How to Tighten Bra Straps Correctly

Bra straps can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Either they leave embarrassing, red impressions across each shoulder, or they slip off entirely, revealing themselves at inopportune moments (like during a presentation at work.)

If this is something you experience with your bra, it may be a sign that you don’t quite have the right size or aren’t adjusting the straps correctly. So, first things first, learn how to determine your bra size. Next, it’s time to go bra hunting

As you try on bras in the store or even in the comfort of your home, take the extra effort to be mindful of adjusting the straps to ensure you indeed have the right fit. It may seem like a no-brainer, but there are actually proper steps you should follow. Leonisa teaches you how to tighten bra straps correctly to avoid the annoying shoulder-slip and painful red impressions. 

Easy Steps to Tighten Bra Straps Correctly

woman pulling bra strap from shoulder

To tighten your bra straps correctly, follow these step-by-step directions. 

  • First, locate the metal or plastic slide adjuster on each strap. Whether the slide adjuster runs the full length or halfway, you’ll find them located along the back of a new bra, close to the hooks. 
  • Next, loosen the strap before putting on the bra, making it easier to adjust and tighten.  
  • To tighten a bra strap, hold the slide adjuster in the fingers of one hand as you pull the back part of the strap away from the adjuster, moving it toward the bra cup. The closer the slide adjuster, the tighter the bra strap should become. 
  • After you tighten the first bra strap to your liking, reach for the second strap. Keep in mind that more than half of women have asymmetrical breast sizes, where one may be differently shaped or have a larger size. So when it comes to tightening bra straps, realize the slide adjusters may not align and that each strap may be a different length.
  • Now, slide into your bra and tighten or loosen it appropriately to make any minor adjustments. Make certain your straps are fitted properly and that they lie flat on your chest in a way that offers better support from the cups. 

Important Tip: When trying on a new bra, take notice of how far you take the slide adjuster. If you have to move the slides as tight as the straps will go, you may need to change your bra size or style. The longer you wear a bra, the looser the straps will become as the elastic stretches, so it’s essential to never start with a fully tightened new bra. Instead, try on a bra with a slightly smaller band size.

Reasons Why Your Bra Strap Is Too Loose or Too Tight

black strappy bra

If you find the straps are still falling off your shoulder or cutting your skin, even with the straps as tight or loose as possible, there may be another underlying cause.

Why Your Bra Strap Is Too Loose

One reason your bra strap may be too loose may have nothing to do with the bra straps at all. If this happens to you, here are a few things to be mindful of:

  • Narrow or sloping shoulders — If you find your straps keep falling off your shoulders, even at the tightest setting, you may need a different style bra. Even if you’re wearing the right-sized bra, some women with narrow or sloping shoulders choose bras with convertible straps or straps closer to the middle of the back, like racerback bras, criss-cross bras and halter bras. For women with narrow or sloping shoulders, the one bra you should avoid is a camisole back, which has straps that come straight down and secure to the bra band. 
  • Straps have lost their elasticity — Over time, bra straps eventually lose their elasticity, which leaves you tightening them as far as they’ll go and still experiencing the shoulder slip. When you’re able to stretch the straps to your ear, it’s clearly time to buy a new bra!
  • Your bra size is too big — The band should rest snug along your back, and your breasts should fill the cups without painful pinching. If not, have yourself professionally fitted by our Personal Shoppers to determine your current bra size. 

Why Your Bra Straps Are Too Tight

If you find your bra straps are still creating a red line across your shoulders to support your breasts, they’re too tight. Here are a few reasons why this is happening.

  • Check your bra band size — Your straps should not be taking on the full support of your breasts. That is the bra band’s job. When the band is too loose, the straps tighten and literally pick up the slack. So make sure to choose an adequately sized bra band. The bra band should be snug but loose enough to slide a finger between it and your skin. 
  • You need a new bra — Similar to loose straps, there comes a time when the bra band becomes too loose. As a result, the straps (and your shoulders) will carry most of the weight. If this happens, treat yourself to a new bra!

Extra Care Tips 

After you find the perfect bra, take care of it to make it last. Wash bras in a gentle cycle and hand dry to avoid drying out any elastic.  

After washing your bra, you may need to re-adjust any straps that slide out of place. Please take notice of where each strap rests and place them back before wearing.

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