Some of us loved reading the newspaper for the "funnies", others enjoyed buying their favorite magazine for the horoscope section, and the horoscope section alone. I imagine that astrology is easily one of our first introductions to magic in this lifetime. Certainly, the case for me! And I've only become more drawn to it as I've grown older, from checking the compatibility of my latest young loves in high school to trying to understand my inundated singleness in grown-ass womanhood. For as long as I remember astrology has been popular, but with little understanding of anything other than our Sun signs — the most mainstream of signs until recently.
Recently, with the help of apps and the growing visibility of Black and Brown astrologers, more people are coming to learn and better understand the intricacies of our entire chart. At the bare minimum, most people are aware of the Sun, Moon, and Rising signs these days! In the past, all we knew was our sun. Where we might have known to look beyond our Sun sign for compatibility in the past, we're now understanding that there are so many aspects that are telling of the romantic connections we're seeking out. Astro expert Avalldar Astrology says, "For many people, the Sun will not necessarily be the most influential placement when it comes to romantic compatibility, precisely because we have entire charts that we need to look at, in order to see all the dynamics at play between all the planets."
So what exactly do we look to when we're looking at love? Well, you should know that there are so many different types of astrology and different astrologers use different combinations, formulas, and theories (much like any other profession that is rooted in research) to draw their conclusion when it comes to compatibility. When it's all said and done, she reminds us that although she feels it necessary to have a "global" understanding of things, the aspects you look to are dependent on what it is that you prioritize in your relationship.
Personally, Avalldar feels that "Moon and Venus signs are definitely among the most important planets to look at, as they will mostly concern our emotional needs within the relationship, and the type of things we enjoy and are attracted to, respectively." At least, on the surface level.
Zodiac Sign Compatibility, According To An Expert
"When it comes to romantic compatibility, people focus on Sun sign affinity a lot, probably because the Sun sign is the easiest placement to determine in astrology. All you have to do is know the dates of each zodiac season, and which zodiac sign is associated with your birthday. Those dates are constant, so it's easy to find," Avalldar says. "In astrology, there are more than Sun signs, we have entire charts with multiple planets and houses as well, and the way our charts are set up can make things vary widely and even create surprising dynamics!"
However, the real big three we ought to be looking at when it concerns compatibility, at least outside of the planets themselves, are "element (fire, earth, air, water), modality (cardinal, fixed, mutable), and extensively, aspects (conjunctions, trine, squares, and sextiles extensively) — which are lowkey at the core of elemental and modal dynamics." Once you understand just how in-depth this goes, it might bring greater understanding as to why people may not be compatible and why it is encouraged to do a deeper dive than what can be offered through your favorite publication.
"People with earth Suns would most likely get along best, with people that have their Sun in earth signs as well. On a personal level, the way they define their sense of self (one of the things the Sun encompasses) is influenced by the earth, so there's a common understanding, a common ground, and on top of that, earth signs are trine to each other (signs that share the same element are trine to each other in general). Trines are the most harmonious aspects, they indicate dynamics in which energies flow naturally."
That said, we spoke with another Astro expert Madison Mikay better known as Venuzian Scorpio to get the breakdown of the most compatible Sun signs:
The Most Compatible Zodiac Signs
1. Leo and Libra
When a Leo and a Libra are together, they are almost always the center of attention! With Leo being ruled by the Sun, they know how to satisfy the Libra's desire to be appreciated and reassured. With Libra being ruled by Venus, they know how to shower Leo with the love and attention that they deserve. Both Leo and Libra know how to bring out each other's true star power and help each other grow into their best selves.
2. Scorpio and Pisces
The watery pair of Scorpio and Pisces just instantly understand each other. Although not many others can match Scorpio's intense and passionate energy, Pisces is almost always up for the task! These two are able to be truly vulnerable with each other and appreciate the depth of their connection. Pisces' intuitive side always knows how to break through Scorpio's barriers and immediately knows how to comfort them. Scorpio challenges Pisces to take a walk on the wild side; Pisces encourages Scorpio to be themselves.
3. Aquarius and Sagittarius
Aquarius and Sagittarius never have a dull moment with each other! Sagittarians are always in pursuit of knowledge and live for adventure. Aquarians love to discover the most unique subjects and are always down for a good two. This pair knows how to mentally stimulate each other. Although they both value their independence, they know how to effectively divide and conquer. They both enjoy learning from each other and helping each other explore new territories.
4. Taurus and Cancer
With Cancer's protective nature and Taurus' romantic tendencies, these two are one of the most loving couples ever! Tauruses help Cancers to ground themselves and provide them with the comfort and stability that they crave. Cancers help Tauruses get comfortable with expressing their emotional sides and make them feel appreciated. This couple is the epitome of the phrase "home is where the heart is." They truly understand how to make the other feel at peace and how to cater to each other's love languages.
5. Virgo and Capricorn
Virgo and Capricorn are the power couple of the zodiac! These two earth signs know how to get things done when they are together and can truly motivate each other. They both want to see each other win and will supply each other with the encouragement that they need. Virgo and Capricorn almost instantly bond over their witty sense of humor and their intellect. Virgo shows Capricorn how to appreciate the small things in life; Capricorn shows Virgo how to see the bigger picture from a new perspective.
6. Aries and Gemini
When Aries and Gemini are together, the conversation almost never stops! These two know how to keep things and will always be the life of the party. The passion between these two signs is almost unmatched! Aries knows how to perfectly capture Gemini's attention and keep the relationship fresh. The Gemini values all of the Aries' complexities and knows exactly how to keep their fire alive. Gemini teaches Aries that life does not have to always be so serious. Even as a couple, these two are genuinely the best of friends!
Astrology Says Our Zodiac Signs Aren't Compatible, Now What?
In order to understand astrology and its authenticity, you must first understand that your natal chart is a blueprint of sorts. And, oftentimes, blueprints can be tweaked or manipulated to give us the outcome we desire. Your natal chart tells you what you were born with, what could be a potential roadblock/challenge, or what will allow us to thrive. But much like the idea of destiny or prayer to a higher power or the universe, you get out what you put in. They each give you the free game, but you have to figure out how to make that work for you.
I say all of that to say, you aren't intended to live your life in a bubble because you were given zodiac signs that don't immediately mesh. You shouldn't break off your engagement because the natal chart shows challenging dynamics. You might simply have to work at it a little harder, that's all. So how can you make an "incompatible" match work for you?
Avalldar Astrology gives us a few workarounds that allow for greater insights. But before doing so, she reminds us that there are pairings where simple fixes will do "and others, in which adaptation is necessary, and whether adaptation is possible or not, greatly depends on if people are willing to renounce certain things, prioritize other things instead, etc."
Look at your chart as tools for self-understanding instead of compatibility.
First, take a look at your natal chart ("Astrology Charts 101: The Significance Of Knowing Your Full Chart" is a great place to start). Next, focus on planets like Venus and Jupiter, or the Moon. When you do, think of these aspects of your chart as a tool for self-understanding versus compatibility. Avalldar explains, "Knowing ourselves and what we expect from and are willing to give to a relationship are very important points. For instance, the way the Moon is placed in our natal charts will be the indicator of things that are essential to our emotional comfort within the relationship on a personal level.
Also, considering relationships are dynamics in which we give and receive love in various forms, Venus will be the planet that indicates ways in which we prefer to be catered to/provided for, while Jupiter denotes ways in which we feel most comfortable giving/providing to our partner. "From there, when we understand that people value different things, the partners, after exploring their own charts separately, can see if what they value in terms of emotional comfort/needs, things willingly given and expected, are compatible, and ways in which they can best work around them (compromises)."
Go deeper into the relationship by having your synastry and/or composite chart interpreted.
What are synastry charts? According to Avalldar, a synastry chart is a result of putting two individual birth charts together so that they are overlaid together. They allow the couple to receive a detailed account of how each person influences the other. A composite chart is slightly different but slightly similar, as it is still two individual birth charts coming together. However, this time, the natal charts are merged into one single chart as opposed to one chart being overlaid over the other. "That chart is the representation of the dynamic of the couple overall," Avalldar states. "It doesn't show how each person of the couple is influencing each other. Instead, this chart will present the potential the relationship holds in itself."
While you can use either of these charts as tools to learn more about your relationship with your partner(s), Avalldar advises pacing yourself. A synastry chart might be great for a new couple looking to gain an understanding of their newfound relationship. For couples who are more so on the long-term track, the composite chart might be considerably more useful.
For more from these astrology experts, follow them @avalldar and @VenuzianScorpio.
Featured image by Shutterstock
Originally published on March 10, 2021
- 7 Signs You're Spiritually Compatible With Someone - xoNecole ... ›
- Does Zodiac Sign Compatibility Matter In Relationships? - xoNecole ... ›
- Taurus Zodiac Sign Meaning Traits Dates Personality - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- What Your Venus Sign Says About Relationships - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Virgo Zodiac Sign Meaning Love Compatibility - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Leo Best & Worst Personality Traits - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Sagittarius Love Compatibility With Each Zodiac Sign - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- What Signs Are Libras Most Compatible With? - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
Motor City native, Atlanta living. Sagittarius. Writer. Sexpert. Into all things magical, mystical, and unknown. I'll try anything at least once but you knew that the moment I revealed that I was a Sag.
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.”
Director of Content: Jasmine Grant
Campaign Manager: Chantal Gainous
Managing Editor: Sheriden Garrett
Creative Director/Executive Producer: Tracey Woods
Cover Designer: Tierra Taylor
Photographer: Ally Green
Photo Assistant: Avery Mulally
Digital Tech: Kim Tran
Video by Third and Sunset
DP & Editor: Sam Akinyele
2nd Camera: Skylar Smith
Camera Assistant: Charles Belcher
Stylist: Casey Billingsley
Hairstylist: DaVonte Blanton
Makeup Artist: Drini Marie
Production Assistants: Gade De Santana, Apu Gomes
Powered by: European Wax Center
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.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Delmaine Donson/Getty Images