Good bras are strong, mighty even, but they are not invulnerable. Rough handling will shorten their life. It’s best to hook them behind your back, but if this is not possible for you, and you must hook in front and then spin the garment around, please be sure the cups are turned up in their normal position throughout the operation. Flipping the cups up after you’ve hooked the bra and turned it around to the front will tend to bend the underwire and force it through the stitching. Obviously, you don’t want to adjust the cup by pulling at the lace. You’ll tear it. Bend forward, please, reach in, and lovingly draw your breast just-so into the cup.
Fine bras should always be hand-washed COLD using a specially formulated lingerie wash, such as Forever New™, which preserves the elasticity of the band. In a pinch, you can use baby shampoo. Sports and Nursing bras may be machine washed in a lingerie bag. Clasp the hooks together before washing and use a gentle cycle.
No bra should ever go in a dryer. Treat them as you would a fine sweater. Don’t wring it out, instead press excess water out with a towel and hang the bra to dry. Hanging it by the straps can cause stretching: its best to fold it over the rack on the center gore.
Molded cup bras should be stored open if possible: inverting one cup into the other is a great temptation but it does put some unnecessary stress on the bra.
You should own three bras, at a bare minimum, and wear one for no more than two days in a row. This grants critical recovery time to the all-important band elastic. Normally you were fit on the loosest hook, and that should be snug and supportive for months. Gradually the load and heat will stretch the band. When you start to feel unduly jiggley, resist the urge to tighten the strap, and instead move the hooks to the next position.
The straps only carry about 10% of the weight in a properly fitted bra. You should feel them firmly on the shoulder, neither digging in nor falling off.
Now that you are doing everything right, the life of your bra will be determined by three factors: frequency of use, quality of manufacture, and weight carried. The cold facts of life are that a 34B gal just doesn’t need to spend as much on bras as a 34G. You’re driving a Rolls, babe. Don’t take it to Pep Boys.