Mary from Boston wrote in to HerRoom this week with a question: Why are strap adjusters on the back of the bra strap instead of in the front? We actually hear this question on a regular basis, so what better to do than blog about it. Here I go…
It makes perfect sense that the strap adjuster should be in front on bras. Think about it. It would make putting on a bra easier because the straps could quickly be let out to get them on your shoulders. Once your bra is on, you could easily adjust the straps yourself until you had adequate breast support. So, why aren’t they in front? Well there are 4 reasons.
1. Strap design. More and more bras now incorporate the front of the bra straps into the overall design of the bra. If there is lace, you will see it also crawling up the bra strap If there is a design element on the cup, many times it will continue up the strap. Designers also like to shape the bra straps differently. For example, start them wide where they attach to the bra cup and then taper them up to your shoulder area. These design options would never work with a strap adjuster. In these cases, the strap adjustment needs to be in the back.
2. Wide Strap Designs. In the last 5 years, the concept of “comfort straps” has really taken off. This is where the top of the strap that rests on your shoulder will be wide and possibly have padding. Such a design necessitates any strap adjusting being handled in the back.
3. Aesthetics. It is the common opinion of the industry that when looking a a bra, it is more attractive if all the hooks and adjusters are in the back. It’s a rather old concept, but one that seems to stick around.
4. Show-through. In this age of t-shirt bras, when no one wants seams from a bra to show through their form-fitting clothing, the strap adjuster gets the same scrutiny. If it’s in front, you would have a bump that would be visible under clothing.
Another interesting piece of information on this came from our friends at Wacoal. Years ago, the strap adjustment was always on the front of a bra. But, unlike today’s adjusters, it was a slide and pull-through strap adjuster that was rather bulky. Women complained about it showing under tops so the industry moved them to the back. When the new adjusters became popular, the industry never moved them from back to front.
So, for all these reasons, we are left taking off our bras and then guessing as to the right adjustment, or depending on someone else to do it for us. Now, there are some bras out there with front adjusters. You’ll just need to look closely at our images, or use our nifty feature to have all the back shots pop up in your search. And, you can purchase a convertible bra and switch the straps to your liking.
With all these explanations, it’s now understandable why the adjustments are in back. But, it sure would be great if someone could figure out how a girl could get to them once she’s put on her bra.
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