Bras, Breasts and How They Fit Together


They nourish, they jiggle, they hang low and high, and we are thankful when we find out they’re healthy — these are breasts we’re talking about, and they come in all shapes and sizes.

This can make shopping for bras a nightmare.

From buying the wrong size to not knowing what works best for your breast shape (yep, there are specific breast shapes), bra shopping can be a challenge.

But what is it about this task that makes women everywhere want to dive back underneath the covers screaming, “Oh no, not today?”

For many women, the reluctance to go bra shopping comes from not knowing what style or size to buy, or from spending money in the past on bras that never get worn.

A study in 2008 by bra manufacturer Triumph found that 80 percent of women wear the wrong bra style or size for their breast type. So how do you know if you’re wearing the wrong bra?

According to Kriste Martin, owner of Perfect Fit Bra Boutique in downtown Cape Girardeau, usually comfort level (or lack of) is the first sign you’re not wearing the right bra size or style.Things that should not happen when wearing bras:

1. Tugging, pulling and readjusting

2. Underwires poking and pressing into breast tissue

3. Bands that are not parallel to your back

So just how important is a properly fitted bra? In one word — very. Wearing the wrong bra is not only uncomfortable, it can make you look heavier and lead to physical ailments such as headaches and backaches.

From demi to balconette to push-up, the styles and shapes of bras vary, and not all styles are meant for all breast shapes and sizes. “Some styles are only manufactured up to a certain size range,” Martin says.

Good news, though, for all you larger-busted ladies out there: the industry is becoming more inclusive, according to Martin. “We are starting to see styles that once were only available in smaller sizes, such as the bralette or the strapless bra. At one time it was very difficult to purchase a strapless bra in sizes over a 38 DD. Now strapless bras come in a wide range of sizes, and are quite supportive.”

Ready to finally own a bra that fits? Consider having a professional fitting. It’s relatively painless. A few questions, measurements and trying on of styles for your breast shape with the guidance of someone trained to spot a properly fitted bra, and you’ll be on your way.

So before you dole out another penny of your hard-earned money for something you’ll never wear, take time to have a professional find the right bra for you. You’ll be glad you did. Trust us.



Here are a few telltale signs you are wearing the wrong size bra and tips on how you can fix the problem:

Problem: Your cups spilleth over.

Solution: Try going up a cup size and bending over when putting the bra on, to ensure all of your breasts are in the cups.


Problem: The straps are painful.

Solution: The straps and the band need to be working together. If the straps are doing all the work, try going down a band size.


Problem: It LOOKS like you have back fat.

Solution: Don’t panic! It’s not fat; it’s a too small band size on your bra.


Problem: You can slide the band up and down.

Solution: The band is supposed to be doing part of the heavy lifting in partnership with the straps, so if you can move it up and down, it’s not pulling its weight in the relationship. Try going down a band size.


Problem: All your bras are exactly the same size.

Solution: Sizing in bras can vary by manufacturer and style, so use the numbers provided in your bra fitting as a baseline. Experiment with sizing until you get the one that looks and feels right to you.



For years breasts have been described using words such as conical, thin and omega. Then in 2016 an online bra retailer, Third Love, coined nine types of breasts using more common and descriptive words, such as bell shaped and relaxed. Here is a look at the Third Love dictionary and which bra fits best for each breast type.



This type of breasts tend to be wider and more muscular with less tissue.

Try: a wireless bra with a thick band for support.



Don’t quite have a matching set of twins? Not surprising. In fact, it’s very common — 90 percent of women have breasts that vary up to 15 to 20 percent in size.

Try: A push-up bra that can provide support and lift to equal things out.


Bell Shaped

Exactly as its name says, this type of breast is shaped like a bell, slimmer on top and fuller on the bottom.

Try: A T-shirt or full coverage style that provides lift.


East West

Have nipples that point in different directions? If so, you have East/West type breasts.

Try: A push-up bra to bring things back together.



If your breasts are almost perfect spheres, you have round breasts.

Try: A balconette bra to accentuate natural cleavage and provide full cups.



Not quite as perky as you once were? Then you probably have relaxed breasts. This type tends to have tissue that is laxer and nipples that point down.

Try: A t-shirt or a push-up style bra to add lift.


Side Set

Some women naturally have breasts that are a little more spread apart, leaving a space between their breasts.

Try: A front closure bra to bring things inward.



Ahh, teardrop breasts. These are breasts that are almost perfectly round but are slightly less full on top.

Try: Anything. Almost all bra styles should work on you!



Slender breasts are smaller, narrower breasts that have nipples that tend to point downward.

Try: A push-up bra can give you the upward lift you need and extra padding if you need it.