. They said intentionally going braless could look great in the summer if one is wearing the right shirt that hides just enough so it doesn't all hang out or poke through. A friend of mine who has a smaller size chest say she often goes braless intentionally because it's easy for her; bras can be cumbersome and well, annoying. There are also situations where going braless with the intention of being revealing would be frowned upon and totally inappropriate, such as going to a religious ceremony or to a job interview in a conservative environment.
The consensus is that going braless intentionally and being revealing while pretending not to be is sexy when done correctly. A person has to know when it's appropriate. We should have the confidence to work it and make it look chic, but not take it too far. A woman knowing she is being revealing in a tasteful manner doesn't have to pretend -- if she has the self-confidence to feel good in her own skin.
But for those of us who don't have that level of comfort going braless, there is nothing like coming home at the end of a long day and taking off your bra, having that moment in which you can take a deep breath and feel unencumbered, feel totally free. Hmmmmmmm