Narrow and short roots, projected/full all-around.
Let’s be real, bras are hard and miserably difficult for some of us. Bodies come in different shapes and sizes and your bra has to reflect this in order for it to be comfortable. In addition to our commitment to providing the very best bras for every shape and size, we want to provide you with all the resources you need so that you can make the best decision for your shape!
Breast Shape Guide
LET’S TALK ABOUT ROOTS
Breast roots are the outline of where your breasts are attached to the rest of your body.
Support your breasts with your hands, and look in the mirror – your roots are the curved line at the base of your breasts.
ROOTS CAN BE WIDE OR NARROW
The widest roots can extend from chest center to the back, encompassing the underarm area.
Fun Fact: The narrowest roots we have fitted are just about 2 inches across.
ROOTS CAN BE TALL OR SHORT
The tallest roots start under theshorted roots can look like a “shelf” when supported.
ROOTS AND UNDER – F**KIN’ – WIRE
If you are wearing an underwire bra, ideally the underwire contours your breast roots exactly. In this section, we are discussing the importance of knowing your roots and how it affects the type of underwire that might work for you.
If your roots are wide, an underwire that’s too narrow will sit on your breast tissue, irritating and damaging it. Bras for wide roots need wide underwires.
If your roots are narrow, an underwire that’s too wide will irritate the area under your arms or even your back.
If your roots are short, an underwire that’s too tall will likely give you center gore discomfort.
If your roots are tall, the underwire doesn’t have to “cover” all of your roots, as long as the rest of the bra gives you proper coverage and support.
It’s ok if the center gore doesn’t rise all the way to where your roots start at chest center, and the underwire doesn’t rise all the way to where your breasts start on the sides.
WHAT ABOUT PROJECTION?
Projection is how “deep” your breasts are. You can be anywhere from not projected at all (flat) to very projected.
LET’S TALK ABOUT FULLNESS
For people with any amount of projection, the fullness can lie near the center, near the sides, or both. Without a bra on, naturally lift your breasts with your hands. If most of your breasts are at the center (touching when supported, or connected in the middle), you are center-full. If most of your breasts sit on the sides near your arms, with a large space between them in the center, you are side-full. If they are equal, you have even horizontal fullness.
THE QUESTION IS: HOW FULL IS THE CUP?
The fullness can also lie on top, on bottom, or both. When you cup your breasts in your hands, if most of your breasts are above the nipple, you are full-on-top. If most of your breasts are below the nipple, you are full-on-bottom. If you have equally as much breast tissue above and below your nipple, you have even vertical fullness
Different root shapes, combined with different places your fullness lies, creates many wonderful different boob shapes. Some examples:
Tall and narrow roots, projected/bottom-full, relaxed.
Projected/side-full, typically with tall roots, nipples pointing outward.
Wide roots, not very projected.
Wide and tall roots, projected/full all-around. Balloon shapes tend to struggle to make the center gore tack. If it’s painful to separate your breasts, it’s not necessary for the center gore to touch your sternum. If you want your breasts to be separated, look for bras with narrow gores
SOME OTHER FACTORS THAT DETERMINE BREAST SHAPE:
SELF-SUPPORTING OR RELAXED
Breasts tend to become more relaxed with age, though they can be weighed down by gravity at any age. Breastfeeding itself doesn’t necessarily make breasts more relaxed, but weight loss can trigger it. There are no muscles in your breasts, so exercise cannot prevent breasts from becoming more relaxed.
Breasts can be mismatched in size and/or in shape.
IMF* HEIGHT *INFRAMAMMARY FOLD
This is the level of the bottom of your roots. Most people’s IMF starts somewhere between the armpit and the elbow, but they can start much lower/at stomach-level, or much higher/below your chin.
Every breast is beautiful and deserves comfort
If bras feel like a curse to you, we want to help. We are constantly filling in the gaps for shapes and sizes we don’t yet cover.
If we don’t have a solution for you, chat with us by booking a virtual fitting here. We’d love to help!
Bra Shape Guide
The ultimate guide for bra shapes. Different bra shapes and styles will work for different breast shapes.
Balconette bras cover half of your breasts, with low apexes and wide-set straps. They offer low front coverage. This style is a good choice for people who are shallower on top. Because there is “less bra” on top, it can prevent gapping. See Balconette options.
Despite “demi” meaning “half” in French, demi bras typically cover three quarters of your breasts. Compared to balconette, demi bras have slightly higher apexes, and more front coverage. Demi is what probably comes to mind first when you think “bra”. See Demi options.
Full coverage bras cover almost all your breasts. They have high center gores and high necklines. They are a great option for people after that “held-in” and secure feeling, and for people who are fuller on top or fuller all around. See Full Coverage options.
Plunge bras feature low center gores and high apexes, which create a deep V neckline. They are great for people who are fuller on top, and for people looking to show off cleavage. They are not the best fit for people with soft breast tissue, because the low-cut neckline can cut in and give you “quadboob”. See Plunge options.
Tank bras look like the top half of a tank top. They have wide straps, high necklines, and more coverage in the back. Sports bras often have a tank shape, but not all tank bras are sports bras. They are great for people who seek more coverage than typical full coverage bras. The wide straps and back coverage work well for shoulder and back relief. If your breasts weigh you down, but you don’t want to wear an underwire bra, wireless tank bras are the way to go. See Tank Bra options.
Triangle bras are typically made without underwire, side boning, or other support structures. Bralettes often have triangle-shaped cups. They offer especially low side support, and don’t cover side boobs. They are a great style for people who like the aesthetics of a bra, but don’t need much coverage or support. See Triangle options.
Bandeau bras look like the top half of a tube top. They have a high, straight across neckline that covers cleavage. Chest binding bras typically have a bandeau shape. They have a variety of uses: they are a good modesty option if you don’t want to show any cleavage; they work well as layering pieces; they can even be worn as a strapless bra substitute, if the pairing top has a high neckline.
Racerback bras have a Y-shape or U-shape in the back. Back apexes (where the shoulder straps are attached to the band) are closer together. A good option for people who struggle with slipping straps. See Racerback options.
Longline bras have extended bands below the bust. They range from covering a little more of your ribcage to extending all the way to your belly button, like a corset. They are designed to offer extra support. People with sensitive ribcages may find longline bras irritating; people with protruding upper abs may find the band rolling up. See Longline options.
Shelf bras only cover a quarter of your breasts or less. They are sometimes called cup-less or open-cup bras. They are a good option for people who have partners with material sensitivities.
Parts of a Bra
Seamed cup bras have sections (upper cup, lower cup, side panel). Generally speaking, the more sections, the rounder the shape (bras with 4 sections usually give a more rounded shape, while bras with 2 sections will give a more cone-like shape). Molded cup bras don’t have sections.
Wings are a main support mechanism of bras. If you prefer more support and lift, look for bras with strong, wide wings. If you have the habit of reading fabric content labels, you can judge the “strength” (i.e. stretch recovery) of wings by reading the spandex percentage. We recommend at least 20% spandex for wings if you want the “held in” feeling.
Underwire is another main support mechanism of bras. They can be wide or narrow. They can come up short or tall in the center gore. They can come up short or tall on the sides (under your arms). They can be made from plastic or metal (Understance underwires are all made from stainless steel coated in nylon). The ideal underwire contours your breast root exactly, and shouldn’t sit on top of your breasts.
4: CENTER GORE
The center gore is where the underwires meet in the middle. Generally speaking, for underwire bras, the bra gore should lie flat against your sternum. However, if you have very center-full breasts that touch when supported, or you have an inverted sternum, the center gore doesn’t have to touch your sternum. Wireless bras typically don’t tack either.
The apex is where the straps are attached to the rest of the bra. If you struggle with slipping straps or straps rubbing your armpit, look for bras with closer-set apex.
6: HOOK AND CLOSURE
If you prefer more support, look for bras with 3-4 rows of hooks. If you prefer less support, go for bras with 1-2 rows of hooks. Make sure the hook-and-eye pad has a little thickness, so you don’t feel the metal hooks through the fabric.
7: SIDE BONING
Side boning is the plastic strip sewn into the side of the bra. It brings your breasts toward the center and points them forward.