I’m a handy man. I can fix stuff, do DIY, clean junk out of your computer, assemble your flat-pack furniture and connect up your home cinema system. But I’ve been reminded that I have another skill that is rarely mentioned. Since I have no apprentice I can teach, I thought I’d put it down in writing in case it’s a skill lost to posterity.

I can unfasten a bra strap in under two seconds. While facing the wearer. With clothes. I know it sounds like a stiff challenge, but I really can.

Here’s the technique:

  • Face the volunteer. If it is actually a time trial, it’s probably best if you place both hands gently on her hips.
  • When the clock starts, take your left hand and slide it up the middle of her back, (under her clothes, obviously!) until you reach the bra strap.
  • Place your second, third and fourth fingers on the right (from your perspective) side of the strap, at the join. This is the “under” part of the fastening.
  • Press the strap gently against the volunteer’s back. Use your third and fourth fingers mainly, because you need to move your second finger a little to your left to raise up the “over” part of the fastening so that you can grip it between your thumb and first finger.
  • With your third and fourth fingers holding the strap in place against the volunteer’s back, pull the tab you are holding between first finger and thumb to your right. You may need to press a little with that second finger to ensure that the hooks release.

bra strapAnd that’s it! Obviously all that finger control is easier if you play bass guitar. (No, not at the same time.) But, with a little practice you should be able to make the act smooth and natural, and not embarrassing at all.

The bra can be removed from underneath the clothing by using the well-known technique of pulling shoulder straps down the sleeves and over the hands. That was one that I was taught at University. In a mathematics lecture on topology. Really.


This technique only works on the traditional hook-and-eye fastening. Occasionally, you’ll come across a bikini-style “S” hook, and, in my experience, that’s simply impossible to undo with one hand.

It’s not unknown for a man to be suckered into attempting to undo a front-fastening bra at the back. Smile at the joke and change hands.

Very broad straps (as found on some bras without shoulder straps) will sometimes release at the top, but stay hooked at the bottom, or vice-versa; but it’s just a matter of repeating the action to unhook the remaining part. The same process can be applied to other hook-and-eye underwear, such as some camisoles and basques.


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