Social Question

augustlan's avatar

How old is too old for a woman to have her bra straps showing?

Asked by augustlan (46577 points ) April 18th, 2011

I’m in my 40s, and when I was growing up it would have been unthinkable to wear something that allowed your bra straps (or underwear, for that matter) to hang out. I’ve noticed that for most younger women, this is no longer a big deal. They wear what they like, regardless of whether or not it covers their undergarments. See here for an example. NOTE: My bras are not red. They are boring, plain colors. I’m wondering if it would be inappropriate for someone my age to follow suit.

The youngsters usually have the benefit of slim little straps, while mine are about half an inch wide. It takes a lot of work to hold these babies up! While less attractive, they are also harder to hide under a tank top or similar clothing.

On the one hand, it would be awfully freeing to be able to wear a tank without a shirt or cardigan over it. On the other, I don’t know if I’ve got the guts to do it. Or if I should, anyway. Your thoughts?

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66 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

Go for it, I’m sure plenty of people around their 40’s wouldn’t complain. Do what you want to be comfortable

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

112 is when you’re officially too old for bra straps to be showing.

KateTheGreat's avatar

40’s are the new 20’s! Be free! Don’t worry about it. @MyNewtBoobs is right :)

wundayatta's avatar

How hot are you?

rooeytoo's avatar

I hate the look, I just don’t get why anyone wants to have their underwear hanging out. I am like you @augustlan it was just such a faux pas to have a strap show when I was young.

So since I hate the look I wouldn’t do it at any age!

sakura's avatar

I’m like you @augustlan I have thicker bra straps as I need a re-inforced underwear too!
It limits what you can and can’t wear, but I got so sick of standing in a shop and saying, “Oh I can’t get this you can see my straps!” and ending up with not buying anything.

As long as your straps look clean and tidy nothing worse than greying raggady staps showing I don’t think it matters how old you are.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I agree with @sakura, as long as the straps are clean and you’re not walking around with dingy undergarments showing, who cares what your age is? Be comfortable!

cazzie's avatar

I’d rather have a nice bra showing than saggie boobies bouncing about. Straps are no biggie. Why do we have to pretend we don’t have boobs or that we wear things to wrangle them in?

JilltheTooth's avatar

It may be somewhat of a generational thing, I notice a lot of the ” I don’t want them to show” posts are from the…er…more…wise that’s good, I didn’t want to say “mature”, it sounds wrinkly… Jellies. I recently got a box of these at WalGreens to solve just such a conundrum. I haven’t tried them, yet, hoping they’ll work!

rooeytoo's avatar

@JilltheTooth – they are interesting gizmos and yep I am wise but I am old too! And I agree it is a generational thing. I don’t like my underwear hanging out, I call it propriety. In the 60’s when hip hugging pants were last in vogue we wore shirts that snapped in the crotch so that bellies and butts were not exposed to the elements. Today everything hangs out and it ain’t always a pretty sight. I’m not sure if that is progress or not.

shrubbery's avatar

With so much “layering” being in fashion now, who could really tell the difference between bra straps showing and just another set of straps from the other tank top you’re wearing underneath? Don’t worry so much. Unless it’s obvious that it’s bra straps, like black and lacey or old and raggedy, same with underwear, then I don’t think it matters one iota.

sakura's avatar

they look like a fab invention @JilltheTooth I will have to see if they are available here in the UK

augustlan's avatar

@JilltheTooth Let me know how (if) those doohickeys work. I don’t have a ton of slack in my straps, so I’m not sure if they’d do the job for me, but I’ll give it a shot if they work for you.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Will do! Now I’m curious, maybe I’ll test drive one today and let you know…

shrubbery's avatar

You can also buy bras that have a little hooky thing already.
Exhibit A
Exhibit B

That is a very worn and very loved bra from Bendon. It serves me very well in the non-sports-bra racer back area, and I think I’ve had it for at least 5 years now. Worth investing in one if you can I guess, but then that’s only one as opposed to using the clippy thingy on any of your bras.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@shrubbery : That looks like a really cool thing, but doesn’t it catch on stuff when it’s not hooked on the ring? Or do you only wear it when you need to hide the straps?

shrubbery's avatar

@JilltheTooth, well yeah I guess sometimes as you’re stripping off if you don’t have it hooked it might hook on the top you are trying to take off, but you know, that’s only if you’re really unlucky like me :P I don’t think it happens at any other times really that I can think of, because the hook is small, only just big enough to fit around the other metal loop.

edit :: the only problem I can think of with it is having to adjust the length of the straps each time you want them out or clipped together, because man oh man if you leave them the length you have them normally when you clip them together, they are gonna cut into your skin something awful. But that would be the same with the external clippy thing, no?
I have a problem with the way they advertise that it will lift your bust up… it’s only doing that because it’s pulling the straps tighter and cutting into your shoulders… :\ I mean yes the racer back style does help with lift, I mean that’s what sports bras are for, as much support as possible, so even if you loosen the straps when you click them it changes the lift a little, but yeah…. just be aware of that I guess is what I’m trying to say!

bobbinhood's avatar

I’m here to bridge the generational gap in fashion sense…or something like that. I’m only 23, but I’m fully convinced that under garments have that name for a reason and we shouldn’t force them to shun their destiny. Bra straps hanging out do not flatter any woman of any age. Fortunately, there are ways to wear the clothes you want without treating the world to a view of your intimate apparel. Introducing cross back and T back bras. Either style will allow you to wear tank tops with class. Personally, I’m a big fan of the T backs, but I once had a handy bra with straps that snapped to the cups so it could alternately serve as a cross back or regular bra.

AmWiser's avatar

Even though I feel what you wear and how you wear it is all about attitude I still have my limits. If you are comfortable with showing your bra straps than go for it as it is not for anyone else to judge you. There are many options in under garments these days that its not necessary for anyone to have to show what’s underneath their outer top.

wilma's avatar

I am also of the old school that says underwear should not be deliberately shown.
Although…
an accidental peek of lace at a neckline or glimpse of silky slip when crossing legs is fine and actually quite nice.
I’d vote for trying to find clothes and bras that go well together and are also comfortable. If your strap shows now and again as you move it’s no big deal, but to deliberately wear clothes that show off your bra is not what I would do.

Judi's avatar

I think that if you have a BMI of 25 or less you can pull it off. It is better if you have a pretty bra though.
I know it’s wrong, but older women with a few extra pounds look sloppy with their bra straps showing, while a woman with just the right curves looks hot. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but it’s the way it is.

Seelix's avatar

Those thingies that @JilltheTooth linked look magical! I do have a couple of bras that happened to come with the built-in hook like @shrubbery linked, too. I always forget the hooks are there, though, and they do tend to get hooked on things if I take the bra off while still wearing a top.

As for the question at hand, though, @augustlan, I think @sakura has the right idea. As long as your bra straps aren’t frayed or grey (assuming a white bra), what’s the big deal? There’s a big difference between wearing a tank top or sleeveless top where your bra strap might occasionally peek out, and wearing something where your bra is deliberately displayed.

diavolobella's avatar

It’s not about my age. I just don’t think bra straps look good. When they are hanging out of a cute little cami or a summery top, it ruins the delicate look of the garment. All you can see is bra strap and it makes you look tatty no matter how cute your outfit might be. I just wear a strapless bra (or a top with a built-in shelf bra) and if I can be comfortable that way with my titanic tittays, other people probably can.

laineybug's avatar

I’m not old, I’m only 13, but I don’t let my underwear hang out all over the place. It doesn’t really matter if my bra straps are showing though. It’s just a strap and most likely nobody will even notice. So here’s what I say: do whatever makes you comfortable. I don’t think it really matters either way. And that is my insight as a young person. not meaning that any of you are old.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@laineybug : Thanks for that, but some of us are old… but not your mom, of course! ;-)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@laineybug That seems to be sound advice.

I sort of like the look when the bra straps are colorful and thin. Four of my nieces pull it off well. And I don’t think age and weight matters. Like others here, I’m wearing a wider bra strap, and I wouldn’t want them to show.

tinyfaery's avatar

It’s such a non-issue. I don’t even notice bra straps.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@shrubbery That’s very true about the layering. Hell, I once was taking a girlfriend’s top off, and had thought she was simply wearing a bra underneath, only to find out it was another spaghetti-strap shirt… It was like I was a 15 year old boy who couldn’t work a bra clasp….

@JilltheTooth See, those wouldn’t work with anything like this, which many women still need a bra with, and wearing a strapless bra is just… unless I’m going to the freaking orchestra, I’m not dealing with one of those things.

nikipedia's avatar

I’m with @tinyfaery. They don’t even register.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Never too old.

rooeytoo's avatar

I just checked my bmi is 19.5 but I still think it looks unkempt!

JilltheTooth's avatar

My BMI looks pretty unkempt, too.

rooeytoo's avatar

hehehe, yep that too. (I must learn to use punctuation!)

SpatzieLover's avatar

Those dohickeys don’t last well, sorry to say…lots of dancers at my son’s dance class use them under their clothes & mid performance they fly off one strap and pop goes the strap….and that’s with young breasts/thin straps…won’t work for my straps.

I’m of the mind, that I don’t like seeing anyone’s bra. I jog and my sports bra looks more like a tank under my tank (the straps are like this by design)..so that one is okay to show. I really don’t get gals showing off their undies. It doesn’t work for me.

Maybe guys like it though?

Jeruba's avatar

By me, 12.

augustlan's avatar

I’d love to be able to buy the alternative bras that make this a complete non-issue, but I’ve never found one in my size. 42G is not the land of cute/adjustable/alternative bras. :(

I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable just letting the straps hang out (not talking a little accidental peek). Who knows, though… stranger things have happened.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Just a note for those who think it’s “showing it off” – at least for my part, it’s not a deliberate showing it off. It’s not like I picked out the bra I thought would most catch people’s attentions, and then went with that one. It’s more like I thought “Hey, I should wear a bra today, because I have boobs that require support” and then a couple minutes later though “hey, this dress is cute and low-maintenance, I should wear it today” and just didn’t put myself out trying to find ways to cover the straps up when it’s warm outside.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I didn’t think any age was a good one for underclothes to show outside the clothes, just looks sloppy to me even if you cover them up with silly rhinestones. JMO

fundevogel's avatar

I’ve found the only two foolproof solutions to avoiding showing strap:

1. not wearing a bra
2. only wearing shirts that cover every part of the shoulder a bra might cross (no tank tops, halters or spaghetti straps, etc.)

Are either of these really reasonable expectations to have of women at large?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Some nicer clothes have a string with snap attached to hole a bra strap in place and they are easy enough to replicate and sew in at home, I’ve done it.

faye's avatar

I have a few sleeveless tops that I bought to wear with spaghetti strap tops. This is only when I go somewhere where I care what people might think! @JilltheTooth my daughter wanted those for xmas and she loves them. She is very endowed. I hope you didn’t pay that much!
I also feel it’s usually just wrong but I’m also paying less attention these days. It’s a pity I got fat because I’ve never needed a bra until now.

seazen_'s avatar

I don’t see why a bra strap has to show. It’s a choice of what blouse to wear, really.

But: should an attractive woman in her 30’s or 40’s wear something with a v cut, or a loose blouse in the summer, and, while bending over or leaning into the wind, say, her strap be revealed – well – that is but poetry. A thing of beauty. One of the reasons men chiseled on walls.

nikipedia's avatar

@seazen_ has clearly never worn a bra.

seazen_'s avatar

There’s this holiday once a year…

faye's avatar

@seazen_ What about older, homely girls? We maybe stay in the back yard :(

seazen_'s avatar

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

augustlan's avatar

I was thinking about this question in the shower (yes, I think about Fluther everydamnwhere) and it occurred to me that here we are, having a fairly serious discussion about our bra strap decorum. Meanwhile, there are a multitude of guys walking around in my town with their pants belted entirely below their ass, revealing nearly all of their boxer shorts. What is wrong with this picture?

fundevogel's avatar

@augustlan Surely that mode of underwear exposure requires forethought.

shrubbery's avatar

@augustlan, ugh I hate that! Especially when, for example, they are a university student coming into a lecture and they decide they have to sit in the middle of a row of seats and they have to squeeze past everybody already occupying the rest of the row and their ass is in the poor people’s faces as they shuffle past. It’s worse when it’s not boxers but normal underwear.

augustlan's avatar

@shrubbery Yeah, I’m beyond ready for that whole trend to pass. Ick.

rooeytoo's avatar

It’s not too bad if it’s pretty boxers and a nice bum, but tighty whiteys, yukkkkkkkkkkkk!

JilltheTooth's avatar

Still better than the guys that go commando and wear their pants like that… XP

rooeytoo's avatar

@JilltheTooth hehehe, yep you got it, I sometimes work beside a pudgy guy like that and it isn’t a pretty sight!

seazen_'s avatar

My 17 year old goes around intentionally beltless for that effect. Yuck. I hate it.

laineybug's avatar

Half the guys at my school do that and I just find it irritating! Do they really think all the girls in our school want to see their boxers? I think not. When my guy friends are walking around like that and I notice i just say “dude, pull up your pants. I do not want to see that.”

bkcunningham's avatar

How do they keep their pants up? Do they have some sorta velcro or do they walk sorta bowlegged to keep them from falling to the ground. Pants on the ground. LOL

Seelix's avatar

@bkcunningham – You might’ve been joking, but some of them do walk bowlegged to keep their pants up. Picture a kid standing on a skateboard, feet shoulder width, knees half-bent.

bkcunningham's avatar

Would a belt help @Seelix? I’m not being a smartie. Just asking. I’ve been on many skateboards and bent my knees to take turns, try to jump or whatever. I really didn’t think about anyone bending on a skateboard because they’re bowlegged. Sorry.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@bkcunningham Some of them do wear belts, but they fasten them so the pants stay on their thighs. Yes, they do walk bowlegged to keep them up from what I’ve seen. I hate being behind a kid that has to hold up his pants at the butt to open a door.

Seelix's avatar

@bkcunningham – I meant that they walk in the same way that they skate, with their knees bent like that. And yeah, a belt would help, but like @SpatzieLover said, they belt their pants below their hips. I was a teenager when that whole trend started, and while I didn’t skateboard myself, all my guy friends did. I didn’t really understand the fashion then and I don’t understand it now.

bkcunningham's avatar

LOL @SpatzieLover and @Seelix, I thought I was on to a new truth about skater drawers. LOL

flo's avatar

How do perverts refer to it?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I would say any female over the age of 13.5 years should not be seen with exposed bra straps or VUB (viable undergarment bulge).

I remember those times, even clothes so sheer they “ghost” what underwear you had was in bad taste; hence, the use of a lot of slips.

cazzie's avatar

I just realised why I may have a more relaxed view of bra straps showing than other people my age. I just spent the weekend in -30C. (well, that was the outside temperature, anyway) Everyone was rugged up in layers of clothing, even inside the heated hotel. Having the option of seeing a few bra straps means, here, that the weather is finally warm and, that, my friends, is worth celebrating. I am going to suggest we have an official day every summer and call it, ‘Bra strap Friday’ or something and that it is to celebrate that the temperature has risen over 15C and we can go out without our layers and layers of head to toe wool clothing on. I can’t wait for ‘bra strap season’ to get here.

(I kid, I kid. When the weather gets warmer, we women actually take off out tops and bras and lay in the sun in public parks. No one bats an eye. I love Scandinavia sometimes.)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

When the weather gets warmer, we women actually take off out tops and bras and lay in the sun in public parks. No one bats an eye. Not here in the US, the cops would be out, a news crew, gawkers with cell phones floating it on the Net in a rapid pace, people (men and women) will be having heart attacks behind those wanton hussies showing their nipples like that much less the whole breast; even if there was a baby nursing at it. (Sorry if it seem a bit sarcastic, sarcasm is a dish best served dry and in spite of the weather it is very dry in the us right now.)

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