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The Great Bra Strap Debate: The Argument Against Showing Bra Straps

Updated on June 15, 2016

Have you ever heard the expression if you cannot afford the bra do not wear the shirt? I used to hear college friends say this in reference to fellow classmates that walked around campus with their bra straps hanging out. There are some pretty bras with lacy straps where this look does work, but unless you are Carrie Bradshaw circa Sex and the City there is little getting away with wearing a black bra under a see through top. Well maybe at certain functions and events, but not to work or fancy dinners. Even your friends might get tired of seeing your bra stick out when you meet them for coffee, so do not give freedom of speech as a free license to let your bra hang out. I am not saying all bra straps should be hidden, but if they are not the lacy or decorative type it is better to cover these up.

I would not want bra straps showing when wearing a dress like this.
I would not want bra straps showing when wearing a dress like this.

Strapless Bras

The strapless bra is toted as the undergarment to eradicate all those unsightly straps, but what are the pros, and what are the cons:


  • You do not have to adjust your bra straps.
  • Many strapless bras are convertible with detachable straps.
  • There are affordable strapless bras on the market.
  • Strapless bras work well with strapless tops, dresses, and evening gowns.


  • Strapless bras pinch and often leave red marks.
  • Strapless bras are uncomfortable.
  • Strapless bras slide down easily, and thus have to be readjusted more than bras with straps.

When I was in my earlier twenties I thought wearing a strapless bra would be a good thing to do with dresses that had thinner straps, but this did not work for me. The bras would often slip down and I would have to excuse myself to go readjust it.

Bras With Pretty Straps

Bras with pretty straps are often meant to be seen, even peeking through the thin straps of your shirt. So what are some of the pros and cons of bras with lacy or fancy straps:


  • A bra with pretty straps can be even worn with a strapless top if it both match.
  • A bra with pretty straps look like it was purposely part of the outfit.
  • A bra with pretty straps are more comfortable than the strapless variety.


  • Bras with pretty straps should are not appropriate for work.
  • If the bra straps are showing these have to match your outfit.

Personally I would not want my bra straps hanging out, even if these were pretty, but that is just me. Some women seem to be able to pull off this look well, but it is certainly not appropriate for most work sites.

Eyelet Sweaters To Cover Bra Straps

Since I hate wearing strapless bras I sometimes have no alternative, but to wear a top where my bra straps may show a little. Rather than go out in public that way, I simply throw an eyelet sweater over it, which works even in the warmer seasons because these are lighter pieces. Actually I wore an eyelet sweater a few times with the dress above because I got tired of having to adjust errant bra straps. What are the pros and cons of wearing an eyelet sweater over an outfit to conceal bra straps:


  • Eyelet sweaters cover up part of your body without being as heavy as traditional cardigans.
  • Eyelet sweaters come in a variety of colors.


  • An eyelet sweaters have to match the outfit you are wearing.
  • Some people become too warm wearing eyelet sweaters in the summer time.

Camisole Tops With Built In Bras

There was a time with a pretty camisole top was considered an undergarment, but today women can even been seen pairing these with business jackets. Spaghetti strap tops with built in bras often look more like camisole tops, especially if these have lace detailing. Camisole tops can even be worn in casual settings, or under a top or dress that has thick straps. I often wore cami tops under some of my dresses because these did not show through as with bra straps. So what are some of the pros and cons of cami tops:

  • Come in a variety of colors.
  • Cute lace detailing adds to an allure of your ensemble.
  • Cami tops can be worn under a business jacket during the day, and by itself for a night on the town.


  • Cami tops with built in bras do not always give some women enough support.
  • Cami and spaghetti straps can cut into your shoulders if the top does not fit properly.

There are many alternatives to showing off your bra straps this summer, but you can do that if desired. Personally, bra straps are not that big of a deal, are they?


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    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 11 months ago from Southern California, USA

      I think a lot of fashion trends for younger women are not the best. I actually really love retro fashion from the 40s and 50s, and think there was something sexy about women wearing shapely and flattering dresses more than the leave nothing to the imagination outfits of today.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 11 months ago from Oakley, CA

      I don't like the look at all. My go-to undergarment, summer or winter, is not a camisole, but a tank top with built in support. I hate bras, bra shopping, and the prices!

      The tanks are great alone for summer, and in winter, as an undergarment, they add a layer for extra warmth. Win-win!

      I've seen young girls with bra straps hanging out, and even sliding down off their shoulders. To me, that just looks slutty, like they are advertising, or something, and should be in the red light district, except for their ages!