Bras are more or less a necessity for most girls, yet they can be so unbelievably annoying. I mean, finding the right size is half the battle, but then there’s the issue of falling straps, poking wires, and tricky necklines. Luckily, women have been wearing bras for centuries, and in that time, we’ve come up with a lot of tips and tricks to get you through the most uncomfortable situations. So, anyone who wears a bra needs to check out these 15 life-changing bra hacks. You won’t know how you survived without them.
1. Convert an old bra into a backless one. All you have to do is cut where the bottom of the strap meets the back and where the back meets the cup (if you’re confused, check out this video). You’ll be left with the cups of the bra with two loose straps. Then, you’re going to sew the bottoms of the straps to the bottom of the cups so you can wear it almost like a backpack.
2. Make a caged bra with back straps you want to show off. Don’t like the idea of wearing a backless bra? Then DIY a bra with a back so cool you won’t be able to wear it enough. To do so, take a strapless bra and three pieces of elastic. You’re going to cut the original back off the bra, leaving about one inch on each side. Then just sew the three piece of elastic where the back used to be. It makes for such a cool look.
3. Sew a tab into your tank top so the straps won’t poke out. If you hate when bra straps poke out of your tank top, then make a little holder in the underside of your tank to hole the straps in place. Check out this video to see exactly how to get it done.
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4. Bring your sports bras in the shower with you after you work out. You can hand wash it in there while you wash yourself. This will make your sports bra last way longer.
5. Store bras by draping them over a hanger in your closet. It will save space and keep them from getting bent out of shape.
6. Instead of buying a racerback bra, just use a bra clip to pin your straps together temporarily. A paperclip works too, in a pinch.
7. Don’t just throw your bras in the washing machine. Those suckers are pricey and they can get damaged easily. Instead, put your bra in a special plastic ball before washing them to make sure it keeps its form.
8. For low-back dresses and tops, DIY a bra strap extension. Low-back dresses are super flirty, but when your bra strap shows, it totally messes up the look. If you don’t have one of those special bras with an extra strap that wraps arounds your front and pulls your back strap down for backless tops, you can make your own for cheap. Cut a strip of elastic the same size as your rib cage. Then, take a bra hook extender and cut and separate the hooks from the eyelets. Sew one on each side of the elastic, making sure they are reversed so you can hook them together like a normal bra clasp. Then, just hook the extender to one side of your bra clasp and wrap it around behind your back and around the front of your waist, cross it around and hook it onto your other bra strap. Confused? This video will explain it all.
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9. Sew an old bra into a backless dress for built-in support. Just chop off the straps and hand sew it into any dress. We love Katie’s tutorial from her blog, Skunkboy, for an easy step by step.
10. In pain from your straps digging into your shoulders? Slide silicone bra strap pads under your straps. They relieve the pressure that’s caused by strap tugging, and prevent grooves in your skin. While they’re great for quick relief and for special bras that have super-skinny straps that irritate you, if this is a constant problem, you should get a professional bra fitting. You might have to go down a band size and up a cup size because your straps are working too hard, causing them to dig into your shoulders.
11. After washing them, lay your bras flat to air dry. Don’t hang them or they’ll lose their shape. And never put them in the dryer! The heat will cause the elastic to wear away faster.
12. Turn your regular bra into a strapless bra that actually stays up. Take a regular bra strap (like an extra one from a bra with removable straps), and hook it onto the back of your bra on one side, bring it around your back and hook it onto the back of your bra on the other side. It’s super easy and creates a great strapless bra. Check out the full tutorial here.
13. Store your bras with both cups open. “Never invert one cup into the other,” says bra expert Linda Becker, owner of Linda’s lingerie stores in NYC and NJ. “Doing so destroys the fibers in the molding, makes the cups bumpy, and shortens the life of your bra.”
14. Use moleskin to fix an underwire bra that is poking you. You don’t have to buy a whole new bra if the underwire starts to come out. Grab some moleskin padding from any drug store and super glue it around the small hole in your bra.
15. Protect your bras when you’re traveling with a modeled cup container. It will keep the underwire and the cups from getting bent out of shape.
I’m Liz, the fashion and beauty girl at Seventeen.com.