Forget cup size, it’s the shape that matters: Follow this guide and buying a bra that really fits will never have been so easy
- Choosing a bra can be a nightmare, even if you know your size
- Research has shown that breast shape should determine the bra you wear
- FEMAIL finds out what you should be wearing to flatter your shape
Choosing a bra can be a nightmare, even if you do manage to track down the correct cup size. But now, it seems we have been doing it wrong all along.
For new research has found that it is the shape of our breasts – rather than the traditional measurements taken around the chest – which best determines everything from the cut of bra to the clothes we should wear.
Lingerie company ThirdLove has even devised a breast shape dictionary, identifying the seven most common shapes, with advice on choosing the best underwear. Lingerie expert Becky John and stylists Natalie Theo and Tara Kavanagh-Dowsett of dressipi.com share their top tips on dressing to flatter your shape.
This, we are told, is what a ‘perfect’ breast should look like, but most of us don’t match up to that, says Dr Tracy Mountford, medical director of The Cosmetic Skin Clinic. ‘Women are genetically predisposed to have a certain breast shape, just as we have a particular nose shape or hair colour.’
The shape is not determined by fat, but the density of breast tissue, which is firmer to the touch than fat. But even the firmest breasts have a shelf life. In our 40s, as we approach the menopause and our ovaries produce less oestrogen, breast tissue is gradually replaced by fat – known as involution – leaving breasts much softer and less firm.
This is surprisingly common, says Dr Mountford. ‘Most of us have one boob that is slightly bigger. Or one might be slightly lower.
‘That’s why I always say that breasts are sisters, rather than identical twins.’
Indeed, it’s estimated that 99 per cent of women have different-sized breasts to some degree and 40 per cent have one breast that is a full one to two cup sizes bigger. It is usually the left breast that is bigger, as it is nearer the heart where there are more arteries and veins, and also sits on top of a protective layer of fat that surrounds the heart.