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When to Retire and Replace Your Bras

Mornings are often a busy time, and having a bra wardrobe that offers only well-fitted, comfortable styles can make those busy mornings just a little bit lighter. We suggest evaluating your bra wardrobe every six months to ensure you make a great choice every morning, no matter which of your bras you wear.

Here are three questions to ask yourself when evaluating a bra and deciding whether or not to keep it:

Does the bra fit?

This is always the first question. If a bra no longer fits, not only is it uncomfortable to wear, but you will likely be tugging and pulling at it throughout the day. Wearing a well-fitting bra ensures that you feel comfortable throughout the day and spend less time and energy thinking about and fussing with your bra.

Try the bra on and determine if you encounter any of the common fit issues described in our blog posts: Bras that Bother, Part 1 and Part 2. If you experience any of the described fit issues, the bra doesn’t fit and you will want to be re-fitted for new styles.

Though I loved this bra, I have changed size too much for it to be a comfortable fit or work well under clothes.

Is it too worn out?

Obvious wear is an indicator that a bra is at the end of its life. If your bra has broken wires or clasps; any holes, rips, or tears; stretched fabric on the band or cup; or if the cups are curling out away from your body, those are signs that it has been well worn and needs to be retired.

There's some less obvious wear that would let you know that it’s time to let go of a particular bra, too. La Lingerie recommends that you purchase bras on the loosest set of hooks. This is because the band will stretch out over time. As the band stretches, you can use the tighter sets of hooks to keep it fitting well. Eventually, however, the band will stretch so much that it is actually too loose on the tightest set of hooks. When the bra is no longer tight enough on the tightest set of hooks, it is time to say goodbye.

Additionally, what can happen with fabrics that have less stretch to begin with is that the elastic can break down and wear out completely. This can happen just with wear, but is more often due to improper washing. For example, using very cold water when washing your bras can freeze the elastic and make it brittle. Read our blog post on how to hand wash your bras.

When the elastic is worn out, the band can become very uncomfortable to wear even if it is the correct fit around your body because the fabric no longer stretches with you as you move and breathe. Pull the band away from the wire when it is not on you to check if the fabric has any give. If it has little to no give or stretches only a little, that is an indicator that the elastic is worn out and would be uncomfortable to wear.

Based on the slight unfurling of the stitching along the bottom of the band when pulled, you can see that this band still has some stretch left, but not much. It is almost at the end of its life.

Does it serve a purpose?

Even if a bra fits and is in good condition to wear, it still might not be worth keeping. Your bras don’t always need to “spark joy” in you, but it’s important to want to wear them. Beyond comfort (which comes with a good fit), the desire is to have bras that work with you and your clothes.

Does the bra look good under your clothes and give you your desired shape? Does it make you feel beautiful, confident, or sexy? Yes? Wonderful! Keep it!

Do you dislike the color or feel that isn’t flattering on your skin tone? Does the style of the bra clash with your own personal style? Then it’s time to find some better-for-you options.

Did this article help you weed out old or ill-fitting styles? Rather than tossing bras in the trash, consider one of these options:

  1. Keep bras in case they might fit again in the future.
  2. Give them to a friend.
  3. Donate them.
  4. If they are worn out and no longer wearable, keep them out of the landfill and recycle them.

Are you now down to only one or two bras? Explore La Lingerie’s bra collection! A fitter is standing by to help you find a great fit!

~ Trillian & the la lingerie team

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