The perfect bra guide
There are many factors that dictate the size and shape of your breasts, although every pair is unique.
In fact every breast is unique, as no two are the same, even if they belong to the same body. Genetics, lifestyle and age can all contribute to the shape and size, although just because your mother had small, even breasts, it’s no guarantee that yours will be the same. Buying a bra is rarely given the importance it deserves, and many women opt out of being properly measured – however, for your own health and comfort, it is really important that you buy bras that are the right size and design for your breasts.
Breasts that are completely identical are usually achieved by surgery, and most women have one breast larger than the other. This may be less noticeable during menstruation, when breasts are more swollen, and it is usually the left breast which is bigger. Many women won’t find that their uneven breasts make bra fitting difficult, but where there is a significant difference in size, a thin pad or ‘cookie’ can be inserted into one cup to even up the fit. Contoured cups (bras that are firm but not padded) are great for creating an even shape, and are also usually fairly comfortable. If you wear a padded bra, ensure that the breasts are resting on top of the padding – this stops them from being squashed, and also gives the best effect. Plunge bras are to be avoided, because any unevenness will be revealed.
Conical breasts are wider at the base than they are at the nipple, which can make bra fitting a little difficult. The shape can be evened out by using pads, which can easily be inserted into a contoured bra. Push-up bras also help to create a fuller shape, while bras with thin material, or un-shaped cups, could make the breast shape more pronounced.
Large breasts may be the dream of many women, but that does not mean that it is easy to find the right bra. For large breasts it is vital that the cup is the right size – if it is too small and does not support the breasts fully, then it can be very uncomfortable. This is one shape that can enjoy wearing a plunge bra, as the cleavage will be full in any case. Soft-cup bras can be worn but rarely provide the right level of support – contoured-cup bras also have to come up high enough to support the whole breast, or they will not get a good shape.
There is a lot to be said for small breasts – they look good in anything, and don’t get in the way. The trend at the moment is to avoid padded bras and embrace small breasts as they are, and if you have a naturally good shape then this is fine. Women with small breasts can wear either soft or contoured cups – however there may not be enough breast to fill a balconette or plunge bra, so choose wisely.
The post-op breasts
Choosing a bra after your operation may be out of your hands for a little while, because your surgeon may advise that you wear a surgical bra for a few weeks after the operation. After this it is generally recommended that you wear a sports bra in order to ensure that you are fully supported. This will help to prevent damage during the delicate post-op period. Once fully healed, any kind of bra can be worn providing that it provides the right support. Never wear a bra with a cup that doesn’t fully cover the breast; if you wear an underwired bra, it is essential that it is fitted correctly.
With breasts coming in all shapes and sizes and bras doing the same, taking the time to find the right bra for you is well worth it. Feeling comfortable and looking good can really boost your confidence.