I don’t have a lingerie drawer… I have 8 lingerie drawers! Every career has its perks and one of mine is receiving free lingerie samples to try. So, I’m a bit of an expert when it comes to storing and organizing lingerie, specifically bras. And, thanks to you, our many customers, I have also picked up a couple of great tips on washing lingerie as well. So, here’s a little head start to a new year and a new lingerie point of view!
I’ll admit to feeling a little trepidation with what I’m about to share with you, but below are the contents of one of my bra drawers; my nude contour cup bra drawer. Every bra here has some form of padding in the cups from light modesty to heavy push up. I chose this drawer because it’s organized similar to all my others and you can more easily see what I’m about to explain.
Each bra is fastened closed, the straps are tucked inside the cups, they are stacked so that they nest into each other, and similar bras are grouped together. Starting from the left, I have my strapless bras, my wide-set strap bras, my center-pull strap bras, my push-up bras, and then my racerback bras. I try to rotate them by selecting the last one in the category and then, when washed, putting it back in the drawer as the first in the category.
Storing your bras in this way – especially with padding involved – guarantees your cups will maintain their shape. Folding a padded bra in half then inverting one of the cups will ruin the inverted cup’s shape and cause permanent cup creasing that can be seen under clothing. Nesting your bras inside each other allows many bras to fit into a space without damage. This drawer has almost 40 bras and I know I could finagle several more in with ease.
Packing padded bras for a trip is tricky because their shape is odd. Yes, you can stuff the cups with socks to help keep their shape. But when I travel with padded bras, I simply select the ones where spacer foam or memory foam has been used in the cups. Both these foams can be crushed then bounce back to their original shape easily.
My unpadded bras are stored in a drawer in the same manner as my padded bras to protect their construction. I also do this so that all my bra drawers are similar. But if you prefer, unpadded bras can be folded in half without causing damage to the cups. Their straps and back should be tucked inside the two cups (think clam) to keep everything tidy and untangled. They can then be stacked like saucers or books depending on your drawer’s depth.
I know that many of you own the very popular “comfort bras.” I personally do not wear them, but some of you have shared hanging them on hangers and adding them next to your clothes in your closet.
Bras and jeans have something in common; no one talks about how many times they are worn before being washed. Once? Three times? Five? I remember years ago a bra expert being asked this question on television. She responded by saying eight. Yikes.
Personally, I think it’s a personal decision. Your level of physical activity, the climate you live in, and your proclivity to perspire all factor in when it comes to laundering a bra. I don’t follow any particular rules on this subject, but I do know that if at the end of the day my bra cups feel suctioned to my breasts, it’s going in the hamper for a washing.
Ideally, a bra should be allowed to sit for 24 hours before its next wearing. Fabric manufacturers have told me that is the time needed for elastic and spandex to fully return to its true resting point. So think about your bras in groups of 2s or 3s and rotate them a couple of times, then wash them.
As for actually washing bras, use warm water and hand wash or put your closed bra in a lingerie bag and wash on the delicate cycle. NEVER put any bra in the dryer if you want them to last. Heat causes elastic and spandex to deteriorate.
I’ve also learned a few washing tips and tricks from several of you out there. One of you comes home each night, makes dinner, fills the sink with soapy water, takes off her bra, and lets it soak while she eats. She then uses the soapy water to wash her dishes. Another woman hand washes her bra every night and uses a soft-bristle nail brush to scrub the underwire and edging to remove deodorant and sweat. One bra executive told me she keeps a portable drying rack usually found in laundry rooms in her shower and washes her lingerie while showering, then leaves it behind to dry. And, several of you have cleverly learned to stick a freshly washed bra in a salad spinner to remove excess water.
A bra is one of the most washed and worn garments in our wardrobe. Yet, most demand that it last for years. Kind of an unfair expectation given it’s truly a workhorse in your wardrobe providing lift and containment all day long.
Some Final Thoughts…
A huge thank you to so many of you who honored me by purchasing my Robin bra. It was a huge success selling out in just 3 weeks! Your wish for it in larger band sizes has been granted; it now comes in 42 and 44 band sizing. Many also wanted larger cup sizes. After much fit testing, I concluded fit integrity would be lost going beyond the cup sizing I’m currently offering. I’m sorry I was not able to make this happen. I’m still thinking about it.
I spoke to most of you who either exchanged or returned The Robin. Exchanges were always for a larger cup size. Because the Robin is a plunge bra style, moving up a cup size gave some of you more coverage and containment. The returns were the most interesting to me. I found that many were due to buying a sister size because The Robin was not made in their true bra size. Even with all the adjustability available in the band, you still must select your true bra band size for it to fit properly. There were also a few returns from women who have large wide-set breasts which also splay east/west. They wanted the Robin to pull all their breast tissue front and center and create a tight cleavage line. Only a bra with high center wires can truly achieve this goal, so the Robin design is not a good match if looking for this effect.
Tomima Founder & CEO