I normally wear a bra until it’s dead, but thanks to travelling round Asia with a different diet, routine and well… intestinal parasite, I’ve lost a fair bit of weight and my boobs were the first casualty.
When I get back I’m going to need a new wardrobe and I’m sure I’ll be dropping off a lot of stuff at charity shops. But… can I do that with bras?
Would you buy a second hand booby wrangler? What do you do with bras that are okay, but just don’t fit you anymore? –Jess
Comments on What do I do with all my old bras?
I was *just* talking about this to my best friend yesterday! I recently lost a significant amount of weight, and she pointed out that as long as they are clean, then donating bras to charity shops is totally OK. There are also plenty of women’s clothing “banks” that could use bras.
Or, if they are relatively new and clean and good quality, craigslist them. Seriously.
Donate them here! http://freethegirls.org/donate/give-bras/
Free the Girls provides gently used bras to former sex slaves to sell in their home countries, providing them a great income and the opportunity for education.
It is a great orgnaization. Some friends and I held a bra drive earlier this year and donated over 100 bras, which was fun to do, and really shows how many women are buying/wearing bras that don’t fit or they don’t like. But really you could just send your own donation. =)
ERMAHGERD brainstorm! OFFBEAT BRA DRIVE!!!!
Oh yay, I have a stack of perfectly-good-but-don’t-really-fit-me bras that I’ve been hanging onto for some reason, this is perfect!
I just checked out that charity, that is awesome! I will definitely be doing that from now on. Thanks for sharing!
Just checking; do you know if the women involved in the charity all definitely formerly trafficked women?
I’ve heard of a large number cases of consensual sex workers being deported as “rescue operations” so it’s a concern for me, though providing sellable materials does seem like a good idea to me. I just don’t want to support the idea that all foreign sex workers are necessarily not doing it of their free will
I personally don’t buy used bras, that is only because as a 40DD i need a lot of support and i never see those kind of bras at a thrift store, that being said I volunteer at our local Opportunity-shop which is a second hand store where all of our proceeds go to our hospital. A lot of our shoppers have very little money and our prices are set up so they can get the things they need for cheap and the women absolutely LOVE when they come in and we have nice clean bras that have been recently donated. I would say if your unsure just call the shop ahead of time and ask if they take them.
I don’t see why you couldn’t donate them to a thrift shop. I see them there all the time, and I see people buying them there as well. As long as they’re clean, they should be fine. It’s not like they’re panties. 🙂
If I found a bra that fit in a thrift store, I would buy that sucker, no questions asked. I have looked, plenty of times. I’m an unusual size, though, so my only option is usually hard-to-find, boring, expensive bras.
I’m your friendly neighbourhood 34JJ (sometimes 36K, depending on the bra) popping in to say that inexpensive and incredibly flattering bras for weird sizes DO exist! (On the internet anyway…)
All of my favourite bras from the last year or so have come from there. Even though I can’t try them on, and sometimes end up with one that doesn’t fit, it’s STILL cheaper than buying the boring ones that make my boobs look awful.
You are my hero! I was a 32FF before getting pregnant, and by 2nd trimester am barely fitting into 32HH with an extender. I was wondering what I was going to do when the milk comes in, since herroom.com and even biggerbras.com only go up to K. Now there is hope!
I’m a 36K and get all mine from bravissimo.com I even have a wonderful proper fully supportive swimming suit from there in a K cup, fully underwired and comfy 🙂
You might look into orchardcorset.com. I got my ginormous nursing bras from there under Ralph’s expert advice. But that was a while back…
That being said, yes, thrift store. ESPECIALLY if you have a size that can’t be found at a La Senza or something. La Senza has sales that are like 3 bras for $30. If you’re a 34-38 A-DD. The rest of us never get sales 🙁
Finding a bra at a thrift store that fits and is flattering would be like finding $60 on the ground. Pretty sweet and of course I’d take it.
A friend once took me to La Senza. When I was in the change-room trying on the largest cup-size they offered in my band-size, the sales-lady outside the door offered that if it was too roomy in the cup, she could find me something with padding. ‘Cause, y’know, what everyone needs is more boobage. No, that is not the problem I’m having here, thanks very much.
The great thing about Ewa Michalak bras is that a lot of them come with removable padding. Now my right one no longer looks a full cup size smaller than my left one!
If anyone has bras that aren’t in donate-able condition, you may be able to find a way to reuse them if you have a bit of sewing skills!
I have made my own swimsuit top using the padding inside an old bra and the back clip thingy, just bought fun new swim suit material! If it still fits you could probably get away with just covering up the whole bra with new material. Also straps can be reused on other pieces of clothing – I bet you could even cover those with new material and have the bra straps as extra support.
I’ve also seen DIY instructions online about sewing an old bra into a shirt or dress, like one with a low back that would be hard to wear a regular bra with, or a strapless dress. Haven’t tried that one yet, but I bet it would work!
I have a friend that runs free the girls bra drives. That is a great option. Though I have a habit of recycling my old bras into bellydance bras, that is an option as well.
For undonatable bras, you could turn ’em into a coin/small purse.
loooooooooooool “small purse”. I can wear one cup like a hat. Maybe that’s an option for the bigger-breasted among us! Boob hats for everyone!
(Ignore me, I have weird ideas and too much sugar.)
I’m now picturing something in the line of lingerie-turned-Mennonite-style-prayer-covering. Snerk.
Sarah, you just made me choke on my own spit! This is too funny!
I read this to my husband and he laughed so hard. His suggestion:
Double barrel sling-shots!
I about choked on my lunch!
In all seriousness, there have been some great ideas and suggestions here!
My roommate used to lovingly tease me by wearing my very-much-unsmall bras like heart-shaped Victorian bonnets when I was sad. It looked surprisingly good.
One of my former housemates used a bra as a Christmas-tree topper.
My sister had a breast reduction a little over a year a go, but before that she was an aussie size 14H (US 36L apparently…. she’s 5′ tall…..) I remember being at my mum’s one day and she came home after a bra fitting, and she was like “look i can fit it on my head!” so I sat next to her and put the other cup on my head, and mum walked past the bedroom door and just stopped and looked at us and was like “what are you two doing!?”
We laughed and laughed.
Have you seen the movie “How to Train Your Dragon”?? There is a fabulous little snippet when the father gives Hiccup a helmet…made from one half of his mother’s breastplate (Dad has the other half).
Haha, yes! I loved that part!
Yup K-cup = hat! 😀
I once gifted some gently used bras to a friend when another friend coerced me into trying on larger bras (she couldn’t believe I was the size I claimed to be, and she was right, I needed to go up a full cup). Had that friend not wanted a bunch of bras, I would have found a good place to donate them.
I had a friend who I used to swap bras with ALL THE TIME – our boobs would fluctuate in and out of the same size range so one good quality bra got swapped back and forth a few times!
Domestic violence and other women’s shelters often need bras, especially larger sizes.
Yes! When I was in one there was a donation cupboard which is a life send when you only have enough clothes for about a week! I remember my joy at finding a donated bra in my size! Refuges are always in need of donations. Plus they used to put new stuff in the main room and it was like going shopping, awesome to cheer a girl up! 🙂
If you have friends who bellydance or perform burlesque or something else that requires costuming, they might welcome some gently used bras. I have a bud who’s a burlesque performer and she makes her own costumes, which often involves bedazzling or adding frings or other enhancements onto a plain bra-base.
Find your local hospital that provides sexual assault exams. They are often in need of bras (especially sports bras to fit all cup sizes) to give to women who have had all of the clothes they came in with taken as evidence for the police. Your state’s coalition against sexual assault and/or domestic violence (every state is mandated to have one) will have a list of those hospitals and shelters.
Wow. That’s a lot of food for thought. I have some absolutely gorgeous gently used bras that I now feel happy have many opportunities to go to a good home.
Oh homies, you’re all wonderful!
If they are good bras, why not keep them? You’ll almost certainly gain back the weight and then some.
Indra, many women not only successfully loose weight but also successfully keep it off. In fact a common tip to keep that weight off is to throw out clothes that are too big.
This! Indra, I would love to keep the bras but I agree with Aimee, I need incentive to keep the weight off.
Although it was lost in an unhealthy way I intend to keep it off healthily (exercise) and having bigger clothes around will just make me lazy…
I dunno, I lost 30 lbs when I lived in India and came home, donated all my clothes and vowed to never go back. But even after walking 5 miles a day in my spare time, once the parasite was treated at the local hospital, I started to gain the weight back. I’m not saying it’ll happen to you, but just living in America, with all the fattening choices, even trying to keep it off didn’t necessarily work as well as just living my life with Delhi-Belly 😛
I’d suggest hanging onto them for a while too. Especially since it didn’t sound like intentional weight loss. Double especially since part of it was due to an intestinal parasite. The body tends to “recover” quickly from things like that.
Just give it a month or so for your new size to reach equilibrium. Then follow up with some of the excellent suggestions here.
Just want to throw in my support for the idea of keeping bras for those whose weight fluccuates. I tend to keep a size range of clothes that I like and which are useful/expensive/hard to find (mostly well-fitting jeans in about 3 different sizes) because my weight fluccuates, so I think this is a good idea, but I can see why people would not want to as well. Every body is different. ^_^ I don’t tend to fluccuate in bra size, though – usually my weight goes to my awesome hips & thighs, making them temporarily even more awesome – but I have just recently (finally!!) found a perfect bra for myself: the Panache by Cleo, which is sold at Nordstrom Rack for pretty cheap. I recommend this for ladies who have a large bust to small band size (I’m a 30DD, and yes, I buy my bras at the Rack. 😀 Har har!)… but anyway, I’m loving all the tips for how to use up old bras because as I build my collection of those that are supportive, sexy AND comfortable (what a mind-blowing concept) I am phasing out the older ones. Thanks for all the creative suggestions!!
i live in hollywood where there are a lot of homeless teens. i dropped mine off at a local shelter that helps with rehab and providing work wardrobes. i was afraid they wouldn’t be pleased but they said they were. seems like they’re likelier to be worn than purchased through thrift.
We have bra drives for women in prison here in NZ, maybe something similar where you live? I also give my maternity and breastfeeding bras to teen parent schools – they can be really expensive for young mums!!!
I worked at Goodwill, and even if something wasn’t “sellable” the clothing first went to a “buy by the pound” store (yes, buy clothing and goods BY THE POUND) and if it didn’t sell there it went to a fabric recycling center. Saw it with my own eyes – so I know it’s legit! 🙂
That’s really lovely to know that the donated clothes aren’t wasted even if they aren’t purchased “as is.”
I gave some bras to the local women’s refuge, when people come in with the clothes on their back that may not even include a bra, if they come in pjamas or something.
Ditto the women’s shelter. The one I donate to gives vouchers to go buy clothes and supplies but it may be two days before she can go out. I saw an obvious 40-d woman holding a 34-b size bra shaking her head saying ” its just going to have to work” they really do need anything at that point. My big bras were a big hit.
This post inspired me to seek out somewhere to donate here in Australia, and I found the ‘Uplift Project’ at http://www.upliftbras.org/
There’s collection points in all Australian states and territories, and also in New Zealand. There’s also postal addresses for sending the bras directly to areas of need. I’ve got a number of maternity bras that were only used for a relatively short time and are still fine that I didn’t know what to do with so this is great!
This is what I do with all my pre-loved bras and I’ve gotten my mother-in-law on board too, as she has recently lost a lot of weight and didn’t know what to do with her too-big-bras.
Yay thanks Mel! Reading the comments I was thinking to myself that I need to find out where to donate my bras.
My husband thought I was a weirdo, but I gave a bunch of my old bras to my pregnant sister. Her boobs are (well, were) smaller than mine and when she got pregnant they got big. She’s pretty cheap and didn’t want to spend money on new bras, so she asked me if I had any old ones I wanted to “donate” to her. Oh, the things we do for our sisters…
You can swap or sell your bras with other women. They have a neat measurement feature which helps you figure out your size in each bra.
Lots of busty/curvy women, particularly those with small band/large cup sizes, will sell or swap bras that don’t fit, since they are generally quite expensive to begin with. There is a Clothes for Boobs Buy/Sell/Chat/Share Page on Facebook, a thirty_twod community on LiveJournal, and some threads on Reddit.
These communities are great places for figuring out your best sizing, and if you don’t have a good store in your area, a place to find things in your size.
Especially if your bras are a more specialty size, you could sell them to a good home.
I love the info about good places to donate as well!
I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I give them to Be a Dear and Donate a Brassiere, which gives them to shelters: https://www.facebook.com/BeaDearandDonateaBrassiere/info
Check out some upcycling ideas for those bras.
Ooh, the bra strap headband is an awesome idea.
Following that board now – I have bras that are shall we say a bit past it, but I don’t just want to throw them out. Wonder how many of my friends would like a bra purse ; )
Slightlty worried about the planter tho.
hi! why not sell them on either ebay or etsy. several people buy used bras there