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What is a Racer Back Top?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

A racer back top is an article of clothing worn on a person’s torso, typically by a woman, which is cut and sewn to reveal the wearer’s shoulders and shoulder blades. The top may be designed for wear under another garment, as a supportive undergarment such as a bra, or as a top that is meant to be worn to be revealing and show off the wearer’s figure. Though these tops may come in various patterns and colors, with different styles and purposes, the unifying aspect of all is the shape of the back of the article.

Some bras come in a racer back style and have become increasingly popular, especially for wear under garments of a similar shape. A racer back bra can be an excellent choice for wear under a tank top or similar thin-strapped top. This allows the wearer to have the support and discretion provided by a bra, while ensuring that the straps can remain concealed under the similar straps of the tank top, leading to a more complimentary shape and form for the garment. A tank top is also typically considered a racer back top as it is shaped to reveal the shoulders and shoulder blades of the wearer. Some pieces of lingerie are also accompanied by a racer back top to create a sexy and playful look that conceals some areas while exposing the shoulders of the wearer.

Some track uniforms feature racerback bra tops.
Some track uniforms feature racerback bra tops.

The shape of a racer back top can also be the perfect choice to be worn under another garment, such as a sweater or a light blouse. Such a top can be helpful in providing a bit more warmth to the wearer’s body but keeping the arms, shoulders, and armpits from getting too warm during wear. Many athletic garments are cut in the style of a racer back to ensure ease of movement, a clean shape that allows the wearer to not become overheated, and comfort during exercise or while playing sports.

A more elaborate and glamorous style of racer back top can also be created in a racer back dress. This type of garment combines the revealing, cooling, and complimentary shape of the racer back with the elegance of a longer dress. The versatility of the racer back shape comes in how the item is worn, as a single top could be used as an undergarment, worn alone, or as a piece of sexy eveningwear.

Discussion Comments


@oscar23- I like the idea of racer back, but it is so hard to find good, real (as in not sports) bras with racer backs. I have D cups, making it important to find a really good bra with plenty of support. I have narrow shoulders too, though, so I have to find a happy medium, sometimes in the form of x-backs, which are similar to racer back but a little different. I also like to swear spaghetti straps, which do not work with racer back.

I am glad to know some people have found good racer backs though, it gives me hope.


@aLFredo- I never had to deal with a tan line for something like a wedding, but I run almost every day and I agree that the racer back tan is a hard one to get rid of. Since I have a pretty large chest, I have to always wear good, supportive bras -- in my non-exercise life, the types of tops with built in bras never do the job, so I end up with spaghetti strap tans from tank tops and bras that fight with my racer back running tan.

I like the suggestion of a spray tan, though -- if I ever need an evening out for a big event, I'll definitely try it.


I love racer backs for my athletic wear! However, two words of warning - tan lines. I mostly workout and run outside and usually I am not worried about my tan lines.

However, a week before my wedding I went on a long run and it left me with a nice tan line that was difficult to cover up before my wedding (as you can imagine I did not have a racer back tank shape as a part of my wedding dress).

If you find yourself with a racer back tan line with not enough time to fix the tan line with more time in the sun, I can suggest this to you - spray tan! I did a spray tan and although the line wasn't completely gone, it did the trick for the most part and my skin looked phenomenal in pictures.


A racer back top can be incredibly sexy! My husband has always thought that my shoulders were really cute and he really flips over them when I wear this kind of top.

I also like them because they are a great, little more conservative take on the tank top. I love that cool feeling, but I hate wearing strapless bras, going braless and for my bra straps to show. With a racer back top you can wear a racer back bra and eliminate all of those issues.

You still show a little peak of skin, and in a different way than the typical cleavage hanging out. It is quite attractive for many people regardless of shape and size.


Wearing a racer back bra is really the way to go if you have narrow shoulders. I have always had that problem where my bra straps, no matter how tight, fall off my shoulders a million times a day.

It is very aggravating, and even a little embarrassing in professional situations. I always hated talking to a superior and feeling the need to hike up my bra straps every two seconds. Even worse is wearing sleeveless blouse and the straps peeking out.

Then I ran into a racer back bra. Wow! What a huge difference! Because of the way that it is made, the straps never fall down, and they look good under practically any kind of shirt. And they are ultra comfortable, too!

I will never go back to the regular bra!

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    • Some track uniforms feature racerback bra tops.
      By: Olexandr
      Some track uniforms feature racerback bra tops.