It’s so annoying when bra straps are too loose. Either I take the time to undress and fix them or I spend the day reaching inside my top to straighten them. I know I’m not the only one with this problem. Obviously, you’re here looking for solutions.
I’m going to tell you how to tighten bra straps in a few simple steps. But I’m also going to talk about how to tighten bra straps without an adjuster (like sports bras). And I’ll cover how to make bra straps smaller without sewing.
Let’s start with the basics before we start with the loose bra straps hacks.
- 1 How to tighten bra straps
- 2 This is why your bra doesn’t fit like it used to
- 3 How to keep bra straps from loosening
- 4 How to tighten sports bra straps
- 5 Replace bra straps and adjusters
- 6 Switch to a convertible bra
- 7 Summary: how to tighten bra straps in a few simple steps
How to tighten bra straps
My favorite bras have adjusters on the front part of the strap. That way I can tighten each side while I’m wearing the bra to get the perfect fit. After all, it’s just a matter of sliding the adjuster up and down.
But the task is much harder when the adjuster is on the back. Then I have to remove the bra, make the adjustment, and put it back on again.
Many women have one breast that’s larger than the other. That’s not so problematic when the adjuster is in the front. But when it’s in the back, trying to line up the adjusters to be even doesn’t work. (I’ve even taken a permanent marker and made a tiny dot to remind me where the adjuster used to be before I washed the bra. Sadly, this doesn’t always work. See the section below about why bras don’t always fit the same.)
At any rate, if you’ve had a bra for more than 5 minutes, you probably know how to grab the edges of the adjuster, tilt it slightly, and slide it into position which shortens or lengthens the strap.
But do you know this trick? Before you fiddle with the straps, do the swoop and scoop. Arrange your breasts into the cups and make sure the band is properly tight. That means you can slide a finger underneath. The band shouldn’t dig into the skin (and neither should the straps once they’re adjusted).
It also means taking the time to reach into the cups and adjust each breast so that they fill the space. Pretend you have a strapless bra and everything needs to be just so. Then, after that go to work on the straps.
This is why your bra doesn’t fit like it used to
Grab your oldest bra and try it on. Depending on how much it’s been worn and washed, the elastic has probably started to fail. Maybe you also lost or gained weight or maybe you have your period. In any case, brassieres won’t fit the same after a while.
Also, the style of the bra might not be right for your figure. If you have shoulders that slope, you probably have trouble with straps on traditional bras, tank tops, and camisoles. However, racerback, halter, and criss-cross bras will all stay put.
If you wear your bra for a few hours and notice lines on your skin when you take it off, you definitely need to adjust it or get a new bra.
How to keep bra straps from loosening
If you hand-wash bras in cool water with a detergent made for delicates, they will last longer.
At a minimum, if you must use the washing machine, put the bras in a mesh bag and use the gentle cycle. Don’t dry them in the dryer. The synthetic material won’t stretch out as quickly and the elastic won’t fall apart as easily.
If you want to keep bra straps from loosening while you’re wearing the bra, you have several options:
- Safety pins
- Clips like the Strap Saver
- Elastic strap
- Rubber bands
For example, you can poke a safety pin through the strap just above or below the adjuster to keep it from moving up or down depending on the problem you’re solving. But if that safety pin comes undone, it could be quite painful. Here’s a safer option:
This doesn’t tighten straps so much as secure them to your clothing. It keeps them from falling off the shoulders or showing around your collar. The only consideration is that you’ll need shoulder seams to use the pins invisibly.
These little bra adjuster clips have even been featured on The Oprah Show. They’re made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and polycarbonate plastic for durability. You can run them through the washer but don’t send them with your dry cleaning.
Another option is to use clips to tighten bra straps. The Strap Saver is an S-shaped metal clip that makes it easy to shorten bra straps without sewing. It also works on camisoles and halter tops – basically anything with spaghetti straps. I tried to find something similar on Amazon:
Bra Strap Clips
This package includes clips and straps in different colors. These are handy tools for tightening bra straps and converting camisole bras into “miracle” bras. Not only do they keep the straps from sliding off shoulders, but they also add support to fill out the bust or support large breasts.
The first step is to loosen your bra’s straps. Then select either the strap or the clip and use it to hook the straps together in an X-shape on the back. Lastly, adjust the bra straps to get the proper fit.
But as you can see, tying the straps together doesn’t tighten the straps individually. However, it will help them stay in place and may also give your bust a boost.
There’s another way to keep bra straps from sliding off your shoulders. It’s comfortable and doesn’t require pinning or clipping anything.
YOYOSTORE Silicone Bra Strap Cushions
Just like no-show socks that have a little silicone on the heel, these bra strap cushions keep straps from sliding. They also make it more comfortable to wear a bra that digs into your shoulders.
Using them is as simple as slipping the strap under the silicone flaps and sliding the cushion into position on your shoulder. Based on reviews, they fit straps that are up to an inch and a quarter or an inch and a half wide.
The pads measure just over 3 and a half inches long and just under 2 inches wide. Unfortunately, they do leave impressions on clothing. If you’ll be wearing something that’s sheer, thin, or light-colored, they might be noticeable under the fabric. However, they come in different colors including beige flesh tone, white, and black.
At least the silicone is easy to care for. All you need to do is rinse it with water and let it dry.
Now, let me jump back to the earlier list of ways to keep bra straps from loosening. I’d mentioned rubber bands. It’s not pretty, but it’s possible to wrap a band below the strap adjuster to keep it from sliding. It’s not easy because the bra strap is attached so you can’t slide the band over the end of it. On the bright side, this is a quick fix that can keep your bra behaving in the short term. The same trick works on sports bra straps if you don’t want to sew them.
How to tighten sports bra straps
Sports bra straps and any kind of pullover bra without adjusters can be a real pain. It’s not that they are prone to slipping off the shoulder. It’s more that they allow the bust to sag.
The best way to solve the problem is to put on the bra and figure out how much tightening the straps need to make it comfortable. Fold over the fabric and see what looks and feels good.
It really helps to have a friend who can pin the straps before you take off the bra.
There’s no need for a sewing machine if you can thread a needle and have patience for sewing by hand. Stitch along the edges of the fold and across the strap to secure it. The trick is doing enough stitching to hold the strap through repeated wearing but not so much that you can’t pick out the thread to adjust it later.
If you don’t have a way to sew the strap, you can pin it with a safety pin, use a Strap Saver to clip it, or try this other option below:
Silicone Bra Inserts
Here’s a no-sew way to adjust your bra. Not only will it increase your cup size, but it also uplifts the breasts painlessly.
The bra inserts work in all sorts of brassieres and swimsuits with built-in bras, too. They come in different sizes depending on the cup size. And they are handy for evening out the appearance when one breast is significantly larger than the other.
SAMGU Women’s Bra Extenders
While we’re on the topic of making a bra fit better, let’s look at these ingenious little helpers. I’ve used them to make old brassieres comfortable again. They are also helpful when you’d like to get back to wearing pre-pregnancy bras but haven’t lost weight yet.
Bra extenders are little pieces of fabric with the same hook and eye hardware that are on a bra closure. This package includes different colors and different sizes to accommodate up to a 5-hook closure. Attach one side to the bra and use the other end to close the bra.
Replace bra straps and adjusters
Fabric stores and places like Amazon sell replacement bra straps and adjusters. You can upgrade your bra with transparent straps, cushioned straps, wider or narrower straps, and so forth. You don’t need a sewing machine to do the work, but it does make it faster.
In some cases, you may not need to sew at all. Some replacements come with an S hook to slip into place. Double-check that these are compatible with your bra.
Invisible Clear Bra Straps
This set includes six widths from narrow 6mm to wide 15mm for extra support. The transparent straps have a soft texture and matte finish to help them blend in and become unnoticeable.
The adjusters are transparent plastic, too. But the buckles that attach to the bra structure are tarnish-proof metal for durability.
Switch to a convertible bra
Give yourself the freedom to wear your bra in different ways on different days. A truly convertible bra will let you go strapless, a traditional camisole, halter top, razorback, or crisscross. Moreover, you can replace the straps in a snap if they wear out. Here’s my favorite example:
Lilyette by Bali Women’s Strapless Bra with Convertible Straps
This sleek and simple underwire bra provides a whole new level of flexibility. It switches in moments from regular to crisscross or halter styles depending on how you configure the straps. It only takes a second to unhook them – no sewing needed.
It only comes in basic colors like black, white, and beige. But it’s comfy! Plus, Bali sells replacement straps.
Summary: how to tighten bra straps in a few simple steps
The first step is to make sure the breasts are adjusted in the cups. Reach in and lift if necessary to settle everything into place.
Second, slide the adjuster and shorten the strap. Depending on the style and how new the bra is, it may feel a little stiff. Try tilting the adjuster up at a shallow angle to make it easier to slip the fabric through it.
Third, if you can’t adjust the straps tight enough with the adjusters, try using a clip or elastic strap on the back of the bra. Use it to join the straps together in an X shape. This will take up the slack.
If you have a convertible bra, crisscross the straps to see if that tightens them enough.
Fourth, if you don’t have adjusters on the straps, try folding over and pinning or sewing the straps to make them tighter.
Fifth, if you don’t want to or can’t adjust the straps, add cup inserts. They provide lift.
Sixth, pinning the straps to the fabric of the top you’re wearing might help. Otherwise, try padding the bra straps with something like silicone cushions to keep them from sliding.
I hope these bra-adjusting tips help!