If you've tried on every bra you can think of and always seem to get quadraboob or massive gaping then there's a good chance you've got top heavy breasts. When your breasts are very full on top you need a style that accommodates the upper volume. A style that can't accommodate the shape of your upper breast will cut into your tissue making it look like your cups are too small even if they aren't. In this post I'm going to help you figure out if you have top heavy breasts and what to look for in bras for a great fit.
|Left: Full All Round Breasts Middle: Bottom Heavy Breasts Right: Top Heavy Breasts|
How to tell if you have top heavy breasts
There are two types of top heavy breasts; one is volume of tissue and the other is density. To tell if you have volume heavy upper breasts you need to start with your nipples. In front of a mirror lean forward (without a bra) so that your back is parallel with the floor. Using the mirror look to see if your nipples are pointing directly down at the floor - this means you have full all round breasts. If your nipples are pointing more towards the front (nearer your chest) then you have bottom heavy breasts. If your nipples are pointing back (towards your tummy) then you have top heavy breasts.
|Left: Center Full Top Heavy Breasts Middle: Evenly Full Top Heavy Breasts Right: Side Full Top Heavy Breasts|
|For comparison this is the difference between Full All Round Breasts (left) Top Heavy Breasts (center) and Bottom Heavy Breasts (right)|
You can also assess the distribution of your tissue by stranding straight on in a mirror. You're looking to see if there is more volume above or below your nipple line. If you have top heavy breast volume you will see that your nipples appear to sit lower on your breasts when looking at yourself straight on. You'll also notice whether you have more volume to the outside edges of your breasts (side heavy breasts) even distribution to left and right or more tissue at the middle of your breasts (look for high gores to support the volume at the center of your breasts).
Top heavy breasts can also have soft breast tissue (the two are not mutually exclusive) so even though you might think you have 'saggy' boobs you might actually be full on top and need to look for a shape that can accommodate your upper volume and materials that are friendly to soft breasts. Breast density leads us onto the next kind of top heavy breasts.
The second type of top heavy breasts is to do with tissue density. If you have very dense tissue you find that your breasts create a very round shape at the top when you put on a bra regardless of whether you have bottom heavy, side heavy or even all round breasts. This happens a lot for young women but breast density has a lot to do with genetics so you can find yourself in your 60s with dense upper tissue. Because your breasts fill out upwards you also need top heavy friendly bra shapes and/or materials to stop quadraboob.
What to look for in bras for top heavy breasts
The shape of the upper cup of a bra needs to have the depth to be able to accommodate your upper breast volume. As well as the depth it needs to curve in a way that won't cut into your breasts. Many women have tried on lots of molded bras (seamless cups that are in a fixed shape) and constantly find that they have overspill. This is because the depth and edge of the bra is fixed and if your breasts aren't the same shape as the cup then the excess just spills over.
|Envy (left) and Jasmine (right) have a stretch lace upper cup that stretches to shape to your upper breast shape|
A top heavy breast's best friend is a flexible edge (like Envy and Jasmine in the picture above). A stretch lace upper panel allows for the bra to fit your shape rather than the other way around. The lower panels of the bra is usually fixed which gives you good support but the upper panel is flexible to give you a smooth profile.
|A lot of Cleo styles work well for medium to top heavy breasts because the upper cup is deep and curved to accommodate your upper breast volume|
Some brands, and styles, are designed specifically with top heavy breasts in mind. Cleo is particularly good because the cup shapes are deep with a curve that allows for top heavy breasts. This is also the reason that some women find that Cleo bras gape at the top because they have medium or shallow breasts that don't require the volume at the top of the cup.
Cups that have a horizontal (sweetheart cut) rather than a diagonal cut are usually friendlier to top heavy breasts, so some plunge styles tend not to be great for full on top breasts (depending on the material). If the angle of the top edge of the cup cuts across the natural curve of your breasts it causes quadraboob regardless of which size you try.
I hope these tips help you work out if your breasts are top heavy and which features to look for in a bra to get a comfortable and polished look. Let us know in the comments if you have any top heavy tips xx