True story: I hoard my underwear. I can't help it. For some reason, I feel like I'm never going to have the right bra or the proper pair of knickers. If I don't have a pair of each for every possible occasion, I freak out a little. Ball gown? I've got a bra for that. Marathon? Let me show you my collection. Going to the international space station? OK, there's no gravity so I don't need one in space. But in all seriousness, how many bras should you own? Because my underwear drawer — much like my cup — overfloweth.
The name of the game when it comes to bras is variety. You need a bra for each different type of garment and occasion, and this means different things for different people. If you primarily dress in button down shirts and never have a need for a backless bra, you can probably get away with just a few solid everyday bras and some sports bras. However, if you're one to change up your look, you'll require significantly more lingerie in your arsenal. You also need to make sure your bra fits well and are in good condition, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
As per the website of the Cleveland Clinic, "Breast tissue needs to be supported throughout the day. An ill-fitting bra can lead to all sorts of problems. For example, breast pain can occur if your bra is too loose or too tight." They suggest employing the use of a good bra fitter to determine your needs and your proper sizing.
It should be noted that you don't need to wash your bra after every wear either. Not only is it unnecessary, it will wear out the fabrics and elastics in your bras sooner. According to Good Housekeeping, you only need to wash it every few wears. And they already wear out far faster than you assume they do. Worn regularly, bras have a lifespan of about six to nine months, according to manufacturer Bare Necessities. That means that if you have a few go-to bras, they're likely already done for. To test this, examine the stretch and hold of the straps and the elastic near the clasps. If you have to put it to the last hook closure and you still have space, it's time for a new bra. Alternatively, if your straps are fully adjusted and still slipping off, you need a new bra or an entirely new fitting — perhaps both.
The Cleveland Clinic warns that "breast droop can occur if the breasts are not held firmly in place... Physical changes in a woman’s body can also affect proper bra fit. A woman’s shape and weight can change over time. Even a 10-pound weight gain or weight loss can change how your bra fits."
This can be especially trying if you're talking about breastfeeding, postpartum weight loss, and nursing bras. Because not only do you have to buy an entirely new boob wardrobe, but the constant tugging and pulling and regular laundering means they wear out a bit sooner. Not to mention weight fluctuations. Best to stock up.
There are dozens of different types of bras on the market, and they may not all work for you. For instance, I am shaped thin and require a lot of assistance to get the look of curvy appeal I like, so I tend to wear a lot of padded, push-up bras in different styles. My best friend, however, has been graced with ample bosom, and if she wore the style of bra I wear, she might break her jaw if she leaned too far forwards.
How many bras should you own in general? You need enough bras so that you have both variety and enough bras for wash day. About three bras per each style you wear the most, and one of each style of bras you need, but don't wear that often, as per the bra specialist at Macy's Herald Square. Go to a lingerie department you trust and get fitted. Make sure the bras you have fit properly and have good support if you need it. Invest in a good lingerie bag for your washing up, or hand wash your delicates and dry them flat. You don't need a ton of bras, but the ones you have should fit and be treated with care.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.