If you're going through the bra fitting guides in the logical order (which I hope you are), we've cracked How to Measure Bra Size and How Should a Bra Fit. Halfway there! Before we delve into Types of Bras, it's really important to discuss types of boobs.
I'm sure we've all worked it out by now (despite what social media would have us believe), but our bodies are made up of all sorts of different shapes and sizes, and that’s something to celebrate.
Our boobs especially are no exception to this. Boobs are wonky by design, coming in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. And guess what? This is completely normal. It does, however, mean that there are an infinite amount of different types of boobs (this might be a bit excessive, but you get the gist), and it’s pretty important to identify yours before you go bra shopping.
What is My Boob Type?
Having a good idea of types of boobs is equally important as knowing your bra size and how a bra should fit. Being aware of types of boobs is going to ensure that you get the maximum support and comfort from the bra you choose, as you're going to pick the style designed to suit and flatter your shape... Or so I hope.
For example, if you’ve got bottom-heavy boobs like me, opting for a full cup bra is probably going to result in the bottom part of the cup fitting, but the top part of the cup having a huge gap (please find full rant on the Types of Bras guide). Anyway, the point is that knowing your boob shape or what boob type you most resemble is going to give you a better idea as to what bra style is going to fit you best.
Types of Boobs: How Do I Know My Boob Type?
Whilst everyone has their own unique breast size and shape, I've pulled together a guide on the key types of boobs. Do any of them look familiar?
- Archetype Boobs
- Asymmetrical Boobs
- Athletic Boobs
- Bottom-Heavy Boobs/Bell Shape Boobs
- Close-Set Boobs
- Conical Boobs
- Full Boobs/Round Boobs
- Narrow Boobs/Slender Boobs
- Relaxed Boobs
- Separated Boobs
- Shallow Boobs
First up on types of boobs, we've got archetype. This is the ‘standard’ breast. Basically, it's round and full, has a small point at the nipple, and is what we've all grown up believing our boobs should look like. It's what most manufacturers model their bras on, but it certainly isn’t the norm, so the quicker we all accept that it's not the most realistic boob type, the better! Congratulations if your boobs do look like this though - I'm not jealous in the slightest.
A more typical boob type that goes hand-in-hand with most other shapes, asymmetrical! This is simply when one boob is noticeably larger than the other, with some even being two completely different sizes. More than half of the breasted population have a difference in the size of their boobs and boob types, so it’s not uncommon.
I remember being at the ripe old age of 16 when I first discovered that my boobs weren't equal in size. I went downstairs in a panic to tell my auntie and she looked at me in a very confused manner, then said 'How have you only just noticed that?'
Athletic boob shapes are pretty much what the name suggests. Caused by being athletic (I can't relate), this is when the breasts are wider with more muscle and less breast tissue. So, if you suddenly decide to become a fitness guru, be prepared for a change in your boob type!
I'd also like to note that some people might naturally have this boob shape (we'll get to what determines types of boobs later), so please don't be alarmed if your boobs look like this without having completed a lifetime of exercise.
Bottom-Heavy Boobs/Bell Shape Boobs
Bottom-heavy and bell shapes are essentially the same boob type, basically meaning that the bust is slightly thinner at the top, becoming heavier, fuller, and more rounded at the bottom.
Some may look like the shape of a bell, hence the bell shape name. These shapes are more typically seen in people with larger breasts but are completely normal across any kind of size.
Close-set boob shapes are essentially when the bust is closer to the centre of the chest, with more of a noticeable distance between the underarm or breast. This essentially means that there's no separation between the boobs or a very small gap. The closest thing nature could give you to a plunge bra effect.
Conical boobs are a shape typically seen much more in smaller breast sizes. Conical boob shapes resemble cones - another one with the name as a big giveaway.
I think that this is the right time to point out that whilst many of these types of boobs do not have the nicest names (conical boobs don't sound particularly enticing), they are all equally as normal and as beautiful as each other. Please don't be put off by the awkward names: this is a guide for education, celebration, and positivity!
Full Boobs/Round Boobs
Ah, the two that go hand-in-hand. Full or rounded boobs are types of boobs that have weight evenly distributed across the breast. The result is a symmetrical, more rounded shape and this, like archetypal shapes, is the one that most people dream about.
If you ever decide to go for breast implants, this is probably what you're going to come out with. The fact that so many people pay for their boobs to look like this tells you a lot about the likelihood of being naturally blessed with these types of boobs, so again, please don't be disheartened if yours are the complete opposite of this.
Narrow Boobs/Slender Boobs
Now for the opposite of full and round, narrow and slender! These types of boobs are typically thin, with bottoms fuller than the top and nipples usually pointing downwards. Typically, the breasts will be longer than they are wide.
This is also a shape more commonly seen in older women, as the breasts naturally start to sag with age. Again, this is another completely normal and beautiful part of our bodies.
Relaxed boobs are types of boobs similar to narrow and slender, in that the breast tissue is looser and the nipples point downwards.
Whilst relaxed boob shapes can be caused by several different and completely unavoidable factors, they can also come as a result of not wearing a supportive bra.
This is a ludicrous confession, but before working at BraForMe, I lived in a set of unsupportive sports bras. As someone with larger breasts, this had caused them to become a bit droopy. After getting some bras that properly support my boob size and shape, I've reversed this relaxed shape. I am now left with my lovely (naturally) bottom-heavy boobs, which sit exactly where they should considering my size. This does not mean that I now have the perkiest boobs to ever exist - no bra is capable of that kind of transformation.
I would like to clarify that having relaxed boobs is absolutely nothing to worry or be down about. The moral of that anecdote is simply that they can be an indicator that you aren't giving your breasts the support they need, which is something completely fixable.
Separated boobs are one of the broader (not literally) types of boobs, with a couple of sub-categories. Separated typically looks like when the breasts are fuller on the outside or they fall towards the side of the body.
They're most commonly known as east-west and are (as the name suggests) when the boobs fall from the centre of the chest towards the sides, with the nipples often pointing in different directions.
They also might be referred to as side set or wide set, which means that there's a bigger, wider space in between the boobs.
Shallow types of boobs are when the breasts are spread over the chest with minimal straight depth. They're closer to your torso, are positioned higher up on the chest and are more spread out. Because they have less horizontal depth, they look less voluminous.
Shallow boob shapes can be most closely compared to athletic, so you might have a combination of the two. However, it's also important to remember that women with bigger busts can have shallow boob shapes, and shallow does not equate to having a small size.
Teardrop boob shapes have similar features to that of bottom-heavy or bell shapes. The breasts are round but the bottoms are slightly wider than the top, often characterised by very smooth lines.
Teardrop can also be referred to pear shape types of boobs, with them being a firmer and more natural shape than bottom-heavy or bell shape.
Top-heavy types of boobs are pretty much the opposite of bottom-heavy. They typically look more pointy and have space underneath: they're carrying more of the weight on the top than the bottom.
It might be glaringly obvious that you have this shape if you find that most bra styles leave you with a quadraboob (one of my favourite words) regardless of the bra matching your correct size measurements.
Best Type of Boobs
There are SO many different types of boobs out there, and whilst some are similar to others, most people have a combination of various types. Our bodies are unique, so if there isn't one particular shape that sticks out as being identical to yours, don't panic, I just don't have enough space to list every single variety of boobs (as much as I would love to).
As for 'best type of boobs', there isn't an answer. In case it wasn't already apparent, I think that we should all be celebrating the differences in our bodies, instead of comparing ourselves to others. Knowing about type of boobs is only important because of the impact it has on what bra you should be wearing, not because you should be trying to change anything about your breasts.
What Determines Boob Shapes?
Many factors dictate the shape of our boobs, and whether you’re feeling self-conscious or just curious, it’s always good to understand a bit more about your anatomy. If you’re wondering if you can change the shape of your boobs, then the answer is yes, as things such as exercise contribute to your breast shape (but do remember that some factors are inevitable).
- Genes are the most important factor in determining our breast shape. Our genes influence the density of the breast, the tissue, the size, and much more! So, if you're ever feeling upset about any aspect of your boobs (which I hope you don't, but I know we're all only human), just blame your dad.
- Age. Our breasts naturally sag with age (another normal part of life) and over time they can get longer and begin to face downwards. Regardless of what society might try and tell you, this is a very beautiful thing and is all part of living your life.
- Weight. Something that most of us are probably already aware of. If you've ever lost or gained weight (dieting, puberty, etc), then you'll know how much it does (or doesn't) go to your boobs. Fat is a large part of our breast tissue and density, so it’s not uncommon to notice a difference in breast shape or size upon gaining or losing weight.
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Hormones can make your breasts swell (so if you notice swelling before you get your period, that’s completely normal), and they can also change the way that the fat and tissue are distributed.
Explaining Types of Boobs: Other Useful Things to Know
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably super curious about your breasts and are enjoying picking up some helpful information! I am the same, and that’s why I wanted to include these extra facts that I think go hand-in-hand with your new-found knowledge. After all, it’s always good to have a big old reminder that your body is perfectly normal.
- The areola is the darker part that surrounds your nipple, and like the rest of your boob, is unique to your body.
- Areolas average around 4cm in diameter, but they can be much smaller or much bigger than this.
- Areolas can also change shape over time (is this sounding familiar?), especially during periods, pregnancy, or breastfeeding.
- They come in many different colours and the shapes can be completely uneven.
- Nipples are also unique… (I don’t think this is surprising anymore). They can vary in shape, size, colour, directions, anything! Like boob shapes, there’s a whole variety of them - from bumpy, everted, inverted, flat, protruding, supernumerary… The list goes ON!
Every single aspect of your boobs is going to be different, and will probably change, too. It’s good to know all of this, though, not only to feel good about your body but also so that you can support your boobs properly. Don’t be afraid to have a good look at them, figure out your shape and get regular fittings - our bodies are constantly changing, after all.
There's a lot to get to grips with and it might seem a bit overwhelming, which is why we've got a complete set of bra fitting guides to follow to help get the perfect fit. You can follow each guide to take you through the individual fitting steps, or you can head straight to whichever one you need now.
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