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Bras: are they actually uncomfortable?


Bras: are they actually uncomfortable?  

149 members have voted

  1. 1. Bras: are they actually uncomfortable for you? Focus on physical comfort, we all know that bras can help with social comfort levels. (Please add comments if you think there are factors like, maybe, cost/quality of bras or abundance of b00ks, style of bras, etc.)

    • Yes! From the moment I put it on to the instant I take it off!
      16
    • Yes, mostly: I feel it all day, and it gets worse and worse as the day goes on
      27
    • Some of them: I have some bras that don't bug me and other bras that do
      23
    • A bit: I can feel it, and I prefer to be without it, but it's just an annoyance
      27
    • Not really: I can feel it, but it's not what I'd call uncomfortable
      9
    • Not at all: Bras feel totally normal, neither comfortable nor uncomfortable
      20
    • I'm clueless: I can't feel whether or not I'm wearing a bra, so I don't really notice
      3
    • I like the way bras feel: I'm most comfortable, physically, with support and/or coverage
      25
    • I mostly don't wear bras
      11
    • I used to have uncomfortable bras, but I've found ones that work better now
      13
    • My discomfort is in soft tissue around straps or bands
      20
    • My discomfort is muscular in my shoulders or back
      10
    • My discomfort is around the b00ks or the underwire
      18
    • Obligatory: other!
      6
    • ETA: My discomfort is in the constriction of my ribs or lungs
      11


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5 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

This might sound silly, but we are the same size.  Have you tried moving the straps out in your shoulders a bit? I find when they hurt the most it’s in the flesh muscular part of my shoulder, but sliding the straps onto the ball/cap of my shoulder and arm is much less painful than when it’s too close to my neck.  Heavy sucks regardless, but that is a hack I wish I’d known sooner.

Huh.  I wonder if that's why I don't have any shoulder pain (I'm currently a 36DD/E but I was a 38DDD/F for quite a while, and even bigger back when nursing).  The bras that actually fit me and don't shove things out my armpits seem to be ones with much wider spaced straps.  My shoulder straps are, indeed, out by the ball/cap of my shoulder,  just next to that bone and not near my neck.  I wasn't buying them for that reason; it's just that the cups that fit me right have the straps farther apart.  And you're right, if I press on my shoulder closer to the neck, it's much more tender there...  if I press hard with my fingers where the straps are, it doesn't hurt at all, but if I press closer to my neck - ouch!!  I would not want to have a strap in that area...  Now that you mention it most of the bras that don't fit me right have more closely spaced straps.  

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10 minutes ago, Shellydon said:

Yes! You're absolutely right that is where the straps dig in. I spend most of the day pushing the straps outward. If I'm wearing a tank top my kids are constantly pointing out that my bra strap is showing. 

I can attest that they make bras that have the straps farther apart to begin with, so they don't move inwards because they are literally cut and sewn farther apart.  They are few and far between, but those just happen to be the ones that fit the rest of me; I hadn't considered the comfort difference...  When I eyeball new bras, I look to see whether the straps come up from the side or the middle of the cup; if it's the latter I don't even bother because I know it will fit badly.

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58 minutes ago, Myra said:

Would love to have actual name brands or links to comfortable bras - any one want to share?

Glamorise sports bra....the one with hooks in the back is very supportive and fairly comfortable with NO underside (I can't wear those due to a scar from my heart surgery.

I also bought silicone nipple covers off Amazon to wear in my lighter lined bras.

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After spending too many of my teen years fretting over a boyish body, at 47 I am fully grateful I can get away with comfy bralettes and little numbers that serve no purpose other than looking cute. 🙂 

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Just now, Ottakee said:

Glamorise sports bra....the one with hooks in the back is very supportive and fairly comfortable with NO underside (I can't wear those due to a scar from my heart surgery.

I also bought silicone nipple covers off Amazon to wear in my lighter lined bras.

Way back when I had a Glamorise and it fit me great - I have since gained and lost weight a few times, so...  and they don't sell those at Kohl's... 😏

I am going to google this.  Would be great to have a sports bra that actually fit me right.  And no underside - I need that too because of my weird pointy rib cage, lol.

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2 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

So this is my favorite bra company, bar none. Look at the pictures of all the various sizes of models and see where the straps hit.  A firm band AND those wider spaced straps (and three piece cups) are so critical to comfort, I think.

https://www.ewa-michalak.pl/eng_m_BRAS_ALL-189.html

Thanks!  I'm a-looking! 🙂   Firm band also good.  Stretchy straps just means gravity eventually starts winning, lol.

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3 hours ago, Loowit said:

<snip>

I never knew that people see bras as something to cover nipples, I always saw them as a support thing.  I don't worry about if my nipples are showing or not, but I really really need the support.

I think this comes and goes like any other fashion/style thing. When I was in high school in the '70s, the popular bras were thin, unlined, and nipples could be obvious.  I'm sure this has cycled through a time or two.... I mainly remember high school because I didn't find those types of bras very useful for support/keeping things from moving, nipple showing aside. (And I was very self-conscious that I needed support at that age, which is why I remember so well.)  

 

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5 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

The only thing I highly recommend is watching the fitting videos, a proper fit is crucial, especially with such a firm band.  Before I zeroed in on my size I ordered some extras and just dealt with returning them, but with both the standing and hanging measurement I got a pretty great fit right off the bat. They take a wash or two to break in some of the lace fabric (like any bra) but they hold up until the underwires finally snap six months or a year later 😂

They definitely have the straps coming up in the right place.  I don't get why most American bras have the straps coming up from the middle???

Does it cost a lot to send them back?  I'm a wimp about ordering things that might not fit online... hence Kohl's, lol...

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Just now, marbel said:

I think this comes and goes like any other fashion/style thing. When I was in high school in the '70s, the popular bras were thin, unlined, and nipples could be obvious.  I'm sure this has cycled through a time or two.... I mainly remember high school because I didn't find those types of bras very useful for support/keeping things from moving, nipple showing aside. (And I was very self-conscious that I needed support at that age, which is why I remember so well.)  

Yep, I also started bra-wearing back in the 70's.  No one cared about nipples.  Not sure when the prude patrol showed up, lol.  But now everyone lets their bras hang out of their clothes without a thought - that, on the other hand, was.not.done.  Braless was better than straps showing!

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I have one brand/style of bra I've found that is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. But... it's not as comfortable as being without a bra, in the same way that wearing shoes is not as comfortable as being barefoot.

Of course, in my case I'm hampered by the fact that I can't wear a great many fabrics, can't wear lace ever omg, can't have elastic right next to my skin... when we eliminate all the things that make me itchy, I'm left with surprisingly few options, and most of those don't fit.

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30 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I think that what fits probably depends on body type, cup size and so many things.  I like the Freya sports bras.  I tried them on first at Nordies and then I buy them for cheaper at Bare Necessities online when they have a sale.

Ooo, that looks like something that would possibly fit me.  But it looks like it uses that newfangled sizing system where the band size is your actual rib cage measurement rather than over-b00k or ribs + 4/6.  My dds have been schooling me in this new idea - then I'd only be a 30 band, and I think the cup size expands. I'm still confused by the whole thing.  Sounds like one can call and get that sorted; I may do.

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Not uncomfortable. I now wear a compression vest nearly continuously. I will say it is a little bit less comfortable than before I required it, mainly because in the summer it is hot. But I had small bOOks to begin with and now one is scarred from breast cancer. I wore soft, unstructured bras most of the time before I had to wear the vest, even at night. 

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7 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Yeah no modern bras should have anything added to the band.  If you’re in between bands I’d say go down a band size in almost every brand (except Ewa Michalak and firmer sports bras like Elomi and Goddess). If I measure 35 inches around I get a 34 band.  If I measure 36 I get a 36, unless it is super stretchy, then I size down. It’s a direct size correlation though.

This just freaking blows my mind.  I am only 30" at the rib cage.  I didn't wear a band that small when I was 14 and weighed nothing (I was a 32D then, in the old sizes... I don't think they came smaller than 32, and those were hard to find!), and my ribs have permanently expanded after having twins...

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I threw away all my underwires and found some supportive, seam free, crop style ones. I love them and purchased some for my daughter too. At home, I'm more likely to go sans bra and just wear a fitting singlet under my tees. I'm a D and not exactly a slim/svelte woman 😄

I picked: "A bit: I can feel it, and I prefer to be without it, but it's just an annoyance"

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12 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

See, my thirteen year old has a 29 inch rib cage, and she absolutely wears a 30D.  She doesn’t even look particularly large chested, because the difference between her over and underbust measurement is not enormous. She can wear a 28 but finds it uncomfortably tight, and after trying some 30s on her we can get enough support it all works out.

Her sister is a solid 28B, which is just fine too.  And a very normal measurement for a normal weight or slightly reedy young lady, or a small framed and slender adult woman 🙂 even when I weighed 155 pounds I still had a 32 inch band (I have a medium to heavy frame and am short, so this was like a size 8...), so you can imagine lighter women measuring smaller regularly if they’re doing it right 😉 

Yeah, but you used to have to add the 4" to rib measurement to find band size.  When I was 14, if I was a 32, my actual rib cage would have been 28".  There was no such thing as a 28 band. 30s only existed in 'training' bras for preteens.   And the difference for cup size was between band size and actual b00k measurement, not actual ribs and b00ks.  So a 32D measured 36" around at the wider part.  An alternate way to figure band size was to measure over the b00ks, under the arms.  Back in college, I worked a summer in the lingerie dept at a store and I measured and fit lots of ladies...  my dds have been telling me all that is 'wrong' now, so I don't disbelieve you, lol.  The old measurement system still seems to be in place for the old-lady bras I buy, lol...  Who moved my cheese??

Edited by Matryoshka
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Just now, Arctic Mama said:

Bands haven’t been properly measured that way in decades, and there are totally 24-26 inch bands and many 28s, I buy them all the time 🙂 The Ewa Michalaks can be custom down to a 24, which is nice (I can’t remember what that is in centimeters but I know they’ve said they can on request). 
 

Most modern bras are just ill fitting when done that way, like Playtex, for example. Or Wacoals. Quintessential bra brands, ALL of them measure true to band and have since I was a teen, which was not too recently 😝

The cup size difference is still the differential between band and cup circumference, it’s just that the bands are a true measurement.  From my garment making and older patterns, as far as I can tell only the pre 70’s ones seem to have a disparate measurement on lingerie, some of this being a discrepancy in pattern size base sizes vs the inflated retail sizes and some just being a lack of stretchy but stabilized band materials being available.  The add-4 thing involved seam allowances and the hook rows beginning at several inches out (so end to end it might be plus four-ish, but the tightest row of hooks was several inches smaller in circumference).

It’s been a number of years since I researched this, but that’s what I recall.  I know it’s a brain bender, but any bra in your average to upscale retail establishment now is meant to be measured straight, with some variance in fit because of the amount of stretch and the quality control.  The ones I linked are all measured with a firm tape measure too, on a normal relaxed measurement AND an exhale, to prevent any riding up.  
 

This is also why many smaller chested ladies seem to wear their bra bands halfway  up their shoulder blades - they have a smaller rib circumference like my girls, but your average stupid store usually stops at 32 or 30, even though 26-28 does exist in many brands and is needed by a number of women. They assume because Target or Victoria’s Secret doesn’t have bands below that; that they’re not produced.  And just call whatever the smallest size is ‘good enough’. It is a huge pet peeve of mine, women on BOTH ends of the size spectrum deserve BETTER BOOK HOLDER SIZE RANGES AT REASONABLE PRICES 😡

Lol, I'm a lot older than you!   It was indeed many, many decades ago that I was a teen. 

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23 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

If you have some size charts of companies still adhering to the older measuring system I’d love to see them though? I haven’t encountered any but I’m just one person who has a thing for properly fitted bras and too much time on her hands! I haven’t observed one though, not even in the boxed brands. 

Yep, here's one right here.  They show measuring above the b00ks, under the arm for band size.  Which is the way I was taught.  If you measure there and compare to ribs, you'll see it's generally a 4-6" difference, which is where that came from.

Bali, Playtex, Olga, even Maidenform adhere to the old sizing.  Here's a calculator at playtex.eu, no less.   They show measuring under b00ks at the ribs, but then if I put in 30" rib and 38" chest, the calculator spits out a 34DD, which is what I've been buying when I can find it.  The former three are the brands have some styles that fit me.  

I honestly think I like the new sizing way better, for many reasons you mention, but I couldn't wear any of the bras I own any band size smaller.  They are quite snug and never ride up in the back.  There isn't an inch of give, no less 4-6"...  Most of the bras in the sizes/shapes that fit me are hard to find in a band under 36.  I really should go down to a 34, even under the old sizing, but I have a really hard time finding them in the store, esp in DD - the 34s often only go up to D.  So I should take that back, the ones I have that are still 36 I pull to the tightest hooks.  But I couldn't pull them tighter than that.

Edited by Matryoshka
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I'm DDD on my smallest day. I can't leave the bedroom without wearing a bra for fear I would trip on them. Of COURSE i have to wear a bra every day and it costs 70+ dollars per bra. How could carrying around several pounds on one's chest NOT be uncomfortable? Sorry. It's something I curse every day

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Just now, greenvneck said:

I'm DDD on my smallest day. I can't leave the bedroom without wearing a bra for fear I would trip on them. Of COURSE i have to wear a bra every day and it costs 70+ dollars per bra. 

This whole 'taxing' large-chested women by charging so much more for larger cup sizes is simply unjust.  Like we can help what size we're given.  Or for many of us, go without.

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1 minute ago, Matryoshka said:

This whole 'taxing' large-chested women by charging so much more for larger cup sizes is simply unjust.  Like we can help what size we're given.  Or for many of us, go without.

Ridiculous!

 

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I’d be curious to know if the outcome for those would be more comfy if they’d never worn one.  Because I suspect there’s a certain amount that connective tissue that’s meant to support degenerates through constantly not doing that job.  I mean some guy studied it and found people that were bra free from a young age were perkier at 25 than the bra wearers but stopping wearing one didn’t help if you always had.  I also suspect that heels and bras are cause of various back and neck issues.

that said occasionally I’ve worn a belly wrap type thing and find them super comfy.  I think maybe underwire free would be a different story.

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I also think bras cause some of the breastfeeding problems that are so common.  I discovered with my youngest if things for sore and I went bra free for a few days things resolved themselves completely.  Of course stupid breastfeeding nurse with kid one told me to wear them tight and all the time or my books would get huge and sore.  Turns out wearing them tight made my books get huge and sore.  

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1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

Semi rant and documentary ahead, sorry 🤣
 

Bands haven’t been properly measured that way in decades, and there are totally 24-26 inch bands and many 28s, I buy them all the time 🙂 The Ewa Michalaks can be custom down to a 24, which is nice (I can’t remember what that is in centimeters but I know they’ve said they can on request).  It’s one of those persistent fit myths I still hear repeated in some lingerie departments, though!

Most modern bras are just ill fitting when done that way, like Playtex, for example. Or Wacoals. Quintessential bra brands, ALL of them measure true to band and have since I was a teen, which was not too recently 😝

The cup size difference is still the differential between band and cup circumference, it’s just that the bands are a true measurement.  From my garment making and older patterns, as far as I can tell only the pre 70’s ones seem to have a disparate measurement on lingerie, some of this being a discrepancy in pattern size base sizes vs the inflated retail sizes and some just being a lack of stretchy but stabilized band materials being available.  The add-4 thing involved seam allowances and the hook rows beginning at several inches out (so end to end it might be plus four-ish, but the tightest row of hooks was several inches smaller in circumference).

It’s been a number of years since I researched this, but that’s what I recall.  I know it’s a brain bender, but any bra in your average to upscale retail establishment now is meant to be measured straight, with some variance in fit because of the amount of stretch and the quality control.  The ones I linked are all measured with a firm tape measure too, on a normal relaxed measurement AND an exhale, to prevent any riding up.  
 

This is also why many smaller chested ladies seem to wear their bra bands halfway  up their shoulder blades - they have a smaller rib circumference like my girls, but your average stupid store usually stops at 32 or 30, even though 26-28 does exist in many brands and is needed by a number of women. They assume because Target or Victoria’s Secret doesn’t have bands below that; that they’re not produced.  And just call whatever the smallest size is ‘good enough’. It is a huge pet peeve of mine, women on BOTH ends of the size spectrum deserve BETTER BOOK HOLDER SIZE RANGES AT REASONABLE PRICES 😡

I have discovered some little clips that convert normal bras to racer back that has made a huge difference for me with this.  Before that my straps would slide off perpetually.

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6 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

I have one brand/style of bra I've found that is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. But... it's not as comfortable as being without a bra, in the same way that wearing shoes is not as comfortable as being barefoot.

Of course, in my case I'm hampered by the fact that I can't wear a great many fabrics, can't wear lace ever omg, can't have elastic right next to my skin... when we eliminate all the things that make me itchy, I'm left with surprisingly few options, and most of those don't fit.

There’s a serious market for sensory friendly bras I think.

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11 hours ago, maize said:

I am more comfortable with than without.

My nipples are sensitive to cloth sliding across them, as happens if I wear a shirt without a bra. It is irritating.

I also prefer the support when I am physically active.

 

I always wear a soft cami if I’m bra free for the same reason

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6 hours ago, Matryoshka said:

Yep, I also started bra-wearing back in the 70's.  No one cared about nipples.  Not sure when the prude patrol showed up, lol.  But now everyone lets their bras hang out of their clothes without a thought - that, on the other hand, was.not.done.  Braless was better than straps showing!

It’s just the neckline of shirts I think.  Narrow shoulders and it’s basically impossible for me not to have straps showing with any commercially made clothing 

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37 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

It’s just the neckline of shirts I think.  Narrow shoulders and it’s basically impossible for me not to have straps showing with any commercially made clothing 

They certainly have started to make shirts that make it hard not to have straps show. I think the cuts used to take that into account.  

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2 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

There’s a serious market for sensory friendly bras I think.

 

There's a market for a lot of things, and yet somehow I can't get them. I WANT POCKETS IN MY PANTS.

Edited by Tanaqui
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As someone who once had generous books and now has novellas, the annoyance at wearing bras has really only increased.  I don't love bras.  I've worn high quality bras since working in a lingerie department of an upscale store where the manager really knew her stuff.  So, Wacoal is the most supportive bra I've worn.  That said, I don't love them.  I love the way they make everything look on the outside, but now that I'm about 3 sizes smaller, it feels so extra.  Mostly it is the constriction of the band I don't like, but overall, I'm annoyed.  If I buy one so that I can have a lovely smooth t-shirt, then they feel thick.  If they are breathable, then they aren't camoflauging nothin' for a woman who has nursed a bajillion babies, kwim?

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22 hours ago, maize said:

I am more comfortable with than without.

My nipples are sensitive to cloth sliding across them, as happens if I wear a shirt without a bra. It is irritating.

I also prefer the support when I am physically active.

 

With me, it isn't just my nipples, it is my entire skin so I have thrown out any non very soft shirts.

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I don't find them uncomfortable most of the time, but when I've gotten to the end of a long sweaty day or feel itchy for some reason, they go from being no problem to horrible instantaneously. Also, I am very, very over nursing bras and can't wait to get rid of them all! Last kid will likely get weaned in 6 months or so, then I'm done!

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18 hours ago, MEmama said:

After spending too many of my teen years fretting over a boyish body, at 47 I am fully grateful I can get away with comfy bralettes and little numbers that serve no purpose other than looking cute. 🙂 

sama same. Things I wish I could've known when I was younger....

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I wasn't quite sure how to answer. My size is in the DDs and I certainly cannot NOT wear a bra and be comfortable in any way.

I also do not rush to take my bra off when I get home from work -- even when I lived alone. It was never uncomfortable enough to need that.

 

At beditme I take the bra off and I go without with pajamas and for a couple of hours its fine. But in the morning I put the bra on even when we aren't leaving the house. I wouldn't want to leave it off unless I was staying in bed all day (I've never heard of a sleep bra and resting is not as comfortable in a bra)

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22 hours ago, Jaybee said:

My girls are very heavy, and I, too, have permanent grooves in my shoulders. So I'm too large and floppy to go without, but I'm so glad to take my bra off in the evenings. When my bras start to get old, then the straps start to cut my shoulders. My short-term relationship with underwires was unpleasant. I wear a Bali brand that I am reasonably pleased with. I can usually get it for a great price on Amazon. I do sometimes think it would be wonderful to be small up top and not carry that heaviness around.

I've been both and even when I was small I still took my bra off as soon as I got home from work. 

I had nice perky 34Bs until I got pregnant and gave birth at the age of 40. And then I nursed him. My entire body has never been the same. 🤣 So now they're large and heavy and I'm probably better off wearing a bra all the time but I just like the girls to be free. But really, I felt the same way when they were smaller and I didn't need the support. Shoes and bra were the first things I took off when I got home.

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Currently my bras bother me in the underwire area but that is because I gained weight and the cups runneth over. 😂 One side bothers me more than the other. I do apply an anti-chafing cream that helps out for most of the day. They were ok when they actually fit properly. They are Soma brand but they don't make cups any bigger or I would just do that instead of making do with these old ones.

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