Make a difference to the world…starting with your bra!
Bras. You may love ‘em or hate ‘em but how often do you recycle bras?
A lot of the time we hold on to bras because we don’t know what to do with them. Be honest with yourself and declutter your bras – take each one out of your underwear drawer and ask yourself these two questions:
1. DOES IT FIT YOU PROPERLY?
80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size and this can lead to breast pain and bra irritation.
A survey by British underwear suppliers, Rigby & Peller, in 2016 uncovered that:
- 33% of women buy the wrong bra size and discard immediately after buying
- 20% admit that lingerie they bought on impulse has not been worn
- 70% would rather wear an old grey bra which feels like a second skin than an expensive new purchase which turns out to be uncomfortable
How to solve the great question of what bra size to buy? Have a bra fitting.
I put off having a professional bra fitting for years (primarily due to embarrassment, I mean who actually wants to get half-naked in front of a stranger in a changing room?!) However, having a yearly bra fitting is such a well-spent 30 minutes of your life.
The best fittings I’ve had have been at M&S (free and the staff are really nice). Ask around – where have your friends gone? Which shops offer bra fittings near you? If you are nervous, choose a time when the changing rooms are less busy (e.g. during the week) but it is really worth doing.
TIPS FOR CHECKING YOUR BRA FITS
If you don’t want to have a professional bra fitting – here are some tips for deciding if your bra fits correctly:
- NO SPILLAGE – Your breasts should not be spilling over the top, sides, or bottom of the cups and you should not have “back bulge”!
- STRAPS STAY UP – The straps of your bra should not keep falling down even after you have adjusted them.
- MIDDLE HOOK – You should feel most comfortable when your bra is on the middle hook (bras age they stretch so if it is on the last hook and feels loose, it’s time to let it go).
- NO WRINKLY OR BAGGY cups.
- BAND SITS STRAIGHT – The band of your bra should sit firmly and horizontally across your back.
- NO INDENTS – The straps should not leave indents on your shoulders.
- SITS ON CHEST – The middle piece of your bra between your cups (“the gore”) should sit flat on your rib cage and not lifted off your chest.
- NOT UNCOMFORTABLE – For example, the underwire in your bra should not feel uncomfortable.
3. IF YOUR BRA FITS, DO YOU ENJOY WEARING IT?
Bras have a variety of purpose for us. For example, we buy T-shirt bras for invisible support, strapless for our “going out-out” dresses, bras to make us feel sexy, maternity bras etc. However, the overriding feeling they should bring out in us, regardless of purpose, should be positive. Does you bra make you feel happy? That is not to say you can’t enjoy the feeling of taking it off (!) but is it comfortable and does it make you feel good about yourself? If not, time to get yourself kitted out property – life is too short to be wearing something every day of your life which makes you feel anything less than good.
If you have answered “NO” to either of the above 2 questions – LET THAT BRA GO!
HOW TO RECYCLE BRAS
Now of course, you could bung your old bras in a black rubbish sack but why not do something more worthwhile with them? Here are 5 charities (in no particular order) who would gratefully receive any bra donations you can give them:
- UK based charity Against Breast Cancer has a bra recycling scheme which takes your unwanted or unloved bras and through their network of bra banks raises vital funds for pioneering breast cancer research. The bras donated help support small businesses in Africa through their textile recovery project (giving these bras a new lease of life) as they are too expensive to produce locally. The charity receives approximately £1 for every kilo of bras collected and these vital funds enable them to continue their research against breast cancer. Find one of their bra banks in your area by going to the charity’s website or post your unwanted bras in a bag to:
Recycling Scheme, Against Breast Cancer
13 Napier Court
Abingdon, OXON. OX14 3YT
- The lingerie brand, Bravvisimo, has recycling bins for old or damaged bras/bikinis in its stores. For each kilo of bras they recycle, they receive 70 pence which they give to a charity of choice. Their chosen charity for 2018 is Refuge, which is a brilliant domestic abuse charity: http://www.refuge.org.uk/. Bras which are in a useable condition go directly to developing countries across the world. Those bras which cannot be used in their entirety are broken down into parts which are again recycled into new items. You can also post bras to this free post address (just include a note clarifying that they are for recycling!):
Bravissimo and Pepperberry
Imperial Court, Holly Walk
- Smalls For All is another UK charity which accepts your new or “gently worn” bras. It uses old, donated bras to help those living in orphanages, slums and IDP camps in Africa. They also carry out educational projects to help children in schools. If your old bra is too worn to donate, the charity will organise for the bra to be recycled. They can then use the material and metal to raise money. The money is put towards buying people they help new knickers, as well as provide them with bras. You can send your bras to them at:
Smalls For All
108 Buchanan Crescent
4. The M&S Shwopping campaign also allows you to donate any old or unwanted bras (along with clothes and shoes) to many of their stores all over the UK. M&S says they ensure that by working with Oxfam absolutely none of those items end up in landfill and guarantees that the clothes will go where there’s a demand, or are recycled. Britons are expected to send 235m items of clothing to landfill this spring so it’s a worthwhile scheme to use!
- ZABRA – a free bra initiative to collect pre-owned and new bras in the UK for women in South Africa and other countries who can’t afford their own. They work closely with organisations who identify situations where women can benefit from receiving bras free of charge. Bras can be posted to ZABRA at:
ZABRA – AfreeBra initiative
Att: Jeanette Kruger
51 South Street
So next time you open your underwear drawer – have a bra clear-out and remember the above schemes! Your old bras can make a real difference to someone else’s life.
Where have you got rid of your old bras?
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