Ahh, the price you pay for individuality...
April 17, 2009 6:15 PM   Subscribe

I got tattooed yesterday - great! - and just realised I can't wear a bra during the healing phase, and I need to go back to work... alternatives??

I got a new tattoo yesterday morning (on my left hand side ribcage, about in line with the lower part of my breast). The tattoo artist recommended not wearing a bra while it heals, so over the weekend I've just been wearing a bikini top with the back tie pulled down lower so it doesn't rub.

But I've just realised I go back to work in a day (I work in advertising, so it's a semi-corporate office environment), and so a bra is needed. I won't be able to get away with wearing a bikini top under my clothes, and the tattoo is right where the main strap sits.

So my question is - does anybody know of any other bra alternatives I could get away with for the next few days? Would it be safe to tape a cloth bandage over it so the bra doesn't rub? Or is it going to rub anyway? Or will it be ok as long as I'm taking care of it?

posted by sunshine arakhan to Society & Culture (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Call the tattooist and ask her. Or take sick time.
posted by fshgrl at 6:24 PM on April 17, 2009

Get a backless bra.
posted by kldickson at 6:25 PM on April 17, 2009

Can you wear a structured blazer or a suit and keep the jacket on all day? I have a relatively small chest and I think if I wore a jacket and kept it buttoned the entire day, no one would be able to tell if I were wearing a bra or not. You don't mention what size girls you're trying to conceal, so I'm not sure if this will work for you. Can you have a trusted friend come over while you try on a few different outfits and tell you if they conceal enough or not?
posted by slenderloris at 6:27 PM on April 17, 2009

Depending on your cup size, maybe one of those tank tops with a shelf-bra sewn in? Something like this. If you have a smaller cup size, this might give you enough support and not rub as much as a regular bra. A soft bandage over the tattoo would help as well, if it doesn't damage the tattoo. Like fshgrl said, give the artist a call and ask what she thinks.
posted by JenMarie at 6:31 PM on April 17, 2009

What about a sports bra with a really wide back made of woven cotton like a t-shirt?
posted by iconomy at 6:31 PM on April 17, 2009

Try a "sticky" bra thing: Nubra. That one might be 'net-only, so it wouldn't reach you in time. There might be a Frederick's of Hollywood near you or some similar bra/undergarment shop that has adhesive 'cups'. There's a size limit on them, of course, so if your girls are over a size C, they probably won't work. (And I can't actually say whether they'd work: I've never tried them as mine are over a size C.)
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 6:33 PM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

What about a Camisole or a vest?
What about Nubra?
Or you could wear tops with pockets on both sides. Might work
posted by Lucubrator at 6:34 PM on April 17, 2009

Backless or Adhesive Bras
posted by spec80 at 6:36 PM on April 17, 2009

Seconding LOLAttorney2009; Nubra is great, and (to the best of my knowledge) can be purchased at Nordstrom stores, as well.
posted by teamparka at 6:42 PM on April 17, 2009

I have a tattoo in a similar spot and don't remember having any discomfort or problems from chafing. If you've tried it and it hurts or is scabbing, my recommendation would be to put a few layers of sterile gauze patch over it, bordered on all four sides with medical tape.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:44 PM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by mr. remy at 7:01 PM on April 17, 2009

I never wear a bra. Haven't for years. Back in the day when I did, I was a 36 B, if that gives you any help. I haven't missed bras, which I always loathed, and nobody has ever even looked at me funny. I wear a camisole - without a shelf bra - and it works just fine. A nice soft camisole and a loose top and you too can discover freedom.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:06 PM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think it will be ok so long as you're not doing any strenuous, bouncy activities (I'm assuming you're a C cup or bigger...). Tape some gauze over the area and wear your regular bra (as loose as you can) during the day, change to your tank top for the rest of the day.

Or, go for uniboob and use a tensor bandage to keep the breasts in place during the day, with gauze taped over the tattoo.

In any case, go for your own comfort.
posted by lizbunny at 7:11 PM on April 17, 2009

Thanks for all the great answers - unfortunately I've been interstate on holiday (where I got the tattoo), so taking more time off is out of the question :( I'm a large C cup and find going 'commando' under tops or built-in bras a bit... uncomfortable? (for lack of a better word) I have a similar stick-on to Nubra but never liked wearing it, however I'll just have to suck it up! ;)
The tattooist said I should be ok to wear a bra within a day or two, however during the slight peeling/scabbing stage I was just a li'l concerned.
Thanks again everyone.
posted by sunshine arakhan at 7:14 PM on April 17, 2009

I would wear a form fitting t-shirt. Something that will kinda squish things a bit so there isn't any blatant bounce-age. And then wear whatever over that t-shirt (so essentially it's an undershirt). You could get away with that for a day or two and feel relatively normal and not self-conscious.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:25 PM on April 17, 2009

Yeah, unsupported large Cs in a corporate environment won't really fly.

First, I'd go with the custom giant bandaid -- a really thick square of gauze covering the tattoo. Over that, maybe a bra with a bigger-sized band? It won't give your boobs the same support, but the band would be looser (Just remember that when you go up a band size, you need to go down a letter to keep the same volume of cup-size). You can also try to find an underwire-less/soft-cup bra, which has less construction and fewer tight panels. A more cheaply-made bra will have a less substantial and thinner band, too. I shouldn't go with a sports bra since those usually work by being tight and constricting.

Then as clothing, if you wear something structured (a jacket) instead of something clingy (a t-shirt or stretchy knit) it'll better conceal whatever's going on underneath.
posted by thebazilist at 7:54 PM on April 17, 2009

Depending on the positon of the tattoo, could something like this work for you?
posted by springbound at 8:28 PM on April 17, 2009

After my wife had her lumpectomy, she was advised to pick up some stretchy "wife beater" style lightweight tank tops to wear in lieu of bras until everything healed.

They worked great, and even now, many months after her surgery, she prefers them to bras in many cases.
posted by imjustsaying at 2:44 AM on April 18, 2009

I have a tattoo in the same place & I believe I went braless the day after (very uncomfortable, as I am fairly large-chested myself) -- wore a tanktop under a sweater & felt midly annoyed & sweaty but otherwise ok. The next day I was back to my regular bra, no problems. I thought it would rub but it was actually not an issue unless I did a lot of reaching above my head.
posted by oh really at 8:10 AM on April 18, 2009

Ok, I'm coming at the issue from a y-chromosomed perspective, so I don't have any advice to give on bra types or what would or wouldn't be comfy for various cup sizes.

I do, however, have a friend who is a tattoo artist, and pretty thoroughly inked herself, and she swears by the kind of adhesive "gel dressings" that are used to treat 2nd and 3rd degree burns. I'd imagine that with a few of those, and some soft fabric first-aid tape, you could wear one of Madonna's old cone-bras and still be comfortable enough.

Oh, and since the gel dressings absorb the burn/tattoo's weeping, they don't need to be changed twice a day.
posted by patnasty at 1:18 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would go with layers- one tight shirt to hold you in place, and another loose one to visually conceal you. A camisole would probably do the trick.
When I had bad sunpoisoning, I couldn't wear a bra or pull shirts over my shoulders. I cut up a couple dark colored cheap shirts from the crafts store so I had halter tops that tied once behind the neck and three times down the back. I tied it tightly so it gave support. Maybe that would work for you under another layer? It wouldn't be seamless because of the knots in the back, but depending on what you have over it that may not matter.
posted by chiraena at 7:26 PM on April 19, 2009

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