My Underwire Bra Doesn't Fit - Understanding Your Breast Root

My Underwire Bra Doesn't Fit - Understanding Your Breast Root

Breast roots are an important part of the female body! The roots of the breast are usually found in the upper, inner quadrant of the breast, near the sternum. The root is composed of a network of blood vessels, fatty tissue, and connective tissue. Breast roots play an important role in the development and maintenance of the female breast. They're responsible for the growth and shape of the breast, and for providing nourishment to the developing breast tissue.

The Marks of a Perfect Fitting Bra

We're born with a genetic composition that determines the shape of our breasts long before puberty. Our shape will not change, though our size can. Diet, lifestyle, hormones and age will take us through increasing and decreasing breast size throughout our lifetime. Surgery can change your size and shape but it will not change your breast root. This is important to know if you have contemplated having cosmetic breast surgery, had it, or following a mastectomy. You can surgically alter your breasts but you should consult with your surgeon and bra fitter to make the best informed decisions.  

Without a bra, bend over at a 45 degree angle and feel around your breast, tracing the point your breast tissue begins from your abdomen, you might feel a ridge. It is most obvious under your breast and may feel more hidden at the sides closer to your arms. (Yes indeed, fat can and does migrate, making the root less obvious.) The ridge is your body’s natural underwire.

We can lay out many bras in the same size and they will all look and feel different on your body. Here's why:

  • The underwire shape needs to follow the shape of your breast root - if the wire lays on your breast tissue, you will be uncomfortable and the bra will not compliment your natural body shape. 
  • If the underwire sits inside your breast root, on breast tissue, the depth of the cup will be incorrect 100% of the time. This will look like you're not filling out the cup properly. It might be the wrong size but may also be the wrong wire shape.
  • The depth of the cup will be determined by the maker of the bra to match the shape of the underwire. Note that there is no way to know how shallow or deep the cup is by simply looking at the bra or its size. As a guideline, the more U shaped, or narrow the wire is, the more likely the cups will be deeper than average. In contrast, the more O shaped a wire is, the more likely the depth of the cup will be shallower than average. 
  • Bra cups that are all 32F will hold approximately the same breast volume. However, the volume is dispersed in different ways based on the style and underwire shape.. 
Image of Playdoh to indicate a volume.Image of playdoh that indicates a different shape than the previous image.Image of playdoh that indicates a different shape than the previous image.Image of several bra underwires as an example of wire shapes.

Playdoh is certainly a good example of how the same volume can be a different shape.

Rocha underwire bra in 32F product image.Sublime Underwire Bra in 32F in a product photo.Sublime underwire Bra as an example of volume in a product photo.

All bras featured are 32F. From Left to right, Radiance is the narrowest wire measuring 15 cm at its widest wire width and is the deepest cup. This bra works best on a narrow breast root. Avero is 15.5 cm at its widest wire width and is an average width and depth. Sublime measures 16 cm across and is an average depth. Starlight measures 16.5 cm across and is considered shallow. This bra works best on a wide breast root. All 4 bras hold the same volume of breast tissue in different shapes. 

The width of the wire will definitely make a difference to the fit and comfort of your bra. It is by no means the only factor to consider. Our Bra Fitters are trained to know the difference between brands and styles and in conversation with you, can assist you in determining the best shape and fit to meet your needs!

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