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When to Replace Your Bras

There’s nothing quite as trusty as your favorite bra. It’s comfortable, well-loved, and seems to fit you so perfectly you’ll never want to part with it. But when you think about it, just how old is your favorite well-loved bra? A few months? Maybe a few years? No matter if you just bought your first bra and want to know how long they last or if you have bras dating back to the 1900s; it’s time to know the facts. Namely, that bras don’t last forever, and the lifespan of your bras might even be shorter than you think.

There are actually many factors that affect bras and their longevity that you might not be aware of. Which can make your life difficult when you need to go shopping for a trusty new “favorite”. So no matter how you’ve come across this article, if you’ve ever found yourself wondering “What is the average lifespan of a bra?” You’ve come to the right place to get some answers.

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about bras. Everything from how long they should last and what the signs of a too old bra are to everything else you might want to know, we’ve got you covered.

How Long Do Bras Last?

Believe it or not, most bras last around 6-9 months. Crazy right? Don’t worry though, this timeline is just a general ground rule based on a couple of super specific factors that determine when a bra has exceeded its lifespan. Most of these factors are created due to a multitude of reasons. Not the least of which are the following:

  • How many bras you own: When it comes to bras, if you only have one or two and you wear a bra on a daily basis you’re probably going to wear those bras at least three times a week. However, if you have more than two bras or you wear them a lot less, then you might only wear a specific bra once a week, or maybe even once a month depending on how many bras you own. This means that the amount of bras that you own greatly affects how long they will last. To make sure your bras last a decent amount of time, just how many bras should you own? The answer is whatever you’re able to afford and what you need to fit different occasions, but on average you should aim to have at least three everyday bras.

  • How often and how long you wear your bras: As with most things, how long something lasts is going to change depending on how often you use it. The more often you use something the less time it will last and the less you use it the longer it will last. A great example of this: just think back to the last cosmetic hair product you purchased that you didn’t like, and now think about whether or not you still have it. You probably still do or you found some way to get rid of it. The same is true for bras. If you wear a bra often or consistently wear a bra for a long time, it’s not going to last as long. It’s the difference between an everyday bra and a bra that you only wear on special occasions; the bra you wear on special occasions should last way longer than your everyday one.

  • How you clean your bras: Want to hear something interesting? How you clean your clothes can actually be one of the biggest causes of damage to them. You might have encountered this if you’ve ever thrown cashmere in the washing machine and then dryer or if you accidentally melted a delicate synthetic lace. Bras are no different, in fact, they can be even more delicate than other clothes. To make sure you’re washing and caring for your bras in the best way possible, check out our guide on how to wash your bras and how best to care for them.

  • How often you clean your bras: Very similar to how you clean your bras is how often you clean them. Basically, in much the same way that wearing your bra can cause small bits of damage that accumulate over time, washing your bras all the time can also cause tiny amounts of damage that can build up over time.

  • Bust Size: Outside of being cute and sexy, the reason you’d wear a bra is because they lift and support your chest as you go about your day. This is even more so the case if you have a large chest. Which is kind of ironic because the larger your chest, the more weight your bra needs to support, and the less time it actually lasts. It’s kind of sad, but the more work a bra puts into supporting you, the earlier it needs to be retired.

  • Your taste has changed: Just as much as a bra might give out on you, you might give up on wanting to wear it. If you don’t like your bra, you won’t feel as confident or happy as you might have, and it means you won’t reach to put it on in the mornings if you have any other choice. It’s a natural cycle of your style evolution.

Signs Your Bra is Worn Out

Now that you have a solid grasp of what can determine bra longevity, let’s now look at what signs say it’s time to say goodbye to your favorite bras.

Here are the top signs that your bra is worn out:

  • The band is loose or overstretched. Every part of a bra is important but when it comes to support, one of the most integral areas is the band. If your band is loose even when you’re clasping your bra at the innermost clasp, then it’s no longer giving you the support you need and it’s time to move on.

  • The straps fall to your shoulders, no matter how many times you adjust them. Like the band, the straps of your bra help to provide support but also to provide comfort and to keep the bra in place. If your straps have lost elasticity and you’re no longer able to adjust them to the length you need, you’re likely dealing with steps that fall off your shoulder all the time and it’s time for you to shop for a replacement.

  • The cups have creases and won’t go back to their original shape. This mainly applies to molded cups, bit if your cups are unable to keep their shape your bra will no longer be able to give you the shape you’re looking for which means it’s time to say goodbye.

  • The fabric is deteriorating. Even more than the band, the fabric of your bra makes up its entire composition. If you’re noticing frayed bits of fabric like elastic breaking through, small holes, pilling, faded fabrics, or even stains that won’t go away, then it might be time to consider wearing a different bra. In the case of degrading fabrics, the main purpose of the fabric composition of a bra is the support and structure that those fabrics provide. If their condition is not what it should be then you’re not wearing a bra that actually functions as a bra.

  • The Underwire is popping out. The most dramatic sign that your bra is worn out is when an underwire bra’s underwire pops out of where it’s supposed to be. Even past the immediate discomfort or pain this might cause, your bra is no longer giving you the support you’re looking for. And while, yes, you can definitely put the underwire back and mend the hole, if your underwire popped out once, your fabric is also probably deteriorating and it’s only a quick matter of time before it happens again.

How Long Do Sports Bras Last?

As much as you might love your everyday bra, it’s probably not the only bra you wear on a semi-regular basis. Another bra you want to pay attention to is the sports bra. Surprisingly, despite the intensive activity you might be doing, a high-quality sports bra can actually have a longer lifespan than other types of bras. Whereas an everyday bra can last around 6-8 months, a well-used sports bra can last up to 12. If your sports bra isn’t well-used? Then it can even last longer. Keep in mind, however, that these dates are a guideline and not a hard-stop rule. Depending on the bra and previously mentioned factors of longevity and your sports bra could last a shorter or longer period of time.

Should I change my bra every day?

A bra's lifetime is determined by how often it’s worn. This means that changing your bra everyday can help expand the life of your bra. And in the case of wearing your bra every day or even through the night, this can often lead to excessive stretching and pulling (especially if you sleep in your bras). But regardless of what you do when you're wearing a bra, you should avoid wearing the same bra every day. Typically you want to aim for changing the bra you’re wearing twice a week and washing a bra after every 2-3 times you wear it.

Pay attention to sweat and activity levels though, if you find that you’re wearing a bra while sweating a lot you might want to consider washing your bra earlier or giving it a break between wears as opposed to wearing it two to three days in a row.

A great technique for knowing when to wear and when to wash your bras is to have a rotation going. Hang up your bras that have been worn to give them time to air out. After your bras are washed, put them in the drawer.

How often should you buy new bras?

How often you purchase a bra is entirely up to you. However, depending on how often you wear your bra and how many you have, you might want to consider buying a new bra every 6-12 months. Doing so should mean that you never run out of bras and are constantly updating your wardrobe to fit your personal needs.

How often you purchase bras is also a bit dependent on how many bras you own. When it comes to purchasing bras, you should consider your lifestyle. While many women need to have bras for workouts, backless/strapless bras, and T-Shirt bras, some only need T-Shirt bras. Consider buying a few of each type of bra, in the colors that work with your wardrobe so that you’re never left having a fashion emergency.

Shop our collection of bras today.

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