The beginning of the month invites us to clean up the messy areas of our lives just in time for the change of seasons. You may be confronted by your own habits and compulsions that contribute to the disarray. With curiosity and compassion, you can create new patterns that are more supportive of your well-being. Restoring balance to your life is the key to experiencing more peace, joy, and satisfaction in your life. For more about your September 2021 horoscopes, check out what's in store for your zodiac sign this month:
AriesAriesLaci Jordan for xoNecole
The month begins with a New Moon on the 6th inviting you to commit to a new routine that will support a better work-life balance. On the 10th, Venus enters Scorpio helping you attract support from an unexpected resource. You'd be surprised by who's been watching you put in all of that hard work. When Mars shifts into Libra on the 14th, be mindful of how you approach your relationships. Partnerships can be tested during this time if you're not considerate of the other person's needs.
Compromise isn't such a bad thing when everyone gets to win, Aries.
The Full Moon on the 20th is the perfect time to wrap up karmic cycles that are holding you back from reaching the next level in life. Cut out the dead weight and be open to the new experiences that await. On the 22nd, the Sun enters Libra, making this a good time to adjust your boundaries where necessary and to renegotiate any contracts that aren't suiting your needs. If you're getting into any new contracts, try to do so before Mercury goes Retrograde on the 27th.
TaurusTaurusLaci Jordan for xoNecole
A harmonious New Moon on the 6th gets September started off on the right foot for you, Taurus. Make some time for pleasure, romance, and play as much as you make time for achieving your goals. On the 10th, Venus enters Scorpio, helping you get a little closer to others.
Let your guards down and allow those closest to you to experience your tenderness.
When Mars enters Libra on the 14th, you're motivated to create more balance in your daily routine and physical body. The Full Moon on the 20th illuminates the intentions of those around you, helping you to clarify who you need to keep close and who should be loved from a distance. When the Sun shifts into Libra on the 22nd, consider practices that can benefit your mental and physical wellness--such as breath work, meditation, yoga, or spending a little more time in nature. On the 27th, Mercury goes Retrograde which could invite you to revisit a health regimen or routine that you've benefited from previously.
GeminiGeminiLaci Jordan for xoNecole
The New moon on the 6th brings your attention to matters of family and home, Gemini. Be mindful of tension arising due to a lack of balance between household responsibilities and work. On the 10th, Venus enters Scorpio which could have you garnering the attention of some hidden enemies that don't enjoy seeing how successful you've been in the workplace. Protect your energy with prayer, spiritual baths, or some Black Obsidian to ward off the evil eye. When Mars enters Libra on the 14th, it's time to have some fun! You've been all work and no play.
Be more intentional about doing something for pleasure.
The Full Moon on the 20th is challenging you to find the balance between you-time, your career goals, and the needs of your family. You can't fill anyone from an empty cup so don't feel guilty for taking a step back from all of your various responsibilities--even if just for a day. On the 22nd, the Sun shifts into Libra revitalizing your inner child and your desire to create. Go to an art museum, write a song, hit up Hobby Lobby--do all of the things that your creative genius needs to feel life isn't just about adulting. On the 27th, your ruling planet, Mercury, goes Retrograde, making this a good time to tie up loose ends on a project you've been procrastinating on.
CancerCancerLaci Jordan for xoNecole
The month begins with a harmonious New Moon on the 6th encouraging you to be a little kinder to yourself, Cancer. Oftentimes, we're our own worst critic. Seek to see yourself through the eyes of the person who loves you most. On the 10th, Venus enters Scorpio inviting you to open up to the creative and sexual healing available to you through self-pleasure or an intimate connection with another soul. When Mars enters Libra, you could find yourself in the midst of some family drama with you being chosen as the mediator (what's new?).
Protect your peace and allow other people to fight their own battles.
The Full Moon on the 20th sets you up for a spiritually transcendental experience that reminds you of just how limitless, powerful, and magical you truly are. On the 22nd, the Sun shifts into Libra encouraging you to get your home prepared for the change of seasons on the horizon. Decorating your space for Spooky Season can be just what you need to help you feel more grounded. On the 27th, Mercury goes Retrograde making this a good time to revisit plans about relocating, buying/selling a home, and family planning.
LeoLeoLaci Jordan for xoNecole
The month kicks off with a New Moon on the 6th inviting you to get serious about your finances. After a lavish birthday season, it's time to reel in the spending and get yourself back on a budget, Leo. Consider new ways of expanding your income to support the extravagant lifestyle you want to live. On the 10th, Venus enters Scorpio which has you feeling stretched thin between your family's expectations and what you want for yourself.
When Mars enters Libra on the 14th, you're feeling extra spicy so you shouldn't have a hard time speaking up for your needs and asserting your boundaries.
The Full Moon on the 20th can be an emotional time for you. Stock up on plenty of Kleenex and red wine to see you through it. On the 22nd, the Sun enters Libra, making this a good time to hit the books or scour the internet for information on a hobby or project that you want to perfect. Try not to overdo it on the caffeine. Your thirst for knowledge needs to be balanced with time to eat and rest as well. On the 27th, Mercury goes Retrograde which could have you revisiting an old conversation or tying up loose ends on a project.
VirgoVirgoLaci Jordan for xoNecole
September kicks off with a New Moon in your sign on the 6th inviting you to make a wish for what you want to manifest in this next year. Dream big and watch how the Universe matches your energy in magical ways. On the 10th, Venus enters Scorpio drawing lots of attention your way. Intense connections can form during this transit that help you and others feel seen on a much deeper level, Virgo.
When Mars enters Libra on the 14th, you're focused on solidifying new contracts that will ultimately increase your earning potential.
The Full Moon on the 20th can result in the end of a contract with a client, employer, or partnership but trust that this only creates space for an opportunity or person that is more in alignment with you. On the 22nd, the Sun enters Libra which is revitalizing your self-esteem and reinforcing just how amazing you are. A readjustment of your personal, and financial, boundaries may be necessary in response to this growing recognition of your value. On the 27th, Mercury goes Retrograde so be prepared to revisit some existing agreements and to renegotiate a contract. It's important that you get everything on the table so everything can move forward seamlessly once Mercury goes direct next month.
LibraLibraLaci Jordan for xoNecole
The month begins with a New Moon inviting you to cut out anything that is draining your life force so you can enter into your new year feeling light and refreshed. On the 10th, Venus enters Scorpio, encouraging you to redefine your relationship values. If your connections have been a little too surface level, you could be craving something deeper. Look within yourself to see how you've been reinforcing relationships that don't provide you with the intimacy you need. On the 14th, Mars shifts into your sign which makes it easier for you to assert yourself and your boundaries.
It's time to take ownership of the world that you are weaving, Libra.
The Full Moon on the 20th is a good time to detox from anything (and anyone) that is weighing you down. Striking a balance between your need for self-care and your responsibilities comes into focus during this time. Your birthday season officially begins when the Sun shifts into your sign on the 22nd, providing you with a much-needed boost of energy. When Mercury goes Retrograde on the 27th, life slows down for the next few weeks giving you a chance to reflect on recent changes and decisions you've made to wrap up certain cycles in your life.
ScorpioScorpioLaci Jordan for xoNecole
The New Moon on the 6th invites you to expand your social network, Scorpio. Get outside of your comfort zone and meet some new people that inspire you to grow. On the 10th, Venus enters your sign, making you a magnet for good fortune, divine opportunities, and a whole lot of love. Open your heart to receive all of the blessings available to you. When Mars shifts into Libra on the 14th, your energy levels may be waning.
Get plenty of rest during this transit and be mindful of repressed anger that has more of a tendency to pop out when you're not taking good care of yourself.
The Full Moon on the 20th is a supportive time for revealing a creative project or indulging in some pleasure. Romance is in the air, making this the perfect date night. On the 22nd, the Sun joins Mars which is kicking up the aggression (and possibly some violent dreams). Take note of what your subconscious may be trying to communicate to you. Energy leaks will become all the more apparent during this transit, especially when Mercury goes Retrograde on the 27th. Given the more introspective nature of this transit, you'll be able to gain more clarity into the root of any anger, resentment, or depletion.
SagittariusSagittariusLaci Jordan for xoNecole
The beginning of the month brings your attention to your career goals, which may be shifting with this New Moon on the 6th. As much as it's nice to make money, you may find yourself considering how you can be of service to others through the work that you offer to the world. On the 10th, Venus enters Scorpio which could have you attracting some intense connections that may be borderline toxic. You can't save everybody (or really anyone for that matter).
The S on your chest doesn't stand for "Superwoman"--it stands for Sagittarius. Let people handle their own problems.
On the 14th, Mars shifts into Libra bringing your focus to your friendships. Any imbalances will be harder to ignore which could have you pulling back or seeking connection elsewhere. The Full Moon on the 20th gives you an opportunity to make peace with your more vulnerable side that may not have been nurtured in your childhood. On the 22nd, the Sun shifts into Libra, motivating you to collaborate with like-minded people that can help you bring your vision into reality. The month wraps up with Mercury going Retrograde, giving you a chance to breathe new life into an old dream.
CapricornCapricornLaci Jordan for xoNecole
September begins on an optimistic note with you looking to expand your horizons around the New Moon on the 6th. Going back to school, committing to a new spiritual practice, or traveling overseas may be on your to-do list. On the 10th, Venus enters Scorpio which helps you deepen your connections with your friends, Capricorn. Be mindful of possessive and controlling energies that can put a damper on the good vibes. When Mars shifts into Libra on the 14th, you're feeling the pressure to make some major boss moves.
Securing contracts, sponsorships, and other partnerships will be a key to your success.
The Full Moon on the 20th heightens your ability to communicate with the spiritual realm. Pay close attention to your dreams. Your ancestors and guides have something they want to communicate to you (and possibly through you). When the Sun shifts into Libra on the 22nd, your motivation to build your legacy needs to be tempered if someone else is involved. You could be coming off even more bossy than usual. Everyone moves at a different pace. Try to lead by example, not by force. On the 27th, Mercury goes Retrograde, giving you a chance to revise any existing contracts and agreements. Read the fine print before getting into any new partnerships during the Retrograde.
AquariusAquariusLaci Jordan for xoNecole
The beginning of the month is a bit more introspective for you with the New Moon on the 6th, Aquarius. Spend some time in self-reflection by journaling or catching up with your therapist. On the 10th, Venus enters Scorpio which supports you in conquering your to-do list regarding your career goals. As distracting as the energies may be around you, you're locked into achieving your goals and putting the rest of the world on pause for a bit.
When Mars shifts into Libra on 14th, your wanderlust is gnawing at you to take a break--at least for a pre-Mercury Retrograde vacation.
The Full Moon on the 20th provides you with some miraculous financial breakthroughs that you've been praying for. Treat this blessing as the gift that it is before you go on a shopping spree. Save some money and pay off some of your debt first. On the 22nd, the Sun shifts into Libra, making this a good time to go back to school, sign up for a workshop, or reconnect with your spiritual practice. The month wraps up with Mercury going Retrograde on the 27th, giving you a chance to revisit a former practice or study that brought balance to your life.
PiscesPiscesLaci Jordan for xoNecole
The month begins with a New Moon on the 6th encouraging you to (re)establish your boundaries based upon your changing needs and desires. Understand that your boundaries are just as fluid as you are and will routinely need to be communicated to those around you, Pisces. On the 10th, Venus enters Scorpio helping you dive deeper into your spiritual studies and practices. This is an extremely regenerative time for you requiring solitude for you to fully tap into the benefits. When Mars shifts into Libra on the 14th, you're diving deep to explore the root of any imbalances in your life--particularly within your relationships.
Any repetitive patterns and lessons you're experiencing may need another unbiased perspective. Talking through it with a therapist can glean insight into your blindspots.
The Full Moon on the 20th takes place in your sign, liberating you from the confines of expectations from others. It's time to take back control of your life by letting go of the unnecessary stress and pressure that comes with trying to make everyone happy. That's not your job. Happiness is an inside job. Hand that responsibility back over to who it belongs to. The Sun shifts into Libra on the 22nd, helping you strike a balance within any financial partnerships you're a part of. Keep a close eye on your budget and spending habits to become more fiscally responsible. The month wraps up with Mercury going Retrograde, helping you clear out some karma regarding intimacy and connection to others.
Featured image by Laci Jordan for xoNecole
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Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Better Off Braless: The Benefits Of Not Wearing A Bra More Often
Somewhere between the start of the pandemic and entering the late stages of my 20s, bras become less and less of a priority.
Within that span of time, I, like most of the world, spent my days inhabiting my small bubble, staying in the house with loose-fitting loungewear, and being on Zoom calls that only required me to be presentable from the neck up. So as the demand to have my breasts at their perkiest form, so did my commitment to wearing bras.
The relationship that most women have with their bras is… well, complicated. While society has led us to believe that they’re required for us to be deemed as “ladylike” and “neat,” many of us find the garment to be a bothersome (and optional) accessory at best.
From underwires that poke and dig at our sides to push-ups that spill over, the argument in support of bras has begun to wane over the last few decades, with women of all cup sizes asking themselves if it’s better to just go braless.
Courtesy of Harper Wilde
“Many years ago, I ditched wired bras and opted for going braless out of a desire for freedom and celebrating natural human form,” multi-hyphenate Alyson Stoner tells xoNecole. The movement activist best known for their fly dance moves with the likes of Missy Elliott and on Step Up 2: The Streets, shares that when it comes to their bra selection, comfort is key. “As someone who enjoys moving their body, I found that I do want an underlayer that provides some support without interfering with comfort and mobility.”
A source of concern when choosing to go braless is whether or not the lack of support from a bra will, in turn, affect the firmness of one’s breast, resulting in early sagging. However, Sabrina Sahni, M.D., an oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida, shares that breast sagging is a result of age, not whether you’ve ditched your bras.
“Sagging breasts – also called ptosis – generally occurs due to chronic aging,” she tells xoNecole. “The breast is made up of a combination of glandular and fibrous tissue and fat tissue. Over time, the glandular tissue may become replaced with fattier tissue, and that can lead to more sagging. Wearing a bra or not wearing a bra ultimately does not change that.”
"Wearing a bra or not wearing a bra ultimately does not change that."
Women with heavier breasts may find that going braless may have its set of drawbacks, but Dr. Sahni says that you should always pay attention to your comfort levels since bras are a garment designed to support your back and correct your posture. “Those with heavier or larger breasts who choose to go braless may actually have worsening back/neck/shoulder pain,” she says. “Wearing a bra may allow them to correct their posture and help alleviate tension on those muscle groups.”
“Women with larger breasts may benefit from wearing a well-fitted, supportive bra as it may alleviate things like upper back pain or neck pain,” she shares.
Listening to your body is key when choosing whether you want to toss out your bras forever or just for a day. The beauty in a woman’s body is that it will tell us what we need to know before we even have to ask. There are common misconceptions about tighter bras being linked to causing health issues like breast cancer.
And while studies do show that Black women are “twice as likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer early when compared with Caucasian women,” the manifestation of this disease is predetermined by other varying factors.
“There are a lot of myths out there about going braless being better for breast cancer risk. It is completely false,” Dr. Sahni explains. “Whether or not you wear a bra does not have any bearing on your overall breast cancer risk. Ultimately, your risk is dependent on a variety of factors, including family history, your breast density, your lifestyle, and your reproductive history.”
If you’re looking for classic, weightless comfort that’s close to going braless, Alyson Stoner recommends Harper Wilde, a body-inclusive intimates brand on a mission to create a more comfortable world for womankind. They currently have a capsule collection with the intimates brand in partnership with their company, Movement Genius.
“Harper Wilde has been my go-to for years now because the materials are truly soothing on my sensitive skin, the amount of support feels like you're being gently hugged (not squeezed), and the styles are flattering and beautiful enough to wear as shirts or visible layers,” they say.
Courtesy of Harper Wilde
The brand offers super soft, breathable cotton fabric in their Triangle and Scoop Bralettes ($40 each) that will put the bliss and comfort back in your bosom.
Dr. Sahni says that choosing to opt out of bras or keep them close to your chest “truly depends on the individual” but it should be understood that “wearing or not wearing a bra won't significantly impact your overall health.”
“Ultimately, it comes down to comfort. There are some women with chronic breast pain where perhaps changing their bras to something more supportive and well-fitted may help,” she says. “Alternatively, some women find that going bra-less will alleviate their breast pain. I tell women that they should choose a bra that is comfortable for them, feels supportive, and one that they can wear regularly.”
So whether you choose to free the tatas or wear a bra that feels like it’s barely there, remember to listen to your body because ultimately, the choice is yours.
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