Monday, May 6, 2013

How Many Bras Should You Own?

This is a question I get asked a lot and you may be surprised to know that there is a little science to the answer. We wear our bras anywhere between 8 and 18 hours every day and in that time the elastic in our bra heats up to our body temperature; especially around the band where it is in greatest contact with our skin. Heat causes elastic to expand and stretch farther. When you take off your bra the elastic begins to cool down and the fibers in the elastic start to contract back into a shorter state. It takes about 36 hours for elastic to cool down completely so ideally you want to give your bras 2 days rest between wears.

Considering how crucial your bra's elastic is to your fit and longevity it's worth looking after by washing and drying your bras correctly and by allowing them rest between wears. Here's a general breakdown of how many bras you need to maximize their longevity:
From Left to Right: Profile Perfect, Lucy Black and Leopard Dessous
Everyday Bras
There is no hard-and-fast rule about what an everyday bra is. It's any bra that keeps you supported during your daily activities and that works with your wardrobe. For lots of women their everyday bra collection is one light coloured bra, one dark coloured bra and a bra with a lower neckline that can be worn with lower necklines. Three is the minimum number of bras you should have for everyday wear to give your bras the best chance at lasting as long as they can. If you have more and rotate them on a 4 or 5 day basis then they'll last proportionally longer. If you wear the same bra every day then it will probably only last about 4 months, if that.

Sports Bras
The number of sports bras you need depends on how often you exercise, what you do and for how long. If you work out three times a week doing more or less the same level of activity for about an hour then you only need one sports bra. If you do a high-impact sport one day and a low level yoga class another day you may need two different bras; one designed for impact and one designed for flexibility. If you work out every day and sweat a great deal or exercise for more than an hour then you're going to need two or even three sports bras. Be sure to wash your sports bras every week as the salt from your sweat can break down elastic quickly.
From Left to Right: Evie Strapless, Tango Cherry Plunge, Enell Classic Black
Solution Bras
If your wardrobe requires you to have a strapless bra then you can probably just invest in one unless you need a specific colour. In the summer you may find that you want a couple of strapless bras that you can add to your everyday rotation. Plunge bras or wide balconette styles (think heaving bossom!) may not be something you wear every week but are useful to have for a favourite dress or event. These bras aren't essential but can add more freedom to your wardrobe choices.

Colourful Bras
I don't think that colourful bras should be an option, they should be a standard in your bra drawer. If you love colour then your everyday bras may all be colourful ones. However, if you have a basic everyday bra wardrobe then I highly recommend treating yourself to a colourful bra that you wear at weekends because it can lift your spirits to wear something that is fun and different. It can help you see you and your breasts differently.

I hope this helps you work out whether your bra wardrobe and habits are helping you get the most out of your bra budget. xx


  1. Great post, love how you break down the types of bra's so simply. I had no idea it takes the elastic so long to cool down in a bra.

    1. Thank you Darci - I'm glad it was useful. I like to keep things simple whenever possible :) xx

  2. That Enell bra is the best! It definitely keeps everything in place.

  3. Ok, this is off topic, but I've recently found your blog and have been enjoying it very much. My bras weren't terribly ill-fitting because I was fortunate enough to have a mom who knew what she was doing when I first started wearing bras, but I have a different problem.

    I noticed that you like wearing dresses, and I wondered if you've found any brands that are particularly big boob friendly. I'm always trying on dresses and finding they fit . . . except for the bust. I'm either popping out the top, or I can't zip over my boobs, or whatever. The thing that drives me the craziest about this is that going up a size tends to not help, especially if the dress has a very defined bodice. Maxi dresses, for example, generally have two triangles that you're supposed to fit your boobs into, but if you compare the bust size of the XS to the XXL, there's very little difference, so you can't even buy a too-large dress and alter it to fit.

    In other words, I'm frustrated. Can you point me towards a retailer that caters to large-breasted women?


    1. You'll be pleased to know that in 2 weeks the blog post is all about clothes for busty women! If you can hold on a little while longer then that post will give you lots of resources for finding bust friendly dresses and clothes xx