How often you should replace your bra
— and 4 signs it’s time
When you truly love something, it can be hard to accept when it’s time to part ways — especially when that something is a bra that actually fits you perfectly. But if you’ve been hoarding the misshapen bras you bought back in 2010, it’s time to let them go. Even though 82% of people we surveyed wear only 1–2 bras per week, and 70% said their bra is 2-5 years old, it’s not exactly best practice. Even with the best care, bras lose their shape over time and don’t support you as much as they should. In fact, if you are wearing the same 2-3 bras every day, you should be retiring your bras after just six to nine months.
Here are 4 signs it’s time to replace your bra:
1. The straps are too loose.
Bra straps are made of elastic, in part because our breasts naturally change size and shape over time. The stretchy material helps keep your boobs supported without digging into your shoulders some days and falling off them on others. But the elastic in your bra straps was designed to stretch and return to its original size. And after extended use, it loses its stretch and stops holding you up as well. Adding other elements like water and heat to the equation (yes, even the accidental dryer ride) only make elastics deteriorate faster.
2. You’re on the tightest hook and the band is still loose.
The straps aren’t the only part of your bra that loses its stretch. We chatted with expert bra fitter Kim Caldwell of Hurray Kimmay, who has shared her expertise with the likes of Tim Gunn, Rachel Rae, and Oprah. She said, “The biggest factor in a poorly fitting bra is the band stretching out and no longer being able to do its job.” “The band of your bra is responsible for a lot of the support — almost 90%! So, if that is stretched out, it will ride up — causing the straps to slip and fall, and cups to fall forward, and underwires to fall in and dig.”
3. The bra just doesn’t look the same.
Although a bra’s elasticity is usually the first thing to go, you may have been wearing a stretched-out bra so long, you don’t even remember what it felt like to begin with.
In this case, a good test is to simply see how the bra looks. Is the fabric pilling? Are the cups misshapen? Is it actually falling apart?
Some of you told us that you have reattached straps with safety pins, or taken in your band yourself once it got too loose. And while we’re impressed with your skill, it’s time to let it go. Your boobs will thank you.
4. Does your cup runneth over? Or is your cup half-full?
Just like your bras, your boobs also change in shape and size over time. Weight fluctuations, hormones, aging, and having children can affect your breast size, which can also make an older bra suddenly feel uncomfortable and unsupportive.
Your size can also change based on the brand and style, so don’t be alarmed if the size you thought you were turns out to be a little different. The number doesn’t matter, but the way it feels does.
We recommend trying different sizes once a year to ensure you’re still buying the right one. So, go ahead and clean out that top drawer!
And remember to Recycle, Bra.