Are You Destroying Your Bras? Five Tips to Make Your Lingerie Last Longer!

Many of you are spending small fortunes on your beautiful bras and undies—at least, I like to hope that you are! After all, how could you not splurge on Stella McCartney’s gorgeous Laura Pottering Bustier and Panty or Elle Macpherson’s Cloud Swing Chemise (both in the slideshow below)? I also hope you are investing in really functional, well-fitting t-shirt bras for your white tees this summer.

So since you’ve spent, here are five tips to make your investments last:

1. Wash by hand if at all possible. There’s nothing better than a good old bathroom sink for washing your intimates. Group like colors together and let them spend a few minutes resting in the cool water. (If you MUST use the washing machine, please fasten the hook, use a lingerie bag, and wash on gentle with like colors.)

2. Use a delicate laundry detergent. I have used some great old-fashioned powder style washes, but I find liquid to be a little easier to measure out. Soak makes a great wash that is well priced and comes in a variety of light scents. You don’t even have to rinse, but I like a light rinse through cool water to help regain shape and elasticity.

3. NO DRYER. Sorry, this has to be in all caps because it’s just bra suicide. The wires will start to pop out, the fabric will fray and the bras will lose their shape. Hang intimates on a drying rack, on a hanger or around a doorknob if you must, but air-dry. They dry super quick anyway!

4. Don’t store wire or molded bras in your drawers. Undies are perfectly fine folded nicely there (I like to color code so the drawer looks pretty), but molded bras and delicate slips/chemises really are best when hung. I had belt hooks put along the front of my closet specifically to hang my bras and not take up valuable clothing or shoe space. Don’t squish the bras either. Hang them so that the bras can breathe and rest between wears. I have T-shirt bras together in one row (mostly black, white and nude) and pretty bras on another. Just seeing the corals, aquas and reds look so beautiful when you open the closet doors.

5. If you’re wearing the same one or two bras all the time (some are just favorites, I know!), buy more of those exact bras. A bra will not last if it’s being abused. Better to be rotating 4-5 bras per week that way they have the potential to last 5-6 months. I’m sorry to say that all bras do expire after about 6 months (one year for sure). So if you are still wearing your high school or college bras (and it has been more than a year or two since graduation), it’s time to clean house! And go shopping!

Jenny Altman is a fashion editor at large and expert in intimates and fashion. As the Chic Executive Officer of, she has represented brands such as Chantelle, Spanx and Wolford. As a bra-fitter and style expert, she has consulted for websites like, hosted events for retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and worked as a market editor at Oprah, People StyleWatch and of course, Lucky. Jenny instantly "sizes up" women everywhere and is on a mission to help women find their right size—one bra at a time!

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