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This is a question for all the ladies of StackExchange.

As a frequent traveller, I've found a few ways to pack bras better but I wanted to reach out to the peanut gallery and see if there was any other way to pack these things any more efficiently.

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    Do you suggest that it's not relevant for male travellers? At least some? After all, it's 2015! – Gayot Fow Jun 22 '15 at 17:16
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    Optimal how though ? When I read your question I think "space efficiency" but your answer seems to suggest "how best to preserve in transport" – blackbird Jun 22 '15 at 17:30
  • If you follow Orange is the New Black you may have noticed that 'Pennsatucky' modelled a new bra where the wire is replaced with silicon which is soft and flexible. It may be easier to fold and stash than the wire variety. – Gayot Fow Jun 22 '15 at 17:39
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    @GayotFow I suppose that the ~ladies~ (with the curly characters) is meant to include all kinds of ~ladies~, not only the genetic ones. It's 2015, after all!!!! XD P.S.: OP did not use the term female. – Mindwin Jun 22 '15 at 20:26
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    It would make sense to specify what optimal means to you since as it stands this question is unclear. Voting to close a such. – JoErNanO Jun 22 '15 at 22:07
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Whenever the topic of packing something in an optimal way comes up, it's useful to see if the Navy has anything to say about it. The Navy is a good place to look because sailors need to be especially diligent about packing economically, and women sailors are no exception.

Specifically, women in the US Navy are issued 11 bras and should have 2 in their seabag ready for deployment. The rest should be stored in their locker at port. These are of the type: sports, white or beige. Your question did not specify a given bra type, so this answer would apply to sports bras rather than the cantilevered or balconette or contoured or other bra types.

Pursuing this topic, it turns out that the US Naval Academy provides female midshipmen with instructions on folding their bras...

enter image description here

b. Brassieres. Divide into thirds; fold right third and then left third back; fold top straps down to form a square; stack in locker with bottom sweatbands flush and facing out (Figure 6-B).

...and to help get the point across, they provide an image...

enter image description here

Source: Midshipmen Uniform Regulations

Presumably the required square shape is the result of computing optimized surface area versus volume.

They make a point of explaining how the bras should be stored in the locker, but it's implied that storage for deployment would follow the same pattern. It's a good bet that the Navy hired external contractors to study the problem and produce a report which then informed the regulations.


Nobody likes a tired, frumpy bra that's been crushed in a suitcase, and if you eschew the sports bra in favour of the cupped bra style, then consider some of the recent innovations in specialist luggage.

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    When in doubt, let the Navy deal with it. – JoErNanO Jun 22 '15 at 22:06
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    Unfortunately for the questioner, they probably also engineered the bra to be easy to pack. So if the Naval Beige uniform bra isn't to your taste then you might be in trouble. Likely they didn't hire external consultants to consider "what goes best with my favourite dress and will get me laid", which is important for some civilian trips. – Steve Jessop Jun 22 '15 at 22:20
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    These bras look weird. – Renae Lider Jun 22 '15 at 23:07
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    @SteveJessop You never know. The government has funded stranger studies than that. :) To be fair, though, it usually wasn't DoD. – reirab Jun 23 '15 at 1:11
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    @reirab: I was wondering to myself earlier, does the CIA look into best packing practices for the full range of non-uniform clothes they use undercover, or does it figure that having such efficiently-packed suitcases would ruin an agent's cover anyway, and advise packing civilian clothes haphazardly ;-) – Steve Jessop Jun 23 '15 at 9:43
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  • Pad it with socks and underwear. (default strategy)

  • Pack them near the top. (not sure how helpful this really is in actual execution since you can't control baggage handling after check-in...)

  • Stack them. (strength in numbers! my go-to move.)

  • Fold one cup inside another. (I see this everywhere in FlyerTalk forums but according to experts, this actually stretches the bra out??)

  • Use a special case. (this seems excessive but I could see how a packing-cube-like system would help)

I know this is more of an opinion-based question but has anyone out there actually found an objectively best way to pack bras on a trip? Let me know! :)

  • This just seems to reiterate what the link in the question says. – Scimonster Jun 23 '15 at 15:08
  • I don't understand the parenthetical on your second point. Why does it matter that you don't control your baggage after check-in? The bras are already in your bag. It's not like TSA is re-packing everything for you. – Chris Hayes Jun 23 '15 at 16:15
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    @ChrisHayes: presumably if the contents of your luggage might be reshuffled by inspection or the such, the bras might not be at the top anymore? – Maroon Jun 24 '15 at 3:15
  • While stacking might optimally fill the space between the bras, wouldn't it also create a significantly sized (if you have a lot of bras) irregular shape around the stack that would be hard to fill with anything other than socks/underwear? – Matthew Herbst Aug 6 '15 at 0:49
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Use sport bras which can be folded whatever way you want, scrunched up even.
I never needed to be careful with bras when packing, most of the time my bras fill the things I have to be careful with.

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This may work for some type of fancy lingerie

folding lingerie

Some other tips:

Probably if you travel a lot it'll be better to have a hard case for those purposes

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