Sizing yourself and finding a correctly fitting bra takes time and money. Once you've found your dream bra, though, don't let negligence cut its life short. When it comes to these delicate wardrobe items, a little care and maintenance will help you keep them looking new for years. Here's how.
Wear without the tear
Every time you wear your bra, your skin's natural oils rub off onto the fabric, eventually breaking down elastic, lace and padding. Avoid this by wearing a good, nonstaining deodorant and applying a little powder to control moisture. This is especially useful if your bust is on the larger side. Try not to wear the same bra two days in a row; instead, cycle through a few, washing each one after you've worn it two or three times.
Speaking of washing, you'll likely end up damaging bras by putting them through your washing machine. While mesh lingerie bags are available and do reduce friction and snagging, your best bet is to hand wash your bras. Use a gentle detergent like baby shampoo, castile soap or specially designed lingerie washes. Use warm water, gently squeeze the foam through the cups to loosen any dirt, soak for a few hours, rinse and hang to dry. When drying, bras will retain their shape if you fasten the back and hang them from their straps. For larger cup sizes, look out for plastic bra drying moulds to slip wet bras onto so that they don't crumple.
Store with a little TLC
Bras are constructed using many separate elements to provide support, shape and comfort. This means, however, that they can easily warp or become damaged if stored incorrectly. Avoid hanging bras from one strap, twisting at the gore (the centre panel between the cups), folding or turning padded cups inside out. Instead, invest in a dedicated bra drawer or section of your closet where your bras can be stored carefully. Consider multi-tier hangers with clips, or drawer inserts where bras can be stacked side by side.
Sadly, lingerie and underwear are often forgotten parts of a wardrobe. But because bras can be time-consuming and expensive to buy, it's worth it to make a little effort to preserve them for as long as possible.