Leave it to the French: Women are better off going braless, finds a French study that measured the breasts of 330 women for 15 years as they went with and without.
Researchers at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon in eastern France concluded that "bras are a false necessity" – god bless 'em. They also found that brassieres may actually be inducing saggy breasts.
Wearing a bra can mean that "supporting tissues will not grow and even they will wither and the breast will gradually degrade," lead author and professor Jean-Denis Rouillon said.
Somebody get the kerosene and oil drums out.
"Medically, physiologically, anatomically – breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra," Rouillon, a sports scientist, told France Info radio on Wednesday.
With the help of a slide rule and caliper (daunting?), Rouillon measured the breasts of hundreds of volunteers aged 18 to 35 at a local hospital. Among the women who were not wearing bras, "their nipples lifted on average seven millimetres in one year in relation to the shoulders."
One of the women, a 28-year-old who hadn't donned a bra for two years, told France Info, "there are multiple benefits: I breathe more easily, I carry myself better, and I have less back pain."
A one commenter quipped, "Well as a 32B most of my life and growing up in the '60s and '70s when it became acceptable to do without, I have worn bras only rarely. I can attest to the fact that my boobs [are] still self-supporting at an age when gravity has claimed most. On a sample of 1 (or 2), my personal evidence supports these findings."
Another had a different vantage point on the debate: "The women in my extended family run D cup and up. When we say we're going in for a boob job we mean a reduction! Wearing a bra for us is not a matter of fighting sag but preventing pain (No stairs! Slow walk only!) and keeping them out of the way if you reach for something across a table. I'm assuming French women must be small breasted – lucky them, bras are an optional whim of fashion! Not all of us are so lucky."
To each her own.