Common Bra Fitting Problems & Solutions, Part 3: The Straps

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Hi again, ladies! Time for the final installment of the Top 3 Common Bra Fitting Problems. Don’t worry, there will be much more advice, discussion and lingerie fashion tips to come! So far, we’ve gone over the top fitting guidelines in terms of cup size and band size, and today we’re going to review how to fit your shoulder straps properly. Take a minute right now to check your straps. Do you feel them falling down your shoulders? Are your breasts supported properly by your bra? Do your straps create marks where they dig into your shoulders?

When you put on your bra and adjust the shoulder straps properly, you should be able to slip a finger underneath the strap and still feel that it is snug, but not too tight. A brand-new bra should be properly adjusted but still have enough room for the strap to be tightened over time as it stretches out with wash and wear. Also, you should always take a moment to re-adjust your straps after you wash your bra. Sometimes, fixing your straps even a little bit can make a huge difference in your daily comfort and in the way your clothes look over your bra!

I have fitted many women who had red marks on their shoulders from where their straps cut into them. In many cases, their breasts weren’t being supported adequately by their bra, so they felt it was necessary to adjust their straps tighter to feel their breasts were at the correct height, meaning the styles and level of support (e.g. medium support) they selected were not right for them. Many full support bras offer a wider strap (sometimes with an integrated shoulder cushion) that help prevent the straps from cutting into the shoulders under the weight of your breasts. If your bra fits well but the straps are simply not wide enough, there are a variety of shoulder cushions (e.g. silicone or foam) that can be discreetly placed beneath the strap of any bra to minimize discomfort. (To determine what support is right for you, consult one of my previous blogs.)

Other than ensuring that the bra you are wearing offers the correct support, it is also crucial to confirm that your bra is the right size! If your bra cups or back band size are too loose (i.e. too big), then you will feel the need to adjust your straps tighter in order to compensate for the looseness in other places. Don’t do this! When your cup size and band size are correct, they will distribute the weight of your breasts accordingly and minimize the heaviness on your shoulders.

What about the ladies at the other end of the spectrum, whose bra straps constantly slip down their shoulders? Many of the women I’ve seen with this problem fall into one of two categories. In the first, their shoulders naturally tend to slope downwards from the neck, preventing their straps from staying in one place. In the other case, their straps are already fully adjusted (at the maximum tightness) but the straps’ elastics are worn out, or the slide adjuster doesn’t offer enough leeway for adjustment.

If your shoulders have more of a downward slope to them, what can you do? This is a more common problem than you realize, which is why there are several options to help. The first is to try wearing your bra straps crossed in the back instead. Some bras already give you the option to wear it crossed or in a T-back (racer back) style. Or, you can purchase a tiny accessory that gathers your straps together in the back on any bra you choose, even if your straps are not crossable on their own. Your other option is to try out the shoulder cushions mentioned in the previous section. The silicone ones offer non-slip, all-day comfort and can be placed beneath any bra straps to help minimize the glide down your shoulders.
This adjustable hide-a-strap prevents your straps from falling and is ideal to convert ANY bra into a racer-back! Available in clear (transparent).

What if you fall into the latter category, and your straps are already adjusted fully but not giving you any support? Some straps consist only of a slide adjuster, meaning that you can adjust along the entire length of the strap. Other bras offer the slide adjuster only halfway along the strap, meaning that the other half of the strap is made of a fabric and cannot be adjusted. If you adjust your straps as tight as they can be, but they are still loose and falling off your shoulders, consider switching to a bra with a slide adjuster that can be tightened the whole length of the strap (and not just half of it). This way, when your straps stretch out over time, you can increasingly tighten them as you see fit.

I hope this has helped! Don’t forget to check out each of the guidelines on cup size, band size, and straps, because these three aspects work together to ensure your proper bra size and unique, comfortable fit. If you have any questions about bra fitting or lingerie fashion advice, I’d love to hear from you! Send me an e-mail at our contact page.

See you soon!

Bra Doctor

4 Comments

  1. Yuki Kindrick

    December 30, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Very good facts here, This is what i’m interested in. thanks, i’ve bookmark your internet site.

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    June 5, 2011 at 8:01 am

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  4. Gail

    September 28, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    My bra straps are as lose as I can make them but they still are too tight. I have this issue with every bra I try. Do you have any suggestions?

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