How Long Do Bras Last?

Hello Ladies,

Bras are investment pieces in our wardrobe, and as such, it’s natural to want to know how long to expect a quality bra to last you.  Some experts suggest a bra should last between 6 and 9 months or roughly 130 wears, which I feel is a good starting point.  However, there are a number of factors that can either shorten or lengthen the life of your bra:

  • Larger Cup Sizes:  Women who have heavier breast tissue and wear larger cup sizes may find their bras do no last as long because let’s be fair:  A bra for an H cup woman has to work harder to keep your breasts supported and contained throughout the day than bra for a C cup woman.
  • Activity Level:  If you work at a desk job where your bra has little more to do than stay in place and keep the girls lifted, then the bra will have less wear and tear put on it than, say, the woman who waits tables at a busy restaurant.  The more you stretch the elastic of the bra throughout the day, the faster it will wear out and stop giving you support.
  • Quality:  Not all bras are created equally, and even at higher price points, you will find bras whose quality doesn’t warrant a prolonged life.  At A Sophisticated Pair, we do our best to only stock bras that we know will last the test of time, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t styles out there that wear out faster.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the life of a bra comes down to:

  • How Often You Wear It:  If you wear a bra everyday for several weeks, the bra’s lifespan will be seriously shortened because you are not giving the elastic time to snap back.  Even if you only have two bras in rotation, you will notice those bras tend to wear out around the six month mark simply because of how much wear they receive.  My recommendation is have three to four different bras you can rotate if you want to prolong the wear of your bras.
  • How you Care for It:  Sorry ladies, but throwing the bra in the washer and especially the dryer is one surefire way to destroy the bra and require it to be replaced faster.  Some women have assured me that the washing machine works well on delicate wash, but I’m skeptical.  My bras routinely cost over $65, which is a lot of money to waste if something goes wrong with the lingerie bag.  Personally, I follow my own advice, and I hand wash my bras and let them hang dry.  The result?  I have bras that are still acceptable for around the house or for country picnics that are over two years old.

When I buy a new bra, I aim to have the cost-per-wear (CPW) under $0.75 before I retire it to the “in home only” drawer.  Usually, this requires about 90 wears; however, most of my bras have a CPW of under $0.50 from instituting a rotation and carefully washing them.

Hope that helps!

Erica

How Long Do Bras Last?
Erica

Erica is a lover all things lingerie and is passionate about helping people find the bra which fits and flatters. Side passions include reading, writing, hiking, dairy-free food, walking her Jack Russell terrorists, and dying her hair everything from black to red.


7 thoughts on “How Long Do Bras Last?

  • April 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm
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    Just as an interesting data point (since I’ve been thinking about this too). My Freya Active is just about dead (lost one of the 4 hooks already and another is almost gone) after 4 months of use (~2x/week weight lifting and sometimes on busy days when I had to walk a lot). The bra is a 30GG.

    My Panache Sienna is still somewhat usable and it was bought in Sept or Oct (so about 7-8 months). However, it hasn’t been worn nearly as much, has always been rotated around with other bras and never for anything serious. It’s a 30J.

    Reply
  • Erica
    April 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm
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    Hi June! Thanks for that interesting information! I don’t have any experience with the Panache Sienna, but I know that bras that are lacier/frillier usually have a shorter lifespan than ones built for function, not fashion. The sad things is that there are just certain bras that wear out faster than others, and it can be tough to determine what’s a worthy investment. Usually, I find that my big thing is making the sure the band is snug enough when I buy a bra. I shouldn’t have kept the Freya Faye in beige, for example, because I felt like I could have already been on the middle or loosest hooks. So, it’s going to be “in home only” long before I would like. I’ll still scrape by with a CPW of under $0.75, but it’s not going to be like some of my other bras where I truly felt like I got my money’s worth out of the purchase.

    Reply
  • April 13, 2012 at 7:49 am
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    Agree with all the points on how long a bra should last. A few extra points:
    Fabric Softner destroys the Lycra so best not to use. Same for shower creme – Yes some people when travelling do their washing in shower creme. Using body lotion in areas where the bra may absorb some is also best to avoid.
    We talk about this with cutomers all the time.
    Linda
    Linda Rose Lingerie
    Alcester
    Warwickshire England

    Reply
    • Erica
      April 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm
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      Excellent points, Linda! I also want to mention that I’ve heard Woolite can break down the elastic in bras, so it’s best to use something mild and specially formulated for lingerie.

      Reply
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  • April 26, 2012 at 1:11 am
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    Great articles! I agree on the lifetime off a bra being around 7-8 months. You can expand the lifetime a little bit by starting a new bra off on the loosest hook and work your way up to the tighter hooks as you bra gets older.

    Indeed never put your bras in the washer or dryer!

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