Bras can be a NIGHTMARE when you've got small boobs—straps slipping, gaping cups, and all sorts of struggles to find the right size and shape. So, we gathered three bra experts who specialize in the small boob department to give us a few pointers.1. GET FITTED!
We cannot stress enough how important this is. You might think you're a 34B, but you could discover you're more like a 34C, for example. "We recommend you have a bra fitting at least every 6 months just to ensure you haven't changed size," says Suzanne Pentland from b.tempt'd. "Diet, stress, exercise, and hormones all effect our breast size so ensure you get fitted regularly."2. SO WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR?
"A correctly fitting bra should sit firmly but comfortably around the body," explains Suzanne. "The underwires should lie flat against the rib cage, and contain the whole breast. The breast should be contained within the cup with no puckering or bulging in the cup fabric." Mimi Holliday's Sarah Jenkins adds: "Buy a bra on the loosest hook and eye to account for stretch; throughout its (long!) life you may want to take it in to the tightest setting."3. DON'T BE RESTRICTED BY WHAT'S IN THE SHOPS.
Srsly. If you're quite petite on top (take note if you're usually a size S or below in tight tops), chances are you might be a 30 or 28 band, which you won't find stocked in most underwear shops. But there are a whole host of brands that will cater to your size and trust us, you'll be grateful you're in a comfy bra, even if it means you can't just buy a standard department store set.4. MATERIAL CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
Certain materials like lace can fit tighter than stretchy synthetic fabrics, so if you find one you LOVE but it's just a tad too big, try a style in a different fabric. "Rigid lace and embroidered bras can fit firmer, but some bra styles also feature stretch lace fabrics," so lace isn't always tighter, explains Suzanne. Sarah agrees: "A heavier lace will tend to fit a little more tightly and provide more support than a thinner lace with more stretch."
"With padding, make sure you're scooping your boobs into place on top of the padding. You don't want the bra just sitting on top like a pillow," says Boux Avenue buyer Lisa Annand. "Some bras will have the boost at the bottom, so you will need to lift your boob upwards and sit it on top of the pad. This is common in balconette style padded bras, which create a 'shelf effect' cleavage, where your boobs are pushed upwards. Whereas, padded plunge bras often have padding at the side and so you will need to scoop your boobs in towards the center of your chest and sit them in place. This will create a nice central cleavage."6. YOU MIGHT EVEN NEED TO GO UP A CUP.
Sarah says: "Check the fit closely—is it sitting smoothly and snugly around the body and no overspill on the cup? (Yes, overspill can happen on a small bust, too!) Buying a padded bra can mean going up a cup size—never think your size is concrete."
7. GETTING GAPES? TRY ANOTHER STYLE.
From our humble experience, if you're getting that annoying gap between the top of your cup and boob, it could mean a few things. But most likely, either your cup is too small or the band is too big. "If a bra is heavily padded, you will need to ensure it is a firm fit at sides and back to prevent the padded cup standing away from breast," explains Suzanne.8. BUT ALL BREASTS WERE NOT CREATED EQUAL.
"Small boobs still have variation in shape, so try try try until you find a bra that's perfectly you!" says Sarah. "Certain styles will just suit more than others, so experiment with shapes."
For example, in our experience, if your boobs are further apart, plunges and push-ups will be ideal to create cleavage. But if you have a fuller, rounder shape and find straps dig in around your armpit, try a multiway or triangle style, where the straps sit further in and can be adjusted more easily. Or if you're getting a lot of gaping, it may be that your boobs just don't suit a standard plunge or T-shirt bra, especially if there's more volume at the bottom of your boob than the top. Try a half cup or balconette design instead.
"Silicone strips around the band help to provide extra grip, so your bra sticks to the skin slightly and it won't be as likely to slip," says Suzanne. "Silicone is the best," agrees Sarah, "but it can be uncomfortable. If you can get away with just elastic (on smaller cups) I'd recommend this."10. BRAS WITH BONING IN THE SIDE CAN ADD STRUCTURE AND SHAPE.
"It pushes the breast to the center of the chest for great shape, and can help maintain the longevity and structure of the bra, too," says Sarah. Suzanne adds: "Side boning anchors the bra to the frame, preventing the sides from collapsing and helping you to feel supported."11. TIRED OF PUSH-UPS BUT WANT SOME CLEAVAGE? TRY CONTOURING.
Start off by using a slightly darker powder or bronzer, a couple of shades darker than your natural skin tone. Brush this from between your boobs out and around the top in an outward C-shape (basically outlining the shape of your boobs). Then, apply a shimmer or illuminator to the rounds of your boobs and on your décolletage to catch the light and create a 3D effect.12. PUCKERING AT THE NIPPLES? TRY A FEW IN THE SAME SIZE.