Your bra's lifespan really depends on how often you wear it: the more you wear a bra, the faster it needs to be swapped out. It seems like a pretty simple formula, right? But finding and wearing a bra is a really personal decision, so the criteria for when and how often you should replace your bra isn't always clear.
When it comes to wearing bras, some people might take a practical approach and think that it's fine to wear the same bra day in and day out for months on end. Others may see it as a form of self-expression and have an enormous collection of bras to rotate through. Then there are those that are in-between, with a steady roster of solid favorites and a couple of fun, delicate ones on the side. But when it comes down to it, there's no right or wrong way to go about supporting your gals, so how you choose to do so is completely up to you.
So how long should a bra last and how often should you replace your bra? Because bras have a shelf life just like everything else, the goal should be to maximize their usage and make sure you have the right selection to support your wardrobe. Here, we want to share a few tips to keep in mind so that you're getting the most wear out of your bras—and saying goodbye to them when you really need to.
Tips to Make Your Bras Last
Before you think about how often you should buy new bras, what's most important is extending the life of the current ones you have.
- Find the right bra size. Either head to a store to get expert help, or do it yourself! Make sure you look out for a band that's snug and doesn't ride up your back when clasped onto the last hook and that the center of the bra is aligned to your sternum.
- Set your bra underband to the loosest hook. Your bra will stretch out as you wear it, so set it on the loosest hook that still offers you a snug fit. This way you'll have more options later on to tighten it.
- Store them correctly. Make sure to line up your bras neatly, cup to cup, so that you're not crushing them.
Do Different Bra Types Have a Longer or Shorter Shelf Life?
How often should you buy new bras? When it comes to the lifespan of different bras, the materials, construction and the wearer are all factors to consider. So if you have a few solid bras that you rotate consistently throughout the week, you can depend on these bras to carry you through an entire year.
However, if you only have one or two bras that you wear day in and day out, you could run into a situation where these bras will wear out quickly. So how long should a bra last, and what is the ideal number of bras to own to maximize their lifespan?
What Types of Bras and How Many You Should Own
The more bras you rotate through on a weekly basis will dictate how long a bra lasts. The first key is to cover your bases with a solid rotation of bras you wear every day. The ideal number in your day-to-day rotation is five T-shirt bras to wear throughout the workweek. These are the bras that will cover your daily looks, so it's important that these are comfortable and made with detailed construction and high-quality materials.
For looks that are strapless or sleeveless, you'll want to add a flattering, well-fitted strapless bra that is highly functional, keeps you supported and won't slip. For special occasions or one-off looks that a regular T-shirt bra or strapless bra won't cover, have a backless bra on hand. Though it's not a must-have, it's definitely a nice addition to be able to keep in your arsenal.
How to Care For Your Bras
The key to keep your bras lasting longer is to care for them by washing them correctly. You run the risk of damaging or shortening the lifespans of your bras if you don't properly launder them, especially if your bras have fine details or fabrics. So when it comes to washing them, there are two routes you can take.
How to Hand Wash Your Bras
For higher-quality bras that have intricate details, are made of lace or have delicate underwires, washing by hand is the best route.
- Blot or dab any stains on your bras ahead of time with soap.
- Fill a tub or sink with lukewarm water and detergent, then soak your bras for 10-15 minutes.
- Gently massage your bras to make sure that the detergent gets worked into the material.
- Drain the water. Carefully rinse and remove any liquid from your bra without too much excess wringing or squeezing.
- Air dry.
How to Wash Your Bras by Machine
For those more durable, everyday-wear bras or if you're just pressed for time, here are tips on how to wash your bras in the washing machine.
- Make sure your bra hooks are all closed.
- Use a lingerie bag. This helps keep your bras from getting tangled up with all your other clothes in the wash.
- Use a lukewarm, delicate cycle to wash them.
- Do not machine dry your bras. Line drying or laying your bras out to dry is the best way to go.
How Do You Know It's Time to Replace Your Bra?
Now that we've covered the types of bras to keep in your collection and how to care for them, it's important that we discuss the lifespan of your bras. How long should a bra last, and how often should you replace your bra? It's not always easy to pinpoint their lifespans and how often you should buy new bras. To help you make an informed decision, here are the few telltale signs of a bra that's on its way out.
Not only are falling bra straps irritating to deal with, it's actually a telling sign that the bra needs to be replaced. It means that the straps are stretched out, so even if you tighten them, they'll constantly be falling off your shoulders.
Your bra should still feel close-fitting when it's latched onto the last hook. However, if the band in the back is frequently hiking up, or you're finding yourself adjusting your bra to stay down or in place, this is most likely a sign of a stretched-out band, and your bra needs to be switched out.
Flattened or Creased Shape
The point of a bra is to not only give support but to look and feel seamless. But if the edges of your bra are starting to fold over and show through your clothes, or you're starting to see creases in the padding, the padding is probably worn out and has lost its shape.
If your bra's underwire is poking out and causing you pain or discomfort, this is a clear sign to throw it out. Unfortunately, there is no fix for this. Even if you sew it up, the wire will just tear through the patch and come back out to bother you again.
If your bra has any holes, loose threads or fading color, it's time to swap it out.