Bra shopping can be difficult, even if you think you know your measurements. Fortunately, TikTok user Nicola Crook (@nicolacrookonline) has created a guide to choosing a bra based on a specific premise: breast shape.
In the video, Nicole breaks down six different breast shapes and their ideal bras — then goes into detail on how to determine your shape, and find (and fit) a bra properly.
She starts with shapes: For pendulous breasts — or breasts that are fuller at the bottom — Nicola recommends a full coverage or balconette bra. Where a full coverage bra will cover your entire breast tissue, a balconette bra is cut a bit lower and will push your breasts upward.
For side set or east-to-west breasts — which are typically wide set with more breast tissue at the sides — she recommends a plunge bra with a lower center or one with side support.
For asymmetrical breasts — where one breast is bigger than the other — Nicola recommends using a side shaper on the smaller side.
She also recommends using a full coverage bra, and stretch lace along the top of the cups. Stretch lace is an elastic paneling along the top and bottom of the bra that will provide extra coverage and support.
For bell shape breasts — which are smaller at the root and wider at the bottom of the breast — try a balcony shape (or plunge) style. Nicola also recommends a full coverage bra with stretch lace.
For athletic breasts — which are typically wider set with more muscle and less tissue — Nicola recommends a plunge bra or push up.
And for round breasts — which are full at the top and bottom — Nicola recommends a full coverage plunge.
Currently, Nicola's video has 8.5M views, 1.1M likes, and an incredibly thankful comment section.
I spoke with Nicola, who is based in San Diego and is the founder of Bras & Honey. Nicola said that despite it being normal for breasts to come in all shapes and sizes, a majority of bra manufacturers are actually creating bras for the round shape breast, which can make it difficult for people with other breast shapes to find a bra that fits properly — especially if they don't understand what their breast shape is. "Bras are basically built for this round breast shape. So, a lot of the times, you set yourself up for failure," she told BuzzFeed.
Nicola also explained that you can determine your own breast shape visually by examining your breasts in the mirror, seeing both their shape as well as your nipple placement. Nicola added that while knowing your breast shape is crucial in finding the right bra, it's also important to know your correct bra size and fit as well. She explained, "The ideal way to get your measurement is to measure your band size (which is your ribcage) and then measure the fullest part of your breasts in your best-fitting bra. Once you have those two measurements, [you can] determine roughly what your band size is, and what your cup size is."
Nicola said that there are a few different ways to ensure that your bra is fitting properly. She recommended the band test — which is making sure that you can fit two of your fingers under your bra's band to make sure it isn't too tight or loose. Nicola also added that it's important to watch out for underwires, and said, "You also want to take into account where the wires are sitting on the breast tissue. A problem that I see a lot is that people think the cups are fitting, but the wires at the sides are actually digging into the breast tissue. You need to be looking and making sure that the wires are actually sitting on the ribcage, and not on the delicate breast tissue."
Nicola said that she was inspired to begin recording videos for TikTok after her she chose to close her own boutique during the pandemic and noticed the lack of educational bra content on the internet. "[Bras] are one of those things that nobody talks about," Nicola said.
Nicola said that she was blown away by the attention that her videos received, and said, "I'm so passionate about bras and bra fitting, and I believe that everybody should have a bra that fits irrespective of size."