This Summer, Show a Bold Bra Strap


Gwen Stefani of No Doubt performs on stage at The Brixton Academy on September 24th, 1997 in London, United Kingdom.Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images


Recently, I went down a rabbit hole of Lilith Fair style, the crunchy-chic, I-am-woman-hear-me-strum festival of the late ’90s. While researching, I came across photos of the fantastic ladies of those times showing their bra straps with their itty-bitty tank tops. The exposed bra strap has long been one of my favorite looks. It’s incredibly early aughts, and harkens back to larger-than-life women such as Gwen Stefani, Amy Winehouse, and Avril Lavigne. Think of Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich, who wheeled and dealed with her bra straps (and cups!) on full display. Or the brash and beautiful Adriana La Cerva of The Sopranos who perpetually had a strap on display.

Antonio Marras spring 2022Photo: Courtesy of Antonio Marras

More recently, the exposed bra strap has taken a more romantic, and in some cases a bolder, turn recently. On the runway for fall 2022, Alexander McQueen sent down a romantic red dress with a thick black strap exposed, while at Bottega Veneta, a darling lavender bra was worn under a delicate strapless dress. At Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, Paloma Elsesser strut down the runway in a striped cashmere dress along with incredibly alluring powder pink silk bra straps. For spring 2022, Antonio Marras went the ethereal route, showing a floral print triangle bra boasting thick straps underneath a semi-sheer dress.

Alexander McQueen fall 2022Photo: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen


But it’s not only on the runway: Plenty of people are showing their fancy and flouncy straps. Vintage dealer Olivia Haroutounian will opt for an orange iteration when she is out or selling her archival pieces. “It’s very Patricia Field,” she says. “She always styled Carrie in it.” Erin Allweiss of the PR Agency No. 29 uses the statement bra strap as a way to balance her outfit, and prefers an Araks silk bra. “I love pairing it with a low-cut dress to add a bit of color, boost, and intrigue,” she says. “And they make a sack dress feel even more elevated and sexy–less frumpy. Lord knows I love a sack dress in the summer, so the bras are a key addition.”

The exposed bra strap, especially with flourishes, feels both artful, intentional, and ultimately chic. Of course, there is the immediate allure of an underpinning formerly intended to be hidden. Stylist Yohana Lebasi, who just purchased a decorative bra from Journelle, notes that the exposed bra is both “subtly sexy” and “implies sex.” It’s a bit of temptation right at the shoulders. In other words, don’t fear the bra strap. Let it show.

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