One of the trickiest aspects of bra fitting is that, at the end of the day, it isn’t an exact science. Every woman’s body is a little different, and that applies to breasts too! Two women with the same bra size can have different shapes and need totally different bras. If you’ve worn out your tape measure and tried every size on the rack without finding the perfect fit, try shopping with your shape in mind.
The Full Circle One term you’ll hear when talking about bust shapes is “full”. Not sure what that’s about? Full breasts have a very round shape with a lot of tissue at the top of the breast. Most women with full breasts are on the larger size, but it is possible to have small, round breasts as well.
What to wear: If you’ve got knobs instead of knockers, the trick is to find bras that have enough room at the top of the cup. Often, women with this shape get a “quad boob” effect, even in the right size. A good word to look out for is “balcony” or “balconette”. A balcony bra is cut slightly lower than a full coverage bra, so you won’t get that extra bump at the top of the bust. Another style that works well is a bra with seamed fabric cups. This offers a little extra stretch at the top of the cup without sacrificing lift. Try the Chantelle Ponts des Art Bra or almost any style by Lunaire.
The Teardrop Another very common bust shape is the teardrop. Teardrop shapes have more fullness at the bottom of the breast than at the top. The nipples tend to “point down”. This bust shape is very common among women who have had children or lost a considerable amount of weight.
What to wear: Molded cup bras are great for teardrop shapes because they help lift the bust. However, you should avoid molded bras with full coverage because you may be left with a small gap at the top of the cups. Instead, try a demi cup or balcony cup style. A great bra for teardrop shapes is the Le Mystere Dream Tisha Lace Bra
The Perky Point Like the teardrop shape, women with “perky point” breasts have more fullness at the bottom of the bust. However, this bust shape is firm and doesn’t need much lift. This is a common shape among women with small to average busts. If your underwire fits well but you can’t fill in the top of the cup, this may be your shape.
What to wear: The best bras for this shape are demi cup bras. Demi cup bras are cut low across the bust, so you won’t have an annoying gap or wrinkle at the top of the cups. Some of my favorite demi cup bras are the Le Mystere Francesca Bra and the Duet Timpa Lace Bra. If you prefer a little more coverage, try a “semi-demi” or balcony style like the Chantelle Icone Convertible Bra
The Wideset Another bust shape that can create bra fitting trouble is wideset breasts, or breasts that are far apart on your chest. Women of all sizes can have a wideset bust. Athletes often have this bust shape due to a more muscular back and shoulders.
What to wear: To keep the girls together, look for bras with more coverage on the sides than in the center. A plunge bra or push up bra is a great choice for small to average size breasts. For larger cup sizes, look for bras that have extra side support or an inner cup sling. The Josie Natori Sheer Scroll Bra is a pretty plunge bra with underwires that are farther apart. Another option is the Natori Body Sense Back Control Bra, which has extra wide side panels that prevent spillage at the sides. For plus sizes, the Elomi Caitlyn Side Support Bra is a great way to keep ‘em front and center.
The Augmented If you’ve had breast implants, you may notice that bras don’t quite fit the way you’d expect. Augmented breasts are generally rounder, higher and have more separation than naturally large breasts. Because most bras are not designed with this shape in mind, the underwires could poke and irritate you.
What to wear: The bright side is that augmented breasts require very little support, so you don’t need an underwire bra or full coverage. In fact, some women with breast implants find that they are fine wearing adhesive nipple covers and no bra. One bra that I think is fabulous for augmented breasts is the Simone Perele Andora Molded Bra. This best-selling bra has a rounded shape and cups that create a smooth line under your clothes. The brand Josie by Natori also fits beautifully on augmented breasts.
The Petite Athlete If you have small breasts that spread out a little to the sides rather than project forward, your bust shape is the Petite Athlete. Gymnasts, runners and swimmers often have this body type, as well as many other petite women. This shape can make it difficult to find a bra that creates a natural shape and doesn’t leave a gap at the top of the cup.
What to Wear:Look at the panel between the two cups – if it’s low then this is a good bra for you. Plunge and demi cup bras work better on petite athletic body types because the wires won’t irritate you between the breasts and the bra won’t have too much coverage for your frame. Both wired and non-underwired bras are great for your body type. The Little Bra Company makes cute bras that are specially designed for smaller sizes. I also love the luxurious Ritratti Sensation Soft Cup Bra which is a sexy take on the non-underwire bra.