I remember buying my first bra. Well actually, my Mum bought it and I focused on the task of picking from an array of primary coloured patterns in the only style I was allowed (no padding and no underwiring, of course). It was 2002, and the only places I could shop with pride were New Look (9-15) and Tammy Girl. Those two brands were enough. I was excited to shop for bras.
Fast forward to 2018, and bra shopping is completely a different story. Four trips to Victoria’s Secret, a boob job and two ASOS deliveries later, and I don’t have a best bra that I fully trust to look after my boobs. That's not to say these brands are not amazing, it's just difficult to shop for bras. I generally ask myself five questions when a bra catches my eye:
1. How much does it cost?
2. Will it fit?
3. Will it dig in?
4. Do I have any knickers to match?
5. Can I wash it without it falling apart?
When I’ve finaaaaaally found a bra that is beautiful, supportive and comfortable- I’m most concerned with number five. A good bra should last 6-8 months if you treat it right; we’ve gathered some tips on how to make it last even longer.
Bras are an investment these days- so you may choose to splurge rather than replacing your Primark number every few weeks/months. And with it taking so long to find the `perfect` bra in the first place, it makes sense not to put yourself through the whole rigmarole again and again. Having a bra that fits properly will prevent any pulling and tugging on the straps, bands and clasps, which might otherwise happen if your bra is too big or small.
Take advantage of free fitting services offered by popular brands such as Debenham’s, M & S, and Boux Avenue. Look up Ann Summers’ online guides if you’re not ready for a one-on-one in the fitting room. There are many reasons why you should take yourself along to a free bra fitting:
1. It’s free
2. You can wait in the fitting room while someone else fetches different sizes
3. You’ll get help adjusting your straps and finding the right cup size
4. You’ll be encouraged to try new styles
5. You can purchase your bra knowing you won’t be returning it
6. Bra fitters are generally complimentary so you’ll leave feeling fab
You may also be shown how to fasten your clasps without putting your bra on backwards and spinning it around your body- which causes wear & tear to underwiring and moulded cups over time.
The right bra provides us with a lot of support, so it’s only right that we support and look after them in return. Some women wear different styles with different outfits (respect to them), but most of us stick to the ones we like and that’s that. Who wants to wear a lacy balconette on a Monday morning when there’s a passable t-shirt bra lying on the side from the day before? Experts say that wearing the same bra two days in a row can harm the condition of your bras. This is because they won’t have time to breathe and `snap back` to their normal shape.
To get around this, buy extra go-to bras, around 6-7, and rotate them on a weekly basis. To get more wear out of your bras, make sure you are putting them on without any shortcuts. Here’s what we mean:
1. Don’t put your bra on backwards or invert the cups to fasten
2. Always put your arms through the straps first
3. Settle the cups in place, lifting each boob and plopping back down
4. Do the clasps up by reaching around your back
Fastening your bra without looking at the clasps can be difficult and it takes practice, but your beautiful balconettes and pretty plunges will thank you for it.
Let’s be honest, a good washing routine consists of sorting clothes into piles of similar colours, then separating towels and sweaty gym gear (if absolutely necessary). Giving our bras a washing cycle of their own isn’t really at the top of our priority list- but maybe it should be. Experts say that washing bras separately helps to preserve them, but if you don’t have the time or effort- try using a mesh laundry bag instead. Popping your bras into a perforated wash bag will stop them twisting or becoming misshapen, and it will keep the clasps from catching on other items. Washing bras on a cold, delicate cycle can also help, as well as using kind detergents without bleach. Top tip? NEVER put your bras in the dryer, and instead hang them on a clothes horse/maiden.
Bras should not be crammed in a drawer, being pulled backwards and forwards each time you rifle through. Instead, lay them on top of one another, ensuring the cups are not at risk of bending or folding in unnatural ways. Imagine how they are laid out in the shop- two or three high with the clasps done up. No room for a designated bra drawer? Why not try hanging them up by coat hangers, or on spare doorknobs or cupboards?
• Don’t wear normal bras to the gym- they are not designed for high impact and excessive sweating will mean washing your bras more often. Regular washing=bras being thrown away prematurely.
• Remember the clasp system- use the loosest set of clasps when the bra is brand new, and move towards the tightest as the bra stretches with age.
• Invest in a mesh lingerie bag to wash delicate bras, this will help to prevent plucking.
• Clear out a designated drawer or storage space for your bras. You’ll be organised, plus your bras will be kept in the best condition.
Considering a boob job? Our expert surgeons perform thousands of breast enlargements, breast reductions and breast uplifts each year. Speak to us about your free consultation at a time that suits you.
Had a boob job? We’re always on hand if you need further help and advice following surgery. Speak to us if you have any questions- whether you are looking for the perfect bra or you need to know when it’s OK to have a post-surgery bath.