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Spaghetti straps are thin shoulder straps on garments such as tank tops, formal dresses, camisoles, some brassieres, and summer dresses. They are similar in width to the spaghetti pasta after which they are named. These straps are a lovely way of showing off the shoulders and décolletage.
Spaghetti straps are popular in the summer months because they’re cooler than the traditional tank top, which has a much wider strap. Yet they can also prove somewhat inconvenient if you need to wear a bra. Usually the shoulder straps of the bra are wider than spaghetti straps. If you wear a traditional bra underneath a top or dress with these types of straps, you will end up showing off your bra straps, which is not a very attractive look.
There are several ways to handle this issue. First, you can choose not to wear a bra, which may be a fine option for some, or you can wear a strapless bra, which will not show under the top. Alternately you can try an adhesive bra. Unfortunately, most strapless and adhesive bras do not provide the same amount of support. This problem increases for women with larger bust sizes, when that support is more desirable.
Designers have noted this issue, and some tank tops with thin straps now feature a built in bra. Clothing designed especially for a woman, like a wedding gown or formal gown with spaghetti straps may also feature a built-in lift when needed.
Of course, this issue doesn’t exist for the many lingerie garments that feature spaghetti straps. Some may have built in bras, but in many cases they are meant to be worn sans brassiere and do not require additional support. Similarly, swimsuits made of Lycra and other stretchy materials may not require a built in bra.
Sometimes spaghetti straps are considered indecent in certain settings, and some school dress codes ban them. In office settings, a top that provides more coverage of the shoulder area is generally smarter “office wear.” Tops with these straps may also not be the best choice when you are traveling to countries with strong religious backgrounds. If you plan to pack spaghetti strap tops for foreign travel, be sure to check recommended dress code for the areas you will be visiting, particularly when the culture is very different from Western culture.