Several years ago, HerRoom ran a contest in which we asked women to show us their lingerie drawers and tell us why they deserved to win the grand prize of a HerRoom shopping spree. What I noticed most of all was that some women had drawers overflowing with lingerie, including worn-out or dingy bras and bras they never wore. Others had just a few pieces that looked a little lonely in all that space. Whichever type you are, I suggest a yearly "bra audit." It’s a chance to get rid of pieces that no longer work for you and also, to make a list of the pieces you need. Try this out and I can promise you that you’ll not only have a tidier lingerie drawer, but that you’ll have exactly the right bra when you need it.
Start by taking all your bras out and dividing them into piles:
1. Bras that are stained, dinghy, stretched out, frayed or have broken parts, like underwires, strap adjusters or hooks. This also includes bras with misshapen cups.
2. Bras that you rarely wear because they don’t fit correctly, are uncomfortable or don’t work with your wardrobe. For instance, if you have a bra that doesn’t fit on any hook connection, it belongs in this pile. If your breasts spill out of a bra’s cups or don’t fill the cups, put it in the pile. If, for whatever reason, a bra is just plain uncomfortable, it goes here. And, if a bra has been sitting in your drawer unworn because it’s never right for anything you wear, put it in the pile.
3. Bras that are good enough: you wear them occasionally, especially when other bras are in the laundry. They’re still serviceable and fit you well enough.
Special Note: You might have another pile in between these; let’s call it 3.5. These are specialty bras you may have bought for one specific outfit. For instance, you may have a longline bra or backless bra or something you bought for one special neckline. We all like to hold on to these in case we need them again and that’s fine. But, try them on first. If a bra has been sitting in the back of your drawer for years the elastic may have decayed, the size may no longer fit you, the cups may have lost their shape. If that’s the case, put them in the discard pile and add that style as a ‘maybe’ on your replacement list.
4. Your favorite bras. These are the bras you go to all the time. They fit perfectly, the colors are right, they look great on you and they’re in great shape.
So, four piles of bras. What should you do with each?
Discard that first pile without a second look. For the second pile, I suggest you divide them further into bras that are gently used or pristine and those that have some wear. For gently used bras, you might want to consider donating them to an organization like the Bra Recylclers or Bras for a Cause. The rest should be discarded.
Consider discarding the good-enough bras as well. I think of this type of lingerie as place-holders for the bras I really should have. They’re in your wardrobe because you may not have enough of the right bras to begin with.
Now you’re left with a collection of bras you really like. Because you’ve discarded other bras, are you now missing an important piece? Look at my Lingerie Essentials to see what should be in your drawer. While you might not need everything on the list, most of these belong in your bra collection. I think it’s a good idea to make a list of the brands (including the size you wear in each brand) and styles that you’ve already got covered. Make another list of what you want to buy to fill out your bra wardrobe. On HerRoom, you can search by brand, size, bra style and even color to update your lingerie wardrobe.
Once you’ve done your bra audit and replaced or added some new bras, I think you’ll be thrilled with the results: you’ll have a drawer full of bras that fit your body, your personal style and your wardrobe.