Classify Your Breasts: Breast Separation. Expert Bra Fitting Advice by Tomima Edmark
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Classifying Your Breast Separation For Bra Fit

Breast Separation


Breast separation between women’s breasts really does vary widely. This is the horizontal distance between your two breasts at the center of your chest. Depending on how much or how little distance you have between your two breasts can determine whether or not you will achieve touching cleavage (that vertical fold line created when breasts touch), how a bra will fit you, and if and underwire bra will be comfortable.

You have one of the following 5 types of breast separation, and all 5 types are a common occurrence.


Touching Breasts

touching breasts
Touching breast separation (also known as “kissing breasts”) is where your two breasts are touching or almost touching when you are standing sans a bra. If your breast are such, you have probably figured out that a bra’s center panel (also called the center gore and center bridge) will have fit issues and probably not rest against your sternum. And the underwires of a traditional underwire bra will probably tilt outward and away from your body at your sternum because again, there is no space available for them to rest against your sternum. There is also a rare condition called “Symmastia” where the breast tissue between the two breasts is connected See the Additional Considerations section. This breast separation is not common, but presents bra fit issues as well.

Bra Suggestions:
  • Be very aware of the center design of your bra – the optimal center panel for you will be low cut or almost nothing.
  • Underwire bras where the underwires barely come up and into your center chest/sternum area – if at all – will fit you best.
  • IF you are larger than a DD cup size, bras with seams in the cups will give you your best shaping and support.
  • Look for plunge bras if you want to show off your kissing cleavage. These bra styles tend to have very low center panels – if any.
  • Bras without wires (called "soft cup" bras) will be a comfortable choice, but the center panel will probably not rest on your sternum. Soft cup bras larger than a D cup also have a tendency to compromise your shape and support.
  • A halter style bra can be a good choice because the design tends to push breasts together towards the center anyway.
  • Avoid bras with a significant center panel between the cups. This panel will not rest against your sternum.


Separated Breasts

Separated breasts are the most common form of breast separation. This is where the two breasts, at rest, are not touching one another – generally the breast distance will be 1 to 2 finger’s widths apart.

Bra Suggestions:
  • Every style of bra will work with this basic breast separation. In the lingerie industry, this is considered the typical breast separation and thus most bras are designed to fit this separation type.
  • B cup sizes and larger with this type of breast separation can achieve a vertical cleavage line.


Splayed Breasts

Splayed breast separation is where the breasts are separated, but the separation splays outwards creating a triangle shape between the breasts. So your bra’s center panel (also called center bridge or center gore) needs to be chosen carefully. If the bridge is not shaped like a triangle, the bottom of the bridge will not be wide enough, and this could cause your underwires between your breasts to tip outward and away from your sternum. Women who are splayed and have large breasts can find their breasts extending past their sides and getting in the way of arm movement.

Bra Suggestions:
  • Bras with a wide-based triangle shape center panel will fit you best.
  • Balconette and demi bras have shorter wires and therefore can be a comfortable bra style solution, but look for ones with seamed cups.
  • Bras where the center is made with cording, or has center underwires that barely come up between the breasts, like a plunge bra, can work for you.
  • Splayed breasts DD cup size and larger should consider bras with tall side seams (3” or taller) and cups with side support panels or side slings along the outer sides of the cups to help get your breasts more front and center.
  • If you are experiencing rubbing or chafing by your bra on the outside edge of your breasts near the underarm, it’s probably because all your breast tissue is not getting inside your bra cups. This can be corrected by leaning forward, and moving your breast tissue fully into the cups with your hands. If this tissue doesn’t all fit in your cups, this is a sign that you need a larger cup size.


Wide-set Breasts

Wide-set breasts are separated breasts but are further apart - generally 3 or more finger’s widths apart at the sternum. Because of this distance, the ability to create touching cleavage is almost impossible. Underwires can be uncomfortable if you are widely separated, and can cause discomfort in the underarm area if the underwires are not encircling all your breast tissue. Leaning forward and pushing the under arm breast tissue inside the cups can help. Manipulating the underwire circumference shape and angle can make an underwire bra feel more comfortable.

Bra Suggestions:
  • Look at a bra’s center panel and select those bras where this center panel is wider than others.
  • Push-up bras that push up from the bottom and in from the sides will be the ones to give you better cleavage.
  • Bras without underwires (called ‘soft cup’ bras) will be comfortable if you have constant issues with your underwires poking.
  • Bras with a triangle-shaped cup will fit, as will plunge bras.
  • Bras with side panels built in the cups will give women who are D cup size and larger more forward projection, plus relocate the under-arm breast tissue more towards the center thus giving easier arm movement.
  • Front closure bras, because of their center clasp, tend to have wider-set cups. So, they can be a good choice up to DD cup sizing.


Wide-set/Splayed Breasts

Wide-set/splayed breasts are a combination where your breasts are both wide-set and splayed – there are 3 or more finger-widths between your breasts, and the breasts splay outwards creating a wide triangle-shape between the breasts. The center panel of you bra is again, key. It needs to be triangle in shape, or barely have a center panel at all. If your breasts are large, you can find them in conflict with the movement of your arms. Underwires could be uncomfortable under your arms as well. It is very unlikely that wide-set/splayed breasts of any size will be able to create a vertical cleavage line.

Bra Suggestions:
  • Bras with a wide triangle-shaped center panel will work best.
  • Bras with side support panels in their cup design will help push your breasts out from under your arms and in from the sides to give you a better forward shape.
  • Front closure bras are a good choice because the center clasp tends to cause wider set cups. This bra style is a good choice up to DD cup sizes.
  • Bras with seams in the cups (and a wider center panel) will give you a more rounded and youthful breast shape.
  • Soft cup bras (bras without underwires) will be a more forgiving fit, but you will not get great shape and definition.
  • Center panels made of cording and plunge bras will probably fit you better. But, look for the widest center panel you can find.
  • Push-up bras that both push you up from the bottom and in from the sides will be your best choice for creating any possible kissing cleavage.



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© 2014 Andra Group, LP - Tuesday, July 29, 2014 (A1).