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5 Basic Bra Mistakes You're Probably Making Right This Moment

The cliche is true: Nobody’s perfect. We all have bad habits, whether it’s ordering delivery instead of eating your leftovers or binge-watching Netflix instead of putting away your laundry. But not all of our habits come from poor decision making. Some of them we picked up because we never knew better! 

But at least when it comes to buying a bra, you don’t have to worry about making simple mistakes anymore. We’re here to get you on the right track. Here are 5 of the most common simple mistakes:

1. Choosing the wrong size

Most people find a cup size and want to stick with it. But the cup size alone isn’t enough! As the back size increases, the cup size gets wider to sit properly across the band. This works both ways, so if you’ve shed an inch or two, your cup size has likely gone down. It’s easy to get confused when a 34C and a 36B both seem to fit. 

When choosing bras, don’t go for the one that feels right on the tighter hooks. Maybe you think the bra will be too big if you need those extra hooks, but you’re wrong. The hooks are meant to be tightened as the band wears out. Once the stretch starts to give a little, it’s time to clasp it tighter. Choose a bra that is snug when you use the loosest hook, and it will last longer.

We’re not finished yet! If your band rides up in the back, you’ve got the wrong bra. And if your breasts are spilling over the top, try again. Learning how to measure yourself will help you determine which bra size to buy, but noticing these things will remind you to pick a different size. When shopping online, a flexible return policy can make all the difference.

2. Cleaning them incorrectly

Now that you know how to find a bra you love, you should give it the care it deserves. Bras don’t need cleaning with every wear. If it’s summer, you’ll probably want to wash them after three wears, but in mild weather, they can sometimes get six uses before it’s time for a clean.

Ideally, you’ll want to wash them by hand. Of course, this won’t work for everyone. When using the washing machine, stick with the cold water to keep the elastic tight and use mild laundry detergent. Make sure you use the delicate cycle, and whatever you do, don’t toss your bras in loose. A lingerie bag keeps the hooks from catching on things and warping your bras out. 

There is no getting around this last part: Your bras need to air dry. If you fold them up flat in a towel, you can press out the excess liquid without wringing them. Then, they can either lay flat on a towel or hang by the gore (that’s the part where the two cups meet in the front). Don’t let them hang from the straps!

3. Not adjusting your straps

Even if you have a bra that fits like a dream, you still need to adjust the straps sometimes. Now that you’re cleaning and handling them with care, you won’t need to alter them every time you put it on. But you still need to make sure you’re getting the right fit. In general, they will need to be checked about once a month.

A lot of people over-tighten the straps because they’re not sure how their bra works. The strap shouldn’t be doing all the lifting. It’s there to keep the cups in place so they can give you the support you need. The ideal fit lets you put two fingers between your strap and your shoulder. 

4. Wearing the wrong type

The right bra will do its job with discretion, but there isn’t a catch-all solution to this. A seamless bra with smooth cups won’t show under a tight-fitting tee. Racerbacks are perfect for hiding under tank tops. Spaghetti straps or shoulderless tops will need a strapless bra. 

When you’re browsing for bras, it’s just as important to know what you’ll be wearing it with. You’ll want to make sure you have the right bra for every occasion so you won’t be stumped when you’re getting ready to go out for the night.

5. Keeping your bra for too long

When a bra has worn itself out, give it a dignified retirement! There’s no sense in wearing a bra that’s not up to the task. Old bras put extra stress on your body. If you’re down to the last hook and the straps keep falling off, it’s time to cut loose! Now that you’ve shaken off the bad habits, buying a perfect new bra is a treat you've earned.