Yesterday, after coming across a post on Reddit asking “How many bras should we own”, I realize that:
1. I have too many bras (though I knew this already)
2. I used to have a lot fewer bras and be really happy with that former amount.
3. Most people do with 4 bras and are ok with it.

But how many bras do we actually need and how long can we expect a bra to be in good shape?

Well, that answer is highly relative. I think it is important to realize that there are only 7 days in a week and that most people only have 2 breasts. Also, the sentence “you get what you pay for” is true.

Ellesmere Botanical demi-bra (cut and sew).

How many bras do you need?

I am a fan of the concept of wearing a particular type of bra with a particular outfit. I think a bra can definitely change the way a dress or shirt fits you and I love to play with that.

– Padded bras: 2*

For me, it is good to have several bra cuts but keep in mind that not every cut will suit your own body shape. I think having at least one padded bra is helpful since some clothes need more structure underneath to look good on me. For you, it might be a question of modesty.

– Cut-and-sew bras: 4*

Unlined cut-and-sew and demi-cup bras are my favorite as I found them to be easy to wear under anything and flattering for my bust shape. I also feel more comfortable in light-weight lingerie. It’s good to have at least 2 or 3 bras of your preferred style if it’s a style that works with most of your wardrobe and very importantly, your bust.

– Sports bras: 1-3* depending on how often your work out, really.

Know that the more you will wear the same piece, the faster it will need replacement. Obvious, isn’t it? But I think it’s worth mentioning, as it might be interesting to have several bras rather than using always the same one and needing to replace it super fast.

I added * to the numbers I suggested to indicated that they are only based on my own use and preferences. Empreinte Initiale sports bra and leggings

– Bralettes: 2-3*
Bralettes fill different purposes. Some of us find them more comfortable for they are wireless. Others will use them because they make them feel good about their body, or because they are lighter and provide a more natural shape under clothes. Whatever is your reason, well, you are the only one knowing how often you will need to wear them. I always opt for the supportive ones and I think 3 would be a good number for me.

– Strapless bras: 2*

Well-fitting strapless bras are a must-have in your wardrobe, but they aren’t easy to find. I personally think that a padded one and a non-padded one would be very good to have but of course, depending on your size only one option might be available. A black one and one that fits your skin tone would be especially useful for evening gowns or summer dresses.

The goal for me is to have 90% of well-fitting bra in my wardrobe and a margin of 10% for the fail attempts or fashion bras that aren’t meant to “fit”. That being said, I try to get rid of bras that I don’t wear anymore since lingerie takes space.

luxury lingerie addictHarlow and Fox Eleanor

My passion for lingerie and my blog leads me to try new brands as often as my wallet can handle it but if I was not a blogger I think I would honestly just save for my dream well-fitting lingerie and all I would wear would be Harlow and Fox, Empreinte, Avocado, and Ellesmere lingerie.

At the end of the day, even if there are tons of amazing other brands out there, I really really like a perfectly-fitting bra and I like knowing that I’ll be happy with the products I pay for. I love consistency in quality also, which removes the stress of bad surprises. Now the subject of this post is not my good and bad habits but what I think would be a good lingerie routine/good lingerie shopping habits.

Even as a lingerie addict, I can confidently say that I could do with 8 wired bras sets, 2 sports bras and 3 supportive bralettes.

Lingerie addictUye Surana Lacey bralette

A lingerie addict point of view

Now, I am probably at a very wrong place to tell anybody how many pieces of lingerie they should have. I simply started to think about it and realized that it is super easy to become a bra hoarder, especially when you are both a lingerie addict and a blogger.

The truth is that most people neither wear all of their clothes nor all of their bras. I remember starting my busty life with a handful of bralettes and bras in the wrong size and when I finally got fitted, I could only afford a couple of well-fitting bras because they were just so expensive. However, I LOVED these bras. I loved them so damn much and took great care of them since it was so difficult to find my size at this time in the Caribbean. I knew it wouldn’t have been possible to buy tones of them anyway. So at this time, I was definitely wearing all of my lingerie pieces.
That is why I recommend to myself and others to own a “reasonable” amount of lingerie – or anything you love buying really. When you own fewer things, you tend to care more about them, to love them more and longer. Then, when you choose to add something new to your collection, at least your mind is in peace and has more space to think about the why and the how you are going to get that thing.

I am not saying this is going to be easy. I am the one that doesn’t have any more space to stock her panties. Though I know I am not the only one, and I remember a time when I had just enough sets to wear a different one every day of the week but not more, and I felt really good at this time with my collection. I actually cherished it.
Lingerie addict
Plus when you don’t buy every cute thing that crosses your way you also have more money to spend on things you will actually love forever. So I am not saying it is bad to want luxurious stuff. I will never say that I am just getting pickier and pickier through the years. It’s not bad either to try new amazing designers (they also have to make money, right?). However, maybe it is worth it to have a smaller collection of stuff that has a bigger – sentimental and financial- value.

Another thing also that is worth saying… If you wash your lingerie by hand, even the cheapest bra can actually last long. I heard that a bra is supposed to last 12 to 18 months but I disagree. I have some old Gossard bras that I bought 5 years ago and which still look amazing. Of course, your body might evolve, and if you only own a couple of bras they will get damage faster than if you only wear them once every two weeks. Now, taking the time to wash your lingerie in a delicate way, by hand and to carefully put the right colors together, might help you to keep your underwear in great shape for way more than a year.

This post is meant to open a discussion so feel free to tell me if you think I am wrong or if you have any advice that you’d like to share!

Bisous bisous!


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13 Replies to “Lingerie addict: between passion and consumerism”

  1. I own too many bras. I have countless bras that I’m trying to sell, because in the past I’ve been rather bad at gauging fit from just trying on a bra. I’ve gotten better at this, and I’ve also stopped keeping any bras for looks alone, or even trying on fashion bras that I know won’t fit. But it doesn’t change the fact that I have hundreds of dollars of bras lying in boxes under my bed. (And we won’t consider how much I’ve spent on postage, sending bras back.)

    I own too few bras. I only have three bras that are comfortable and fit which are suitable for daily wear. Ideally I’d have 7, so I could do my hand-washing once a week. I replace these bras as the elastic quality is lost (usually after about 2 years), and I recently threw out several bras. I’m reluctant to buy replacements because I want both the fit and to enjoy the appearance, and there’s nothing that catches my eye right now.

    I own just the right number of bras. I have the number of ‘special use’ bras that I want. That’s about three sports bras, a couple of bras that can be worn for nights out (cage bra, plunge bra), and a couple boudoir bras.

  2. I’m a lingerie boutique owner and have instant access to bras. One brand fits me well so I tend to have “all the bras” from a particular collection. I own 30- everyday, wearable bras. While it’s excessive to some, it’s a number that works well for me. I have 30 days worth of bras without the need to rotate, or I have 60-days of bras with a rotation of one. With my busy schedule, having 30 is actually more efficient for me.

    Now, for my clients? I recommend 4-7 bras, with 10 being “ideal” with the explanation that three will always be resting during a week of rotation. I always encourage them to build up to what their budget allows. Most start with 2 then will build up to 4 within a couple of months. This number does not include sports, leisure, or “going to the club’ bras, as often these are not used on a every day basis.

    It think the number of bras one has is going to really depend on a person’s preference, budget, and use.

  3. Really interesting post 🙂

    I don’t really know my thoughts on the topic. I do know I have far more bras than I actually need (I don’t know, maybe 50 or so right now?). And I definitely don’t wear all of them. But they make me happy, I like opening my lingerie drawers and seeing them all neatly lined up. So… like I said, I don’t know my own thoughts 😉 But it is definitely an interesting discussion.

    The past few years I’ve started to buy less clothing, but double of pieces I find that I *really* love. So that I can wear the first one at least without worrying it’s going to wear out, because I have a backup. I’m thinking maybe I should do the same with lingerie – less variety, more considered and well thought-out purchases. But then, as someone who’s also a lingerie blogger, I feel like I need to be regularly reviewing new brands or my readers will get bored! So being a blogger makes me less selective too.

  4. Really thoughtful and interesting post, thank you! I have been thinking about this a lot lately, more so with clothes, but also every time I do laundry and realize I have probably 6-7 weeks of underwear, which seems like too much.

    I started sewing last fall and while there is still the temptation of constantly purchasing beautiful fabrics and patterns, I have become much more thoughtful about buying ready to wear clothing and lingerie. I’ve actually not bought any RTW since 2018 started, initially not intentionally and now kind of intentionally. There are some things I’m okay with not making, for example a sweater or a jacket, but so far I really enjoy the process of making my own clothes (and bras/underwear!). It’s definitely the opposite of fast fashion and given that I only sew on weekends, limits how much stuff I can add to my wardrobe significantly.

  5. After seeing the question highlighted on your IG I actually went & did a quick count. I have 50+ sets, but only 10-15 sets are in frequent rotation. I hand wash everything & only do a washing day once I’ve worn everything (that fits). So, for practicality, the more I own, the less frequently I need to wash.
    I know I don’t NEED to hang on to the sets which no longer fit, but some of them hold a lot of sentimental value to me & I cannot part with them. I should probably sell at least 10 sets tho.
    This article was really thought provoking & I really enjoyed it Wen.

    1. I can’t believe I haven’t answered your comment earlier. Thank you so much for reading my messy thoughts. I totally get you on the sentimental value of things. It’s something I keep working on but it’s always hard to let go, for some reasons. It’s true that the more bras you have the less you need to wash them and the longer they last too. I just feel like sometimes when we have too many bras we even forget about some of them. So despite their sentimental value we don’t give them love in the end. I always prefer to give my bras to friends or family (rather than selling them) because this way it doesn’t feel like they are completely gone. ^_^

      xx Wen

  6. I am of the Marie Kondo school of thought and only buy/keep things if they “spark joy”. This means I actually don’t own that many sets of lingerie but they are all of exquisite quality and I wear all of it. I have had some regrets where I saw a pretty bra that just isn’t very practical or usable, and I kind of knew it at the time. I have been proved right when it just sits in the drawer and I even forget about it. I guess there are genuine collectors out there who just want to own everything and keep it all like an archive, whether or not they are going to be worn. I think this is justifiable, like any type of collection. For me, I’m always going to go for quality over quantity.

    1. I discovered Marie Kondo last year and it really helped with the way I deal with my home and shopping habits. I experienced the same thing with pretty things that finally are so annoying to wear. Now I think twice before buying new things. Not only lingerie actually. When I started my lingerie journey I used to see myself as a collector but now that I am in another state of mind, it just makes me sad to see unused garments just taking space in my drawer. Also, since I started buying ethically made clothes, I tend to think more about my purchases. There are not so many ethical brands of clothing in my budget, so my choice is limited and I tend to only buy things when I really have a crush on them. In a sens it feels good because I don’t feel overwhelmed anymore by the flow of fast fashion ads all over the internet. I just don’t see them anymore.

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