CLASSIFY YOUR BREASTS
A guide to classifying your shape
The actual shape of your breasts can have an enormous impact on how a bra will fit and look on you. Basically, there are five breast shapes. Some are very common, and others are more unusual. When making a bra selection, it is very important that you know your breast shape and take it into consideration.
This archetypical breast shape is just that – the standard. The breasts are full and round, coming to a small point at the nipple. This is the shape most sought-after, and the shape most bra manufacturers use when developing new bra designs. Most women with breast implants have this breast shape.
Uneven breasts mean your two breasts are not of equal size. This is very common if the size difference is one cup size or less. It is more unusual if the size difference between your two breasts is greater than a cup size.
In this case, the cause could be attributed to a bodily injury or illness during breast development. Uneven breasts sometimes also occur during menopause when hormones can cause your breasts to expand unevenly. If you are an athlete and use one arm more than the other, this too can cause uneven breast sizes.
- Most bra styles can be retrofitted with pads called “cookies” or “breast enhancers”. These add volume to the smaller breast, thus giving you an even appearance.
- Figure out where your fullness is missing in your breast and put the cookie in the correct place in your bra cup – along the bottom, along the side, or on the top of your breast.
- Push up bras with removable pads can be a great solution. The pad can be removed from the larger side, and kept in the cup on the smaller side, creating instant evenness.
- Contour cup bras (seamless cups with a thin foam layer for shaping) are particularly good for giving an even look without the need for additional padding if your size difference is less than a full cup size.
- For DD cup sizes and larger, bras where the upper edge of the cup is elasticized or where the upper fabric is stretchy will form to each breast for a more perfect fit.
- Plunge bras could be problematic because they could show off your unevenness.
The base of the breast is typical, but the breast shape is more cone-like than round with the conical breast shape. Women with this conical shape can have issues filling out the front of the bra cup. A cup will look like it’s too big, while the underwires fit the breast base just fine. Conical breasts are a little unusual, and tend to exist in the smaller cup sizes (C cup size or smaller).
If the bridge is not shaped like a triangle, the bottom of the bridge will not be wide enough. This could cause the 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.
- Contour cup bras (bras with a thin layer of foam in the cups) and a wide center panel will create a nice shape and fit well.
- Small pads called “cookies” can be inserted into your bra cups along the bottom to help give you more breast volume and fill out your bra cups.
- Push-up bras that both push up from the bottom and in from the sides will give you your fullest look and possible cleavage. A & B cup sizes will look best in heavily padded push-up bras. Make sure you adjust your breast tissue to make sure it is resting on top of the padding for optimal cleavage.
- Minimizer bras (if you are C cup or larger) will give you a great rounded fit because their design goal is to round your breast projection.
- Bandeau bras are an option because they can compress a conical breast shape and make them look more round. But, they also can make you look small-chested. Bandeau bras with underwires and lightly padded cups will look best.
- Compression sports bras help to give your breasts a more rounded shape.
- Avoid unstructured bras and bralettes – their lack of shaping tends to give you a less attractive silhouette.
Thin breasts occur when the bases of the breasts have a smaller circumference than standard breasts. Also called tuberous breasts, this smaller breast circumference causes the breast shape to appear slim and long. Thus, thin breasts tend not to fill a bra’s cups completely.
Standard underwires have a built-in diameter that is too wide for this breast shape. Therefore, standard industry bras have a tendency to rest far below your breast crease line. This, in turn, is uncomfortable. Thin breasts are rather unusual and are usually a C cup size or smaller. In the second row of the images to the right, the tan lines tell the story – the underwire is resting well below the crease line. Most women with thin breasts will also have wide-set breasts as well. So, touching breast cleavage is not possible.
- Traditional underwire bras are not recommended - they are not likely to fit properly and the underwire ends in the middle of your chest can poke your sternum.
- Soft cup bras (bras without underwires) will be comfortable but not give you great shape.
- Push-up bras can do a great job in giving you a fuller look.
- Push-up bras with padding both along the bottom and far side of the cup are particularly flattering.
- Placing cookies (removable pads) along the bottom of your bra cups will help fill out your cups and give you a fuller breast shape.
- Contour bras made with rather firm foam can give a more rounded shape and hide the inability of your breasts to completely fill the cups.
- Plunge bras can work because the wires will come in low at the center along the sternum and thus be more comfortable.
- Bandeau bras and compression sports bras can give a flatter, rounder shape to thin breasts. However, though you are getting a rounder look, your breasts will also appear smaller under the compression.
Breasts with reduced projection have a traditional breast base circumference, but the breasts themselves do not have adequate breast tissue to fully fill out a bra’s cups. For example, the breast base fits perfectly in a C cup underwire bra, but does not fill out the cup; the cup looks puckered and wrinkled. Going to a smaller cup size means the underwire will not be wide enough, will rest on breast tissue, and will thus feel uncomfortable as well as be ill-fitting.
Reduced projection can also be the result of breast reduction surgery. The surgeon reduced the breast mass, but did not also reduce the base size and under-bust crease of the breasts. So, the original breast crease is there, but not enough breast tissue remains to fill the bra’s cups. Reduced projection breasts are rather unusual.
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