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We’ve all done it, kept a bra far longer than we should have just because it was an old favourite we couldn’t bear to let go of. But unlike true love, bras aren’t meant to last forever. A bra that you wear regularly can last a good few years if cared for correctly. But beyond that, you’ll be looking at stretched-out bands, dented cups and worn-out lace, even on a well-made product.

That said, just because a bra is still in good condition doesn’t necessarily mean that you should keep it. With spring on the way, I thought I’d put together some questions to help you spring-clean your lingerie collection.

Ask yourself the following, to decide if each bra (or brief!) should stay or go…

1.  Has it been worn recently?

It doesn’t matter how pretty it is – a bra that languishes permanently at the back of your lingerie drawer is just clutter. Why let it take up space that could instead be filled by something you’ll actually get some use from?

It’s normal to have lingerie that you were less often than the rest of it – special occasion sets, for example, or ‘solution’ garments such as a strapless or low-backed bra that you need for certain outfits. But if it’s been a year or more since you last touched it, are you really going to to wear that piece again?

Either make a promise to yourself to start wearing it (I’m a firm believer in wearing your special sets ‘just because’!) or swap it for something that suits your current lifestyle and outfits better.

2.  Does it feel comfortable on?

Our bodies are constantly changing, which is why it’s a good idea to get a bra fitting regularly – every six to twelve months is a good rule of thumb. If you have bras that are older than that, there’s a chance your size may have changed and the fit may no longer be quite right.

A poorly-fitting bra is often an uncomfortable one. If the band has stretched out, the straps will be doing more support work than they should, which could cause shoulder pain. And if the cups are now too small, you may find they’re digging in.

Even well-fitting bras can become more irritating to wear as time goes on. Wire casings can become thinner leading to wires that poke or rub, and straps can stretch out to the point that they’re constantly slipping off your shoulders. You deserve lingerie that feels good to wear, so if a bra of yours is no longer that, it’s time to replace it with one that is.

Related: How Often Should You Get A Bra Fitting?

can you donate bras

Elissa Contour Underwire Strapless Bra P5011 in Pearl White

3.  Do you like the shape it gives you?

Similarly, as bras wear out or as we change size and no longer fit them, the difference in fit can be visible. A too-loose band doesn’t just cause shoulder pain. It can also lead to ‘drooping’, because when the back of your bra rides up the front sags down. Conversely, a band that’s now too tight or cups that are too small can both dig in, creating a lumpy silhouette that shows through fitted clothing.

It’s not all about the bra size though – a perfectly-fitting one can still give you a shape that you don’t love. All bras are designed differently, and some will create a perky, pointed shape while others aim to make your bust flatter or rounder.

Your bras should lift your mood, boost your confidence, and make you feel good about your body. If you put one on and don’t feel like your best self, that bra should go. There are plenty of others out there that will have you prancing in front of the mirror.

4.  Does it make you happy?

Or in the words of Marie Kondo, does it spark joy? A bra can fit great and feel great, and still make you go ‘meh’ when you look at it. On the flip side, I have bras that aren’t an optimal fit but which are so pretty I still love them – and love to wear them!

Above all, your lingerie should always make you feel happy. Don’t sacrifice style for fit or comfort – you can have all three. I promise your perfect bra is out there!

What can I do with bras I no longer want?

Now that you’ve whittled down your lingerie drawer to just those pieces which fit well, feel comfy, get lots of wear and make you smile every time you see them, what to do with the rest of it?

If your bras are still in good condition, the best option is to donate them. Your local lingerie boutique may have a donation bin, or charity/thrift stores will be happy to take them.

However, even if your bras are very old or in poor condition, they can still be recycled. In the US, Bra Recycling Agency will extract the steel underwires and sell them to raise money for breast cancer research.

Will you be replacing any of your bras after reading this post?

Related: The Best Places To Donate Your Old Bras

donate bras

Elissa Contour Underwire Strapless Bra P5011 | Elissa Bikini P5013 in Black

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Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

Featured image lingerie:
Elissa Contour Underwire Strapless Bra P5011 | Elissa Bikini P5013 in Black
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Published by

Estelle Puleston

Estelle Puleston is the founder of, a blog dedicated to her love of lingerie. She works full-time as a copywriter and digital marketer for the lingerie and swimwear industry, and when she’s not doing that, she’s probably sewing or enjoying a good cup of tea.

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