At Avokado we often get asked the question “how long should my bra last?”
It’s a fact that bras will not last forever. Over time, the fabric and elastic will start to break down which will impact on the fit of the bra, as well as the support it offers. Some manufacturers put a date on this including Gossard (a bra manufacturer based in the UK) who say “Bras have a life span of around 6 months and, as a rule of thumb, should never see a birthday”.
I definitely have bras that have celebrated a birthday so I guess our answer to the question is- it depends!
There are many things which can affect the life span of your bra;
How often you wear your bra
If you are like me, it is likely that you will wear your bra between 12-15 hours a day. If you only have one bra that you are wearing every day then your bra is clocking up approximately 100 hours a week!! Wearing it this often will speed up the degradation of the elastic and the process of general ‘wear and tear’ will kick in much earlier.
I read recently that your body temperature will heat up the elastic in your bra causing it to stretch. The elastic needs a good day and a half to cool down in order to return to it’s original shape, so if you want your bras to give you maximum support, make sure you are giving it a breather in between wears.
Make sure you have a few bras to rotate: a minimum of 3 will ensure that you are giving your bras enough time to relax in between wears (I am a lingerie addict so have about 10 bras which is why some of them have lasted so long!)
How you wash your bra
We STRONGLY recommend that with all lingerie, you hand wash your items for best results. Putting a bra in the washing machine will cause the fabrics to break down much quicker than if you washed your bras by hand. Strong detergents can wreak havoc on the elastic in your bra and the wires can get caught or jammed against other items, which will weaken them and in extreme cases snap them or force them through the fabric. If you must use a washing machine then make sure you use a lingerie bag, a mild detergent and set it to a cool wash…but beware: On rare occasions, items can still be damaged in any type of washing machine, which is why hand washing is best 🙂
Make sure you wash your lingerie by hand in a basin or even in the shower! Always let your bras dry naturally away from tumble dryers or heated radiators/towel rails.
How you put your bra on
Generally, the correct way of putting your bras on is to put your arms through the arm holes, lean forward, scoop your boobs into the wires, straighten up and fasten at the back. This way ensures there is no unnecessary stretching or tension placed on the fabrics. A lot of women struggle with this method as it requires a certain level of flexibility to reach your arms behind your back so another way that people put their bras on is by fastening the bra at the front and swiveling it into place at the front, before sliding up and placing arms in the holes. This is okay but will stretch the band out quicker than the first method.
There is one way that people put their bra on that is an absolute no no and that is ‘flipping’! If you do your bra up at the front with the bra upside down and swivel it round to the front and then ‘flip’ the wires up into place, this will ruin your bra very quickly by stretching out the band, bending or snapping the wires and pulling the cups out of shape. This is literally sooooo bad for your bras that we have erected signs in our fitting rooms to warn people against this! If you do this then your bras really do not have a good life expectancy!
How you store your bra
This really only applies to moulded cup or T shirt bras which have a set ‘shape’ or contour. If you are shoving these types of bras into a drawer where the cups are being squashed, over time this will cause the cups to permanently lose their shape.
Try hanging your bras up or pop them somewhere where they can lie flat with no items placed on top of the cups. When travelling, pop one of the cups into the other and fill the space with socks or undies to try and maintain the shape in transit.
What you use your bra for
Some bras will hold up better in some situations than others. For example, I would definitely not recommend going for a run in your nice everyday bra because this is not what it is designed to do! If you are a really active person then it is worth investing in a good sports bra, rather than relying on your everyday bras to do the job. By putting additional pressure on your bra, it will speed up the breakdown of the fabric and elastic and shorten it’s lifespan.
And just while we are talking about sports bras, it is recommended that you change your sports bras approximately every 6-9 months (about the same time you are recommended to change your trainers if you are a runner). This ensures that the fabric remains in tip top condition so it can provide you with the maximum level of support that you need.
To increase the life of your sports bra, treat it in the same way as your lingerie- have a few bras to rotate, hand wash and store well!
How to know when to replace your bra
If you follow all of the above tips then your bra should have a decent lifespan, but the day will come when it is time to say goodbye and move on! If the following is happening to you, then its time to pop in to see us for another fitting;
- The bra is now hooked on the tightest set of ‘eyes’ and feels a bit loose or is rubbing/chafing when you move or you notice the back band of the bra keeps riding up your back as you move around
- The straps cannot be tightened any further because the elastic has stretched them out too much
- The bra is not giving you the uplift and support you are used to
- The wires have snapped or have poked through the fabric
Hopefully this blog post has been useful- I wish your bras a long and happy life!