Bra designs are as versatile as the women who wear them, and we certainly demand choice and selection in our bra backs. Women can choose different bra back styles depending on their needs, what’s comfortable, what they’re wearing and even their bust size. Some bra backs are more supportive or better at holding the busts in place, and some bra backs are designed to be low or backless if you’re wearing a low-cut dress or other fancy dress garment. What type of bra back do you prefer, or do you have a variety of bra designs in your closet for different occasions?
Typical Bra Back
The typical configuration for the bra back is a band that clasps in the back using a hook-and-eyelet closure system. Most bras range from two to four hook-and-eyelet closures, and offer three settings on which to clasp your bra. You should buy a bra that you clasp initially on its loosest setting. The bra will stretch over time, and you can then clasp it on the middle and tightest settings to prolong the life of the bra as it stretches. Bra straps typically extend vertically up and over the shoulders, often at the shoulder blade. The straps provide a small portion of the support, and they help control movement.
An x-back bra has bras that criss-cross across the back to the opposite shoulder, forming an X pattern on the back. X-back bras are typically worn to prevent showing bra straps in shirts and tops that have narrow shoulders and backs, although these bras can also be helpful if you find that bra straps often slip off your shoulders. In the X configuration, you don’t have to worry about bra straps sliding. Many convertible bras are designed so that you can wear the bra in the traditional configuration or in the X-back configuration.
A racerback bra has straps that come up from the center of the back, near where the band clasps, and form a Y-shape at the top to go over your shoulders. Racerback bras often form the same purpose as the X-back bra; it’s good to prevent bra straps from showing in tops with narrow backs and shoulders. Many sports bras also come in a racerback configuration for a more comfortable fit and to better control and support the bust while exercising.
Low-Back Bras and Backless Bras
Low-back bras and backless bras often fall in the same category. In many cases, these bras have a band that rides low on the back to prevent the bra band from showing when you wear low-back tops and dresses with low backs. You often find convertible bras calling themselves “backless” when they have a thin, narrow band that you can convert to ride quite low on the back. You’ll also see longline bras advertised as “backless” with deep plunges in the back and a band that rides quite low to prevent show-through under the dress.