There is nothing better than finding your perfect bra—supportive, comfortable and just the right fit. But, sadly, all good things must come to an end, even our all-time favorite bras if we don’t treat them with proper care. The upside? Investing in sexy, functional pieces that make us feel excited once again about opening up our underwear drawers. When the time does come to replace our ratty underwear and worn-out lingerie, the second best thing we can do for our undergarments is know how (and commit) to taking care of them to make them last even longer. Below are the telltale signs of when to retire your bras and the tried-and-true tips and tricks for lengthening the lifeline of your lingerie.
When to Let Go:
1. Stretched out: Elastic wears out over time, and without that sense of stretch in the straps and band, the bra won’t offer you the right amount of support.
2. Too small: Breasts change, far more than we may even notice. If a bra is causing you back pain, spillage in the cups, tightness even on the last hook, or a band that doesn’t lay flat and horizontal, it’s time to retire the lingerie.
3. Strange shape: Bra cups should always align with your breasts. If the padding or the cups have rumpled or shifted, a new bra is in order. Wear and tear shows over time—plan to replace bras every 6 months to a year, and look forward to investing in new lingerie as a reward.
How To Love Your Lingerie:
1. Switch it up: Although you may have a favorite, wearing a bra or bralette for consecutive days adds to the general wear and tear. The more you wear them, the more they stretch. Rotate the order that you wear your bras, like a sleek t-back bra to wear under racerbacks and a t-shirt demi bra for lower-cut tops. Buying your favorites in bulk, or in multiple colors, gives you more wear and helps keep your bras looking and feeling like-new.
2. Store them with love: Bras are delicate, so make sure to put them away with care. Resist the urge to fold them in half to save space. Drawer separators can come in handy if you need them. In general, think of your underwear drawer as a display case—lay your bras out flat, cups facing up. This will help them retain their shape and it’ll be easier to find what you’re looking for.
4. Commit to hand washing: Whenever possible, hand wash your bras. In a sink or basin, soak your bras in warm water with mild soapy water for a few minutes, then gently work the suds into the fabric and then rinse in cool water. For excess water, fold and gently press the bra between a towel and then lay the bras out flat to dry. This gentle washing routine will truly improve the quality and longevity of your lingerie. But be mindful not to wash bras too often—as a general rule, you should wash your bras after three or four wears.
5. Stock up on gentle supplies: The gentler the soap, the stronger the results. Mild soaps and baby shampoo work for hand washing bras, or go the extra mile and indulge in a specialty lingerie detergent. Avoid soaps that contain bleach or alcohol which can wear on the delicate fabric of a bra.
6. Break the rules with care: If you decide to wash your bras in the washing machine, use the gentlest cycle and cold water only. Hook the bra clasps in place to prevent snagging, and place them inside a mesh lingerie bag to keep them protected during the wash. Keep the load small and light—don’t include any nothing heavy items that might weigh down your bras. Avoid the dryer at all costs: high heat breaks down the bra’s elastic and spandex and cause warping.
What’s your go-to True and Co. lingerie? Share with us on Twitter @trueandco_us!