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The Brassiere


hat is the point of a bra?

A bra is used for different reasons by different people. It might be for modesty, for "decency" , or "security". Some women do not want to give the impression that they are "looking for sexual attention" by leaving the bra off. And, of course, many women have been led to believe that the bra supports the breasts and prevents them from sagging in later life. We cover this in What Does A Bra Do?. Take a look.

What is a "trainer bra"?

The undergarment industry and their advertising departments have done a thorough job of convincing us that young women need a trainer bra when they start to develop. Some girls look forward to wearing one. They follow the reasoning that… "Adult women have breasts that are large enough that they wear bras to "support" them. If I wear a bra, that means that I am an adult woman." It is not unlike the feeling that young men have when they first shave… or the first cigarette. A trainer bra also covers the new maturing nipples that seem to always show through their clothes and embarrass them. Read What Does A Bra Do? for more information on this.

Does a bra affect the growth of your breast?

Yes, but not the way you want it to. There is a lot of discussion about the possibility that the suspensory ligaments that support the breasts increase the same as any other ligaments in our body do: they become stronger as they are given more weight to bear. If the bra takes the load that they should be getting, they have no reason to get stronger, so they remain weak. When the bra is removed, the weak ligaments will not be able to support the breasts, and that will allow the breasts to sag. A ligament is just like a muscle, and just like a muscle, you must "use it or loose it".

Do bras shape the breasts?

Temporarily. In the twenties and the thirties, bras were used to flatten the curves since the "boyish" look was "in Vogue" then. When the bra was removed, the breasts returned to their own 'natural' shape. When the bra was removed, the breasts returned. In the fifties, bras were shaped like the bumper guards of a 1955 Cadillac ElDorado. Madonna brought them back (in brass, not chrome). They were so pointed that they looked like they could hurt you. Foam rubber "falsies" were popular for placing inside a bra to exaggerate the actual size of the woman's breasts. In the sixties, we saw the "braless movement", and the bra industry were running scared, so they came out with the "natural look" that made breasts actually look like natural breasts. One bra in particular was called the "NoBra Bra", with very natural shaping and transparent fabric. Today, we are able to buy just about anything that we want. When augmentation surgery (implants) fell from our graces, "WonderBra" types came back, to make breasts look fuller and larger than they really were. All of these bras shape the breasts… for the time that they are in place. When they are removed, the breasts still return to their natural shape.

Are bras good for you?

In the sense that they may provide comfort, security, and modesty, and that they move the breasts into the position on the body that the current fashions in the stores require, bras are good. If they are causing breasts to sag, as some people believe, and if they are causing a restriction to the lymphatic system of the body, then they are not good.

How does a woman properly measure for a bra? What does a "C-cup" or "D-cup" mean?

Two measurements are taken to determine what size of a bra should be worn. One is subtracted from the other to determine the difference between the chest size and the larger breast size. That difference indicates the cup size.

Is there a connection between wearing a bra and breast cancer?

A lot of concern has been generated about this type of question. Much research has been and is being done, but much more should be done before we can really answer that question with any authority. The important thing to remember is that people that sell bras (or those that may benefit financially from the undergarment industry) say that there is no possible connection. Many independent researchers are saying that there is enough evidence of a connection that more research needs to be done, soon. You may read about some of the concerns by going to Breast Massage.

Does wearing a bra to bed every night increase a female's chance of getting breast cancer?

The only reason to wear a bra to bed would be if you believe that the bra will somehow direct your breasts to develop in a certain way, or because your breasts are large enough that the bra offers some control over them when you turn in bed. If there is any truth in the statement that bras impact and restrict the body's lymphatic flow, or that the increased temperature of the breast can cause an increase in breast disease, then you may want to read Breast Massage and make the decision for yourself.

What does the lymph node do?

Lymph nodes are glands that gather lymphatic fluids to carry them from the body. The breast area contains a large number of them, especially under the arm and in the "tail" of the breast (the part that extends around the side under the armpit). Be especially aware of any that become enlarged for any reason. Take a look at the Lymphatic System and read about Breast Massage for more information on lymph nodes.

What happens if a girl wears a bra ALL the time (except for showering)?

Given what they have found so far, researchers recommend that we limit ourselves to no more than 12 or even 8 hours of bra usage during any day (24 hour block of time). This is based upon the material they discuss in Breast Massage.