Bra straps come in a number of variations. They can be all or part elastic, all or part rigid, wide, narrow, padded, 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. Take the bra strap test in the sidebar.
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 because the straps are too wide-set both in the front and back of the bra; the straps have been sewn on at an angle; or the straps are attached to rings that allow too much swiveling. 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. (See the sidebar below).
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.
CAMISOLE STRAP :
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. When a bra has a very narrow back with only one or two hooks for closing, the camisole attachment can pull up on the bra back making it look uneven and out-of-place (ride high on the back).
The leotard strap attachment is a fairly new design in bras. 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. Besides looking different, the leotard back style almost always includes some elastic to achieve the rounded shape. Consequently, this elastic gives the wearer flexibility to raise her arms or bend over without having to adjust her bra afterwards.
There are a few challenges to a leotard strap attachment. The straps attach to the back at a bit of an angle to keep the arch styling. If the “U” shape is too wide , the straps can fall off the wearer’s shoulders. The number of back fasteners is also limited with this strap design.
Finally, any adjusting bra strap has metal or plastic rings on each strap to aid in the length of your bra straps. When this ring is sewn directly on to either the top of the cup or the bra back, it will allow the strap to swivel to the right or left, and fall in a more comfortable location for the wearer. If you have sloping shoulders or are prone to having your straps fall off, avoid bras with rings placed in either of these locations.
As for how the straps attach to the front of the bra, there are two things to look for. For the best support, the straps should attach directly above the apex or point of each breast. Balconnette and demi-cup bras have the straps attached closer to the arm. There are two reasons: first, wider straps will accommodate a wider neckline, and second, straps attached on the outside of the bra cup create more cleavage by spilling the breast tissue towards the center. If you are prone to having straps fall off your shoulders, you should not select bras with wide-set front straps.
ONLY AT HERROOM
We are the only lingerie website that shows straight on back and front views of all the bras we offer. This, along with our exclusive blouse overlay shots, allows you to see how the bra straps will work with your clothes. Additionally, you can search on “leotard back” or “camisole back” when looking at bras if you have a specific back preference.
- Racerback bras: This style has straps and/or wings that meet near the middle of the spine, a design that holds the straps taut and prevents sliding.
- U-back and V-back bras: A U-back style bra has a wide band and deep wings that resemble the back of a leotard, and on fuller-cup styles, the straps will be centered, which is helpful for sloping shoulders. Similarly, a V-back has straps that are acutely angled toward the bra closure (creating the characteristic “V” shape), which — again — can help keep the straps securely on your shoulders.
- Wide-strap bras: Wider straps are more likely to stay put than thinner straps, but on their own, they may not be as effective as a racerback, U-back, or V-back design. Nonetheless, they’re an effective tool in the battle against slippage.
Keep in mind that thin straps aren’t out of the question — if you prefer them, just look for a design with convertible straps that you can criss-cross in back, or a bra that comes with a J-hook that clasps the straps together. Of course, there is the alternative of foregoing straps altogether, which is why I’ve included a strapless option that still provides plenty of support — and reviewers swear the cups don’t slip down, either.
Beyond that, it’s all about style and comfort. You can choose anything from stretchy, wire-free bras that are perfect for exercising and lounging to traditional underwire bras with pretty lace or mesh details. So if your bra straps won’t stay up, I’ve rounded up the best bras for sloping shoulders that virtually guarantee a slip-free fit.