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12 Genius Bra Fixes Every Woman Needs in Her Life

Even when you think you have found the perfect bra, it reveals itself not to be—sometimes the bras straps keep falling down or you need it to function for a different kind of top in a pinch. We have the 12 best tips for caring for and wearing your bra.

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Falling straps

When shopping for a bra, it’s important to seek something with proper strap placement, says Frederika Zappe, national fit specialist at English lingerie brand Eveden. Some bras are designed for those with wide backs, while others have a better fit for women with narrow shoulders. Bra straps can be held up with bra tape too, but if your bra straps keep sliding down, regardless of how often you adjust them, it’s a sign you need a new bra.

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Get rid of your groove

If your bra straps still keep falling down or dig too tightly into your shoulder, silicone bra straps can provide some comfort. The extra padding claims to eliminate bra tug, deep grooves, and stress, and is designed for your strap to fit snugly inside.

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Get a racerback in a pinch

For racerback shirts, bra straps are the last thing you want people to see. Although some bras come with a j-hook clip to convert a regular bra into a racerback, that might not always be an option. Zappe recommends enlisting a friend to pin the straps together using a safety pin or even a paper clip. Women can also purchase a bra converting clip that hooks your straps together. Make sure you own these nine essential bras, and you’ll always have one to go with every outfit in your closet.

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Make the plunge

For low back shirts and dresses, a visible bra can totally ruin the look. If you can’t go without a bra or sticky boobs, a low back extender is the next best thing. These straps attach to your bra hooks and wrap around your waist, forcing the bra to plunge without losing coverage. Any extra bra straps that come with a strapless bra will do the trick as well. Here’s what your bra choice reveals about you.

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Avoid the washing machine…

Many washing machines have a top loader, meaning any bras that are thrown into the wash are likely to be agitated, says Zappe. Once the underwire becomes rippled, she says, the bra will not be salvageable. To avoid damage, bras should always be hand-washed with baby or lingerie wash before laying flat to dry, says Zappe.

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…But if you must

Bras should always be placed into a mesh bag before being thrown into the wash, Zappe says. Bras should be washed with similar colors and should stay clear from heavier items like towels or sheets, she says. There are some surprising things you can put into a washing machine, but a bra isn’t one of them.

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Have a ball

Although clunky, a plastic ball protector will keep your bra from losing its shape in the washing machine. The ball keeps your bra from getting caught in the washing machine’s agitator or on the drum, as well as being weighed by anything else in the wash.

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Like a broken wire

If your underwire pokes out of your bra when you’re out and about, stop in the nearest convenience store for a Band-Aid or moleskin. The adhesives can be attached to the hole in your bra for a quick fix until you get home.

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Don’t get lost

Like washing your bras, tossing your bras haphazardly into your suitcase can cause wear-and-tear to the cups. A bra bag will keep your bras in shape during your travels, and you won’t worry about weird creases when you arrive.

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Transform a strapless bra

Strapless bras are notorious for falling down. Zappe says all bras, regardless of size or type, should pass the “three points of fit” test, like when the middle of your bra lays flat against your sternum. If it doesn’t, however, a strapless bra can be reinforced with an extra convertible strap on top of the underwire.

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Sew it in

For a specific event, say, a themed party, the right look might require that you show off your home-ec skills. Women might opt to sew in a cheap bra into their Halloween costume for some added coverage, especially if it’s unlikely you’ll wear the garment on multiple occasions.

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Always get fitted

Not getting a fitting before buying a new bra is one of the most common bra mistakes women make. Women’s bodies change regularly, so it’s important to always get a fitting before buying a new bra, even if you’ve purchased one from the same brand before, says Zappe. “There are English brands, French brands, American brands,” she says, noting that the sizes will all be different. Even the same company might have skews that vary in sizes, she says.

Amanda Eisenberg
Amanda Eisenberg is a New York City-based journalist. She's covered everything from unlawful nursing home discharges in Maryland to excess helicopter noise in Hoboken. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Elle Decor, McClatchy-Tribune Wire Service and dozens of other publications. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland (go Terps!). In her free time, Eisenberg enjoys traveling, volunteering and cliff diving. She can be reached at [email protected]