Your bra is the hardest-working garment you own. It supports your breasts, keeps your body looking trim and streamlined, and helps prevent shoulder strain. As the foundation for your entire wardrobe, your bra's condition, style, and fit of your bra should be a priority – but for many of us, it’s an after-thought. A simple update to your collection can have a big payoff — great support can visually shave 5 lbs off your figure, instantly.
When to buy a new bra
Follow these better-fit tips and your breasts will thank you.
Open your bra drawer and take a count.
Every woman should own 7-10 bras and regularly rotate through all of them, explains Susan Nethero, owner of Intimacy lingerie boutique. Don’t own that many? We’re not surprised: 67% of women count on only 4 bras for everyday use, says Nethero. It may seem excessive to own a bra for every day of the week, but the fact is, having a sufficient supply of bra options prevents overuse, deterioration of elastic and, ultimately, insufficient support.
Reevaluate your bra wardrobe once a year.
Toss three of your oldest, least useful, or least comfortable bras, reassess your size, and replenish with three new bras. Take the time to get fitted again after your body undergoes significant change such as having a baby or experiencing a weight change of 10% or more. Your breasts may be smaller or shaped differently, and your body’s circumference may have changed. A professional fitting will yield the most accurate sizing results.
The four components of fit are the bra band, cups, straps, and bridge (the piece that links the cups together), says Ali Cudby, bra fit coach and founder of fabfoundations.com. "Figure out your band size first," she advises. "Band sizes are much more consistent from brand to brand than cup sizes are." To focus completely on the band fit without getting distracted by the cups, Cudby suggests this trick: try the bra on backwards, with hooks under your breast and cups in the back. Another tip from Cudby: When shopping for new bras, fasten them on the loosest hook; as they stretch out over time, you can tighten to maintain a proper fit.
RELATED: How to Find the Right Bra
Think beyond the T-shirt bra.
Choose a variety of styles that compliment your wardrobe. More than 90% of women rely on basic seamless options that don’t lift, shape or support breasts as well as those with seams, according to Nethero. A plunge, push-up or balcony bra will lift your bust and accentuate your neckline, she says, which is especially flattering with a scoop, square, or v-neck top. And adding a convertible or strapless bra to your collection creates more freedom to experiment with cut-away shoulder, halter and backless tops.
RELATED: The Bra Awards