Expert advice on finding the best bra for your breasts, whether they’re uneven, saggy, pointed, or anything in between
You've probably heard about all the benefits of a properly fitting bra. Yes, it'll make your breasts look better, but it'll also make you look thinner and taller, and it'll alleviate back and shoulder pain. Trouble is, the majority of us aren't wearing the best bras for our breasts. That's why we asked Tomima Edmark, a lingerie expert and president of online underwear retailer HerRoom.com, how to find the right style for your shape. Check out her advice below, and for more information, visit her online fitting guide too.
"In our survey of almost 500,000 women, more than 42 percent claim their breasts are not even," says Edmark. She recommends contour cup bras, which have a thin layer of foam in the cups that hold their shape to make your chest look even while providing enough support to the larger and smaller breasts. (Edmark says to choose a bra that fits the larger breast, then add padding to the cup holding the smaller one if you need to.) She says another good choice are bras with stretch lace along the top of the cup, which provide a custom fit. (Curious about why your boobs are shaped the way they are? Learn about the 5 Factors that Determine Breast Type.)
"The most supportive bras that will give you the best shape if your breasts sag are those with seams in the cups, specifically those with a vertical seam running up the center of the cup," says Edmark. This type of bra has a very defined shape that your breast tissue-which is malleable-will conform to. Many demi or push-up bras have such a seam. If you're going for the latter, make sure to put it on right, advises Edmark: "Lean forward as you put it on, and make sure your tissue is on top of the bump pad in the cups."
"Of course, all breasts are naturally pointed," says Edmark. "But there are some women in the smaller cup sizes-C and lower-that have narrow, longer breasts," often called "conical" or "thin" breasts. In this case, wire-free bras are best, if only because bras with underwires tend to have too wide a circumference, she says, which may lead to gapping at the sides or other uncomfortable fitting issues. Or look for compression sports bras or minimizer bras, which offer a more rounded look. (Find the Best Sports Bra for Your Cup Size here.)
First, suggests Edmark, get fitted to make sure you're wearing the correct size. Then, look for bras with a strong, wide band and straps. If they're narrow, they'll cut into your skin, causing pain and lasting indentations. And while you may think stretchy is best, Edmark recommends looking for restricted stretch straps. "The more stretch the elastic is, the more it hurts and negatively impacts breast stability," she explains.
If your breasts are super-sensitive to touch or temperature, Edmark suggests avoiding unlined lace bras, which have a rougher texture that may be uncomfortable. Instead, look for a bra with full-coverage cups (rather than demi bras or other options that hit you mid-breast) made from a soft material. Edmark says all bra manufacturers go out of their way to make soft, comfy bras-but once you look into $45+ range, the quality of the fabrics and overall construction starts going way up.
If you're happy with your size, look for stretch-to-fit cups, which will mold to your shape. If you want more prominent cleavage, though, Edmark recommends looking for a push-up bra with crescent-shaped padding. "The sides of the cups push your breast tissue toward the center to create a cleavage line," she explains. Though they're harder to find, bras with a twisted center panel (the band that connects the cups to each other) can also help "pull" your breasts together to add fullness. (Or ditch the bra altogether and try these 5 Moves for Better Boobs instead.)