If you’re an A, B or C cup, there are a plethora of bra styles out there in your size. So many styles, in fact, that it can be difficult to find the ones that look the best. After all, just because a certain bra style is available in your size doesn't mean that it will be the most flattering option for you. Everyone’s breasts are unique, which means that your shopping process should be unique to you as well. In the guide below, we’ll walk you through six essential tips for choosing a bra and then explore the 11 best bras for small busts.
Tips for Choosing the Best Bras for Small Busts
Before exploring the best bras for small busts, it’s important to know the best principles for selecting the ideal bra for yourself. Here’s what you need to know before you go bra shopping:
Figure out your correct bra size.
No matter how small or large your breasts are, determining your bra size is key to finding the best bra for you. Even if you choose the perfect bra style, it will still fit poorly if you choose the wrong size. Bra size is made up of two components: the cup size and the band size. The band size is determined by measuring the circumference of your rib cage, either directly above or below your breasts. You can also take both measurements and average them together. Your band size is usually one to two steps above the measurement in inches, depending on the brand, so someone who measures 32 inches around their ribs would likely wear either a 34 or 36 band size.
Cup size is determined by measuring the difference between your rib cage and the middle of your chest. To take this second measurement, put on a plain t-shirt bra that doesn’t have a lot of padding and measure around the widest part of your chest. To make sure you’re not pulling the tape too tight and squishing your boobs, take a few deep breaths. Once you have your bust measurement, subtract the band measurement from it. Your cup size is the difference between the two measurements, with each cup size letter corresponding to an increase of one inch. A 35-inch bust measurement and a 32 band measurement means a three-inch difference (35 - 32 = 3), which translates to a C cup.
Each brand makes their bras a little differently, so you might be a slightly different size in one brand than you are in another. It may take a little bit of trial and error to find your perfect bra size, which is why Leonisa offers 100 percent free returns and exchanges for U.S. orders.
Consider the shape of your breasts.
Not all breasts are shaped the same, and the tissue is distributed differently throughout your chest. Examining your breasts and deciding what shape they are can help you determine which bra style is best suited to your breasts. For instance, if your breasts are fuller on the bottom than they are on the top, they will probably look great in a balconette bra, which has a lower cut cup shape with less material on top. However, if your breasts are more full throughout, wearing a balconette bra might cause the dreaded “quadra-boob” look. There are many bra styles that will make your breasts look fantastic. It’s just all about picking the right one for YOU. If you’re overwhelmed by all the options listed, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our Personal Shoppers who will help you narrow down your options.
Decide how much padding you want.
Many women with small breasts love to wear a bra with a little bit of padding to give their chest a boost and help fill out their breast shape. If you do want to get a padded bra, it’s important to decide how much padding you actually want and where you want it to be distributed within the bra. Some bras have cups with a thicker lining throughout so they’ll provide more support and hold up for longer without actually making your breasts appear much larger. On the other hand, push up bras add pretty significant padding to the bottom of the cup, pushing your natural breasts up and to the center and making them appear larger under clothes. Not all push up bras are created equal either, and some have more padding than others. Definitely keep this in mind as you shop for padded bras for small busts!
Select the features you want.
Different bras have different features that may or may not be important to you. Some have convertible straps, some clasp in the front, some have removable padding, some are covered in fancy lace and some are meant to be worn as crop tops. Every single bra has its place in someone’s wardrobe. It’s all about determining the ones that fit your needs best. Deciding on what features you do or don’t want can really help you narrow your options and make it easier to finalize your selection. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Personal Shoppers if you’re not finding the exact combination of features that you want in a bra!
Notice how far apart your breasts are.
Everyone’s chest has a different width, and everyone’s breasts are set different on their chest as well. Some women’s breasts are very close together, while others are wider apart. When you have bigger breasts spaced wider apart, this isn’t as noticeable when you wear a bra because you have that extra breast tissue that the cups push towards the center to fill the gap. With small breasts, you don’t have that extra tissue so it’s more obvious that you’re wearing a bra with cups that are spaced differently than your breasts. If your breasts are more wide set, then look for bras that also space the cups further apart so you can get a more ideal fit.
Embrace the wireless lifestyle.
One of the most amazing things about having a smaller chest is being able to forgo underwire. Now, underwire definitely has its place and it’s a critical structural element for some bra styles such as push up bras. However, it does make the bra stiffer and can be uncomfortable to wear, especially if you wear a bra in the wrong size. Thankfully, there are many wireless bra options available for those with smaller chests—everything from lacy bralettes to molded wireless bras. If you hate underwire and have a smaller chest, you might be able to say goodbye to wire for good with wireless bra options.
The Best Bras for Small Busts
So those are the general tips for selecting a bra style and size. What about what bra styles actually flatter smaller breasts? Here are 11 bra styles that women with smaller busts should check out:
Push Up bras
Whether you’re trying to make your breasts appear bigger, fill out a looser shirt or even out the shape of your breasts, a push up bra can help you achieve your ideal look. Push up bras feature padding along the bottom and side of the cups, lifting your breasts up and pushing them towards the center to enhance your cleavage. Push up bras are more structured and thus perfect for keeping everything in place, and many women with small busts love how these bras make their chest look bigger.
There’s a lot of overlap between push up bras and plunge bras, but not all push up bras have plunge cups, and vice versa. Plunge bras are cut narrower on the inner sides of the cups in the front, revealing that deep V of cleavage. Generally, the outer sides of the cups are left as is, pushing your natural cleavage towards the center to create an even more dramatic effect. When paired with the padding of a push up, it creates a truly show-stopping look that’s perfect for giving your smaller bust a boost.
T-shirt bras are the Goldilocks of underwear: not too thin, not too padded, but just right. These comfy, everyday bras may not look as exciting as some of the other options on this list, but you’ll probably find yourself reaching for them the most often. They offer the perfect combination of lift, coverage and structure, and their more plain design doesn’t show under clothes, even thin, tight t-shirts (hence the name). If you don’t have at least one t-shirt bra in your closet, then you’re really missing out!
Balconette bras have lower cups that are cut straight across, with more widely spaced straps. They are perfect for wearing underneath shirts with wide, low-cut necklines when you don’t want the cups or straps to show. If your breasts are more bottom heavy, you might enjoy wearing balconette bras as opposed to full coverage bras, as the lack of fabric across the top of the cup can reduce gapping in that area.
Demi cup bras are similar to balconette bras, but they’re not quite the same. Think of them as a ¾ cup bra. The cup follows the same angled shape as a regular bra, but it’s cut lower on the breast, revealing more cleavage for a flirty (yet still everyday) look. Demi bras are especially popular among women with smaller busts, while it can cause a bit of a “quadra-boob” look in women with larger chests. Be sure to pick the right size so the edges of the cups don’t cut into your boobs!
Front Closure Bras
Front closure bras are easy to put on and take off, but they’re not the best choice for larger breasted women because of the pressure that all that breast tissue puts on the clasp. However, women with smaller busts don’t need to worry about that, making front closure bras a super convenient choice for them! Keep in mind that front closure bras aren’t as adjustable as back closure bras, so be sure to choose the correct band size.
Pro tip: The lift in most bras comes from the band, not the straps. If you’re relying on the straps to keep your bra in place, you’re wearing the wrong size! If you have smaller breasts, you might be able to comfortably wear a strapless bra since your breasts are probably already pretty perky. A strapless bra will give your boobs lift and padding without you having to worry about your straps showing.
These soft, unlined bras come in many styles—from fancy lace to plain cotton. Whatever your preferred style, there’s a bralette out there for you. While many women wear these for lounging around the house, if you have a smaller bust, you might actually be able to make bralettes your everyday underwear. If you get enough support and coverage from a bralette, there’s no reason you have to wear an underwire bra!
Wireless bras exist in the grey areas between bras and bralettes. They usually offer more padding than a bralette, and the cups may be molded as well. However, they don’t have underwire, which is what distinguishes them from other options on this list. Basically, a wireless bra is kind of like a t-shirt bra without the underwire, making it a great choice for everyday wear, especially around the house.
We couldn’t complete this list of the best bras for small busts without mentioning sports bras. Whether you like compression bras made of stretchy fabric or molded underwire with separate cups, there’s a perfect sports bra out there for you. In fact, some women with smaller breasts, especially those who live an active lifestyle, prefer to wear sports bras as their everyday bras. It’s entirely up to you!
If you’re still having trouble choosing the best bra for you, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with one of our personal shoppers!