Convertible (also called multiway) bras are a must to own. The straps come off and have hooks so you can reattach them in different ways to wear with clothes where the straps of a standard bra would show. In this article, we’ll discuss what is a convertible bra, as well as everything related to it.
What strap configurations it can do will depend on which one you get, so check before you buy. The straps will have hooks at each end and there will be lots of slots that they can hook into on the bra. Sometimes they won’t say all of the possible options on the tag so look for where the slots are to figure out which ones it can do.
What is a Convertible Bra?
A convertible bra is a type of bra whose straps are adjustable and detachable. This means that the straps can be detached and worn in many different ways, or even removed entirely. This feature makes them different from other types of bras.
Most common strap options
Every convertible bra should be able to do a classic bra shape, halter neck and crossover back. Not all can go strapless or low back, usually the same bra won’t do both of these options so make sure you check first. For more about low back convertible bras click here. To do strapless it will need to have cups that aren’t peaked at the top and are firm so they can stay up without the straps (see image below).
Less common strap options
These ones are still pretty hard to find in shops but there are a few with quite unusual strap options that are cropping up on the internet. Most of the options are just for show so you feel like you are getting more for your money. The strap isn’t actually doing much in a lot of these cases, it’s basically the same as if you were to wear a strapless bra. For example with the one shoulder options, if the strap was holding you up it would make one breast much higher than the rest, the support is coming from underneath – like a strapless bra does.
The low back option in the image above requires an extra strap that hooks into the back of your bra, instead of it doing up like it normally does.
Convertible bra with low back option
Not all convertible (also called multiway) bras have a low back option so check this before you buy it. There are two main types, one is where a bra strap hooks into the bottom of the bra and goes across your stomach to pull the back of the bra down (see image). The extra bra strap should come with the bra, it’s the same as the ones you would use as the halter strap or standard two shoulder straps. To tell if the bra will be able to go low back look for loops on the bottom of it in the back for the strap to hook into.
Add more loops to your convertible bra for more options
If you want more options than the convertible bra you have allows, you can always sew more loops into it for your straps to hook into. Make sure where you are putting the loops will work for the style of bra you have.
The image above compares a bra that can go strapless with one that can’t. If you were to try to add loops into the one that can’t go strapless anywhere in the front that isn’t at the top of the peaked cups you would end up with those bits sticking out.
- Get an old bra strap or buy a spare one (you can get them from sewing or lingerie stores). Make sure it is the right width for the straps you will be hooking into it. Cut a short piece about 2.5cm / 1 inch long.
- Fold it in half and serge/overlock it to stop it fraying. If you don’t have an overlocker go over it a few times with a zig zag stitch.
- Sew it in place onto the bra, 2 lines of stitching will hold it in place well.
- Done, you can hook the strap through it now.
The second type of convertible bra you can use has a low back converter strap with it. This goes onto the back fastening, crosses over and goes around your stomach (see image). This isn’t as common to find in stores as the first one, the strap you use is different to the standard shoulder straps, but if your bra doesn’t come with it you can buy a low back converter separately or make your own.
Make your own low back bra converter
- It’s really easy and cheap to make your own low back bra converter, follow the steps below.
- You will need elastic and bra fasteners (the part at the back with the hooks and eyes). The fasteners are usually sold at sewing stores or you can cut them off an old bra. Fasteners come with different numbers of hooks in the rows so get the one that is most likely to fit the bras you wear, go for 2 hooks in a row if you aren’t sure. Use elastic that will feel comfortable against your skin, get a piece that is a bit longer than your waist measurement to make sure you have enough. It will look better if the elastic is the same width as the fastener (the one in the pictures uses narrower elastic but it still works fine). Sew one end of the elastic into one of the fasteners, there will be an opening that it slips into. Sew back over it a couple of times to make sure it’s secure.
- Put the piece of elastic around your waist to get the length and pin the other fastening to the elastic (don’t cut it yet). Make sure you attach it the right way up, if the one with the eyes faces up the piece with the hooks should face down.
- Attach one end to your bra.
- Put it on by wrapping the elastic around your front and back around to the back (be careful of the pin). Adjust it around your waist until it feels like the right position for how low you want it to go. If the elastic is too loose or tight undo it, re-pin it and put it back on until you find the right length.
- When you have found the right length for the elastic cut it and sew it on like you did with the other end.
Done, to use it put it on like you did in steps 4 and 5.
I find the first one (a bra strap hooks into the bottom of the bra) generally can’t go as low and still feel supportive, I would recommend the second one (a low back converter strap) for anything that is really low.
Both types can be worn with the straps over the shoulders like pictured, or you can make them have a halter neck. The halter neck will allow it to go lower in the back, but whether you can do this will depend on the neckline of what you are wearing it with.
- For the first type (top image), if you are pulling it down quite low the largest setting on the fastening may not be enough, you can use a bra extender to give it extra room to be pulled down lower.
- You can cross the strap over on your back (see the middle one in the image below), this can feel more supportive than if it goes straight to the side and across the front. If the strap isn’t long enough you can hook two together.
- Sometimes the strap across the front can cause bulging on your stomach, if this is happening and it will show through in what you are wearing put high-waisted control top panties over the top and this will smooth things out.
- If the bra is likely to peak out as you move, use pieces of fashion tape to stick your clothes to the bra.
- This may seem obvious but it’s easy to forget, if you are wearing it with two shoulder straps make sure you loosen them before putting it on.
The founder, editor, and writer of most articles on Ultimate Bra Guide. An experienced bra fitting specialist turned blogger. My website Ultimate Bra Guide has been featured in relevant publications such as Glamour, Bustle, Elite Daily, Alldaychic, Everyday Feminism, and so on. Get to know me better at our about page.