OMG, I Forgot to Pack a Bra to Change Into After My Sweaty Workout—What Do I Do?

Photo: Stocksy//Studio Firma
Move over, Black Mirror, because I'm coming in hot with a truly haunting story. Picture, if you will, a Monday morning. You're patting yourself on the back because you made it to your pre-work spin class instead of hitting snooze eight times. You hop out of your gym's shower, your skin smelling faintly of a body wash that is definitely more expensive than the one in your shower. You're feeling confident that today is going to be a great Monday. You go to get dressed... and you realize you forgot to pack a bra. The Lizzo playing through your headphones suddenly turns to the Psycho theme. There is, of course, no time to go home. In this hypothetical situation, Mercury is not in retrograde—you have no one to blame but yourself.

I am a person who has a substantial list of Things I Am Anxious About; after hearing that this happened to a friend I have added a "forgetting bra" scenario to that list. Because I am the kind of person who once left her car keys sitting on top of her car for hours, it's both surprising that I have never forgotten my bra, and inevitable it will eventually happen to me. Seriously, what do you do? Put back on your sweaty sports bra, which began to go cold the minute you took it off? (It now feels like a clammy hand.) Go braless to work? Buy a new bra? Create makeshift pasties with the toiletries available to you? Call in sick because clearly nothing good can come of this Monday? This is a terrible game of Would You Rather?.

I'm not good under pressure so I'd probably just panic and put my sports bra back on, then use an entire stick of deodorant. I mean, wriggling back into a sweaty, clammy sports bra would be no fun, but there's no way I could free boob it in an office/meeting setting. Especially when most offices insist on being freezing.

Every dermatologist ever has said that for the sake of your skin, get out of your sweaty clothes ASAP. It's a real catch-22: braless in the office, or risk bacne. I asked Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD, and founder of Dr. Loretta skincare, to weigh in. She told me that she recommends you get out of your sports bra within the hour. "The more time the skin is exposed to moisture, the more we see breakouts and/or yeast or fungus," she says. "There’s surface bacteria and fungus trapped in that bra that can lead to breakouts." She says that it's probably best to go sans bra, to prevent breakouts. You may just have to spend most of the day with your arms crossed over your chest/ hide in a conference room. You could go buy a bra, if time/money allows. (If this were a choose your own adventure novel, I would not pick the buy-a-bra option. In part because I chose "writer" as a career choice so I can't just be throwing money at my self-inflicted problems.)

"Wearing a sweaty sports bra for the rest of the day obviously isn’t the best idea, but it’s not the end of the world either." —Sandra Lee, MD, aka Dr. Pimple Popper

Let's say you have a C-cup and the shirt you were planning to wear to work is a cotton T-shirt. There's really no hiding your nips/the fact you're braless. And you have no time to get a bra before work. The stakes are high! The situation is dramatic! "Wearing a sweaty sports bra for the rest of the day obviously isn’t the best idea, but it’s not the end of the world either," says Sandra Lee, MD, FAAD, FAACS, also known as Dr. Pimple Popper, founder of SLMD skincare. "If your bra is really moist or even soaked in sweat, aside from it being uncomfortable to wear, the material will be more occlusive and more likely to bind to your skin which can increase the risk of irritation, breakouts/pimples, or eczema. But I understand—if you must, you must." Keep things as dry as possible, she says. In a pinch you could use a hair dryer or hand dryer to help dry out your bra before you put it back on. Genius! Placing cotton or tissue paper between your bra and your skin can be another way to minimize irritation, she adds.

Keeping a salicylic acid spray, like SLMD Salicylic Acid Body Spray ($38), in your bag is another way to help minimize any sweaty sports bra-induced bacne. (I can vouch for this, as I use her spray anytime I can't immediately change out of my workout clothes.)

Phew. Now I have a plan of action in case this new addition to my anxiety list comes to pass. If only I could say the same for the one about my smoke detector doing the low-battery beep during the middle of the night.

Here are some musings on why granny panties are actually the sexiest underwear. And these eight bras can actually help with back pain.

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