I remember the very first time I retired a bra. Purchased in the the tween section of Target, what was once a beautiful neon-pink number with gold stars had degraded into a faded, stretched out shadow of its former self. Even though the garment brought me heaps of discomfort (boo you, underwire), it was hard to say goodbye. The bra had loved me faithfully; now, I had to let go.
The circle of (undergarment) life should repeat itself every six to eight months, according to Jessica Pfister, vice president of lingerie brand Le Mystere. “When your bra is worn out, you are not getting the support or shape you need to give your clothes a good foundation to rest on,” she says.
In other words, a bra kept for too long ultimately defeats its one, true purpose. So if you’ve been holding onto Old Faithful for quite some time, Pfister says that a few signs indicate that it’s time to recycle the closet staple and move on in life and lingerie.
4 signs that you should replace an old bra, according to a lingerie expert
1. Your cups are bulging or gaping
“If it’s bulging, the cup is too small or your straps are too tight,” says Pfister. Gaping, on the other hand, indicates that the cups are too big.
2. The underwire doesn’t lay flat against your chest
Pfister says that the underwire in your bra should cup the breast tissue and rest on the ribcage. There should be no bunching. “The bra band should hug firmly around body, anchoring the bra cup and underwire in place,” she says.
3. Your straps are slipping… even though you’ve tightened them all the way
Slipping straps are a disgrace, period. “If your straps are correctly adjusted, you should only be able to fit two fingers under the strap,” says the lingerie expert. If yours keep falling down your shoulders no matter your tightening efforts, it’s time to bid adieu to your bra.
4. The back “wings” of the bra are arching upwards
“After about 6 to 8 months of regular wear, the elastics on your bra are just not as strong as they used to be, so chances are that your wings are no longer laying horizontally across you back. When this occurs, you find the back of your bra hiking up towards your shoulder blades and your breast drooping forward. This is the perfect time to head to the store and get measured by a fit professional,” says Pfister.
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