Sunday, 2 September 2012

My bra journey: Shape!

I've hinted at my bra journey earlier, but to give you an idea:

I don't really know when I got breasts, though I think it was earlier than my peers: I remember my mom begged me to wear bras, and I despised them!
2004: I have a vague memory of talking bras with a friend when I was 12-13 and I said I was a C, even though my friends guessed me to be a D. I came to identify with being big busted.
2006: I was distraught when I lost 24kg when I was around 14-15 and my boobs went, so I padded my bras like crazy, though I quickly stopped as I was found out, so instead I just stopped to think of boobs.
2008: When I was 16, I moved to US, and when shopping with a relative, I said I found it hard to shop for tops, because I often ended up looking flat chested. This made my relative laugh and say it would take an illusionist for me to look flat chested. So off to get 38DD's at Victoria's Secret. This was probably the worst time for my boobs: I was very physical active at that time, and my back was killing me. I was so ashamed that I had to wear a sports bra for even light activity, and I was restrained from a lot of things because of bra discomfort.
2009: When I moved back to Denmark, my VS bra was literally falling to pieces (as pictured: yes, that is yarn and a key-chain I had used to stick it back together. And the lines at the band is where the hem is supposed to be),

so I reluctantly went to a very good fitter, who showed me how to put on a bra etc, all sorts of good things that changed my "bra experience" But when it came to the size she proclaimed me: "32GG?! You must have lost your mind!", I said, and walked out with a 38DD
2010: My 38DD's needed replacement (also, weight gain), and this time I dared to try some other sizes. Ended up with 36E's (didn't understand sister sizes, so in my world, this was up a cup)
2011: Bras needed replacement again(more weight gain). This time I went for 36FF (this is the highest size you can find in Denmark, except at Change Lingerie) and 36G (Change Lingerie). Started to think of myself as "busty".
2012: With my new status as busty, I wanted more bras. So I went out and got some 34F's and 36FF's. I wanted strapless clothing like I had seen on the blogs, and in early March, I asked a question on Y!A about strapless bras in what I thought was my size. Angela from there, linked me to reviews done by FullerFigureFullerBust, and I learned many new things about bras (UK sizing was a very important step in my epiphany!) . This was also at the same time where Change Lingerie dared to offer EU K-cups (UK H-cups). Went and got a 34H and 36GG, as pictured (Note, these pictures are taken on the day I got them, so this is what I was fitted to, and I thought was a good fit):

I signed up for Bratabase, and in April I placed my first order online, 34HH's, 34H's, 36GG and 36H's, from Curvy Kate. I tried the 34HH  Daily Boost, and it seemed too small, and I was mortified and amused. Kept the Thrill Me in 36GG  and Tease Me  in 34H. (it is so weird to see my old reviews, and see just how clueless I was of how a good fit should be!)

And from then on, I have studied bras so much, and I have placed many orders, and returned almost everything. I still need to find better bras, but my current best bras are two plunges in  34JJ's and a balcony in 36H from Ewa Michalak and Masquarade Rhea Bra in 36H. I still need to learn a lot about bras and my breasts, before I can get the right fit (which is hard with breast re-migration and weight changes!), but here is the newest step for me:

I have realised what my shape is! For a long time, I thought I was "full on top", because in too small bras, or push ups, my breasts would easily be pushed up to my collarbones. Now I think that has more to do with the placement of my bust: It is pretty high up. Also, because I have fat everywhere on my body, my collarbone area also has a layer of fat, so when my breasts were pushed up, they would also push together all the fat on my upper-chest, making it seem like I had that high of a cleavage.
No, I believe I have "full on bottom"-breasts. I have to give BrasIHate a lot of credit when it comes to figuring the importance of your breast shape. She has full on top breasts, and I soon realised that bras that were excellent on her, were shite on me (Masquerade Rhea, for example), and that the issues she seemed to have never bothered me.
Another thing that made me think of that my breasts probably aren't full on top, was the fact that I never got this look:

That "crease" at the top of the boob. I've seen skinny women, and fat women, small busted and large busted ladies with it, so that led me to think it is a question of shape, rather than size and body. Whereas I always just have that "sloping" curve going down to my boob. Even if I wear a too small push up bra, that sloped curve is just moved up.
Most of all, what made me realise that I was full on bottom, was look at the fit issued such shape would cause, and realising that is exactly what I experience with every single bra I've failed with:

On picture 1, you see my breast shape (pretty accurately, actually). On picture 2, you can see how that is just not compatible with the bra. And on picture 3 and 4 you see the most common outcomes this causes:
Picture 3 shows the very common "Orange in a glass" effect: The bottom of your breast is too large (could be both width and forward volume), and cannot settle in the bottom of the cup. This forces the bra to sit a bit lower, so the bottom if not filled, but the top may seem right or create a bit of overspill, because part of the cup is now not in use, and therefore too small. As seen here in my Ewa Michalak in 36H, and the previously reviewed Moulin Rouge:

Picture 4 is one I haven't heard talked much about, but one I suffer from a lot! It is often in the combination of a big band, I believe. The large bottom of the breast, forces the bra to be tipped over, allowing a bit more room for the breast to settle. This of course messes up the fit of the cup. It means the centre gore cannot lay flat, as it is tipped away, and so is the rest of the cup. This means that there will actually be a lot of gaping at the top of the cups as well: The smaller upper part of the breast is already having a hard time filling the top, and when it is tipped away, there is no contact. This can of course be very confusing, because a centre gore sticking out is usually a sign of a too small cup, but the cups can gape so much, making us think it is too big! Also, the sides may rest a bit on tissue too, because they can't reach all the way back when the bra is pushed away. Here it is shown in my Masquerade 36H and Ewa Michalak 34JJ: (I also experience that the bra seem to "collapse" under my heavy breasts, further seeming to tipping over the bra) (apologies for lousy pictures, it is rather difficult to show on photos)

Also, a picture of the Ewa Michalak when it was new, so the band was tighter, and my boobs were smaller:

Here it is also clear, that I have much more volume on bottom than on top: My heavy breasts weigh the bra down, but my top-shallowness makes the top section sort of close on top of my breasts.

So, now that we have found the root of the problem, what can be done? I don't know. I will try to look for bras that look too have more space at the bottom, maybe like this wide-bottomed wire from Gok Wan, as reviewed at FulleFigureFullerBust. (If you scroll down to Geroginas friend in the bra, from the side) You can see that the wire almost has a corner, because it is pretty much as wide at the bottom, as on top. Most bras have more round shape of the wire, so it is significantly narrower at the bottom. This only comes up to a G-cup, so I am out of luck, but if any full on bottom ladies fits that range, maybe you could try it out, and tell me if I am correct in my guess that this would be a good wire shape?

I read a lot of places, that you should look for bras that are more closed at the top, to fit the bottom heavy shape (so often those with an upper section with perhaps a ribbon on top), but, if you are like me, you want those open top bras! And I believe it can be done.
I have tried the Tease Me, The Demi Diva (as I also discussed in another post) and the Rococo Charm, which will all give a similar shape to the Masquerade Rhea bra, but are more fit for bottom heavy breasts, I believe (though they are limited in cup sizes: The Demi Diva and Rococo Charm come up to HH, and the Tease Me comes in sister sizes of a 30J). Here is a little sketch comparing their shapes to the Rhea bra: (rhea in blue, the others in purple):

On the Rhea bra, the top of the cup is the fullest part of the curve, and if you try to draw a circle following the silhouette of the bra, you'll see that the fullest part is yet to come: This is why it is good for full on top breasts. On the other silhouette, if you follow the curve, the fullest part is in the bra, just as would be the case with bottom heavy breasts. Unfortunately, I don't fit any of these bras I've just suggested, but now I know what to look for! And I hope you do too.

At Bratabase, you can search by tag, and find some bras that have fit others with the shape you searched for. I can't seem to search more than one shape at a time, so it is a bit tedious work to cross reference the results of "Full on bottom", "close boobs" and "high on chest", while also finding some that come in the right size, but I have just made a big order of bras, and I hope I can soon post some recommendations for you with similar breasts on this blog!
Also, when I get these bras, I will post on the next big fit issue I have: Bands! So look out for that! ;)


  1. This was a VERY good post. I'm still in awe trying to figure it all out! So interesting.

    I have not yet determined my shape. I suspect I'm full on top because my nipples have always been pointing downwards. I also know that I have very close set breasts since only low plunges work for me without digging into my sternum.

    The problem is, I have major issues with wires. So far the best fitting bras I've found are Ewa Michalak's, but the wires start to dig in at the bottom of my breasts and the sides after 8 hrs. I think I'd need a bit wider wires and that's causing the digging in at the sides. Still, I can't wear Panache because they dig in at my armpits or Curvy Kate's because there just isn't enough depth for me.

    The digging in at the bottom is something I don't understand: the wire sits a bit under the natural crease of my breasts, but there shouldn't be orange in the class syndrome since I rather have looseness in the cup. Also, there isn't any visible emptiness at the bottom of the cup, it's just there based on the marks I get.

    I've been thinking that maybe the wires digging in at the bottom of the cup is just because of my tummy and the pressure it causes. Or something like that.

    Sorry for the long and useless comment, I just had to write my thoughts since this post got me thinking... :D

    1. Thanks :D It really was a real epiphany-moment when I realized that a bottom-heavy breast would tip the bra like that, so I am glad that my post about it was interesting too :)

      I think you may be full on top as well. I thought maybe I just never got that 'crease' on top because I was overweight, and the contrast between breast-tissue and chest-fat was just not so defined, but then I saw you in the Tease Me, and you did have a that shape!
      I also thought for a long time that I had "high set" nipples, because they were almost pointing up, but then I learned that top-heavy often made them point down, so it made sense that I would be the opposite.

      Have you seen the post about torso length and underbust placement over at braless in brasil? June discusses some of the things that can caues the cup to sit a little lower, and thus makes the unlifted breast settle in the bottom. Maybe this is what you experience?

      My next post about bands will also talk about how us with rolls and tummies are affected by the wires and band: I know many plus size ladies who give up on wires, because they dig when they sit down. A very relevant thing I experience a lot, is that if the band is slightly too loose, the bra can't slide down as it maybe would on a lean person, but instead the entire weight is put on the wires that then rest on my stomach roll just under my bra at the front. So that is my main issue with wires. Maybe this is what you experience too?

  2. OMG! So many OMG from reading this post! I wonder if we use different terminology to describe the same or at least very similar issues after all :O

    Now I really wish I could make sketches.

    What you describe is having boobs being wider at the bottom + needing more depth at the bottom? Right?

    Now I will complicate this even further:

    From the front I look fuller at the bottom. In profile I don't. Because I'm not. Which would kind of say: hollower at the bottom but wider (extends behind my arms) Upper part fuller but not the typical fuller-on-the-top-with-stubbon-part-looking-like-brasIhate or the examples you're showing here. But more subtle and shallow. Undramatic. 10 years ago I would kind of describe my boobs as "more beautiful than sexy". Kind of like old paintings of corseted women from the 1800 century. I get away with a lot of cleavage because of this :D

    The picture of you in Moulin Rose is so spot on what I get in every single bra. But on me I still say it's because of the shape of my underbust :)

    Looking at the Gok Van bra it looks more "square" in the wires. My marks after the wires in CK Emily looks like that after wearing it for a couple of hours. Wires of CK Romance looks the same way. They both fit me way better than the Andorra which have more typically rounded wires.

    Remember me saying boobs could migrate to the underbust? When the wires are too small on the front side that happens I would say. Bent over the crease of my boob is way bigger in profile than when I'm standing up :)

    I have most pain under the wire in the outer "corner" of my bigger boob. I think it's because it still might sit just a tad on breast tissue. The wires pressing my ribs issue are almost gone in CK Emily.

    I really hate the fact that CK Tease me 30J is too small in width on me.

    No; I want to see a list of what bras you've ordered :D

    1. Yes, I believe my bottom boobs are both wider and deeper. But actually, I probably have quite wide boobs from top to bottom, there is just not so much volume at the sides: I could probably also be described as "full in the middle". That's probably also why I don't experience wires to be a major problem for me.

      It makes sense that the boob shape can be both in width, or in depth. Would you say that you top part of the breast is then narrower than the bottom too?

      The Moulin Rose was a very weird fit on me, not something I experience a lot, except for that "orange in the glass" - was it that which was the same as for you? Because I think that is caused by breast, not underbust.

      From the picture at Kurvigheter, I would say I would probably be the middle of the non-traditional, except my boobs are very close together. So it is more "open at the side", like the square one, so I could probably benefit from the Nike shaped wires, as I saw Suna at bratabase described them to you :)

      Sorry, could you rephrase this?: "Remember me saying boobs could migrate to the underbust? When the wires are too small on the front side that happens I would say. Bent over the crease of my boob is way bigger in profile than when I'm standing up :)" I did not understand, but it sounds like maybe something I experience too!

      The bras I ordered were before I though too much about the bottom-heavyness, and I have to say that I made a price limit pr bra, so they may not be the ideal ones for me, but I ordered 7, and hope one will be good/better:
      Lucy and Olivia by Cleo, Nieve and Edina by Freya, Tango Balconette and Ariza by Panache, and Bubbles by Bravissimo

      I determined size by comparing the measurements of my Ewa Michalaks in 34JJ, which are the best fit at the moment for me. I've gotten almost all of these in a lower band size, because I often feel like the bras "rest" on top of my underbust roll, so in order to be held by the band instead, I would need a tighter band. But more of that in next post :)

  3. Oh I had to check all this again so I wouldn't say something stupid.

    When you say fuller in the middle, do you mean fuller at where the center gore is? (boob terminology I feel like a n00b all the time :D) Becuase so am I. And I'm fuller on the top there. And firmer.

    But now I must have remigrated because the symptoms I described with being fuller at the bottom sides than the upper sides doesn't seem to apply anymore. A little yes, but not that much. A little hollower in the outer upper part of the boob maybe.

    Standing up my boobs are not in one piece, (they kind of fall apart) and everything depends on what bra I put on. Leaning over I have no back rolls left what so ever. I certainly didn't look that way two weeks ago when it took me 20 minutes to scope me into a bra.

    So something must have happened.

    Since I got the Panache Andorra 34J I've been wearing it day and even night. It has wires just a couple of cm from my armpit. So it doesn't leake the way other bras have done. I still would want 1-2 cm higher wires and a cm wider so that I could take the bra in at the center gore without loosing out on wires under my arms.

    I have a Sienna and two Harmonys in different sizes on their way. We'll see if their wires are higher.

    I aim to try out a Panache Melody also.

    About the bottom of the cups; let's call the boob part where the bottom of the boob sits "bottom of the boob crease" instead of underbust crease that Herrom does. Because yes, I mean the boob.

    So when we are shaped in another way in our boobs than the wires are we will either loose out of boob tissue to our stomach or we will have empty space in the bottom of the cups. We have no tissue there, off course we cannot fill the cups.

    I actually did an experiment. I took a pen, leaned over and drew the line where my crease was and compared it to the marks of the wires of Andorra.

    The lowest part of the bottom of the boob crease is at the outer sides of my boobs, not under the apex. The wires of the Andorra 34J sits about 1.5 cm under the bottom boob crease.

    But that's also why most wires are too high where the lowest part of my boobs are. Therefore I need sizing up and then I get the lowest part of the wire to be even lower.

    I don't loose out on support that much however so it doesn't bother me that much. It just looks a little odd. that's how my boobs steep down to the sides. The wires often goes up just where my lowest part is.

    The wires of CK Emily 34HH are more the same as bottom of the boob crease. I just wish they were wider and I plan to try out 34J or maybe the 32JJ (probably both).

    I would say you should do a very simple test; try the Pollyanna balconette family. I probably actually would say try the Pollyanna. It has more room in the bottom but still is very stretchy in the upper section. I still think it's very goodlooking even in the larger sizes and I cannot understand how they would trade it for Faye that doesn't look that good at all! Also Pollyanna has a tighter band than the newer Freya bras and it's cheap on Ebay.

    If you've tried one out then you can rule the other ones out. But if you are full on bottom and wide all over then that family should work very well.

    Just a thought from me :)

    1. Yes, full where the centergore is: If a bra is wider than just the space 2 wires take up, there is not room for them. Odly, it seems my firmest point is the lower section of my upper breast - which makes sense that I often feel like my breast are very heavy: the firmest place is somewhere not natrually supported by the rest of the breast!

      Outer upper part of the breast is probably where most have migration to, so it would make sense that is where you remigrate noticeable. Though, if you have problems with too short wires (like me!) then that may not solve it self so quickly: then it will be the bottom outer, which benefits first from the new bras. This is probably also what would create back rolls more, so it really does seem that is what have been going on for you :)

      I have a problem that a lot of bras I try "leak" as well: If I scoop and all, it doesn't stay. It seems I would need a wire that almost 'holds' around my boob. Maybe a stable wire and a tight band would do it? I don't know.

      I just ordered a bunch of bras (will do a quick post about them, most were just so off in the size that they are not worth properly reviewing), and the ones with the good high wires, and nice wide bands were Panache so I think Panache is probably a good choice for a lot of those issues we have in common.

      I think my breasts are somewhat soft, so I haven't had much problems with my breast being unable to follow the line of the wire (unless it is orange in a glass). The only wire problem I have is at the side, not being high enough, and that I would like them to be just as wide at the outer bottom as the outer upper.

      Have you tried some of the Elomi bras, then? Because they seem to have that shape for a lot of their bras. Despite Herroom trying to label it as an uncommon crease shape, I don't think it is, I think many women have it, so it only makes sense that there should be good options for it.

      Since I just found a store near me who may stock Freya in more sizes, I will go there and try Pollyanna bras, that way I get the option to try several (hopefully! Oh god, I would cry of joy if I actually got to try a bra in store!)
      With my recent order, I have learned one thing for pretty certain: I fit tight 34bands/loose 32bands. Some of the 32's were too small, but other were perfect (actually, the Cleo could probably have been a bit more snug!). And my 34 Ewa Michalaks were good when they were new too, and they are known to be a bit snug, so it all makes sense now.

  4. I've tried a Goddess Alice now. It's constructed totally different with a side panel that's cut more shallow than the rest of the cups! If it wasn't for the fact that it wrinkles on top of the cups and it's visible under clothing (cause the fabric is so thick!) I would keep it.

    It's the first bra I've tried that gives that "brasihate look", that rounded without any visible apex.

    I didn't know you suffered from too low wires also. Then we definitely have a lot in common!

    Btw I looked up the Pollyanna for you from my two favorite ebay sellers if you want to give it a shot. I've ordered from them several times. You could definitely try a 43 band in this as the band is tighter :)

    I probably won't find a bra that actually fits in every kind of respect so I probably will just learn how to settle :)

  5. Uhm not 43, I of course mean 34 :D

  6. Hi XLhourglass, I just want to say I love your blog. I find it very educational. I just started to follow you on Bratabase today

    1. Thank you for the kind words, I am glad to hear that this is useful to readers :D

  7. OMG the orange in the glass is most definitely an issue for me! Any tips on what works to help it? I understand this is a shape not a size issue...? This has recently happened with quite a few bras for me and I don't know what to do about it - it's nothing major, but I feel like the bra is always sitting far too low at the bottom of my boobs. When I take bras off there is often a bit of a mark like nearly an inch below where it should sit! It's quite puzzling(I'm not sure marks are strictly fit related, my skin goes red very easily and everything leaves marks but I dunno)

    1. Well, it can also be a size issue, if the bra is too small all around, then it will also orange-in-glass, and can be fixed by sizing up - If the orange-in-glass is the only fit issue, though, you can still size up, but then it will of course also get bigger at places where you didn't need extra volume. I sized up in a Cleo Marcie because of this, and now it is sort of gaping at the top. You also really have to make sure to lift your breast to push up the wire as far as you can into your breast crease - maybe it can be solved by simply adjusting yourself when you put on your bra :)

    2. Thanks for you reply! Do you mean sizing up in the cup? It definitely won't be fixed by sizing up in the band, I know I need to size down in the band (been wearing 30F) but for bras that actually come in a 28FF-G or so that I can afford and try on...time to start saving! But I'm sure you know that about that problem! It certainly happened when I was (cluelessly) wearing bras much too big in the band and much too small in the cup. It could even be worse in the bras I'm wearing at the moment... I suppose the old ones were general loose so maybe I didn't notice it as much until I took it off and saw a mark an inch or too below where the bra should sit!
      How I put it on doesn't help, well maybe for about a second, it just slides down to it's position a couple of inches below where it should. It sort of seems like there might actually be enough space there if it fit but instead it seems a bit small at the top. The bras that I'm wearing now seem to have rather wide underwires (though I'm not 100% sure to be honest) so maybe the cup is to shallow at the bottom? It seems some people on the internet say it is because underwires are too narrow...others seem to say it is because the cup is too shallow, in which case narrower, deeper cups...Thanks for your help, this is actually becoming quite irritating when wearing bras that do this a lot!

  8. I have major tipping issues with basically every bra I've tried. I was wondering, though, if having the band wider so the TOP of the wires were supported by the back band would keep it from tipping forward/down as much. I've got large, heavy, and seemingly LONG breasts (when I bend over, they hang). The Panache Jasmine is the closest I have come to a well-fitting bra, but it still tips and has wrinkles in the bottom of the cup after an hour of wear. With the kind of leverage at the apex of a cup of a long, heavy breast, there's only so much an underwire and 3-hook band can do to keep them lifted. I've always felt a bra band that did not dip down in the back, but had a wider band going straight back from the wings would be more supportive, though I've never found one to try. What do you think of that?

    1. I think that super stable wires + high, tight top of band would be the best combination if to force the top of the gore to tack properly onto the chest. I don't know if the dip in the back is what is causing the problem - so many of the G+ UK brands construct the bands so that the straps go into that dip down, and I think that is actually very stabilizing for the band. I suppose it could have an effect if they made it dip less (though there is only a certain angle the fabric of the strap will allow, I guess).
      Have you tried the Panache Tango and Ariza? I think they have good, high bands and stable wires. I've seen you on Bratabase, so try to check out what other people who got along with Jasmine also went for.
      I completely understand what you mean about 'long boobs' that there seems there is only so much a bra can do - mine are quite soft though, so the apex can be flattened into a shape that is closer to the body, and thus easier to support - maybe Cleo's of the Alexa family could work for you - only 2 hooks though :/

  9. Thank you! I have exactly the same problem, wrinkling at the bottom of the cup and bra sitting lower than it should. I still haven´t found my perfect bra, though but your post has been very helpful.

  10. I believe I am fuller on bottom.Though it did seem like I got less full on bottom the more I wore bras.Currently rarely wearing them as I don't have many that fit and can't afford new ones yet.
    That makes me wonder if one's shape can ever change,either from hormones or kinds of bras.
    I especially started getting major orange in glass with a bra that used to fit me when I was smaller and needed shallower cups,it's unwearable now.
    I think I will ask on Bratabase sometime about it.

  11. I'm late to the party on this, but this has been my exact experience and I couldn't find many full bust bloggers discussing it. Excited!

  12. I am full on bottom and in desperate search of a good strapless bra for my wedding in August. Any suggestions? I wear a 36DD (I just recently found that -- I was in a 38C) and when I ordered some longline corset-type bras, the cups were WAY too big and I didn't even come close to filling out the top.

  13. I have a problem that a lot of bras I try "leak" as well: If I scoop and all, it doesn't stay. It seems I would need a wire that almost 'holds' around my boob. Maybe a stable wire and a tight band would do it? I don't know.
    WAY too big and I didn't even come close to filling out the top.