9 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Bra ASAP

Here's how to know it's time to replace your bra—it's probably sooner than you think.

Let's be real: When was the last time you shopped for a new bra? If the answer is more than six months ago, there's a good chance your bra has worn out its welcome. In fact, experts recommend replacing bras every six months—or after about 180 wears.

"If you have a large selection of bras in rotation, you can go longer than six months before replacing your bras if you're caring for those bras properly," says Ali Cudby, author of Busted and Fit My Bras, and founder of Fab Foundations. "Putting your bras in the dryer breaks down the elastic much more quickly, so save your bras from an untimely death by letting them air dry and hand wash them when possible."

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No matter how many bras you own or how well you care for them, every bra has an expiration date, thanks to weight fluctuations and natural wear and tear. Here's how to know when it's time to buy a new bra, according to experts.

01 of 09

The back is stretched out.

The back of a bra naturally stretches out over time. "When this happens, the hook system allows you to close your bra on a tighter position to get back the snug feeling of a band that fits your chest properly," says Josie-Anne Le Diouron, a bra expert at Empreinte. "However, when the band is so stretched out that it feels too loose even on the tightest hook, that's a red flag that it's time for a new bra."

02 of 09

Cups are stretched out or too big.

According to Le Diouron, when you notice a significant gap between the bra cups and your breast, it means the cups are stretched out or the volume of the breasts have decreased, which can happen due to weight loss." As a result, the breast is not supported and the shape of the bra shows through your clothes instead of offering smooth curves," she says.

RELATED: How to Measure Your Bra Size at Home

03 of 09

Cups are too small.

"If your breast tissue is spilling over the cups, one of two things is happening: The cups are too small or the straps are too tight," explains Katie Donnelly author of Blog,Bra Fitting. "Your bra size may have changed since you last bought bras and you might just need a bigger cup size."

"If there is a small amount of spillage over the cups, but the cup size is correct, try loosening the straps a little," she suggests. "You want to be able to comfortably fit two fingers between your skin and the strap for the best fit."

04 of 09

Straps are loose.

Few things are as annoying as constantly adjusting a bra strap sliding down your shoulder. If this is happening, it's a clear sign it's time for a change. "The strap is the bridge between the cup and the back of the bra. It helps support the weight of the breast while ensuring that the cups hug it smoothly," says Le Diouron.

05 of 09

The underwire is painful.

Does anyone enjoy the pain of an underwire poking out and digging into sensitive skin? I didn't think so. "Even if you try to put it back in and sew the area shut, that's a temporary fix and it will likely come out again," says Laetitia Lecigne, creative director at Jockey. "Get rid of it!"

06 of 09

The fabric has broken down.

"Fabric has a lifespan depending on your wearing and washing cycle," says Lecigne. "If you notice that the fabric is breaking down, such as the spandex peeling off, or the overall fabric is losing its stretch, your bra is dead and is no longer performing."

07 of 09

Your bra has hair.

"If you've ever seen little hair-like threads of elastic popping out of your bra, you're too late—that bra is toast," says Cudby. Those hairs mean the elastic in your bra has broken. "Since 80 percent of your bra's support comes from a band that's firmly anchored on your body, a bra without elastic can't give you sufficient support," she says. "It's hard enough for a small bit of fabric to do its job! If you take away the elastic, a bra won't have the needed structure to lift your breasts."

08 of 09

The color is faded or dingy.

If your light-colored bra looks a bit dingy or dirty, or its dark color is fading; it's time to head to the lingerie store, STAT.

09 of 09

Your taste has changed.

Sometimes a bra gets dull over time or your style changes. "While bras normally get covered up, it's always important to choose one that makes you feel happy, comfortable, and even empowered," says Jaclinne Cheng, founder and CEO of Spicy Lingerie.

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