When Can I Go Braless?


You’re not the only one having an anti-bra moment. When many bra-wearing enthusiasts went out the window during the pandemic-induced lockdown, the no-bra movement, which has surfaced regularly since the 1960s, began to take hold once again (which Led, in part, by Florence Pugh above).

Yet, when it comes to the question of “to wear or not to wear a bra,” especially as we return to offices and summer draws to a close, there are really three kinds of issues: a literal one, a physical one, and a socio-cultural one.

First things first: There are virtually no rules, ie laws, governing women’s underwear. Instead, the laws focus on body parts and what can and cannot be shown. IndianaFor example, prohibits public indecency and then partially defines it as “the exposure of the female breast to any part of the nipple with less than a completely opaque covering”.

However, several states and many other cities, including New York, Utah, and Oklahoma, are also included. Madison) allowing women to be topless in public. Which also means shameless.

According to Susan Scaffidi, founder of the Fashion Law Institute, it gets a little more complicated when it comes to workplace dress codes. New York City, she said, was the first jurisdiction to insist on “complete gender neutrality,” meaning that an employer “can require a person who identifies as female to wear a bra or conceal her nipples, but only if When the same rule applies to male “employees.”

It’s possible to imagine that “SNL” would have a field day. But the current situation is better than in 2010, when investment bank UBS issued a 44 page dress codewhich, among other things, mandated that its female employees wear flesh-toned lingerie.

When it comes to federal law, Ms. Scaffidi said, “It only requires that there be gender parity with respect to burdens such as cost in dress codes.” Whether bras are an additional financial burden has yet to be resolved.

Regarding the notion that bras are essential to women’s health, Casson Blake, chair of the Department of Breast Services at Cleveland Clinic Hospital in Weston, Florida, points this out. health blog There’s no specific medical reason to wear a bra (and bras don’t prevent sagging) – although women with particularly large breasts may find a sports bra can reduce back strain.

Which brings me to the elephant – or catcall – in the room. After all, ditching the bra isn’t just about changing fashions when it comes to underwear. It’s about gender norms, the reality (and historical fear) of women’s bodies, power struggles, and sexual stereotypes.

To be faced with bare breasts, whether nipples are visible or not, is to be forced to confront deep-seated prejudices about it all, and that is upsetting and disconcerting for many people. Especially in this particular time, when control over women’s bodies and their reproductive purpose has once again become a hot political issue. It reminds me of the controversy that arose a few years back when a parent of a Notre Dame student complained about girls in leggings saying they were distracting to boys.

Of course, it’s not your job to put other people at ease or help them sort out their own feelings about any of the above. Although if you’re actually employed, it’s also true that group dynamics matter, and you might not want to spend a great deal of time with co-workers discussing your breasts. However, at least for now, it’s still your choice.

Each week on Open Thread, Vanessa will answer a reader’s fashion-related question, which you can send her any time E-mail Or Twitter, Questions have been edited and condensed.


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