If there’s one thing that I’m gonna do, it’s look up some stats. And when it comes to New Year’s Eve and how folks choose to celebrate it, I recently read that around 92 percent of Americans celebrate it, 70 percent at least make plans to stay up well past midnight, 54 percent drink (alcohol) and surprisingly, only 1 in 5 people actually go out to someplace like a bar or club. The reason why I’m sharing all of this (especially that last part) is if there’s a part of you that’s on the fence about staying at home and ringing in the new year by yourself because you secretly wonder if that’s wack or not…it’s not.
Aside from the fact that COVID is still lurking around, there is something about making the decision to stay in to pause, ponder, reflect as you welcome in a new season solo that is surprisingly…refreshing. Just make sure that you take things up a notch from sitting in some ratty old sleepwear, ordering a pizza and watching the rom-com that you’ve already seen a billion times before. Nah, if you’re gonna do New Year’s Eve right, try incorporating at least a handful of these 15 recommendations below.
1. Buy a Blank 2022 Calendar
I’ve shared before that something a husband I know did that I thought was super romantic was he gifted his wife with a calendar that already had dates planned, for the entire year, throughout it (ain’t nothin’ like a man who loves with proactiveness and intention, y’all!). I’ve actually adapted that and “remixed” it a bit. Something that I try and do is plan out things for me to do, for/with myself, on a calendar.
For you, it could be a class that you want to take, a road trip that you want to go on, a concert that you want to see — the list is endless. The point here is to not go into a new year with a “ho-hum” attitude; instead, approach it with excitement about all of the things that you want to do with yourself…for yourself. Things that are already scheduled out on your own 2022 calendar.
2. Get Some Comfy PJs
I’m assuming that a big part of the reason why you are opting to stay in this New Year’s Eve is because you want to take the low-key approach. So, why not get as comfortable as possible? At the same time, a new year should bring new things, so treat yourself to a pair of new pajamas or a really cute onesie. Just because you’re gonna be home, that doesn’t mean that you have to be looking a hot ass mess or that you shouldn’t want to embrace the evening as being special and significant — in your own special way.
3. Update Your Bedding
Personally, I think one of the best things about being home on New Year’s Eve when you’re single (with no kids) is you can go to bed as early as you want and then turn around and sleep in for as long as you want the following day. For me, my bed is already like Six Flags the remix; the only thing that makes it even better is when I change my bedding or when I get some new sheets.
No time like the present to ring in the new year with some flannel ones that will keep you extra toasty or bedding in a color that represents the energy that you want to vibe on for the next several months (check out “Understanding Color Psychology Will Sharpen Your Lens On Life”). What are you waiting for?
4. Partake in Some Patchouli Aromatherapy
I don’t know too many people who don’t strive to be centered and grounded individuals. Well, guess what essential oil actually taps into those very things? Yep, patchouli. It’s also great at soothing dry skin, relieving headaches, decreasing depression and anxiety, reducing cold-related symptoms, and relaxing you. So, whether you decide to mix it with a carrier oil and apply it to your body, sprinkle some on those new sheets that you’re about to buy, or put it into an infuser, the sweetly musky scent of this particular oil can help your health and well-being on a myriad of levels.
5. Write Yourself a “Year in Review” Letter. For the Future.
When you get a chance, also check out “Every Woman Should Write A Love Letter To Themselves”. Something that I think all of us should do, married or not, at least once in our lifetime, is handwrite a love letter — yes, to our own selves. The main reason why is because a lot of us keep feeling slighted by others not giving us the love that we think we deserve when we’re actually being pretty hypocritical for not doing it our damn selves.
Well, along these same lines, a year in review is something that I came up with once upon a time. It’s basically like writing a letter of intent when it comes to how you want the upcoming year to go. In other words, write the letter with the plan of reading it on New Year’s Eve 2022. In it, share all of the great things that you’ve accomplished and how you’ve learned to treat yourself better. This is helpful because one, it will hold you accountable throughout the year when it comes to what you wrote, and two, it can be a lot of fun to see the differences that 12 months can make as it relates to who the person of 2021 was when she wrote it vs. who the person of 2022 is who is actually reading it. Just make sure to put it somewhere you’ll remember to get it from when the time comes.
6. Design a Memories Jar
Along these same lines, go to someplace like Walmart, Target, or a local arts and crafts store and get yourself a mason jar along with some colored construction paper. Then cut the paper into thin strips for the purpose of writing different favorite moments and memories in 2022 that you can put into the jar. The cool thing about this kind of project is it can remind you to get excited about what’s to come. Plus, you can put the pieces into a balloon, come next NYE, pop it at midnight, and read about how great your year actually was!
7. Burn, Baby, BURN
Listen, something that I am all about, a billion times over, is a burning ceremony. Several years ago, someone and I held one in the parking lot of their apartment complex and it was absolutely bomb. We wrote down mistakes that we wanted to stop feeling bad about, relationships we wanted to let go of, habits that we wanted to break, and people we needed to forgive and/or release, then we set them on fire and let the pieces of paper turn into ashes.
While it’s merely a symbolic gesture, there’s something about watching those things go up in flames that is super freeing. (If it’s too cold to go outside to do this, you can always burn the pieces in your kitchen sink.)
8. Watch Teleparty with a Couple of Friends
If you want to spend most of your time alone but you know that you’ve got a couple of other friends who are celebrating NYE by themselves as well, it could be fun to take out a couple of hours to watch a movie with them virtually. One way to do that is to download the Teleparty app (go here). It makes it so much easier for everyone to watch the same programs and movies on Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and HBO from the comfort and convenience of their own home.
9. Order Yourself a “2022” Gift
Yes, you need to be financially responsible. At the same time, you also need to celebrate yourself. So, with the extra coins that you saved by opting out of turning up this NYE, hop on one of your favorite sites and order something online. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Just make sure that, whatever it is, if there is an option to get it as a gift with a note attached, make sure to say “Happy 2022” with your name on it. It’s a token that will remind you to remain in the spirit of appreciating and honoring yourself all year long.
10. Have Your Favorite Meal Delivered to You
You’re probably gonna be hard-pressed to find a ton of eating options after 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Still, who wants to cook (or do any clean-up from cooking) on that night? That said, this is just a gentle nudge to make sure to order something on 12/30 and warm it up the next day or to order food for NYE early in the day so that you can have it before the world shuts down. Me? I’m good for some lamb chops and nothing makes me happier than having them delivered to me from one of my favorite restaurants and then eating them at home while binging A Different World for the billionth time — New Year’s Eve or not.
11. Eat Something Green
Personally, I’m a Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) observer which means that “my” new year has long come and gone. For those who are all about 12/31, though, a tradition from that culture that you can easily apply to your own is to eat foods that are green. The intent is, since green symbolizes things like fertility, prosperity, health, harmony, nature, growth, and wealth, why not “take in” that kind of energy via foods that are that very hue?
The lead pic is fried zucchini (recipe here). Some other green foods that fit the criteria include dark leafy greens, avocados, asparagus, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, Granny Smith apples, and Thompson seedless grapes (frozen grapes that come with a fruit dip are absolutely delicious!).
12. Consider a Going on a Virtual Tour (or to a Virtual Party)
Technology is a trip, ain’t it? If you’re not in the mood to watch a movie or listen to some music, something else that you can do is take a virtual tour. These days, there are sites that will help you to gain access to famous museums, zoos, and aquariums, international spots — you name it. As far as virtual NYE parties go, Time Out featured an article last year with some. Perhaps check back there the week of 12/31 to see if they’ve updated their list.
13. Soak in the Tub
Soaking in the tub can do everything from soothing aching muscles and reducing anxiety to balancing your hormones and improving your quality of sleep. And if ever there was a night that had “tub soak” written all over it, it’s New Year’s Eve. In fact, it’s one night when you can stay in there for literally as long as you want. Although National Bathtub Party Day happened at the top of this month, if you check out “Make 'National Bathtub Party Day' Your Favorite Day Of The Year”, you can get some tips on how to enjoy yourself so much that you might not even notice (or care) when the clock actually strikes midnight.
14. Toast Yourself
Lawd. How many times have I recommended toasting yourself within the copy for this site? That’s because it’s something that I do on a regular basis as a way to remind myself that I am truly worth celebrating! Listen, there are going to be champagne flutes clanking all over this planet at the stroke of midnight. Just because you’re at home, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get in on the fun.
Whether it’s champagne or you decide to go a little off-script and have something like a chocolate martini; Boulevardier, Cider Sidecar; Vanilla Plum Shrub; Champagne Shirley Temple; New Year’s Sparkler; or something else that’s equally as festive, definitely make yourself a drink and verbally declare what needs to be affirmed about yourself. After surviving a year like 2021…chile, you’ve most definitely earned it.
15. Stay Off of Social Media and Your Phone
If a part of the reason why you’re staying home is to enjoy some peace and quiet, what sense does it make to be online all night looking at other people partying, kissing their boo, and getting engaged, only to get your emotions all stirred up? Sometimes, we send ourselves through stress (or triggers) that can easily be avoided by unplugging from mediums of communication with other people. Shoot, even when it comes to the phone if you know that your mom is going to call you to talk about how sad she thinks it is that you are going to be alone for NYE or a friend is going to do nothing but want you to be their impromptu therapist for the evening — it really is OK to let folks know beforehand that for NYE and New Year’s Day, you are going to go totally off of the grid, that you are fine and that things will resume on 12/2.
It’s OK to really want to devote NYE totally to yourself — as a way to release the past and prepare, in your own way, for the present. Happy (Almost) New Year, sis!
Featured image on Getty Images
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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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