These are not among those times and places: eating a slab of ribs at a barbecue; trolling the supermarket aisles for some paper towels and a bag of Twizzlers; at a 25th high school reunion; during religious services of any sort.
Women of every age and size are deciding that it's OK to show the wide world out there what lurks beneath their dresses and summery tops. Not so fast, ladies!
For every woman who thinks she looks sexy showing some strap, I've seen scores of fashion misfits who just look sloppy or slutty — or both. (The issues of showing off boobage and underwear below the waist I'll leave for future columns.)
Even fashion professionals can't agree on whether this public bra strap epidemic — underwear as outerwear — is a good idea. I'll answer that: almost never.
"You didn't use the word slutty did you?" asked David Hacker, vice president of trend and color at Kohl's, when I asked him about this phenomenon.
"To my mind, showing straps is truly a fashion statement. It's about the lingerie influence and it's OK that all that shows. It's a strong fashion statement for the evening and weekend." says Hacker.
"I really don't understand it … . Seeing straps inherently bothers me," counters Macy's juniors fashion director Adam Moon.
So what's a woman to do? When is showing your bra straps fashion or a faux pas? After spending hours observing the female form on a hot day, I've come up with some guidelines and some personal field observations.
But I also want to hear your guidelines when it comes to bra straps. And while we're on the topic: If you find a strapless bra that supports, doesn't fall to your waist or dig into your flesh, it's a miracle and I want to know about that as well.
Sloppy, shameful or sharp? Click here for photos of bra-strap looks.