A Guide To The Different Bra Back Shapes
When we talk about the different bra shapes, what generally comes to mind is the cup style – plunge, demi, triangle and so on. But there’s another very important part of the bra that affects its fit: the back.
The shape that the band and straps make at the back can have an impact on the support, comfort, and practicality of the bra.
Read on for our guide to the six most common shapes you’ll come across, with the pros and cons of each.
With a square back bra, the band runs straight across and the straps meet it at right angles, creating a square-shaped outline. It’s a very common bra shape.
The downside to a square back is that it can be rather visible under clothing. Square back bras have a tendency to cut in more, especially if the band is narrow. However, because it’s an easy and inexpensive construction method, square back bras are frequently priced lower than other styles.
Ballet, Leotard or U back
Like square backs, ballet or leotard backs are pretty common. They get their name because their shape is similar to that of a ballet leotard – the band curves down from one strap and up to the other in a smooth, continuous line. Together, the straps and band form a ‘U’ outline, hence why this shape is also called a U back.
Ballet backs have wider bands to allow enough depth for the line to swoop down and up again, and that makes them more supportive. You’ll find this shape on many full-bust bras.
This bra back shape is pretty self-explanatory – the straps are angled in a more-or-less straight line from the shoulder to the centre fastening. Together, they form a ‘V’ shape.
V back bras are a solution for anyone with narrow or sloping shoulders that regularly experiences their bra straps slipping off their shoulders. Because these straps are being pulled in towards the centre of the body, they’re held in place more securely. This also helps to make the bra more supportive.
Many, though not all, V back bras also have a deep band, which would make them extra-smoothing. Those particular V back bras are a great choice for eliminating back bulge, too.
A racerback bra is not dissimilar to a V back one, except that the straps converge higher up, between the shoulder blades. The resulting shape is hence more of a ‘Y’ than a ‘V’. Sometimes, the straps will separate out again after they’ve joined, thus creating an ‘X’ shape.
Racer back bras are incredibly supportive, and are often found on sports bras – hence the name. They offer lots of lift and support, and definitely won’t slip off your shoulders.
Because the straps are joined, racer back bras usually have a front rather than back fastening, so that they’re easier to get on. This means they’re an ideal choice for people with limited arm mobility.
A T back is similar to a racer back, but the straps meet even higher up the body, just behind the neck. A single strap or strip of fabric then runs down the spine to meet the band. Thus, creating a ‘T’ shape.
Again, T back bras completely eliminate the problem of slipping straps. They’re also typically front-fastening. Unlike racer backs, however, these are often designed more as a fashion statement than with support in mind, using only narrow elastic or pretty lace for a delicate look you’ll want to show off.
A low back bra is exactly what it sounds like, one with a band that sits lower than usual on the body. Since having the band too low reduces the support, it is often extra-wide to try to compensate for that.
You can buy converter straps to turn a normal, back-fastening bra into a low-backed one, but again, this reduces the support level. A low-back bra isn’t designed for everyday wear. It’s intended especially for wearing with low-backed clothing when you’d rather have some support than not wear a bra at all.
Can you think of any other bra back shapes I’ve missed off this list? What’s your favourite style to wear and why?
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Happy bra shopping!