It's okay to wear your favorite pair of skinny jeans into the ground, but your bra is a different story. You want your bra to be in stellar shape–and fit you properly–to provide your precious assets with the support they truly need. But it’s not always obvious when your bra doesn’t have your back, er, front anymore. So we asked Lisa Chiara Zaccario, store manager at the Paramus, N.J., location of Intimacy, which has boutiques throughout the U.S. that offer professional bra fittings and designer bras, to share the most common signs it’s time to ditch your bra for a new one.
1. You bought your bra three years ago. Like the milk in your fridge, bras have an expiration date. After three years, you’re not getting the proper amount of support from your bra, leaving your girls hanging–literally.
2. The bra band is too loose. You might think that the straps are what keep your girls up, but it’s the bra band (i.e. the part that hooks across your back) that does the majority of the heavy lifting. “Our engineer found that almost 90 percent of the support comes from the band and not the shoulder straps,” says Zaccario. If you’ve been wearing your bra on the tightest hook for more than two months and/or the bra band is too loose, it’s time for a new one.
3. Your straps are never tight enough. If your straps keep sliding off your shoulders and you can’t tighten them any further, they are stretched out–which means it’s time to retire this tired bra.
4. The underwire has popped out. You may be tempted to simply shove the underwire back in, but Zaccario says this is a sign of a bigger structural problem: “Once the integrity of the casing is broken, the bra doesn’t work the same. That means you need a new bra.”
5. There’s a gap in your bra cup. If you’re standing up straight and there’s a gap in the cup, that means it’s either stretched out–which can happen with lace bras, in particular–or you’ve lost weight and need a different cup size. “The cup should lie flat against your breast,” says Zaccario.
6. The elastic in the back band has ripples. If your bra’s back band has a wavy pattern or ripple effect, notes Zaccario, that means the elastic is stretched out and your breasts aren’t getting the right amount of support.
More From YouBeauty.com
10 Questions About Your Vagina, Answered
Do Your Labia Look Normal?
What's Your Nail Type