Did you know that 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size? For such a small article of clothing, bras can be the source of a lot of hassle! From shopping to fitting to proper bra care, bras have the power to perk you up or drag you down (and we’re not just talking about your attitude). Read on to learn more about how to find your dream bra and give it the care it deserves.
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If a store has run out of your bra size, go for your sister size
“Sister Sizing” is the name that the lingerie and bra fitting industry use to discuss similar bra sizes with different bra band sizes. Usually, calculating your “sister size” is the result of changing the band size, which then affects the cup size. Knowing how “sister sizing” works is helpful when you are trying on bras. This basic knowledge will help you change bra band sizes and know how to adjust the cup size. If you are still lost, ask a sales associate for help.
Support doesn’t come from the straps
It’s a common misconception that bra straps provide most of the breast support. But the truth is, the band provides most support. You will have better posture if you adjust the back band. A general rule of thumb is the band should be straight and firm across your back—if you can’t comfortably fit two fingers underneath the band, it’s too tight. If the back band is loose, the weight of your breasts will move to the shoulder strap, which can be painful since the straps will pitch you. Even worse, it can cause you to slouch. In order to tell if your bra fits properly, wiggle your shoulders. If the straps are not pitching you or sliding off and you have a good posture while wearing the bra, it should be a good fit.
Bras should be replaced frequently
We all have at least one bra (or a couple) that has been sitting in a drawer for forever and we can’t seem to part with it. But now might be the time to throw it away. According to Cosmopolitan, “washing machines cause the padding in bras to lose their shape, and for those who wear the same bra frequently, the elastic won’t last much longer than half a year before it starts to become slack and unsupportive.” It can be painful to throw away a 50 dollar bra, but if its shape and elastic are no more, then it might be time to give it a toss.
You shouldn’t wear the same bra two days in a row
Let your bra rest at least one day in between wear to help the elastic regain its strength. When you’re wearing it two days in a row, it’s like pulling on a muscle — it’s going to strain it and it won’t be able to snap back. Invest in at least two fabulous bras and switch back and forth.
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You can wash your bra in the washing machine
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to waste time hand washing bras. But, you will need to use a mesh garment bag so that your bras don’t get tangled up with the rest of your clothes. Hook your bra before you put it in the garment bag to prevent tearing of the bag. Then, select the delicate and cold water cycles and use a mild detergent. (For best results, check each bra’s care label first.) Be sure to never put a bra in the dryer—it can damage it. Air dry your bra to preserve elasticity.
You should wash your bras every five to seven wears
Like jeans, you don’t have to wash bras every time you wear them, according to Insider. Kim Caldwell, a professional bra fitter and blogger told Insider “If you over-wash your bras, you can harm them.” Over-washing bras can cause the elastic to stretch. An exception to this rule is if you sweat in your bra. Sports bras should be washed after every wear.
Hopefully with these key bra care tips you’ll be able to extend the lifetime of your bras and stay comfortable while keeping “the girls” properly supported.
Caitlin is a senior at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is majoring in journalism and public relations. She is from Mount Airy, Maryland. In her spare time, she enjoys going to concerts and watching How I Met Your Mother.