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  • Michele Bourque,Founder, Ottawa Bra Clinic

My back rides up and my straps fall down … tell me why

Updated: Feb 15, 2020

Shall we have a Woman to Woman talk … let’s start with bras, or brassieres, or whatever you want to call them.

What do you think one of the main secret complaints are from women about how they look or feel? Even if they keep it to themselves, most women hate their bra and they would prefer to not have to wear one. Their bra is down right uncomfortable, it doesn’t feel right, and sometimes it pinches, pokes and worse of all, either the back rides up or the straps fall down and more likely than not, they just can’t get a good fitting supportive bra. Why? Why? Why? I know you are looking for the answer.

Firstly, let’s take a closer look at your regular every day bra. Take a close look at it, and read the label … what is it made of … usually, the straps are made of elastic, the back is made of lycra or spandex and the front is more than likely made from polyester and sometimes if you are lucky, there is a little lace or a pretty little bow to add a little decorative feminine touch. Am I right? You bet I am.

There is no reason why a bra, your foundation garment, that really helps you to look and feel your best, should be so uncomfortable.

There are a few reasons for this – … the biggest mistake is the straps are made from elastic. Elastic works well when it is brand new, unused and unstretched. But, after you wear it a few times, or if you wash it … the give that you want, gives out and that support is gone … elastic is always the first thing to go in a bra. Why? Because it stretches, and before too long it is out of shape and no longer serves its purpose. And if you put your bra in the washer and dryer (no, please tell me you don’t do this to your bra) it stretches faster (the spin from the washer stretches that elastic even if it is in a lingerie bag. Elastic, once it gives and stretches, is almost useless. And that is probably one of the most obvious reasons why your straps are always falling down. Let us help you get a comfortable bra with cotton straps.

Another reason is structure of the bra is probably depending on the straps to hold up the girls where it should be the band that provides good support.

Another challenge is the back of the bra rides up and this puts additional stress on the back, neck and shoulders, causing pain in many cases. The problem is the size you are wearing. If you have the wrong fit your back strap will likely ride up. By the way, 85% of women are wearing the wrong size so, more than likely, you are included in this number. But you are not alone; and the fix is easy. Most women are wearing the wrong size… usually women are wearing bras that are too big in the band (at least by one or two sizes) and too small in the cup (at least one or two cup sizes). If this is your case, your bra simply won’t fit you properly and it will be uncomfortable (the back will ride up and the straps will fall down). But there is an easy explanation. For one moment, I would like you talk to you on the science of it …let’s think about gravity. If the front (where breasts are situated) is heavy, the weight of the breast can pull down on the straps (we already talked about elastic straps and stretch, right?) and when the breasts go down, the back … yup … it rides up (and more so if you are wearing a bra that is 2 inches too big for you). Are you in the right size? Now you may ask, how do I fix this? First, buy a bra with cotton straps. This might be a challenge because most bras have elastic straps; there are some on the market but they may be difficult to find. Cotton will not lose it’s shape and does not stretch out. The next solution is to get measured properly by someone who is trained to measure; this will ensure you are wearing the correct size. Let the Ottawa Bra Clinic measure you and make a recommendation on what will work for you.

There you go, now you know. It all makes sense.


The Ottawa Bra Clinic provides specialized custom-fit bras for women that have bra issues. We help by providing a personalized service and our orthopedic and post-surgical bras are suitable for woman of all sizes with bra issues.      

When you visit the Ottawa Bra Clinic, we start off by talking about your bra issues and then we use a measuring tape so we know your size. Based on this information, we will make a recommendation to you on a suggested style that will give you a comfortable perfect fit. Oh by the way, there is no underwire to pinch or poke, no elastic in the straps and there is cotton next to the breast tissue. We will alter the bra so it fits you like a glove and there will not be any more backs riding up or straps falling down. You will get optimal support and a comfortable fit just like you deserve.

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