1. Accept your breasts for what they are.
Bras and the bra industry have totally warped our ideas about what breasts are "supposed" to look like. There is no right or wrong. There is no "perfect." Without a bra, breasts will hang lower and be less centered and less round than they would with a bra. That's just the way it is. These changes may be less noticeable in smaller breasts or breasts that have been surgically altered, but these are hardly prerequisites for going braless. Anyone who says otherwise is just body-shaming you. Period.
2. If people stare at you, stare right back.
Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot you can really do about creepy creeps creeping on you and your braless breasts. It's going to happen. Stare them down or call them out on it if you feel safe doing so, but also realize that creepy people are creepy whether you are wearing a bra or not. If you are new to going braless, you may just be more aware of your surroundings or even projecting your anxieties about your bra situation onto other people—just because you know you are not wearing a bra doesn't mean everyone else does, especially if you are relatively covered up. Just say YOLO and go on your merry, braless way.
3. Use pasties to prevent your nipples from showing through your clothes.
- Paper or cloth pasties are great under thicker fabrics, although the hard edges and opaque coloring can make them stand out under thinner fabrics and lighter-colored garments.
- Silicone pasties are more expensive, but work under any garment—particularly sheer and lightweight fabrics. They are thicker and more opaque in the center, thinning out toward the edges to create a seamless look on your body when viewed through clothing. FYI: The cheaper ones tend to come in just one size and color.
4. Avoid accidental nip slips by taping skimpier garments directly to your body.
The pros use strips of toupee tape along the necklines of garments to keep them from gaping, but tape can only do so much. It is essential that your clothes fit properly so they don't move around on your body, which can make even the strongest tape come unstuck. Tape is no substitute for fit. Seriously, people. I cannot say this enough. A trip to the tailor will do more to prevent a nip slip than any amount of tape.
One more thing: Do yourself a favor and don't try to "hack" this with double-sided scotch tape—it's not strong enough.
5. Reduce uncomfortable bouncing around by only going braless in fitted, structured clothing—the tighter the better.
The larger your chest is, the tighter your clothing needs to be in order to keep your breasts in place without a bra. For some people, that sort of defeats the purpose of going braless altogether, but that's just the way it is. This is no boob magic that will make large, unsupported breasts stay perfectly still (unless you get surgery, which comes with loads of complications). A lot of brands make stick-on bras that are okay for photo shoots but are terrible for real life situations. They just don't last, no matter what anyone says, especially if you've got a larger chest. Surgical tape is strong enough to lift your breasts and hold them in place without a bra, but it is also a pain in the
ass nipple to get off, so for most people, it's really not worth it.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.