When it comes to breast shape, there's no standard or "normal." Breasts come in different shapes and sizes, especially if we've faced surgery. Learning to love our breasts may take time and acceptance, but all of them are beautiful in their own way. They're special and unapologetically ours - unique reminders of our life stories and experiences.
Understanding our breast shape is helpful when it comes to finding intimate apparel and clothing to wear that best suits our form. We all know how important it is to feel comfortable, and being cognizant of our individual shape can help us feel our best. Below is a breakdown of the wide range of breast types - from flat to full, asymmetrical to dense, implants to natural. Read on to learn more.
Archetypal - Major bra manufacturers design bras to fit breasts that are round, full and symmetrical. Women with archetypal breasts seldom have trouble finding well-fitting bras but need supportive garments.
Asymmetrical - One breast is smaller or larger than the other. Note: More than 50% of women have some asymmetry. Asymmetry can be natural as well as the result of surgery, such as lumpectomy, mastectomy or reconstruction. For women wanting to balance out this asymmetry, look for bras with pocketed cups and use shaper pads or partial breast forms.
Athletic - Wider, more muscle tissue than breast tissue is present. Less support is needed with this shape. Bralettes or sports bras may end up feeling the most comfortable.
Bell Shape - Round, curved breast tissue that is thinner at the top and resembles a bell. Wireless bras with strong support offer sufficient shaping and containment.
Close-Set - Narrow or small gap between breasts that sit close together. Traditional and wired bras may be challenging to fit, but soft cup bras or bralettes offer uniform support across the chest.
Conical - Normally on smaller-chested people, these breasts resemble a cone and are less rounded. Similar to those with close-set breasts, women with conical shapes may prefer wireless soft cup bras or bralettes.
East-West - When the nipples point outward or away from the center of the body. Bras that offer side support can redirect them forward and promote the best comfort and flattering shape.
Relaxed - Looser breast tissue in this type of breast allows the nipples to point downward. Bras that encourage the breasts upward offer the most support. Plunge or bralette styles are often the most comfortable.
Flat - Extra skin, fat or other tissue is removed due to breast cancer. Skin is tightened after mastectomy, so the chest will be flat with or without nipple sparing procedures. While someone who is flat may not need to wear a bra, many still want to. Finding lingerie that is not molded but rather stretches across the chest will be the most comfortable. Pocketed cups can enable the use of prosthetics, if desired.
Round - Containing an equal amount of breast tissue at the top and the bottom. women with round breasts may feel like they often "spill over" the top of bras. Finding pieces with more coverage will help contain the breasts well and offer the most support.
Side-Set - These breasts are set further apart on the chest with a larger amount of space between them. Similar to close-set shapes, traditional and wired bras may be challenging to fit. Soft cup bras and bralettes with side support fit the best and provide the most comfort.
Slender - Like Relaxed breasts, with nipples pointing downward, but the breast tissue is thinner. Bras that support the tissue from beneath and encourage the breasts upward offer the most support. Plunge or bralette styles are often the best.
Teardrop - Breast tissue is fuller at the bottom than the top, and rounded. Wireless support from beneath the breasts support the added volume and enhance comfort throughout the day.
Foobs - Impants are used to change the size, shape and contour of the breast. They can restore a natural looking breast following a mastectomy or enlarge the appearance of the breast through breast augmentation surgery. Mainstream and wired bras may be challenging to fit due to the implant shape. Unlike natural tissue, implants don't "squish" into a wired or molded cup. Soft cup bras or bralettes offer the most comfort.
Breast Appearance and Health – Our Changing Bodies
Our breasts are are as varied as our eyes, hair and skin color. As we go through different life stages – puberty, adulthood, pregnancy, menopause or illness – our bodies, minds and our breasts change. When our breasts are first forming, as well as evolving later in life, many different factors contribute to their shape. Genetics and family history certainly play a large role, yet hormones (specifically) may impact both the development and the later stages of our overall breast health.
Our breasts actually begin to form and develop while our bodies are in utero. When women hit puberty, estrogen causes further breast development. Throughout most of our lives, estrogen continues to impact breast health as our menstrual cycle is constantly releasing hormones that cause breast texture to change. General sensitivity to the breasts throughout menstrual cycles may be due to the swelling caused by the hormones released at different stages of the month. During pregnancy, as our breasts become capable of producing milk, blood vessels within the breast enlarge, darken and cause changes in the appearance of the areola.
When it comes to illness, a change in the size, shape or appearance of the breast may be a sign or symptom of breast cancer. Changes to the texture of the skin, such as dimpling, or a newly inverted nipple, or redness and pitting are also a sign that should warrant a conversation with our healthcare professional.
For more information about which types of bras fit the best, Everviolet offers complimentary fit consultations via Zoom, email and in-person.
Here’s to the #beautyofchange – to all women, all breasts and all bodies!
"Embrace and love your body. It's the most amazing thing you'll ever own." – Anonymous