How to Go Braless at the Office

It's not for everyone — but if it's for you, here are your options.
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Photo: James Devaney/Getty Images

Photo: James Devaney/Getty Images

Remember when you were a teenager and actually considered getting sent home from school for the day because you really wanted to wear a spaghetti-strap tank top? God forbid your collar bone was exposed or your bra straps became a distraction to all the hyperactive, smelly boys in class.

While you're likely no longer a teen (and you also might have grown breasts by now), the sentiment still rings true. I want to be comfortable and wear what I think looks good on me. You know what isn't comfortable? An underwire bra. I know what you're thinking: If you find a bra that fits properly with good support, this isn't true. But I'll remind you that the first thing a woman often does at home after a long day is remove her bra. Big or small, is there any greater feeling than wearing your favorite T-shirt and only your favorite T-shirt?

Further, we recently lived through the hottest month in history; temperatures in July 2016 shattered records for the warmest month in a year that's already on course to be the hottest ever as well. Personally, August treated me far worse, and I even went as far as to boycott bras and the outdoors for 48 hours in the middle of the month. I refused to get dressed unless I could opt for a bathing suit — or less.

We are living in the midst of a "free the nipple" revolution; a world in which stars like Rihanna pridefully incorporate her nipples into her looks easily as frequently as she kills men in her music videos. Plus, Kim Kardashian completely abandoned her bra and embraced “sheer vibes” in the week leading up to New York Fashion Week. However, when it comes to the rest of us, our job descriptions do not include being the baddest bitch in the world and performing in front of millions or running an Internet empire. But maybe it is time to take a cue from Riri or Kim K. and forego bras in a traditional sense — even in relatively conservative scenarios, like the workplace. See you later, two cups and an underwire.

Now, before you fully #FreeTheNipple, there are a few factors to consider. First and foremost: air-conditioning. Is your office freezing, and how uncomfortable are you with your nipples being hard? Personally, I am completely indifferent, but I often work from home (sans clothes), and when I was in an office, getting dressed was a personal struggle of mine. If you are uneasy with it and your office is an icebox, you can still find options. Sports bras come with inserts, ya know? 

Next, an unfortunate reality: Will going braless be frowned upon? Employers in some industries wouldn't think twice about it, while others would go so far as to send a company-wide memo directing everyone to refer back to the company handbook for the dress code. You should also consider the level of activity you're going to be doing throughout the day. Will you primarily be seated at your desk? If so, you're good. Will you be packing for a photo shoot and running all over the office to fill trunks and sample racks? Not so much, as a nip slip at the office isn't ideal. Lastly, what would your mother say?! I'm joking. (Sorry, mom. Still not putting a bra on.)

We've put together a short guide — complete with shoppable options — to help you figure out the best way to ditch your traditional bra at work. It's possible, we promise.  

Bralettes

Lace racerback bralette, $20, available at Victoria's Secret.

Lace racerback bralette, $20, available at Victoria's Secret.

A youthful, comfy iteration of the formal cup/underwire situation, the bralette is essentially a training bra for adult breasts — even those in sizes D and above. Similar to traditional bras, finding one that fits properly and offers sufficient support is all you need. On top of this being plausible, they're versatile. Often, compared to a sports bra, bralettes can be worn as a replacement to your bra at work, but they also come in so many styles that they can become a key part of your entire look, whether as a crop top, under a silk blazer or with a high-waisted skirt for evening. Brands like Cosabella, Torrid and Aerie offer options for bustier women, where those of us with smaller chests can find them everywhere from Urban Outfitters to Fleur de Mal.

Bodysuits

Strappy back bodysuit, $28, available at Topshop.

Strappy back bodysuit, $28, available at Topshop.

Just like the bralette, bodysuits can stand alone or be worn as a supplement to a bra. They come with both short and long sleeves, backless, with spaghetti straps, with a turtleneck — basically like any shirt you'd wear, but in one piece. The key to an office-appropriate bodysuit is that it's tight and will offer you plenty of support. Further, with trends continuing to veer towards all things '90s, a bodysuit is a worthwhile basic to include into your wardrobe this fall.

Bikini tops/Sports Bras

The Long Line top, $50, available at Bikyni.

The Long Line top, $50, available at Bikyni.

While the ones that tie are likely out of the question, bikini tops that clip closed or have a hook closure will lay flat under whatever you wear them with. Similar to both bodysuits and bralettes, a bathing suit top or an on-trend, retro sports bra can be exposed. If you are someone who has embraced the overalls look, they're a great option to replace a shirt. Another bonus: they're on sale this time of year.

Just nothing

Silk camisole, $58, available at Everlane.

Silk camisole, $58, available at Everlane.

Go ahead, embrace your inner Rihanna. You can double up with a loose fitting tank underneath a T-shirt, or switch it up and wear a T-shirt under a silk slip dress — a grungy, on-trend layering idea that was popular on the runway and among models like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid. Just remember, for an office environment, coverage is just as crucial as comfort.