How many bras should I own?

As the foundation of any great outfit, your choice of lingerie is very important in helping you feel and look fabulous. But how many different types of bras do you really need? And, more importantly, how many bras do you own that have been sitting unused and unloved for months (or years)?

According to a survey done by Rigby & Peller, the average women owns (drum-roll, please)... eight bras. But we think those survey participants may have hidden a few; our guess would be closer to 20 bras (Note: I just counted... and yep, I own 18 bras. And that was after clearing out my lingerie drawer a few months back!). So perhaps the question should not be ˜how many bras should I own?' but rather ˜how many good fitting bras should I own?' 

During my bra exploration I found 8FF, 10DD to 10FF & even a 12E. My current size is 10F. These bra sizes tend to reflect my fitness. In the winter, although I still go to gym, I eat more... simply put, when I put on weight my breasts get bigger. Breasts are made of fat, so when we get fatter so does our bra size. But we often meet women in store who say that no matter how much weight they lose their bra size stays the same.

So, a third of women own eight bras and yet only wear two. Well here is my bra story... out of my 18 bras, I only wear three; they are comfortable, seamless, provide my ideal shape and fit perfectly. Every now and then I'll dig deep for my sexy lace bra or strapless bra, depending on the occasion. I may even go wild and slip on the matching knickers!

My guess is that some women's lingerie habits are similar to mine. I rummage through a tangled mess of bras each morning only to pull out one of my three well-worn dependable friends. The others most likely don't fit well... but I just cannot let them go. We hold on to bras for many reasons. A present from a partner, a favourite which is falling to bits that's been discontinued and can't be replaced. That one that fitted before weight gain and will fit again when the extra weight is gone! Or what about that ill-fitting bra you spent your whole pay on and can't bear the thought of throwing all that money away? As I counted my bras I took a big step. Instead of rummaging to find my preferred one, I separated them by reducing my main drawer to five bras. I put all the ˜maybes' in a tub in my cupboard. Yes I know, not exactly a clear out, but one step at a time.

So let's talk about quality over quantity in your lingerie drawer. As a guide, I recommend that you find three different bra styles of excellent quality to become the main go-to's in your life. It's an investment, but one that will pay dividends with every outfit you wear.

Everyday bra - Your 'breast buddy', this bra is dependable, comfortable and one that you'll rely on. A nude colour or something similar to your skin tone will work the best under various colour outfits. Depending on your preferences, this could be a moulded t-shirt style or perhaps a seamfree one.

Sports bra - In order to comfortably workout, you need at least one sports bra that fully supports your bust and allows you to move comfortably. If you workout more than 2-3 times a week, you'll need a couple of sports bras to allow you to rotate them (so they last longer).

Strapless/Multiway bra - Yes, there are strapless and multiway bras in up to J cup sizes! So this is another must-have to enable you to wear your enamoured strapless, halter, backless, criss-cross strapped clothes. This one may only get worn every now and then, but it's importance should never be undervalued.

So are you up to the big bra clean out challenge? Bras lose their support over time from wash and wear, so answering the question ˜how long should my bra last?' is tricky. Your breast size can also have an impact because generally, bigger cup bras need to work harder and are designed to support more volume. If you are fuller-busted and you rotate between two to three bras (hand washing them every two to three days) it's probable they will last 12 - 18 months before you need to replace them. You can wear them for years, many women do, but the support will be reduced due to the materials deteriorating and stretching over time. Read our blog post about extending the life of your lingerie here. We recommend a bra fitting with us at least every 12 months and even more often if you have experienced weight loss or gain, pregnancy or menopause.

So, now it's confession time... how many good-fitting bras do you own? And how many do you wear?