It might seem like an odd topic to broach, but if you ask around, you might be surprised at how most women don’t know when they should be replacing the bras in their wardrobe.
Guess what, though: They are not exactly wrong, because there isn’t a definite time span by which you should do so.
It really depends on a few factors, including the quality and make of the undergarment, which will directly influence how long it will last you. At the same time, the frequency of wear and level of rotation you put your bras on will also directly affect how quickly they wear out.
For example, if you find yourself always reaching for the same few basic bras despite owning a drawer full of other options. This naturally means that those essential pieces are likely to wear out way ahead of the other bras that you wear much less often.
How you wash your bras also impact their lifespan. Hand-washing will, of course, be the best option – otherwise, you can zip them up in a laundry bag before putting them on the gentle cycle in the washing machine. Tossing them into the dryer is not a good idea, as the heat will break down the elastic over time.
As a general guideline, you should check your bras to see if they need replacing around the six-month mark.
They may need to be replaced for reasons other than wear and tear – weight fluctuation or body changes as a woman moves through different stages of life are two important ones. Wearing an ill-fitting bra doesn’t just create an unflattering silhouette, it can also lead to health issues such as neck ache or backache because of a wrong fit or inadequate support.
Trust us, you will be able to see and feel it when the time comes to replace your bra. Just pay attention to these signs and try not to put off shopping for new ones for too long.
THE BAND HAS GOTTEN LOOSER
For most people, the band on the bra tends to deteriorate the fastest in comparison to the other parts of the undergarment. You should already know this tip by now – when buying a new bra, always ensure that you can wear it with the band secured on the outermost hook.
Doing so will ensure that there’s as much room as possible to adjust the fit so as to compensate for the inevitable, gradual slackening of the elastic in the band that goes around your back. If you’re already wearing your bra on the innermost hook, it’s about time you replaced it.
THE STRAPS ARE STRETCHED OUT
Bra straps constantly slipping off your shoulders are a sure sign that they have lost much of their elasticity. If you’ve already tightened them as far as possible, it’s high time to toss out your bra. In some cases, you may be able to simply replace the straps and make the bra go a longer way – but don’t let that allow you to hold on to one that’s visibly reached its expiry date.
THE CUPS HAVE LOST THEIR SHAPE
Whether they are padded or not, the cups will stretch out with wear over time. This means that the bra will no longer be as supportive as when it was first purchased and worn. Once the cups stretch out, they may not fit your boobs as perfectly as before.
You might see gaps or “depression” lines that are caused by the upper rim of the cups pressing down on your breasts. These fit issues can become apparent through your clothes, when you’re wearing an outfit in a stretchy or drapey fabric.
Padding will also thin out over time or may develop a wrinkled or lumpy appearance with repeated washing – it’s not a good look especially if you’re wearing a tighter-fitting top or dress. In case you didn’t know it, it’s also a glaring signal to others that you’re wearing an old bra that’s clearly due to be chucked.
THE FABRIC IS VISIBLY WORN OUT
So what if the fabric on your bra cups is pilling? No one can see it anyway, right? You’re wrong if you think that. Pilling can show up as unsightly texture under your clothing, particularly those in a thin or stretchy fabric. Besides that, it’s simply a fashion and personal-grooming don’t.
What you wear underneath your clothes can affect how your silhouette looks, as well as the impression you make on others. Such are the little details that people may glimpse on closer interaction with you, even if they, of course, won’t be constantly staring at your boobs.
YOU’VE LOST WEIGHT, OR PUT ON A FEW POUNDS
Weight fluctuation happens to the best of us, whether you’re on a diet, had too much to eat in the recent months, have recently gotten pregnant or are currently going through menopause.
For most women, the boobs are often the first area of the body to change, following weight loss or gain. This means that it’s important to replace your bras when either happens, so as to ensure wearing comfort.
There’s no point in putting up with a too-tight bra while trying to lose the extra pounds you’ve packed on of late. Buy a couple of bras in your new size and wear them for now, and save those that you previously wore for when you’ve finally lost the weight. Because, as we all know it, an ill-fitting bra can be an absolute pain to wear.
YOUR BREASTS HAVE CHANGED
It’s inevitable that a woman may experience changes to her bosom because of age and hormonal fluctuations. Over time, breasts may lose fat, causing breast tissues to lose elasticity and skin around the chest area becomes thinner. Besides some level of sagging, the girls may become less firm and either get bigger or smaller depending on the individual (since hormonal changes may also cause bloating or weight fluctuations).
When the usual cup or band size no longer fits, it’s best to get refitted for a new bra size that will better suit your needs. Sometimes, you might find that a different bra style may be what you require instead — for example a more-supportive, full-coverage bra, while others who have lost breast volume may prefer a bra with padding that provides extra lift.
It’s wise to get a refitting every year or so – no matter what your age is – as a professional will be able to spot any fit issues that you might have missed. Get a fitting, too, if you’re shopping for bras from a brand that you’ve never worn – fit and size can vary slightly from brand to brand and a minor variation can make a whole lot of difference.
In fact, do it whenever you feel that your bras are fitting differently or uncomfortably. It doesn’t cost you anything and will save you the money you might spend on buying a bunch of bras that are still of the wrong fit.