Monday, May 20, 2013

Bra Fit: 3 Things To Know About Bra Straps

The straps on a bra probably aren't the first thing you notice when choosing a bra but they can make a big difference to your fit so there are a few things you should know about bra straps to help you choose the right ones for you.

1. Pressure On Your Shoulders
One of the really big American bra manufacturers posed the question on their Facebook page "Which part of your bra should support most of your bust's weight?" The fact that the majority of their fans said "the straps" should tell them that their fit information is pretty bad! Straps are not there to take the majority of your bust's weight, that responsibility lies with your band. The straps should only be taking between 10 and 20 percent of the weight. You'll know if your bra band isn't doing its job (most likely because it's too loose) because your straps will dig into your shoulders (this is the major cause of shoulder dents).

From left to right: 36J, 30GG and 28E straps on the Tango Beige. Thicker and wider straps for heavier sizes reduce pressure
If you have a very heavy bust then 10-20% of your bust's weight is still a lot so you'll want your straps to have features that improve your comfort. Wider bra straps disperse the pressure over a greater area and so lessen the pressure on your shoulders. Some straps are cushioned at the shoulder area to ease the pressure too (Cleo and Superbra add cushioning as standard to their heavier sizes).

2. How Far They Adjust
Besides taking some of the weight of your breasts the most important thing your straps do is adjust the fit of your cups. When you shorten your straps it brings you cups closer to your body which you need if you have one breast smaller than the other. You'll need to shorten the strap on your smaller side more so that the cup is flush with your body. This is why you must adjust your straps when you try on a new bra to assess whether the cups are the right size for you.

Lucy (L) has fully adjustable straps whereas Profile Perfect (R) has partially adjustable straps
Some bras have fully adjustable straps which means the slider can be shortened all the way to the front or lengthened all the way to the back. This is an important feature for women with long or short torsos. If a strap is only partially adjustable (can only be adjusted over half the strap - the rest of the strap may be either padded or has a design that the slider can't go over) then you may not be able to shorten it enough or lengthen it enough to fit your body.

Related Video: How Straps Affect Your Bra Fit 

3. Their Position on Your Shoulders
If you have sloping or narrow shoulders then you may find that your straps slip even though your band is the right size and keeping your bra securely in place. If the straps on a bra are positioned too far apart they can fall off your shoulders which is frustrating. Look for straps that start closer in on the shoulder if you have sloping or narrow shoulders.

Melissa (L) has wider set straps and Leopard Sucre (R) has closer set straps
Good product descriptions will include the width of the straps, whether they are cushioned and whether the strap position is good for women with narrow or sloping shoulders. When you understand which strap features matter to your comfort you can shop more confidently. xx

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