Holy Christmas do I love bras. Finding the perfect bra is a special feeling – it’s so undeniably perfect that you’re never getting rid of it, right? Wrong. You’re going to need a new bra sooner than you think. A great bra can last you a few years if you take care of it properly, but if you’re super loyal to one bra in particular, that one may only last you between six to nine months. Considering the price of many good bras, this isn’t a very long time.
For some reason, many women tend to wash other clothing more often than they wash bras. Why? Bras aren’t very different from any other article of clothing. Just because people don’t see them doesn’t mean you should continue wearing them if they’re noticeably torn or stained. The unfortunate news is that your old favorite bra is going to do you more harm than good if you keep wearing it. But how do you know if your bra belongs in the garbage? It might seem obvious – if it’s dirty or the underwire pokes through – but some of the signs of an old bra aren’t super in-your-face. Let us help you! Here are 14 signs you need to buy a new bra right now:
1) If your underwire doesn’t rest against your skin.
When your underwire lifts off of your skin, you may need to go up a cup size with a new bra or try adjusting the hooks in the back. A well fitted bra has the underwire rest comfortably under your boobs and against your chest.
2) If you can’t get the straps to tighten all the way or fit you all the way around, even if it’s on the loosest/tightest setting.
The loosest hook isn’t loose enough or the tightest hook still makes your bra slide all over your back? You probably have the wrong size. Bras lose their elasticity over time, so it’s natural to wear out of it. A bra that doesn’t fit you even on its loosest hook may mean you have the wrong size to begin with.
3) The straps are always falling off your shoulders…
No matter how tight you make the straps, without compromising how the cup or band fits, your straps keep falling down? I know girls who try to make these bras work with safety pins and other things? Nah. You deserve better. Just get a new bra.
4) …Or the straps dig into your shoulders.
Ouch. I remember having to roll my shoulders in class because bras used to hurt me this way before I got fitted. Your cup may be too small.
5) The band rides up the back.
If your bra band rides up in the back to the point where it feels higher than your boobs, your band is probably too big.
6) The band hardcore digs into your back.
Everybody: “back fat” is normal. Chill. Having it to some degree is completely normal, but you’ll know when it’s an aggressive amount, because it’ll feel aggressive and like your ribcage is being squished.
7) The elastic doesn’t bounce back.
Whether it’s the straps or the band, bras lose their elasticity over time. They should bounce back when pulled. If they don’t, your bra can’t function the way it’s supposed to and it’s time to retire old reliable.
8) There’s a wire poking you in the boob.
Underwire stabbing is the worst. There’s no way to fix it in a discrete way and it HURTS. If your underwire has broken through the fabric in your bra and starts jabbing you, your bra is down for the count.
9) The hooks are broken.
Girls who fix everything with safety pins, please don’t when it comes to your bras. Broken hooks are like stabby underwire. Your bra literally broke. Get a new one.
10) If it’s giving you four boobs instead of two.
Go up a cup. I run into this problem a lot with push ups. The padding changes where your bra sits in the cup. It may feel weird to go up a cup with a push up bra, but it’s probably going to give you a more natural look and get your boob count back down to two.
11) Alternatively, if it’s giving you one boob instead of two.
Unless it’s a sports bra, even a built in shelf bra should give your boobs enough room to be individuals not a lumpy, horizontal mass. Keep your boobs in twos, lifted, high, and supported.
12) If the molded cups have a warped shape.
The easy way to avoiding this is by washing your bras in a lingerie bag on delicate and air drying them, not putting them in the dryer.
13) You gain or lose 10 pounds.
The way your boobs relate to the rest of your body is going to change if your weight goes up or down by 10 pounds. My boobs are the first things to shrink when I lose weight and the first things to get bigger when I’m about to get my period. Some girls have period bras for such an occasion, and it might not be a bad idea if random boob growth happens to you.
14) You haven’t been properly fitted.
Regardless of your actual bra size, like jeans or anything else, size is relative and doesn’t mean anything beyond the assigned number or cup given to it. There’s no shame in changing bra size! I’m a 34D, and I know D may sound huge, but no one would ever describe me as someone who has a “big chest.” You can search real women with your true, fitted bra size at the Bra Band Project to see for yourself that what size you are is only representative of how happy your boobs are in your bra, and shouldn’t be another body image thing for you to get hung up on. If you haven’t been fitted already, get fitted by a professional before you get a new bra.
Do you think you need a new bra? What signs did we forget? Let us know in the comments.
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.