It’s one of those items we wear every day. But they don’t last forever! Here are some signs you should update your bra.
By Diane Small
Every woman knows the importance of a well-fitting bra. It not only provides support but also enhances comfort and confidence. However, as time goes by and our bodies change, our bras may not provide the same level of support and comfort they once did. While we would never advocate for getting excessive with any kind of clothing, there are some signs you should update your bra. It’s important not just for aesthetics, put possibly for your health, too. Here’s why.
How Your Bra Can Affect Your Health
Wearing an ill-fitting bra can cause various health problems. These include:
- poor posture
- back and neck pain – especially if you have larger breasts
- shoulder grooves
- friction marks on the skin
- poor circulation where the bra digs into the skin
And of course, we could add a lack of self confidence!
On the other hand, a great-fitting bra can have a positive impact on body confidence and self-esteem.
Note: we’re talking about lingerie here. If you’d like to know what to look for in a sports bra, click here.
One of the most important considerations for buying a bra is the fabric. What goes on your skin permeates through your body. Any nasty chemicals from dyes or artificial fibres can easily pass into your system. And the results can be highly detrimental! In fact, studies show that wearing toxic bras can harm your health. But when it comes to bras, the results can even be breast cancer.
Yep, that’s right. The plastic contained in the clothing is the main cause, which is used by the major global sports brands. A study carried out by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) found out that several bras contain dangerous levels of the estrogen-mimicking chemical BPA. This is an industrial chemical used precisely in plastics manufacturing.
What happens when BPA mimics the structure and function of the hormone estrogen is that estrogen receptors influence a variety of natural processes in your body. These range from cellular repair to foetal development.
Therefore, it’s vital to look for brands that use natural materials, including: Tencel, modal, organic cotton, and hemp. Also look for natural fibre certifications such as OEKO-TEX and Ecocert.
With wear, bras stretch and don’t provide the same support they had when we first bought them. Our bodies also change over time so it’s a good idea to buy new bras regularly. In fact, an average bra, worn daily, will only last for about six months.
To ensure you’re always feeling your best, it’s crucial to pay attention to the signs that indicate it’s time to update your bra. Here are 5 key ones, below.
How To Tell If You Need A New Bra
1. Your Bra Has Lost Elasticity
One of the most common signs that it’s time to update your bra is when you notice that the elastic bands have lost their stretch. Over time, the constant pulling and tugging of putting on and taking off a womens bra, as well as the strain of daily wear, can lead to the degradation of elastic materials. When this happens, your bra won’t provide the necessary support. And it may even start to ride up or dig into your skin, causing discomfort.
How to extend the life of your bra
To extend the lifespan of your bra, it’s a good idea to avoid wearing the same one every day. This allows the elastic to recover between wears. Additionally, always follow the care instructions on the label to maintain the elasticity of your bras for as long as possible. And finally, place your bra in a wash bag or clean it by hand to preserve its elastic. And never put it in the dryer! Air drying is best.
2. The Straps Keep Slipping Down
If you find yourself constantly readjusting your bra straps, it’s a clear sign that your bra may no longer be serving you well. Slipping straps can not only be annoying but can also lead to poor posture and inadequate breast support. When your bra straps are too stretched out or have lost their grip, it’s time for a replacement.
To minimise strap stretching, follow the instructions above to preserve your bra’s elastics. Also, ensure you’re adjusting them correctly and avoid over-tightening. If the straps still slide off your shoulders frequently, it’s a strong indicator that it’s time for a new bra that will provide better support.
3. The Cups Gap Or Wrinkle
Another way to know you need to update your bra is if the cups no longer fit correctly. If you notice that the cups are gaping, wrinkling, or not holding your breasts in place, it’s a sign that your bra is no longer providing the support you need. This can be particularly problematic for women with asymmetrical breasts, as an ill-fitting bra can exaggerate the differences in size and shape.
To ensure your bra fits correctly, it’s important to get measured regularly. That’s because your breast size can change due to factors like weight fluctuations, pregnancy, or ageing. In addition, investing in bras with adjustable straps and multiple hook settings can also help you achieve a better fit and extend the life of your bra.
4. You’ve Recently Had A Significant Body Change
Body changes such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss, or weight gain can have a significant impact on your breast size and shape. In such cases, your existing bra may no longer provide the support and comfort you need. For pregnant or breastfeeding women, it’s crucial to invest in maternity or nursing bras that offer the necessary support and easy access for feeding.
When you experience significant weight fluctuations, it’s advisable to get professionally fitted for a new bra. This will ensure you have the correct size. Ill-fitting bras can lead to discomfort, chafing, and even breast pain. Prioritise your comfort and breast health by updating your bra collection to accommodate your changing body.
5. Your Bra Shows Signs of Wear and Tear
Bras, like any other garment, have a limited lifespan. Over time, the fabric may become worn, and the underwire might start poking through, causing discomfort and potentially damaging the delicate breast tissue. If you notice visible signs of wear and tear, it’s definitely time to retire those bras.
To prolong the life of your bras, here are a few more tips.
- Avoid using fabric softeners, as they can break down the elastic fibre in the fabric.
- Regularly inspect your bras for any signs of damage, and replace them promptly to maintain breast health and overall comfort.
- Use a gentle soap, made for lingerie. Or even shampoo! Harsh detergents break down elastic fibres.
Having a bra that fits properly is essential to comfort and breast health. Don’t wait until discomfort sets in—take proactive steps to keep your bra collection up-to-date and your breasts healthy.
All images via Net A Porter