How Long Do Bras Last? (And When to Buy a New One)

Woman in red bra

How long do bras last? 

As we answer this seemingly basic question, it’s important to realize many factors come into play. How often you wear your bra, the quality of the construction and fabric and even how gently you wash it all determine how long your bra lasts. 

Generally, however, a quality bra should last about six to nine months, provided it’s taken care of properly. But how do you know when to buy a new bra? And how can you keep your bras lasting longer? Let’s take a look at some of the unmistakable signs it’s time to treat yourself to a new bra and steps you can take to preserve your favorite fits. 

6 Signs It’s Time for a New Bra

As we previously stated, a bra should last anywhere from six to nine months. However, here are the signs a bra is at the end of its life and on its way out.

1. The Band Is Stretched Out

The most telltale sign you need a new bra is when the band is completely stretched out. This means the elastic is totally worn.

When you buy a new bra, the band should feel snug when clasped on the loosest hook. This is to allow for your bra to stretch, extending its usage over time. When wearing a new bra, you should be able to slip a few fingers between the band and your back. If you follow this procedure and still have a shifty band on the tightest hook, you need a new bra!

Another sign your elastic is giving out is when the band keeps rising, causing an apparent gap between the bra cups and your breasts.  

2. The Bra Straps Slip From Your Shoulders

Young blonde woman's hand putting on black bra

Another clear indication it’s time for a new bra is when the straps slip off your shoulders. When the straps continuously slip off, even when tightened as far as the buckles will go, you need to replace your bra. Like a bra’s band, the elastic on the straps can wear out, and you should never have to tighten the straps until the buckles are visible on your shoulders. 

3. The Bra’s Cups Show

When the elastic is worn down, loosening the band and straps, the bra cups will begin to show through T-shirts. This can also occur because the bra is too large of a size. Either way, your breasts are clearly not getting the support you need and can make it very uncomfortable to wear. 

4. The Bra Padding Creases Appear

Bra padding and molded cups can also wear out. You’ll know your bra padding is worn out when there are lingering creases and tucks.

5. Wires Are Visible and Hooks Are Broken

If you find the underwiring poking through holes or broken clasps and hooks, it’s time to replace your bra! Not only are these functional pieces not doing their job, but it’s sure to cause discomfort–or be annoying at best. 

6. Your Body Changes

Mother and child

Women’s bodies change throughout their lives, and from adolescence to adulthood (and maybe even motherhood), so do our breasts. Your bra style and size will inevitably have to adapt to these changes as well. 

If you find your bust is sagging more than usual, this is a sign to buy a new bra. You may even need to remeasure to obtain an adequate size, especially if you have a larger bust than you’ve had before. 

Keep Your Bras Lasting Longer

Now that you understand the signs your bra is dead, you may wonder how you can preserve your favorite bra as long as possible. Here are a few tips:

  • Rotate your bras–Ideally, keep more than a single bra on rotation. Six to seven bras is a good number. If you love the way a bra feels, buy several of that style. For new moms, keep several nursing bras available, too. 
  • Avoid wearing the same bra multiple days–Your bra’s elastic works hard to keep everything in place and stretching it for days can weaken the band and stretchable parts. Give the elastic a break so it can reshape.
  • Hand wash your bras–Many women assume that throwing bras into a delicate cycle is enough, but this will still wear them out quickly. To prolong the life of your bras, you can wash them using a lingerie laundry bag. However, it’s important to note that experts still agree that it is best to hand wash and hang bras to dry!
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