The nice thing about soft structured carriers (ssc) or buckle carriers is their versatility. They can not only fit a wide range of wearers, they can also fit a wide age and size range of kiddos too. So what exactly is a ssc? If you want to get down to the basics, it's a rectangular piece of cloth with straps that could have buckles to help adjust. So this basically means that the frame backpacks that you see Sherpas carry millionaire's children up the slopes of Everest don't count. A quick aside: the frame packs have their place, just not on this blog post.
The adjustability of the ssc's are what make them so handy. One carrier can fit a wide range of care givers: for example he is 6'5" and she is 5'4". The buckles and straps can make adjusting between the two easy peasy. Some carrier brands offer various levels of padding, different widths of straps, different carry options (front, back, and believe it or not hip carries too). Oh and least I forget about different patterns and colors. It's almost like back to school when you got to choose the backpack for the year: were you going to choose the Spider-Man backpack or the unicorn? (Or did you have "sensible" parents who only bought you one, single color boring pack from L.L. Bean? Like mine.) Many of the carrier companies offer different prints and patterns. (I haven't seen a wizard riding a unicorn pattern...yet).
Another drawback is getting them adjusted for you. How many times have you gotten in the car only to find that the seat is NOT where you left it? Don't even get me started on the mirrors! Taking time to "tune" your carrier to you is a fine art. We had some friends over who were not very happy with their buckle carriers. The straps were riding up nearly choking my friend! Remember: if its not comfortable you may need some help! That is where those friendly VBE's come in...they can help you fine tune and adjust the carrier to you. All it took was a simple adjustment to my friends' sscs and voila, no more choking! They left happy and their kiddos can now enjoy all the benefits babywearing has to offer.