While finding the right size is half the battle, tricky necklines, falling straps, and poking underwires are just some of the problems every girl faces at one time or another. From tips for making your bras last longer and keeping your straps in place to tricks for converting a regular bra into a strapless or racerback style in a pinch, check out these genius hacks for solving all your biggest bra struggles.
1. Instead of buying a racerback bra, just use a bra clip to pin your straps together temporarily. A paperclip works too, in a pinch.
2. Don't just throw your bras in the washing machine. Those suckers are pricey. Instead, put your bra in a plastic ball before washing them to make sure it keeps its form.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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 removeable 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.
8. 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."
9. 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.
10. 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.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.