Bra Myths 101: Bras should last forever

Bras are works of wonder and excellent engineering, but like all things wonderful and excellent bras are not meant to last beyond a certain point. It would be lovely if we could have three bras for our whole life but it is, unfortunately, completely unrealistic to think our wonderful feats of engineering are meant to last more than a few measly months. You may need new bras because your old ones are falling apart or simply lost/gained weight.

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Do you know how long your bras should last?

That being said we all have our favorite bra, the one that looks good, feels good, does amazing things to our decolletage, and we have had FOREVER. Probably longer than we should and we refuse to give it up or just don’t realize that the ‘life expectancy’ of the bra has expired. The life expectancy of a bra is the length of time a bra supports you properly and to its fullest capabilities. This of course is determined by a few factors: how you wear it, how often you wear it, how many bras you have and how often you wash it.
How you wear your bras. You should be wearing your lacy or moulded cup bras for your normal daytime activities. You shouldn’t be wearing them for activities that you will cause you to sweat profusely or for high impact activities. So make sure you have a dedicated sports bra for your trips to the gym, going for long hikes, kayaking or even work if you have a labor intensive job.
How often you wear your bras: Ideally you will wear your bra one day then let it rest for at least one day, this is assuming you have only two bras. If you have multiple bras try and let your favorites rest longer, this will allow them to last longer!
How many bras you have: If you have two bras they will last you maybe 6-8 months, so if you find a bra you love it might be a good idea to get another in the same cut. We recommend a minimum of two bras but ideally three just because it’s nice to have a good bra on laundry day too. The more bras you have in your regular rotation, the longer they will last you.
How often you wash your bras: Believe it or not this actually makes a big difference in how long your bras will last you. Never washing them means your bras will never be free of all the sweat, oils and dead skin which will make the elastic and other materials degrade faster. So washing your bras every 2-3 wears will help them last a good long time.

How you wash your bras: While washing machines are fairly quick and convenient they aren’t always the gentlest on your bras. Hooks can get caught on lace or other clothing and can cause some serious damage. Putting your bras into a lingerie bag will help prevent extra wear during washing. Hand washing will be the gentlest on your items in the long run. But the biggest thing to remember is NEVER put your bras in the dryer!
Here are a few signs your favorite bra has reached the point of giving up: you’ve reached the last set of hook and eye attachments and the band is beginning to ride up, the shoulder straps are falling of your shoulders and never used to, the underwire pokes out or is bent, the fabric is falling apart or has lost its elasticity, and it just doesn’t feel like it’s supporting you like it used to.

When you’ve reached the last set of hook and eye attachments and the band is riding up, doing the bridge or looking like a rainbow, it’s definitely time to get a new bra! You have hopefully been noticing how your bra doesn’t quite fit as well as it did when you first bought it a few months ago and have moved from the first set to the second set of hook and eye attachments. Typically this happens every few months, longer if you have more bras, and it should make the bra feel supportive again. After you’ve gone to the last set of hook and eye and the band is beginning to feel loose it’s time for a new bra!
The shoulder straps falling off is another sign that the bra is getting old. Once those straps stretch out too far they’re more likely to slide around and slip off your shoulders. If you can no longer keep them taut but comfortable it’s probably time to look for a replacement.
If the underwire is poking out at any point it is time for a new bra! Underwires do not belong outside of the bra and if you have sewn it in because you love the bra please say goodbye and find a new favorite!
When the fabric is beginning to fall apart it is definitely time for a new bra. This may happen sooner than many of the other signs, especially if you aren’t washing your bras regularly or are using them for things they aren’t meant to be used for. When the lace loses its elasticity, the foam of the cup begins to crease or dimple, the band no longer stretches and the fabrics generally look like they are dingy and fraying it’s time to look into getting a new bra.

Finally, when the bra just doesn’t feel like it’s supporting you like it used to then you should absolutely be thinking about getting a new bra!
Bras are amazing and are also a support garment because of this they cannot last forever. So even if it is your absolute most favorite bra in the whole wide world if any of these symptoms are showing on your bra come on in and see us at Bustin’ Out Boutique so we can find a you a new favorite bra!

– WRITTEN BY LINDSEY BURNET, CO-OWNER OF BUSTIN’ OUT BOUTIQUE AND LOVER OF ALL THINGS LINGERIE.

Bra Myths 101: Padded bras

There is a saying in the lingerie industry in regards to bras in the United States, “Everyone wants something smooth and nude” There is this innate belief that having a beige colored molded cup bra is a staple in every woman’s wardrobe however this style is predominantly only seen in the US market. Because of this there are a lot of myths floating around about foam injected bras, the top one we hear is “Lacy/sheer bras just aren’t supportive.”
We aren’t saying molded cup bras don’t serve a purpose in the world of lingerie, they create a very smooth finish, they can provide a rounded silhouette to the breasts and sometimes they are the only bras that will work with that one shirt (you know the one).
However, the issue with molded cup bras is right in the name itself, they are molded pre-shaped pieces of foam, and not all of us have breasts that match the shape of these bras. Some of us have breast tissue that is more dense and doesn’t quite fill out the cups, some of us have less fullness on the top part of our breasts and it leaves a lot of gaping and shifting around of the bra throughout the day. Some of us have very pendulous breasts and with molded cups there just isn’t enough depth to the cup. This can cause pressure against the breast tissue all day long, or even when the wires are the correct size, the breast tissue wants to escape and for a lot of us although it is what we are used to, it is not the only way.

Support: As with all bras the support is coming from the band and the straps to help hold up the breast tissue. Now there are definitely a few lacy bras out there that can provide a little bit more shimmy and shake. However, in our our experience lacy or cut and sewn bras can be just as supportive and comfortable to wear as a molded cup bra (and they’re a lot easier to store in an underwear drawer).

Seams have a purpose: The placement of seams on a bra along with the materials used will allow for more or less projection of our breast tissue in the cups. Vertical seams can help shape our breast tissue upwards, horizontal or arched seams allow for more room in the cup so our breasts aren’t squished flatter. With seamed bras there can be more freedom, they can allow for a more natural breast shape underneath clothing, you can use the seams to hide your nipples.

Breathe-ability: A non-padded bra allows for more airflow, which makes them excellent choices for hot days, whereas with padded bra you can end up sweating a lot more. Which can make for a lot of discomfort depending on the top you’re pairing it with.

Bulking up: No matter what your bra size, a molded cup bra will add some bulk to your breast tissue and can make them appear larger. If you’re trying to reduce the size of your breast tissue those lacier and sheerer fabrics will definitely help achieve that goal.

Fabric makes a difference: Some bras have lace all over and sometimes this is a soft and stretchy lace, however in a higher quality garment there will be an additional layer of fabric to help with the integrity of the lace and will help maintain the shape and support of the bra for a longer period of time. A stiffer fabric either all over the cup or on the side and bottom of the cup can help provide a firmer feel to the cup throughout the day while still providing a little more breathing room, however with a stiffer fabric cup there is less forgiveness in the fabric and if it doesn’t fit 100% perfectly for your breast shape then it’s time to make a judgement call.

When to Replace Your Bras

So you have some great bras that fit really well! But when is it time to replace our faithful and supportive bosom buddies?

  • The hooks are damaged: Hooks are what keep your bra together and keep your band clasped! If they’ve become bent out of shape or have torn out of your bra they can’t do their job!
  • The wire is popping out: Now sometimes this can just be a faulty bra and if it happens within the first month or two of wear usually it’s a manufacturing error (if that happens to a bra you purchased from us let us know ASAP and bring it in). But if you’ve had that bra for over 6 months or year it’s time to toss it aside.
  • The band is no longer snug: Bras contain elastic and it’s only a matter of time before it gets stretched out beyond the point of being supportive. Starting your bra on the loosest set of hooks means you should be bringing it in a notch about once every 2-3 months or sooner if you have fewer bras.
  • Significant weight gain or weight loss: Our bodies change and your bra doesn’t always shrink or grow the way we need it to if it’s too tight or too loose it’s time to get a new one.
  • Obvious signs of damage: Torn seams, stains, broken wires, holes, rips or tears, or the cups are becoming misshapen. 
  • When your bust is drooping and your bra no longer does its job: Bras are designed to lift and support and if your bra isn’t doing that it’s time to replace it.

Did you know a bra is designed to last 6 -12 months? There are various factors that will affect how long your bras last you!

  • Number of bras you regularly wear: if you only have 3  bras that you regularly rotate between you’re wearing each bra for 121 days! Just adding 2 more bras to your rotation means you’ll be wearing each bra for a total of 73 days a year! That adds almost 2 months of life to each bra!
  • Cup size: If you have more breast tissue to support your bras are doing a lot more work and will have more everyday strain.
  • Nursing: Not only can your breast size increase with nursing, but the breast tissue is also holding milk, adding more weight for your bras to support in addition to the daily adjusting and readjusting that can occur with unfastening and refastening clasps.
  • Washing: How you wash and dry your bras will drastically affect how long they last! Ever pull a pair of tights or underwear out of the dryer and have the elastic snap or poke out of the fabric the next time you try to wear them? Heat from dryers will make the elastic more brittle causing them to lose their firmness. Washing Machines can cause hooks to get caught and torn.