Germaine Greer may have been on to something all those years ago when she encouraged teenage girls and women to throw away their bras.
A sports scientist from the University of Besancon in eastern France, Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon, has studied breasts and he's concluded that bras are not necessary.
“Medically, physiologically, anatomically – breasts gain no benefit from being defied gravity,” he said. “On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra.”
He says that wearing a bra means "supporting tissues will not grow and even they will wither and the breast will gradually degrade,"
Although it’s taken 15 years, and he’s measured the breasts of 320 women aged 18-35 years in that time and the changes in orientiation, he warns that the results are only preliminary. “The small sample of 320 is not representative of the entire population – that would require something like 300,000 subjects.”
However, Professor Rouillon confirmed that the initial data indicated that when young women stopped wearing a bra, there was "no disimprovement” in the orientation of their breasts. In fact, there was improvement.
“This is not the only factor to consider when deciding whether or not to wear a bra,” he said. “Many women simply find them comfortable.”
Despite the groundbreaking results of the study, Professor Rouillon said it would not be advisable for all women to put their bras in the bin.
“It would be of no benefit to a 45-year-old mother of two,” he said.
But one 28-year-old research subject who did as he recommended swears by the results.
“There are multiple benefits: I breathe more easily, I carry myself better and I have less back pain,” she told French media.