Since the forerunners of the modern bra appeared in the 1800s, women have relied on the undergarment to provide support and enhance their figures. Bras can provide lift, expand or reduce bustline measurements or change the shape of breasts.
Selection of a bra begins with a proper fitting and recognizing how you want the bra to perform. The type of bra you choose for jogging or exercise is entirely different from one you wear everyday or for special evening wear.
The way bras are constructed and the materials used have changed dramatically through the years. Bras now feature many different materials - performance fabrics that wick away moisture, heat-molded foams, Lycra, elastic, underwires made of metal or plastic, lace and trims - that all need appropriate care. The key to keeping the entire bra looking good and lasting as long as possible is knowing the proper way to care for and store the garment.
Bras are expensive and improper care can be costly when worn out bras must be replaced. Improper care can also make you look older when bras wear out too soon - and no one wants that.
Looking Older Bra Problem 1: Uneven breasts
If your breasts suddenly look uneven, the cause could be a wayward underwire. Today's underwire bras use either a metal or plastic u-shaped wire to help support breasts. When one wire breaks, shifts, bends or escapes it fabric casing completely, the bra cannot support each breast evenly.
The causes for underwire problems can be general wear and tear. But, most often it is because the bra has been subjected to harsh treatment in an automatic washer. Excessive agitation in a standard washer and even high spin speeds can cause the wires to snap.
Plus, if you toss your bra into the washer with jeans or other clothes that are made with zippers and buttons or heavy fabrics, they can actually cause the wires to break. Before you toss your bras into a washer, make sure that the load is made up of similar delicate fabrics and that you use a mesh bag to protect the fabrics.
While bras should never be dried at a high heat, plastic underwires can actually melt. So skip the dryer completely!
Looking Older Bra Problem 2: Straying breasts
Your figure will look best if both breasts are centered, facing forward and shaped into high, rounded shapes. If the cups of the bra are worn and misshapen, breasts are going to stray.
You could be causing the problem by improperly drying and storing your bra. Bras with molded foam cups can become crushed if you toss the bra in a dryer. It is much better for the bra to skip the dryer and air dry the bra. After washing, reshape the cups to their original form and dry flat or hang so that the cups are not folded or creased.
Bras with molded cups should be hung or stored in drawer that is large enough to prevent the cups from being crushed or folded. They'll last much longer and hold their shape...and yours.
Looking Older Bra Problem 3: Sagging breasts
It is the straps and bottom band of a bra that provide the support. If they are not fitted properly or become stretched out, sagging is going to happen. And, nothing looks young and perky when it's sagging.
There are a couple of things that will extend the life of the elasticity of the straps and band. First, don't wear the same bra every day. Even if the bra doesn't look or smell soiled, your skin's heat and oil can cause the materials to deteriorate. Rotate between two or three bras to allow materials to rebound after wearing.
When it's time to wash the bra, handwashing in luke warm water with a gentle detergent. Avoid excessive wringing that stretches elastic and air dry.
Specially designed sports bras offer the most support when you are engaged in lots of activity. When it's time to wash them, remove the pads and wash and dry the pads and bra separately. This insures that the fabric is well cleaned and helps preserve the longevity of the bra.
For the scoop on the proper care of bras, shapewear and lingerie, take a few minutes to read these tips. Who knows, you might just look younger!