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‘I Haven’t Worn A Regular Bra In Over Two Years’

Women's Health logo Women's Health 9/21/2018 Matti Sgrecci
a person wearing a hat and sunglasses: Two and a half years ago, Matti Sgrecci traded regular bras for sports bras. And she's never looked back. © Matti Sgrecci Two and a half years ago, Matti Sgrecci traded regular bras for sports bras. And she's never looked back.

At this very moment, there is a shopping bag in the corner of my spare room corralling 13 underwire bras-nude, black, neon, lace-accented, the list goes on.

They've been sitting there for two years-since I finally started wearing sports bras almost exclusively. Now, at 30 years old, my bust and I have never been happier-and the 13 rejects are destined for donation.

Even before I started wearing sports bras all day, every day, I wore them to work at my job as a baker. Sports bras were practical: Unlike standard bras, active ones are more breathable. They stay put. After nine hours in a kitchen, I’m hot and sticky, splashed with flour and oil, and permeated hair to heels by the odor of oven exhaust.

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A post shared by Matti Hart Sgrecci (@hartm_e) on Feb 12, 2018 at 5:56pm PST

Sports bras kept the dreaded boob sweat in check, without becoming damp sponges latched to my chest. And they didn'tcrumple and twist into a knot of metal and loose threads if I threw them in the washer (and then the dryer). Because one thing is certain: After a day at work, I'm not about to spend my evenings hand washing delicates.

But the idea to push my sports bras' boundaries first came to me as I’m sure all good boob epiphanies do: While I stood half-dressed in front of a mirror in a bridal boutique as a stranger tugged wedding dresses on and off of my body. There are a lot of things going through your head in this situation, but the one that stood out to me the most was: "Ugh, how much easier would this be if I were flat-chested?”

Just to clarify: It's not that I *mind* my breasts. They’re fine; average-ish size and inoffensive to behold-even kind of nice, if I do say so myself. They’re just also a pain in the ass sometimes.

My bust line is lower than normal. Not saggy! (Yet.) Just...low. You know those little darts at the sides of some tops, meant to fall level with your bust? They always hit me at least one or two inches above my actual breasts, weird arrows toward my armpits rather than flattering feats of tailoring.

In my teens and twenties, the physical quirk led to (regrettably) opting for push-up bras-when what I really needed was lift, not oomph. Most shirts didn’t fit my boobs if they fit my waist, or vice-versa. My cinched, skinny bra straps pinched craters into my shoulders, my back band rode up, and my underwires slipped. My breasts were never really supported, as much as they were haphazardly kept at bay.

But then, standing in that bridal shop, examining the behavior of dress after dress in relation to my upper torso, and ruling out several on the basis of the complicated undergarments they’d necessitate, a little thought cropped up: If I only had a less prominent bust, everything would fit more smoothly. Or even if my bust could be put on lockdown. Supported. Contained. Streamlined.

I didn’t wear a sports bra under my wedding dress. (I did not eff around with complicated undergarments, either.) But after that day in the bridal shop, everything changed: I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve worn a standard bra in the 2.5 years since then.

The first time I pulled on a favorite top over a wide-strapped, slightly compressive active bra, I was indignant with myself for not coming up with this life hack sooner. For once, my shirt beautifully skimmed over my bust. It didn’t stretch or twist in an unflattering way. The outline of my undergarment wasn’t totally obvious. I didn’t need to adjust a band or a strap for the entire day, nor did any body part ache or become irritated.

From that point, I became a sports bra devotee. I tried and loved the look and feel of a sports bra under a casual dress. A tank top. A blouse. A formal dress. I bought more to complement various strap configurations and necklines. I became comfortable with this solution: My boobs and I had reached an understanding.

There are some parameters, though. I don’t wear the same bras under my off-duty clothes that I wear to work or to exercise. I don’t wear fluorescent ones, or anything with vivid logos under day-to-day outfits. And yes, I have now totally refilled the maligned former underwire drawer with sports bras, which all have different jobs, thank you for asking. Mostly, I don’t perpetually look like I’m headed to the gym. (Okay, occasionally I do, but that’s probably because of the leggings...)

There’ve been several unanticipated revelations: Do you know how much more comfortable it is to sit in a car or on a plane for hours at a stretch without hooks embedding themselves in your spine? Or how much easier it is to put on a bra which fastens in the front? How carefree life can be when your first thought the instant you break a teeny sweat isn’t “oh shit, now I have a date with Woolite and the sink?"

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A post shared by Matti Hart Sgrecci (@hartm_e) on Apr 3, 2016 at 5:51pm PDT

I feel mildly justified that my revelation now seems to be seeping into the mainstream, with the current bralette craze. But I’ve been shamelessly surfing that wave for a while now, and I'm not stopping anytime soon.

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