Bra Strap Styles

by Alisa Wolfson ; Updated September 28, 2017

This lace bra has straps in two different colors.

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Lingerie departments are filled with many types of bras, including padded, non-padded, underwire and wireless. Each of these types may also feature different styles of bra straps. What you plan to wear over a bra can determine the style of bra strap you choose.

Basic Bras

The most basic type of bra is usually the non-padded, underwire one. This style typically has non-movable straps varying in thickness from 1/4 inch to 1 inch. The type of strap can depend on the size of the bra. Generally, large cup sizes mean a wider strap so that weight is distributed more evenly. This type of bra strap can be made of nylon, cotton, lace, elastic and many other materials that stretch.

Racerback Bras

If you don't want to see two stripes running down your shoulder blades when you're wearing a tank top with a wider strip of material down the center of the back, a racerback-style bra or crisscrossing straps can be hidden beneath the shirt. Sometimes bras are convertible, and the straps can be switched from the classic style to the kind that form an x across your back.

Strapless Bras

When wearing strapless dresses, sheer tops, boatneck or one-shoulder styles, a strapless or bandeau bra will ensure that no straps interfere with the look and style of the dress. These bras can be less comfortable, as they have a tendency to ride down, but they create a smooth, clean look when you need shape or coverage in the chest area.

Clear Bra Straps

Some bras come with removable straps and are all-around convertible styles. For bras of this nature, the straps that come with the bra can be removed and clear straps can replace them for a more secure feel. Clear straps are not completely invisible, but they're much less visible than any colored strap. Clear straps work best underneath a sheer top as opposed to a strapless one, where bare shoulders should really be visible without any sort of strap.

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About the Author

Alisa Wolfson is a Los Angeles-based writer. She has contributed to the "New York Post," "Us Weekly," "Angeleno" and "Modern Luxury California Brides." Wolfson also writes a style blog for The Huffington Post.