How to Know When It’s Time to Toss Your Bra

How to Know when it's time to toss your bra

Finding the perfect, wear-all-day bra is a feat that deserves an award or at least a solid high five or an energetic whoo-hoo.

It is one of those elusive mystical fashion dilemmas- like finding the perfect jeans or the perfect swimsuit.

A comfortable, well-fitting bra is a fashion unicorn, so when you finally find one that fits just right and is comfortable it can be hard to let it go of it.

Most women (82% actually) have a couple of favorite bras that they wear in constant rotation.  These are “everyday bras”  of course they also own a strapless, a racer back, a push-up and other “special occasion” bras but 2 seems to be the magic number of bras they wear on repeat- typically one nude and one black.

These two bras do alot of day in day out heavy lifting.  Long days at work, running errands, etc.

But, if you’ve been wearing the same two bras on rotation for years, you should give your boobs a little more love and support (literally and figuratively). They deserve more than stretched-out bra bands and straps that just won’t stay on your shoulders.

Bra’s have an expiration date just like everything else. But how do you know when your bra has reached that date?  It’s not like there is an expiration sticker on it.

I read a study that stated 70% of women keep their bras 2-5 years! Yikes!

A typical “everyday” bra should last for about six months to a year before it’s time to replace it. If you’re rotating your bras (as you should be doing every few days) then your bras can last even longer.

Your bra will start to show signs that it’s expiration date has arrived. You just need to listen to the cues.

There are 8 ways that your bra will tell you when it’s time to toss it:

It’s too small or too big.

You may be hanging onto a bra that fit you perfectly decades ago, maybe you paid alot of money for it so the idea of tossing it stings a little. Our bodies change over time due to age, working out a lot, having a baby and the like. When you’ve gained weight, lost weight, or your breast shape has changed your bra needs change too. Ladies, your boobs have moved on to bigger or smaller greener pastures. I have told you before DO NOT KEEP THINGS THAT DON’T FIT!  Toss it!

It has lost it’s shape.

When your bra has been washed so many times that it has pills, lumps and the cups are uneven or if you are constantly tugging and pulling at your bra it has lost it’s shape. This bra is now giving you ZERO support.  Say bye bye.

It has lost it’s elasticity.

If the straps and back are no longer stretchy and snappy, then you aren’t getting the support you need. All elastic, no matter how expensive the bra, will eventually wear out.  when this happens it is time to part ways.

It looks old.

If the bra is fraying, the lace has holes, it has started to yellow or you can see any sort of crinkle or a permanent crease in the padding your bra it’s telling you “I am done”.  Please let it retire.

There are gapes in the cups.

Your bra cups should fit snugly and comfortably against your skin. If there is any weird gapes at the sides, or the ladies are overflowing or underflowing (flowing out the bottom) your bra isn’t fitting properly and it needs to go.

It Hurts.

This should go without saying but if your bra hurts it’s time to throw it away.  If the underwire is poking through and stabbing you in your side it needs to go. A bra should not hurt or make you feel sore.

When your bra stops “smiling”.

When the U of the wire is no longer in a perfect U shape around each breast (AKA: your wires have lost their smile), they have expired. Nobody wants a sad bra.

When you are feeling down.

Anytime you need a shot of self-esteem, throw out or donate your old bras and buy new ones that are better, prettier, and more comfortable. You’ll be amazed what a boost in confidence this will give you.

Proper washing and care for your bra is important to extend it’s life.  Bras collect oils from our skin and residue from our deodorant, so regular washing helps to keeps them in tip-top shape but you don’t need to wash your bra after every wear, it will wear out the fabrics and elastics in your bras sooner. You only need to wash your bra every few wears.

NEVER just throw your bra in the washing machine with a load of laundry.  Either wash your bra with a lingerie wash by hand (fill a sink with warm water and lingerie soap, add your bra into the water, letting it sit for about 15 minutes and then rinsing it out with cold water out and hang to dry) OR by placing it in a lingerie bag adding lingerie wash on the GENTLE cycle and sending it through the the wash with nothing else in the machine.  Hang to dry.

How to Know When It's Time to Toss Your Bra

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.

I have something to share that is not only exciting but also REVOLUTIONARY!

In the past disposing of old bras sustainably was next to impossible but now Harper Wilde (the Warby Parker of bras ) has teamed up with t-shirt recycling brand For Days to create a new bra recycling program!   Harper Wilde invites women to send them their bras, whether or not they were made by Harper Wilde.

Those old bras will be sent to a recycling facility where they will be turned into new products and kept out of landfills. And since Harper Wilde has a free trial program that offers return shipping, it’s easy for customers to send old bras to the warehouse in the same package which further reduces waste!

Click to shop a few of my favorite bras and bra life extending products: 

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10 Comments

  1. This post really helps me a lot! I’ve been wearing this one bra for so long and never thought when I would get a new one. So thanks for this

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