Boobs are funny old things, aren't they? Both functional and perceived as sexually attractive (which at times can be frustrating when we just want to free the nip), the types of breasts are incredibly varied between women and non-binary people with breasts.
We've come to learn that there is far more to boobs than a simple cup size. Just like any other part of our body, they are part of what makes up our whole. They are an erogenous zone, a vital organ for feeding children (if you have them) and they serve as an important indicator of our health.
Also worth noting here: if this article proves anything, it's that every single boob is different. So whatever shape or size yours are, you should never feel any stigma or shame. Embrace the body positivity.
Lingerie company ThirdLove have made it their business to study the art of boobs, and have identified that there are actually nine totally different types of boobs. It's really quite fascinating: we bet you've never thought about our boob shape in such detail before.
Buying a bra isn't all to do with size, it seems. We should actually be thinking about which shape bras do the best things for our bosom buddies, too. So work out which shape most sounds like yours, and you'll be enlightened to find out not only your type of boob, but your ideal type of bra, too.
If your breasts appear to be equally full at both the top and bottom, then you've got round boobs. People with round boobs don't tend to need particularly structured bras because their breasts support themselves, so you can opt for something much more freeing than underwire and padding (which likely isn't necessary) if you choose to.
2. East west
Do your nipples point outwards? If so, you're probably an east west kinda girl. Or even if your actual nipples don't point in opposite directions of the compass, if your general boob area seems to gravitate away from the centre of your chest, then you can put yourself in this category, too. ThirdLove recommends a t-shirt bra for anyone with east west boobs, thanks to the fact that it smooths over the shape and helps to draw them in (otherwise cleavage might be harder to achieve with some tops – if that's something you're keen for).
3. Side set
If your breasts have a wide space between them, then your work here is done because you've got side set boobs. These tend to be a little fuller in shape than those who come under the east west category, and best suit plunge bras, which hoik your breasts up and draw them in.
4. Tear drop
Tear drop boobs pretty much do what they say on the tin. If they're rounded but slightly less full at the top, then you can identify with having tear drops. Luckily for you, these are the most easygoing type of breast shape, suiting most bras, though if in doubt plunge bras are a fab option.
Slender breasts tend to be slimmer at the top, fuller at the bottom, and longer than they are wide. Plus they typically have downward-pointing nipples. Extra evidence for having slender boobs is if they're relatively small in cup size, so wireless bras are a great option for you. If you're the kind of person who prefers creating the illusion of slightly bigger breasts, however, then why not try out a plunge bra.
Some 40% of women have breasts that differ in size, ranging from a slight asymmetry to an entire cup size difference. It's also common to have asymmetric breasts in combination with any of the other shapes listed. Usually, the discrepancy in size isn't too drastic that you have to start getting special bras fitted, but if it's something you feel self-conscious about, you could take out one of removable inserts to help even out your natural shape.
7. Bell shape
Bell shape boobs sound characteristically similar to slender boobs, but bell shapes tend to be larger than slenders. You may commonly experience overflow with minimal coverage styles like balconette or demi, so its best to stay away from them when bra shopping.
Women with athletic breasts tend to have a wider, more muscular boobs with less tissue. The wider your breasts are, the better suited you are to a wireless bra - but make sure you pick one with a thick band to make sure it stays in place and keeps you supported.
And finally, the last of the different types of boobs are relaxed boobs. They're distinguishable by their lax tissue and their downward-pointing nipples. Plus, they're typically longer and hang. Got these? Opt for a classic t-shirt bra to compliment your shape.
So, which one are you?
How breast shape informs your bra choices
Now for a useful recap of what to add to your shopping basket, and what to strongly avoid, here's a reminder of how the shape of your boobs should determine what bra is best for you:
Fuller on Top: If you have more volume at the top of your breasts, consider balconette bras for a gentle lift and flattering shape
Closer Together: Opt for plunge bras designed for low-cut tops if your breasts are closer together, ensuring you achieve a seamless look
More Projection: Bras with underwire can offer enhanced comfort and support if your breasts have greater projection
How having half-cup sizes informs your bra choices
For those of you out there, we got you. Some 50% of ThirdLove customers between A and E cups are a half cup size and don’t fit into a standard cup (if this sounds like you, it's best to double check).
Half cup sizes make sure your bra fits just right, especially if you're in-between sizes. People with smaller, teardrop or side-set breasts can benefit from half-cup sizes.
Top advice for future bra shopping?
Remember when you go bra shopping in future, safe in all that useful knowledge, you're looking for three key things:
No gaping or overflow in the cups
No slippage or digging in the straps
Make sure you can slip two fingers underneath the back of the bra band.
Hopefully, our guide to the many different types of bras should help you find the perfect fit for you.
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