For a piece of clothing the majority of women wear every single day, we actually don't pay nearly enough attention to our bras. I'm not ready to admit how often I replace mine, but spoiler alert, it's far from often enough. If you can relate, it's time to read up on the biggest bra mistakes you're making, according to experts, because I'm pretty sure we could all be a lot more comfortable in the boob department on a daily basis.
From not trying on bras to wearing the same bra for years without replacing it, most of us are actually making some bra mistakes that are costing us comfort, time, and not looking great in the process, says Jené Luciani, author of the bestselling The Bra Book in an interview with Romper. Luciani is passionate about getting the right fit when it comes to bras and exclaims, "I could talk for hours about this!" I broke down her top tips to get you into a better bra fast.
There's even a recommendation for how often you should wash your bras. At this point in motherhood, I tend to wash them only when they're obviously dirty, like when the baby has drooled down my décolletage during a particularly gooey baby-wearing afternoon. I hope I'm not the only one who needed this push to the washing machine today!
1. Not Trying Them On
We're all pretty pressed for time, so it's really tempting to zip into a store, pick one you think looks fine and then wear it for three years. But Luciani says you're missing the mark if you don't try on a bra before buying it (or at least before committing to it). "You have to invest the extra few minutes to try [it] on, and check for the signs of [a] proper fit," she says.
2. Wearing The Same Bra For Years
Another common mistake women make is wearing the same bra for years. Luciani explains, "Our bras are not meant to last forever; they have a shelf life." You should look for a few easy-to-spot signs that your bra needs to be replaced, like "underwire poking through fabric, crinkled cups, stretched out straps, bent or broken closures and fraying of the material." In fact, according to Brooke Glassberg, editor of the site Bare Necessities, "Most give up the ghost around the two-year mark; your everyday go-tos might meet the end of the bra life cycle in just six months!"
3. Thinking You're Still The Same Size
Many women don't stay the same bra size for their whole lives, which is why you need to get measured by a bra expert every so often, especially if you've had a baby, are about to have a baby, or have had any weight gain or loss. "You can easily measure yourself, too," says Luciani. "The rule of thumb is once a year," she says, because age, life changes, or just losing or gaining five pounds can affect your size.
4. Thinking You're The Same Size In All Brands
Just like jeans, we might fit into slightly different sizes depending on the brand. The same goes for bras, and Luciani explains you should use the size you are measured as a starting point. "Once you get measured, use that size as a guideline for bra shopping. It’s not a be all end all as women can be different sizes in different styles and brands." Again, you've got to do some trying on in order to make sure you're not making this mistake.
5. Not Paying Attention To The Fit
Getting a bra that fits just right, even when you know roughly what size you are, can be tricky. Luciani explains, "The band should feel snug but not tight, and be straight across your back and not riding up. The underwire should be flush against [the] rib cage with no breast tissue billowing out the top or bottom. The straps should not be digging in or sliding off. Raise your arms and make sure the bra doesn’t move and even jump up and down if you want to make sure everything stays in place!" If your bra passes the jump test, you're ready to take it out on the road.
6. Not Washing Your Bras Properly
Most of us will admit we probably don't wash our bras nearly as often as we should, but most of us will also admit we have no idea how often we should be washing our bras. It's not only important to wash them regularly for hygiene, but it preserves the quality and longevity of your bra. Says Luciani, "If you care for your bras properly, they will last longer!" And how often is that recommendation? Every second or third wear, and by hand, according to brassiere expert Danny Koch in an interview with Real Simple. But it doesn't have to be a 30-minute commitment. Just a 4-5 minute wash and rinse in the bathroom sink is plenty.
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.