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9 Tell-Tale Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Bra

Hi, it’s your lingerie agony aunt here, and it is my duty to let you know when it’s time to break up.

With your old bra, that is. I know it can be painful, but when your bra is no longer doing its job, then it’s time to part ways. The good news is, if your favourite bra is only as old as Kim K’s 72-day marriage then you can take a deep breath and relax, it’s not time just yet. The expiry date on your bra comes down to a few key factors such as how often you wear your bra, how you care for your bra and if your body has changed. If you’re wearing a bra every other day then it may need to be replaced after 6 months. If, however you have a handful of bras on rotation that are worn once or twice a week then you’ve got about 1 year in this bra-lationship until it’s time for an upgrade.

Why can’t you keep wearing the same bra forever?

Bras are designed to keep you uplifted and supported, and to do this they need to fit you perfectly. So when the honeymoon period is over and your bra wears out, it’s not going to fit you as well as it did when you first bought it. 

Bras are made out of stretchy materials to cushion your breasts and flex and move with your body. These materials will naturally stretch over time through wear and washes. Elastic can lose their resilience and cups can lose their shape, when these things happen your bra ceases to support you in the way it should.  

There’s no doubt that caring for your lingerie will help to boost your bra’s lifespan, but heat, perspiration and water cause damage to stretch fibres causing breakage. 

Lastly, our bodies and breasts change in size and shape, and when this happens we strongly encourage you to get fitted in one of our stores so you are confident you know your correct bra size. Pssst, there are queues of bras waiting to be your next breast-friend, whatever your size may be!

How often should you get a new bra?

he look and feel of a bra will give you a good indication of when it’s time to have “the talk” with your bra, and the look and feel of your bra is dependent on how much you wear and wash your bras, as well as how much your weight or shape fluctuates.

If you show your bra the love and care that it deserves and you leave a bit of time between wears (so the elastic can bounce back into shape) then a quality bra should last you between 9-12 months.

If your love language is quality time and you’re wearing your bra almost every day, then your bra may begin to deteriorate earlier. 

Washing your bras with the rest of your laundry (we’ve all done it), using harsh detergents and drying your bras in the tumble dryer are additional factors that can cut your bra-lationship short. 

How do you know if you need a new bra?

Here are the tell-tale signs it’s time to break up with your bra. 

1. The back of the bra has stretched out

The majority of your bra support comes from the back band so when it has stretched out and is feeling loose (even on the tightest hook) it’s going to sag and cause discomfort. Back pain is another consequence of a loose back band, especially for women with larger busts.

Hot tip: When you buy a bra make sure that it fits you perfectly on the loosest hook, that way when the back of your bra does stretch over time you have additional hooks to use to tighten that band.

2. Bra straps are loose or bothering you 

Bra straps feature elastic that when not given enough time between wears to recover, lose their strength and start to sag and slip off shoulders. It is incredibly frustrating when you spend every other minute hoisting your bra straps back onto your shoulders, especially when you have adjusted them to their tightest. This is an indicator that it’s time to replace your bra because not only is it uncomfortable, it’s not cute, and totally passes as a wardrobe malfunction.

3. Bra cups are stretched out or too big

Bra cups should sit flat against your breasts, with no gaps. If the top of your bra cups curls outward, it probably means that the stitching in the bra has gotten stretched over time. If your bra cups are folding over or there are gaps between your breasts and the cups, it means your bra is worn out or you’re wearing the wrong size.

When we lose weight, often one of the first places to lose volume is sadly, our breasts. When this happens your bra cups will likely gape and you will need to get fitted to find your new bra size.

When your bra cups are gaping come and visit us in store so that we can play cupid and match you with your new supportive, reliable, and gorgeous breast-friend.

4. The underwire has bent out of shape or is poking out 

Underwire bras can be seriously comfortable, when they fit correctly. Sadly many women unfairly despise underwire bras because they had a painful experience due to a bad fit - we can help with that! 

Discomfort or pain are bound to happen if the bra does not fit correctly or if the underwire has bent. Underwires should rest comfortably against your sternum, and under your breasts. If your cup size is too large then the wire can poke your armpit, or if your cup size is too small then the wire can poke your breast tissue, neither are remotely desirable. 

Underwires can also begin to poke out of the material after many wears and washes, which can cause damage to your breast tissue. 

We have no time for back-stabbers (or breast-stabbers!) around here, so if your underwire bra is poking into you, it’s time to replace it, ASAP!

5. The bra cups are too small 

If your breasts are spilling over your bra cups, then the cups are too small for you and you will need to get fitted to find your perfect size.
Tumble drying your bras is a big no-no, we highly recommend hanging or laying your lingerie out to dry as tumble-drying can shrink materials resulting in the bra cups becoming too small.

6. The fabric has started to breakdown 

Materials used to create bras will change in their physical appearance and structure throughout repeated use and contact with water, washing detergents, and heat. When a bra no longer looks or feels right, it’s time to replace it.

Elastic is one of the materials commonly used in bras and when elastic breaks down it can appear as little “hairs” on your bra, which indicates that the elastic is losing its strength and not supporting you as well as it should. By the way, if your bra is actually growing hair, it’s probably moulding and if you don’t get rid of it right now we’re calling the police.

Strapless bras often feature a no-slip grip which is a small line of grip tape that’s built into the bra to help keep it in place. When the no-slip grip sits against the body it can deteriorate due to exposure to body oils, sweat, sunscreen, moisturiser and fake tan, and it will no longer grip the skin and help to keep the bra in place. 

Making an effort to care for your lingerie will help the longevity of the materials. 

7. Colours have started to fade or look “dirty” 

Discoloured lingerie is not on-trend, and we think it’s safe to say that it never will be. If your bras are looking faded, “dirty”, or are stained (thanks again fake tan!), well then babe, it’s time for an upgrade.
This is not your fault, by the way, discolouration just happens over time. However, chemicals, machine washing, and tumble drying will certainly speed that process up.
Lucky for you, we have many vibrantly coloured bras across all of our brands that will put your old tatty bra to shame.

8. Your body and breasts have changed

Our bodies and breasts fluctuate in size due to puberty, your period, pregnancy, exercise as well as weight loss and gain. This  is why we encourage everyone to get fitted at least every 12 months or when they have noticed their breasts have changed in size or shape.

If your daughter is starting to develop breasts or has grown out of her first bra, our friendly fit experts are available to help guide her through this exciting time! It may feel daunting for her (and you) but we are here to make this experience as comfortable as possible. We have several bra styles that are suitable as “first bras” including wire-free and t-shirt bras.

With pregnancy comes many changes to the body, especially breasts. Wearing a correctly fitted bra maternity bra is particularly important when you are pregnant as your body starts to prepare for childbirth. If you are in your second or third trimester, or your bras are starting to feel uncomfortable, come in store for a fitting and we will help you find the best maternity bra for you.

A great fitting bra does many things but most importantly it’s comfortable, it supports you, and it can give you more confidence in how you look and feel. Don’t continue to wear bras that don’t fit you or serve you. If your bras are in a good condition we encourage you to donate them.

9. Your tastes have changed

Lastly, your preferences for clothes change over time, so it makes sense that your lingerie preferences change too. New trends come and go and if you don’t like the look of your lingerie, change it, honey! With over 400 different bras at Bendon Lingerie, you really have no excuse.

Make sure to keep your lingerie drawer up to date with all of the essential bras, plus those special bras to serve your evolving taste and style. Or try a new bra style - you may fall in love with something unexpected!

Find your new favourite bra at Bendon

Life is too short to wear uncomfortable worn out lingerie. With washes and wear bras will deteriorate and it’s important to know the signs when it’s time to replace your bra. 

Shop our new arrivals to find your next breast-friend!

Other helpful reads

Learn how to best care for your lingerie

Get to know everything there is to know about Bra Fitting

Ultimate guide to strapless bras