As a stylist and a woman, I’ve seen a lot of breasts—probably more than I can count––and I can say with certainty that I have never seen two pairs of breasts that are the same. Just like people, breasts come in all different shapes and sizes.
However, until now, the bra and undergarment industry has focused mainly on size, with much less of an emphasis on understanding breast shape. Don't get me wrong; knowing your size is extremely important and can be tricky business. Studies actually show that around 82% of women say they don’t know their bra size, so it makes sense to direct our attention to finding the right band and cup size.
But knowing your shape is just as important. Understanding your unique body and how to dress for it—beyond simply wearing what fits—is a gamechanger for inspiring comfort and confidence. From styling high-waisted pants for short-waisted women, to nipped-at-the-waist silhouettes for hourglass women, there are so many tricks when it comes to dressing for your shape. The same goes for shopping for undergarments. Wearing the right bra for your build makes all the difference in feeling (and looking!) your best.
For the purpose of this tutorial, I will talk about some of the more common breast shapes. In reality, there are too many to list (or even know), but my hope is that the following will give you the information you need to describe your own breasts—and therefore the information you need to find the perfect bra for your shape.
So head over to your mirror (without a bra on) and let’s talk boobs.
Separated (a.k.a. archetype): Separated breasts are thought to be one of the most common shapes. They are round and full. The nipple position is usually centered. Most bras are manufactured and created for archetypal breasts.
Slender: Slender breasts are more narrow than archetypal breasts. They are longer, and the nipples are usually pointing downward.
Teardrop: These breasts are round at the bottom and fuller on the bottom than the top.
Asymmetrical: This is when your breasts are two different sizes. It is common for breasts to be uneven. In fact, more than half of women have some variation between their two breast sizes.
Splayed/Bell shape: Splayed or bell-shaped breasts are narrow on top and rounder on the bottom. They’re different from teardrop breasts in that they are not necessarily fuller on the bottom—they’re just different in shape.
Athletic: Generally, athletic breasts are wide set. They have more muscle mass and less fatty breast tissue.
Touching/Close-set: Close-set breasts have very little to no separation between them. They sit closer to the center of your chest, leaving more space between your underarm and breast.
Wide-set: The opposite of close-set, wide-set breasts sit further apart with more space in between them.
Conical: Cone-shaped breasts (as opposed to round breasts) are more common among women with smaller breasts.
Round: Breasts that are equally full on the top and the bottom.
Reduced projection: When breasts don’t have enough breast tissue to fully fill out a bra’s cup, they’re referred to as having reduced projection.
Now that you (hopefully!) recognize your shape, you’re one step closer to bra-inspired bliss. And if you’re feeling a bit dizzy with information, I’ve got you. I’m going to be detailing each breast shape with a case study. We’ll identify which styles work best with each shape and what to look for when you try on your own bras. I’ll start with myself, but I would love volunteers for this on-going series. (Hint, hint! firstname.lastname@example.org)
Now, onto my first case study subject: myself. Let’s assess my breasts, shall we?