This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia, which closed in 2021.

Common Bra Mistakes You're Probably Making

The washing machine is not your friend.
You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on... so why make that mistake with bras?
You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on... so why make that mistake with bras?

Given a bra is something most women will have to wear every single day for all of their adult lives, you'd think we'd all be experts at choosing, washing and storing them.

We're not.

Maybe it's because most of our bra education came from that old lady who burst into your changing room at your very first fitting, or maybe it's because bras are something that aren't (normally) on display. Whatever the reason, there are a heap of mistakes Aussie women commonly make when it comes to their bras, and it's time to set the record straight.

First up, if you think you know your size, you might want to think again.

Size guesstimation

"Probably the most common mistake I see women make time and time again is predicting their size or guesstimating," professional fitter, trainer and lingerie designer Shiori Pike told The Huffington Post Australia.

"It's walking in and thinking you're a 14D, grabbing one off the rack and buying it. That's a no. You must try it on. Seriously, if you want a good bra, try it on.

"If you don't, you'll more than likely get the wrong size and then wonder why it's uncomfortable. It's like women who say they hate bras with wire because it digs in -- it's not the wire's fault. The bra is the wrong size."

Ignoring fitting services

To make sure you avoid the 'size guesstimation' trap, Pike advises getting regular bra fittings from a professional.

"I would always recommend getting a fitting every six months -- even if you just get someone to look quickly look at it," she said. "Most fitters will be able to give you advice in two seconds. It actually makes the process far quicker than if you try and do it yourself.

"I think there's a misconception that getting a fitting is a big bother but doing it yourself actually takes longer. You go into the store, pick three bras off the rack, go into the changing room, try them on, they don't work, so you go out again, and after a couple of goes, you're over it.

"Finding your perfect fit is what [fitters] are trained to do. It's so much quicker that way. And it's not about the sale -- they are there to help you rather than sell stuff to you.

"You wouldn't go into a shoe store and walk out with a pair of shoes off the table. You'd try them on, even if it's just quickly. I don't understand why women are like that with bras."

For the last time: Try. Them. On.
For the last time: Try. Them. On.

Washing and drying incorrectly

As tempting as it is to whack your bras in with your load of socks and jocks, Pike says when it comes to bra maintenance, the washing machine is not your friend.

"The best way is to hand wash," she told HuffPost Australia. "It's a lot easier than what people think. All you need is a bit of a mild soak.

"The reason hand-washing is important is because most bras will have multiple fabrics through them, which aren't really suited to a washing machine. Also bras with moulded cups -- so your t-shirt bras -- can be dinted in the washing machine, or the wires can come out while they are moving around.

"Never use hot water, it just kills them quicker," she continued. "And never put them in the dryer.

"You don't want a bra tumbling around like that because wires can pop out and it kills the shape of the bra. Also the heat doesn't help the fabric.

"To dry, leave them inside and flat. Don't hang them up to dry, because the weight of the water pulls on the elastic. Dry them flat. "

Storing bras unwashed (or washing them too often)

According to Pike, when it comes to the frequency of washing your bras, "a three-day rotation is best."

"You can wear a bra for three days, and then you should wash it. Do not store it unwashed for more than a few days.

"If you do that, it will start to collect dirt, sweat and skin residue and that's what breaks away the elastic. Then again you don't want to wash it every day because it's the same thing."

To dry, leave them inside and flat.
To dry, leave them inside and flat.

Shoving them into a drawer

This is not the correct way to store your bra.

"Don't just shove your bras into a drawer," Pike said. "Your bottoms are fine but not your bras.

"For bras with moulded cups, don't invert the cups. Lay them flat. If you push those cups in, you will get little creases and folds which can become permanent.

"If you need, pad them in the back. Pop a pair of socks in or something."

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