Anatomy Of A Bra: Straps

Jacqueline Wells

Bra Straps
Bra straps come in a number of variations. They can be made up of all elastic, or have a rigid front half with an elastic back half. Bra straps can also be wide, narrow, padded, removable, conjoined, and usually length adjustable. Whatever the style, bra straps are meant to act as stabilizers for the bra. At most, they should carry no more than 10% of the breast’s weight. Whatever the style, bra straps should lie flat against your chest (unless you have implants) and not fall off your shoulders. Generally speaking, straps fall off shoulders for a couple of reasons:

  • The straps are too wide-set both in the front and back of the bra.
  • The straps have been sewn on at an angle.
  • Ring hardware attaching the straps to the back of the bra allow for too much swivel.
  • If you’re using bra back extenders, they are moving the straps too far apart.
  • You have shallow upper breasts, which creates a hollow in the upper half of your cup thus causing your straps to fall off.

If strap slippage is a common problem for you, the trick is to find a bra where the straps are either sewn closer to the center in the front or the back. HerRoom is the only website that shows back views on all bras. You’ve probably never really noticed how your straps attach to the back of your bra. Well, after reading this, I hope it becomes one of the first things you look at. How the shoulder straps are attached in back can tell you a lot about how the bra will fit. There are basically two types of strap attachments: camisole and leotard.

The camisole strap attachment style has the straps sewn onto the back at a right angle – creating a box-like shape with the bra back. This strap attachment style has been around the longest and is also used on traditional camisoles and slips. The camisole attachment style works for all bra sizes, and is particularly good for larger bra sizes because it allows the bra back to have as many hook closings as necessary; allows the straps to be made out of elastic or a rigid material; and can be easily altered. This style also allows for a new back strap adjusting feature known as “kicked in straps” where the back has a number of tabs long the back to allow for the straps to be attached either closer or farther away.

The leotard strap attachment is a fairly new design in bras. It has also been called the “U back.” Rather than a rectangle shape like the camisole attachment, the leotard attachment gives a round look on the back – similar to the look of a leotard. It has fast become the most commonly found strap attachment technique in today’s ready-to-wear offerings. And, recently some bra manufacturers have been claiming it as their own unique design when in fact, it’s been available for years now. Besides looking different, the leotard back style almost always includes elastic to achieve the rounded shape. This elastic gives the wearer flexibility to raise her arms or bend over without having to adjust her bra afterwards.