Bra-What? To Wear or Not to Wear? : By Maria De Leon

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Intelligence is like underwear. It is important that you have it, but not necessary that you show it off.” – unknown



It’s tough being a woman.

The addition of Parkinson’s into our lives sometimes makes me feel like I am an enchilada short of an enchilada plate!

I can barely get dressed some days and I am supposed to wear what?

Well, I don’t know if it’s just that I have been too indoctrinated by western civilization or that all fashion, ‘make-over’ shows and “what what not to wear” tips usually start off with “the first thing a lady needs is a nice bra to support the girls and make you feel like a sexy woman!”

Although, there is still a debate today as to whether bras are really needed, I am a firm believer of the latter- a bra for every occasion to match our outer clothing!

black braBut sometimes when you want to be naughty or feel extra special, an extra lacy or sexy bra will do the trick even if all you are wearing is a track suit. The problem is many of us with Parkinson’s disease and other impaired mobility illnesses have simply given up wearing a bra because of the difficulties in getting them on.

Well, as someone who not only treated many PD patients and now lives with the same I understand firsthand how cumbersome it is to even get out of bed at times even more so to put on garments that require a lot of flexibility and great deal of dexterity.

Yet, it makes me so sad and frustrated to hear beautiful vibrant women with PD give up on wearing bras. Because what I am hearing is I am  giving up on being a woman and dressing up for the occasion to simply show up!

By no longer caring or bothering, we are unwillingly admitting defeat and letting Parkinson’s win. What we are essentially telling our brains is that it has no control or power over the  situation we are in.

But, I am here to say that we as women have many options besides going bare unless you have always done this prior to PD.

There are other alternative garments or ways of putting on a bra that will allow us to look and feel feminine at the same time empower us as we show Parkinson’s who’s boss.

But, first you must always consult your physician regarding this problem. Since the reason we might not be able to put on a bra is typically one that can be addressed and corrected by our healthcare provider via medication adjustment or physical therapy in over 95% of the cases.

However, if after a careful evaluation and medicine adjustment no improvement in mobility occurs:

Here are some ways to help putting on a bra when dexterity fails:

The first recommendation is a technique known as ‘Hook & Spin’ but make sure you first add some talcum to your waist to make rotation easier.


  1. Wrap your bra around your waist and hook the closure in front of you. Make note of the location of the bra’s label (e.g. side seam, back).
  2. Turn your bra clockwise until the front of your bra is centered.
  3. Bring bra up so that the bra band is resting directly under the breasts.
  4. Slip the shoulder straps over your shoulders.

Some bra alternatives:

There are many healthy alternatives for dressing bra -free (some women prefer the positive term “bra- free” rather than “braless” because they say women don’t really need to wear bras). However, going “braless” or “bra-free” usually works only if you have small breasts. Otherwise, I recommend trying some of these alternatives.

  1. Camisoles are inexpensive, and there is a huge variety at many department stores with variety of fabrics and weights, from silk to cotton.  Recommend cotton or those made of breathable material (i.e. cotton/lycra) because let’s not forget we sometimes tend to perspire a bit more than usual due to our disease. Find thin and/or cropped camis for summer but look for ones that have padding or bust panel in breast area. Camis are seamless, comfortable products.
  2. Shirts with pockets over both breasts; extra fabric layer conceals. Loosely fitted tops.
  3. NuBra is just two adhesive cups that you place on your breasts. They keep the nipple from showing through clothing, if that is a concern.
  4. Front close/racer back bralette (this is a bra without wires or molded cups on par to sports bra but without firmness to hold you in place). I love these bras when I am extremely stiff like when is very cold outside.
  5. Can wear a bandeau- (a strapless bra that covers the breast) which many women with mobility issues have sworn by this.


Remember though that a nice ‘lacy’ bra, bralette, or  Colette (unlined lace full cup bras)  is always a psychological pick me upper especially if you spend a lot of time with jogging suits or stretchy pants as many of us do due to lack of mobility, rigidity and bladder issues which keep us tied up close to bathroom.

Any woman will swear by the fact that a simple act of putting on a pretty lacy bra is sufficient enough to boost mood and confidence. No one knows what you are wearing besides you but that’s enough to put a spring in your step particularly if you are able to match with lacy panties. This simple act can be a powerful mind and brain booster.

Art by Ross Webb

@copy right 2015 all right reserved Maria De Leon

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