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An uplifting discussion

Matt:

Some ladies I work with have been discussing which bra straps give the best support. Some say regular, some say racerback. Can you help? I know which I prefer…

-- A Guy in the Office

Wish we could hand this one off to Grandma, but as she's fond of telling us, she has a closet full of aprons but hasn't worn underwear since Woodstock. Luckily, we found a research elf who could say "bra straps" without snickering, and Grandma agreed to go along as a consultant, so we were in business.

A lot of good it did us. Couldn't get agreement about much of anything from the bra barons. But manufacturers we talked to, including one outfit that made specialty bras for post-surgery patients, all say support is more than a strap issue. It's a whole engineering thing, kind of like an architect designing a cantilevered deck. A big mathematical tangle of stresses and counterstresses. Since an individual breast can weigh 10 pounds or more in the larger sizes (JJ was the biggest we found), and breast tissue is supported by skin, not muscle, a bra has its work cut out for it.

Bra builders do agree that in terms of support, cup construction and proper fit are more important than what kind of straps you have. Breast bulk is not suspended from the straps like Italian cheeses hanging in a deli. Stitching or underwires under the cup help transmit boob weight to the chest band, which in turn transmits the stress to the straps. Racerbacks spread the stress across the back; they're potentially more comfortable but not necessarily more uplifting. And if your office pals are typical of women in several industry surveys, half of them wear the wrong size bra anyway, so uplift is just a theory.

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Matt:

Some ladies I work with have been discussing which bra straps give the best support. Some say regular, some say racerback. Can you help? I know which I prefer…

-- A Guy in the Office

Wish we could hand this one off to Grandma, but as she's fond of telling us, she has a closet full of aprons but hasn't worn underwear since Woodstock. Luckily, we found a research elf who could say "bra straps" without snickering, and Grandma agreed to go along as a consultant, so we were in business.

A lot of good it did us. Couldn't get agreement about much of anything from the bra barons. But manufacturers we talked to, including one outfit that made specialty bras for post-surgery patients, all say support is more than a strap issue. It's a whole engineering thing, kind of like an architect designing a cantilevered deck. A big mathematical tangle of stresses and counterstresses. Since an individual breast can weigh 10 pounds or more in the larger sizes (JJ was the biggest we found), and breast tissue is supported by skin, not muscle, a bra has its work cut out for it.

Bra builders do agree that in terms of support, cup construction and proper fit are more important than what kind of straps you have. Breast bulk is not suspended from the straps like Italian cheeses hanging in a deli. Stitching or underwires under the cup help transmit boob weight to the chest band, which in turn transmits the stress to the straps. Racerbacks spread the stress across the back; they're potentially more comfortable but not necessarily more uplifting. And if your office pals are typical of women in several industry surveys, half of them wear the wrong size bra anyway, so uplift is just a theory.

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Inspired by what is considered the original piña colada
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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