In need of a proper bra fitting, I recently visited the wonderful San Francisco lingerie shop Alla Prima for the first time. In addition to a new size diagnosis, I also got a lesson in bra care that I won’t soon forget. In the spirit of spreading great advice that will extend the life (and dollar) of your underthings, I had to share.
- Don’t wear bras more than one day in a row, and wash every three wears. Dirt and sweat break down the elastics, so interspersed wearing and regular washing will keep them feeling new longer.
- Always hand-wash, using Forever New. Don’t use Woolite, it’s a detergent rather than a soap and is hard on lingerie (and even clothes). Tocca is another good alternative. To remove excess water, don’t ring out, press between towels. Lay to dry.
- When you’re trying on a bra, clasp it at the outer-most hook, the largest band size. All bands will stretch out over time, so give your band room to grow while maintaining the right fit.
- Three basic bras and three fun bras is a good wardrobe minimum at any given a time.
- Get fitted by an expert. I always thought my band size was a 34, but Alla Prima measured me at a 32. It felt tight at first, but after wearing this size for a few months, I now realize how important that is for support and taking into account the way bands relax over time.
Another note on fit: I’ve heard for years that for proper support, the band should fit tighter than you might expect. But after being sized by novices at shops like Gap Body and Victoria’s Secret, I went years with band sizes that were too loose. Think of it like buying jeans — you know they’re going to stretch with wear, so start tight with room to relax over time.
If you’re like I was and need a full bra-fitting revamp, be prepared to get “friendly” with your measurer, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the nuances of fit and cup styles (demi, plunge, full-coverage, on and on). There’s no sense being shy about getting a fit that will help you feel great about yourself!
Lastly, for the easiest bra shopping you’ll ever experience, I can’t recommend True & Co. highly enough. The online bra boutique offers free shipping for at-home try-on boxes of five bras at a time, and the feedback they’ve gotten over time on those boxes has led to invaluable information on what bras are suited to what body types. Before I ordered from True the first time, I knew I needed a hands-on fitting to determine the right size (hence the learnings above!), and my second box of try-ons is on its way now. You can get $25 off a purchase of $100 using my referral link.