Do you want to learn how to tighten bra straps properly? If you’ve ever spent all day with your pesky bra strap falling down or wondering “why does my bra hurt my ribs," it sounds like you probably should.
While not long ago, the coolest fashion move in the world, at least at my middle school, was an exposed Victoria’s Secret bra strap. Of course, now I’m trying to figure out how to hide bra straps, but trust me, a bra strap peeking out was all the rage. While I was far too scared to expose my generic band bra strap, I can still picture the black and pink straps under camis in the middle school hallways.
While the actual process is not that difficult, the hardest part is figuring out exactly how your straps should fit and why they aren’t fitting well in the first place. We’ll cover all of that and more below!
HOW TO TIGHTEN BRA STRAPS: THE BASICS
While you can tighten your bra straps on or off your body, it’s better to adjust while you’re wearing it. That way, you can tell how the strap feels as you’re adjusting it. As someone who has the spatial awareness of a blind elephant, I have to adjust mine when it’s on me.
With that in mind, this is how to tighten a bra straps:
1. LOCATE THE SLIDE ADJUSTER WITH ONE HAND
The slide adjuster piece will be located on the back of the strap. It’s a metal or plastic piece that holds both parts of the strap loop to slide along it. If it’s a new bra, most likely you’ll find the adjuster at the end of the strap closest to the back band.
2. HOLD THE FRONT OF THE BRA WITH YOUR OTHER HAND
With your other hand, you can hold either the bra cup or the front of the strap on that side.
If you hold the bra cup, you can slightly push it upwards to where the cup completely holds your boobs. This allows slack in the strap which makes adjusting easier and gives you an idea of how tight you should make the strap.
3. SLIDE THE ADJUSTER
Once your hands are in place, slide the adjuster towards the front of the bra to tighten and towards the back to loosen.
If it’s your first time wearing the bra or you’re trying to solve certain issues like slipping straps, play around with it until you find a not-too-loose, but not-too-tight fit.
If the adjuster is a bit trickier to slide, you can hold the front of the strap to cause tension for a smoother slide. Just make sure not to pull too hard, or you won’t have a tight enough strap.
4. REPEAT WITH THE OTHER SIDE
Repeat these steps for the other side. Most likely, if the straps are perfectly adjusted for comfort, the straps will be different lengths. This is because bodies are not perfectly symmetrical.
Boobs come in all sizes and shapes even on the same person, so it’s nothing to worry about if you notice different strap lengths. This is a great time to get to know your boobs even better. Which one is bigger, which is smaller? What breast shapes are you rocking?
HOW BRA STRAPS SHOULD FIT
Sometimes you tighten your straps to what you think is perfection, but then you spend the day rubbing the pain in your shoulders or still picking up fallen straps. It’s annoying and may feel like you should just ditch bras altogether and start going braless.
Before you go and burn all of your bras though, there’s also some pretty simple ways to tell if your bra straps are well-fitted.
- Your straps and cups should be completely flush against your body without gaps or spilling over.
- Your straps should not dig into or mark up your shoulders.
- Your bra band should be parallel to the ground. This means the bra band should not ride up in the back. If it is, you’ve over-tightened your straps.
If you’re still experiencing ill-fitting straps, keep reading to figure out why.
REASONS FOR ILL-FITTING STRAPS
Now that we’ve figured out how to tighten bra strap, let’s discuss why your straps weren’t fitting correctly in the first place. Even after you've tightened them all the way, they can still slip off of your shoulder for a variety of reasons.
1. YOU HAVE NARROW OR SLOPING SHOULDERS
People with narrow or sloping shoulders know the struggle of slipping straps all too well. I have shoulders fit for a linebacker, so I can’t relate. I can relate to the annoying task of shoving your bra strap back under your shirt 800 times a day.
If you’ve tightened your straps beyond the comfort zone and they’re still slipping off, try wearing a racerback bra or bra with criss-cross straps on the back. The straps won't fall off when comfy and you won’t have bright red marks from too-tight straps.
2. YOUR BRA IS TOO BIG
If your straps are all the way tightened and they’re still providing little support, your bra is probably too big. When perfectly tightened, there should be no gap between the cup, strap, and your chest.
Your bra band can also be too big, which causes your straps to have to support the full weight of your breasts alone. If you’re using the tightest clasp on your bra and still have the ability to slip your entire hand between your skin and band, your bra band is too loose.
Your bra band should actually do most of the heavy lifting, not your straps. So if you notice a lack of support with super tight straps, you need to get a smaller bra.
3. YOUR BRA IS TOO SMALL
A bra that is too small will also cause your straps to fit improperly, usually leading to painful red marks on your shoulders. If your boobs are spilling out of the cup, the back band rides up, or your straps dig into your shoulders even on the longest setting, your bra is probably too small.
4. YOUR BRA IS TOO OLD
If you were properly fitted for a bra and your straps still won’t fit, try to remember when you bought it because most likely, it’s too old.
Listen, we’ve all been there–hanging onto a bra you first bought in high school is a pretty common thing to do. First of all, bras can be expensive! Plus, going bra shopping might be more painful than a root canal. Okay, okay, I’m exaggerating, but I seriously hate bra shopping.
For whatever reason, you may be working with some pretty old bras. Because most bra straps are made at least partially with elastic, they will lose their elasticity over time. If you can pull your bra strap over your ear even on the tightest setting, it's time for a new bra.
6 SOLUTIONS TO ILL-FITTING BRA STRAPS
1. TIGHTEN OR LOOSEN YOUR STRAPS
This is an obvious one, but take some time to adjust your straps until you’ve met all of the conditions listed above.
2. TIGHTEN YOUR BRA BAND
If you have narrow shoulders and a too-loose bra band, your bra straps are likely to slip. By tightening the band with a tighter clasp, the straps are drawn more to the center of your back.
3. GET PROPERLY FITTED FOR A BRA
Most bra-wearing folks don’t know their correct size, even if they’ve been “properly” sized at a certain popular mall lingerie store. Getting fitted at a specialty boutique ensures you get an accurate size.
4. GET A NEW BRA
If you’ve tried everything else and you’re still dealing with falling or uncomfortable straps, it’s time to ditch the bra. While new bras can be expensive, your comfort is worth it.
While you’re shopping, don’t just buy one that you’ll wear out after wearing daily for months. If you’re asking yourself, “how many bras should I own?”, 7 bras is what’s most recommended, so you have one for every day of the week.
5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BRAS
After you buy your new bra, you might be wondering how long do bras last? Most bras only last 6-9 months. If you’re shocked, I’m right there with you. You can elongate their lifetime by learning how to hand wash bras, starting the clasp on the loosest setting, and having more bras in rotation.
6. TRY BRALETTES
I also love to wear bralettes for this reason. Because they’re stretchy, a bit more forgiving, and have adjustable straps, as long as I order by the band size, I have a comfy bra option! The adjustable straps make it easy to know how to tighten bra straps.
EXTRA TIPS FOR HOW TO TIGHTEN BRA STRAPS
Are you still looking for tips on getting perfectly fitted bra straps? I commend you for your dedication to the cause. Here are some extra tips that will have you calmly sighing, “ahhh” every time you don your bra instead of screaming, “AHHHH!”
ADJUST STRAPS EVERY TIME
Bodies change, bras loosen, adjusters get knocked around in the wash–there’s a million reasons why you should be adjusting your straps every time you put your bra on.
Bodies, especially ones with breasts, are meant to change depending on the time of month, pregnancy, stress, level of exercise, and more! Don’t fight your body–work with it and comfort it during all of these changes.
It’ll make a more comfortable experience overall and allow you to be more intentional about how your clothes are serving you. I used to squeeze my boobs into lacy bras that did nothing but pinch my back and make me feel like crap all day. Now, wearing comfy bras that provide me support, I’m more confident every day!
Now that you know how to tighten bra strap, put your knowledge to use by doing it every day.
HIDE YOUR STRAPS
If you’ve perfectly adjusted your bra straps but they still stick out in certain outfits, you can just hide them! I learned all of the ways of how to hide bra straps, but my favorites are with a clip, wearing bras with convertible straps, and using pasties.
GET BRAS WITH CONVERTIBLE STRAPS
Speaking of bras with convertible straps, I LOVE them! Bras like the triangle bralette have straps that can be worn camisole style, where the straps intersect with the band at a 90 degree angle (who knew we’d be doing math in this article?).
They can also be worn criss-cross in the back, which is one of my favorite ways to wear them. I find it gives me a more supportive feeling and allows me to wear tank tops with narrower backs. This is a great option for people with narrow shoulders!
IF ALL ELSE FAILS, TOSS THAT BRA
The best thing you can do with an ill-fitting bra is to get it out of your drawers right away. But if you’re eco-conscious, you know how much clothing gets thrown away and ends up in landfills every day. As much as 11.3 million tons of textile waste is sent to landfills every year in the United States alone!
So, what to do with old underwear? I like to donate my old bras to non-profits like I Support the Girls that distribute personal hygiene items to folx experiencing certain hardships like homelessness, poverty, or interpersonal violence.
SO, HOW TO TIGHTEN BRA STRAPS?
With adjustable straps, it’s easy to tighten bra straps. Simply slide the adjuster piece towards the front of your body to tighten. If you need to loosen, you’ll slide the adjuster back towards your butt. And viola–you’ve got a bra strap that won’t fall down or did into your shoulders all day!
There’s no better feeling than rocking a perfectly fitted bra! You’re comfortable, sexy, and know your straps will stay in place all day.
When's the worst time you’ve ever had a bra strap slip off of your shoulder? Let’s hear those horror stories!