STRAP HAPPY

Byline: Joyce Cohen

It might not be the most elegant of lingerie items, but it can’t be beat for practicality.
It’s the Bra Buddy — an elastic strip that keeps bra straps from falling down.
Bra Buddy is the baby of Janice Newsom of Jacksonville, Fla., a former insurance saleswoman whose bra straps would fall down every time she leaned over her desk. Constantly hauling her straps up in front of clients “was embarrassing,” she said.
Enter the Bra Buddy. The adjustable-length elastic has Velcro loops at either end to anchor bra straps. It comes in black, white and beige, with a suggested retail price of $9.95 for two.
For years, the falling-strap problem had plagued female members of Newsom’s family, most of whom inherited sloping shoulders. Even when she and her identical twin sister were Janice and Jeanine Hinkson growing up in Jacksonville, the two would tie their swimsuit straps together with shoelaces.
Later, Newsom was frustrated in her quest to find bra straps that stayed up. “I tried every bra on the market,” she said. “Even with my straps tight, if I leaned over a certain way they would fall off.” She found halter bras and T-backs uncomfortable. And if she tethered her straps with a shoelace, she couldn’t get undressed without her husband’s help.
The beauty of Bra Buddy, Newsom says, is that the wearer can get it on and off by herself. (A diagram on the package shows how.) Newsom, who has applied for a patent, said she has located one competing product, but it uses an S-shaped hook that doesn’t hold straps securely.
Last November, Newsom conducted informal market research outside two of Jacksonville’s shopping malls. About 80 percent of the women queried admitted to problems with falling bra straps — enough to convince Newsom of the marketability of the Bra Buddy. It is currently available at some lingerie specialty stores.
The company makes several other bra accouterments, including padded shoulder cushions that protect against dig-in bra straps, and removable shoulder pads that attach to straps with Velcro.
Bra Buddy & Co. is at 11792 Woodside Lane in Jacksonville.

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