10 Facts About Bras That Everyone Should Know

Bras are peculiar contraptions: It could be argued that they're used for forcing women to fit societal beauty ideals, or that they're wonderful inventions that make being active a breeze. Whether you love them or hate them, there are some bra facts everyone should know about before deciding on whether to go boob loose and bra free, or invest in a collection of bras to suit all occasions.

Personally, I couldn't wait to get my first bra because I was desperate to be taken seriously, and I believed if my undergarments were more mature, I would be treated like an adult. Nowadays, though, I spend some days completely braless and when I do wear a bra, I can’t wait to take it off as soon as I get home. According to a research study by France’s University of Franche-Comté, featured in an article by StyleCaster, “...bras do the same work as breast ligaments, which can reduce their effectiveness. In other words, wearing a bra can make your boobs lazy, which then makes them more likely to sag.” This means there’s hope yet for us gals who enjoy going braless.

Of course, anyone can wear a bra, not just women. So here are some facts all bra wearers should consider.

1. On Average, Bras Last Between Six To Nine Months

In BuzzFeed's article, "22 Brutally Honest Confessions From A Bra Fitter" writer Amna Saleem said, "We know more bra facts than we’d like to admit. For example: Bras tend to last between six and nine months." Who knew? Oh well, it's a great excuse to donate 90 percent of your bra collection to charity and go buy some gorgeous, new brassieres.

2. Your Bras Need To Be Washed At Least Once A Week

It can be tricky to keep track of how many times you've worn a bra since you last washed it. I'm definitely guilty of wearing a "dirty" bra in the past, but I recently discovered some home truths. Fellow Bustler Gina M. Florio wrote about what can happen if you wear a dirty bra – acne breakouts and chafed nipples are just a couple of the potential consequences. So take heed of Florio's findings and wash your bras at least once a week.

3. Bras Are Not A Necessity For Anyone

If you've had enough of bras, there's no need to feel pressured into wearing them. Societal "norms" can go to hell because you should feel free to wear (or not wear) whatever you like. Going braless is for everyone, including gals with a larger bust. There are some handy hacks out there that can help those with a bigger bust go braless. Do what's right for you and your body and ignore everything else.

4. Although, It’s Advisable To Wear A Sports Bra When You’re Being Active

According to Holly Mountfort, garment technologist at Figleaves who spoke to BuzzFeed about bras every gal should have in her arsenal, every breast laden person should own a sports bra. Mountfort told BuzzFeed, “This is the most important and most misunderstood of all underwear. As soon as your bust starts to develop, you should get fitted in a sports bra. The ligaments in the bust stretch during vigorous activity, if not properly supported.” So take it from an expert and wear a sports bra when working out.

5. You Could Be Wearing The Wrong Size Bra

According to The Independent, lingerie expert and head of Rigby & Peller June Kenton told Fashionista.com, "About 85 percent of women are wearing the wrong size, and haven't got any idea how to deal with it." To discover if your bra size is correct, try taking a bra size quiz to shine more light on what's going wrong and book yourself an appointment with a professional bra fitter in an establishment that you trust.

6. Your Bra Size Can Fluctuate Between Stores

A few years ago, when I was much more concerned about how small my boobs were, I was over the moon to discover I had gone up a whole cup size when I got measured in a store I'd never visited before. However, I had a rude awakening when I found I was still the same size as before when I shopped elsewhere. A journalist writing for The Daily Mail also had the same trouble with fluctuating bra sizes across a range of stores in the U.K. Be prepared that this may happen to you if you venture outside of your favorite lingerie stores.

7. Underwired Bras Do Not Cause Breast Cancer

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

According to new research – and contrary to popular belief from about a decade ago – wearing a bra, underwired or otherwise, does not cause breast cancer. Dr. Sally Norton, a NHS consultant, discussed the facts about breast cancer with The Daily Mail. When asked if underwired bras cause breast cancer Dr. Norton said, "No. This is a myth that has been started and perpetuated by some poor scientific studies that have since been robustly proven wrong." So you can be worry-free and wear any style of bra that tickles your fancy, including underwired bras.

Try: Cosabella Paris Balconette Bra, $88, Amazon

8. Not All Nursing Bras Put Function Over Style

NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images

The days when nursing bras were boring, beige, and old fashioned are long gone. There are tons of stores offering contemporary bras that look just as beautiful as non-maternity styles, that allow for you to breastfeed with ease too. Hotmilk Lingerie offer some super styles, Cake Lingerie has a wonderful selection of nursing bras, and even Dita Von Teese released maternity underwear. So lingerie lovers can still look and feel fab in beautiful bras that were made for motherhood.

9. You Can Protect Your Bras Using Lingerie Wash Bags

WAMDER Set Of 7 Garments Laundry Bag Premium Mesh Wash Bag, $13, Amazon

Because of the luxury materials used in bras, many people prefer to hand wash their bras, so they don't get torn or caught in the washing machine. However, if you're someone who literally does not have time to hand wash their clothes – or you can think of a million better things to do with your time – invest in some wash bags instead. Just bung your bras into a mesh wash bag, pop the bag in with the rest of your clothes, and rest easy knowing that your beautiful bras won't get damaged.

10. Bras Don’t Define Your Gender

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

The general public is slowly having their eyes opened to the gender spectrum. Soon the gender binary may be a thing of the past. Any human should have the right to wear whatever they desire, without fear of society shoving them into a box. Hopefully one day every person on the planet will feel comfortable enough to wear whatever they want, without being afraid of judgement. I hope that bras, along with any item of clothing, will be worn by anyone that feels awesome in them, regardless of their gender.

So now you know the facts, the choice to wear bras (or not) is entirely yours.

Images: dietmaha, stokpic, Hans, Kareha, Foundry, Franio /Pixabay; Courtesy Brands; Bustle