Finding a supportive, well-fitting bra can be a struggle for women of any age and we’ve long been told that getting measured every time you buy new underwear is crucial.
However, according to lingerie firm Third Love, based in San Francisco, it’s not just a case of wearing the correct size – the shape of your breasts also dictates what type of bra you should buy.
The company’s designers say they have identified seven different breast shapes and outlined what kind of bra suits each one the best.
Scroll down for video
Experts from San Francisco lingerie brand Third Love have identified seven different breast shapes: Round, East West, Side Set, Teardrop, Slender, Asymmetric and Bell Shape. They say the type of bra women should buy is dependent on factors such as the width and length of breasts and where they sit on the chest
While size plays a part, the width and length of your breasts and the direction they point is, as well as where they’re placed on your chest, is also important.
According to Glamour magazine, Third Love has divided breasts into seven categories: Round, East West, Side Set, Teardrop, Slender, Asymmetric and Bell Shape.
And there is a different type of bra that will offer the best fit and support in each category. For example, East West breasts that are splayed and point outwards are best suited to a t-shirt bra.
Here FEMAIL reveals the seven breast types and the bra that is the best fit for each one.
If your breasts are a round shape and are equally full on top and bottom, then you’re lucky enough not to need too much support.
You can probably get away with a thin bra without underwire as you don’t need to change the position of your breasts.
If your breasts are a round shape and are equally full on top and bottom, then you’re lucky enough not to need too much support. You can probably get away with a thin bra without underwire as you don’t need to change the position of your breasts
2. East West
If you have smaller breasts that gravitate to the outside of the chest then you’re an East West.
Another sign is nipples that point outwards and a gap between your cleavage.
A t-shirt bra will help to create a smooth silhouette and pull the breasts in, giving you a more streamlined shape.
If you have smaller breasts that gravitate to the outside of the chest then you’re an East West and a t-shirt bra will help to create a smooth silhouette and pull the breasts in
3. Side Set
Side set breasts are fuller than East Wests but still fall outwards, and there’s also a wide space between breasts.
The best bra for you is a plunge bra, which will pull the breasts up and in.
You may be particularly prone to your breasts spilling out of the side because of their position if the cup is too small. So you may need a cup size bigger than you normally go for if you find this happening.
If you have Side Set breasts that fall outwards or Slender breasts that are smaller at the top than they are at the bottom a plunge is the right bra for you
Breasts that are smaller at the top than they are at the bottom and are longer than they are wide are considered slender, especially if they’re on the small side.
A plunge bra will help to lift the breasts and you might want to consider padding for extra oomph.
5. Bell Shape
If your breasts are slimmer at the top and fuller at the bottom, then you’re a Bell Shape.
You should avoid skimpy balconette-style bras and choose something with plenty of material that offers good coverage.
And because women with Bell shaped breasts tend to have fuller busts, it will also offer more support and lift the breasts.
If your breasts are slimmer at the top and fuller at the bottom, then you’re a Bell Shape. You should avoid skimpy balconette style bras and choose something with plenty of material that offers good coverage
WILL WEARING A BRA IN BED REALLY STOP YOUR BREASTS SAGGING?
Research shows that wearing a bra 24/7 has ‘no negative factors’
Film star Marilyn Monroe wore a bra in bed, saying it stopped her breasts from sagging. But although her approach has been dismissed over the years, it seems there is some truth in the belief that women with larger breasts can benefit from wearing one while they sleep.
Bigger breasts can drag and pull sideways when a woman lies down, contributing to stretch marks as well as crease marks between the breasts over time.
Indeed 24-hour bras, which come with less rigid boning, are now on sale for women who prefer more support at night.
Professor Joanna Scurr, a world expert in breast bio-mechanics says: ‘The research suggests that the region of the breast which experiences most pain is on the outside. So for some women, that sideways pull when they lie horizontal can be more uncomfortable than the up-and-down pull when they are standing up.
‘There are no negative factors associated with wearing a bra all of the time. So if women find they get relief by wearing a bra at night, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.’
Almost all women have one breast that is larger than the other to some degree, and even Jennifer Lawrence has spoken out about the perils of having lopsided boobs.
Often it’s barely noticeable, but some people do struggle to find a bra that fits and others feel self conscious.
If your asymmetry is significant enough to cause a problem, then a bra with removable padding is your friend as you can remove it on the side of your larger breast.
A bra with removable padding is ideal for the asymmetric shape, allowing you to add extra padding to one side if needs be
If your breasts are rounded but slightly less full at the top then you’re lucky enough to be teardrop shaped.
These kind of breasts are easy to accommodate in any style of bra, say the experts, making shopping a lot easier when all you have to worry about is size.
You can probably get away with anything from a balconette to a plunge, and even the notoriously tricky strapless bra.
Teardrop breasts, which are rounded but slightly less full at the top, are suited to most styles of bra