Now, there's often complaints from the short torso lingerie users about the following:
- The underwires come up to high underneath the arm and poke them in the armpit
- Straps that are not fully adjustable are too long
- Push-up bras raise their breasts too high so that their cleavage is "to their chin"
- Shirts are too low cut/cleavagy
My post today, though, isn't for the short torso women (sorry! if someone wants to do a guest post, though, feel free to send me an email with it at email@example.com). Mostly, because I'm speaking from personal experience here and because I just haven't seen much of anything addressed to women with long torsos when it comes to bra problems.
I actually didn't even realize that some of my bra problems were related to torso length until recently when I started finding bras in the correct size that were still giving me these issues. So without further ado, I'll tell you what the issues are then we'll get into why they're related to torso length (some might not be that obvious):
- Constant underarm fat even when you always make sure to scoup your breast tissue into the cups, the band is tight, and you're wearing the right size
- Struggling to find bras with enough lift. Your breasts never feel high enough.
- Underwires poke you in your ribs
- You prefer bras where the bottom of the underwire is even with the band, not below e.g.
|Ewa Michalak HM Gold- here the wires are parallel to the bottom of the band so the bottom of the breast tissue sits even with your underbust|
|Panache Tango Plunge- notice that the underwires sit well below where the band is. That means that the bottom of your breast tissue will sit below your underbust|
- You feel like your breasts slope down too much into the cups
- You've never felt underwires that dig into the bottom of your armpits. However, you might have had problems with straps that dig into the sides of your armpits/shoulders when you've attempted to tighten the straps to get enough lift.
- You may feel like there's extra breast tissue above the cups of your breasts but going up in a cup size just means that there's gapping at the top of your cups.
- Wrinkling at the bottom of your cups.
First, we have to explain the reason why this happens. To do so we need some visuals. Unfortunately, the only way I could really show you this is if I were to take nude photos of myself but since I'm not planning on doing that you're going to have to live with these sketches instead.
My issue is essentially that my underbust sits LOWER than the root of my breasts. To give you an example of this my bras typically assume that the root of your breast starts at the same level as your underbust (like the HM Gold above). That means that my breasts actually slop down into the cup as shown here:
However, if I take my hand and lift up my breast to the level of where the root is (and would be the most comfortable in a bra) it's roughly 3-4" higher!
One way of checking this is measuring from your armpit to the bottom of your bra band as shown in the top picture abov.
Then take off your bra and lift up your breast (according to the second picture above) and measure from the bottom of your breast to your armpit. We'll call the difference:
diff=armpit to band bottom - armpit to breast bottom
If diff~0, great! This is probably not a concern for you.
If diff<0 then you may have a short torso and bras like the Panache Tango where your breasts actually sit underneath the band might be very comfortable for you.
If diff>0 then you're like me, well, just keep reading...
To make this easier, I'm going to go through the fit problems in detail and explain their relation to having a long torso:
Underarm FatI was always pretty confused by this one. I know a good bra helps enormously when it comes to getting rid of underarm fat. Underarm fat originates when a women wears too small cups and the breast tissue is pushed back to her sides/back. It's exacerbated by a too big band that doesn't keep the cups stable, so the breast tissue is allowed to move around a lot.
Now, that's the lore at least. However, why is it that when I was definitely wearing tight enough backs and large enough cups I was still getting underarm fat? The bra that was the worst offender on me was the Bravissimo Alana as you can see here
finally it dawned on me, if I wear the bra too high with the straps tightened as much as possible the underarm fat disappears! Granted, I would NOT suggest doing that since that makes the band rests across my shoulders blades. A very bad idea because it's putting pressure on a sensitive part of your back AND it'll wear out your bra more due to day to day movement of your shoulder blades.
What's interesting, though, is that you can see in this picture below that there's a huge difference in the wire length between the Curvy Kate Portia and the Bravissimo Alana. Because of that breast tissue leaks out of my cups and to my underarm in the Alana. No matter how many times I readjust it, it won't stay put because the wires are too low.
Comparing this with my Curvy Kate Portia, which does have significantly higher underarm wires, as you can see here:
My underarm fat almost disappears entirely! Curvy Kate seems to have just about the best wires when it comes to underneath the arm and having a long torso.
Lesson #1 of a Long Torso: Look for bras with high wires underneath the arms!
Lift & UnderwiresThe more bras I try, the more I prefer push-up bras. It's not remotely about vanity but rather comfort and find bras that work best with my body shape. I complained a lot about the lack of lift in my Bravissimo Alana here. But by now it should be obvious that the reason is simply because the bottom of the bra actually sits quite a bit lower than the root of my breast tissue.
Ideally, I'd actually like a bra where the bottom of the underwire sits higher than the bottom of the band, like this:
Sort of like a long lined bra that slops up. Certainly, this wouldn't be recommended for women with short torsos but it would be a nice option for those of us with long torsos!
Underwires that sit below the bra band are just about the worst thing ever for us. Not only do your breasts slop too far down into them, so it's likely that we'll get wrinkling in the bottom but also you may find that the underwires constantly poke your ribcage! I have to admit, I find this extremely annoying and it's one reason that my Sienna and I never got along very well.
I want to add... many unpadded bras have this shape. Mostly you just have to try it on and see how it works on your frame. Sometimes you can get away with the low underwires but you sacrifice lift in the process.
Lesson #2 of a Long Torso: Avoid bras where the underwires sit below the bra band like the plague!
Extra Breast Tissue Above the CupsAgain, this has to do with the cups sitting too low on your torso and the breast slopping down into the cups. The bra that this happens the most to me on is the Panache Evie. While I can even get slightly gapping at the top of the cups you can see in this picture that I clearly also have breast tissue above the cups that can't go down into the cups because they sit too low! However, the band is very tight on this (I had it altered down to a 28 band) so it's definitely not a problem with the band size.
If I hoist up the cups to where they should be sitting you can see the difference in the fit!
Again, this would be solved if we a long line sort of bra that had elevated cups.
The best solution that I've found for this are bras with open tops. For instance, my Curvy Kate Thrill Me. Granted it's still too small in the cups for me BUT because it has an open top, I don't have the issue of the top of the cups leaving out on a lot of breast tissue above them.
Lesson #3 of a Long Torso: Look for push-up bras in balconnette shapes/are more open at the top of the cups
Wrinkling at the Bottom of CupsBy now this problem should be obvious, the breasts just don't go down that far and so you're not filling out the bottom of the cups! I think of all the issues this is probably the most likely to happen for other reasons too. For instance, Darlene found that on her it meant she needed to go down a band size. However, if you're getting other symptoms that I've mentioned above it might very well be that you have a long torso and might want to rethink the types of bras that you've been buying.
Lesson #4 of a Long Torso: Wrinkling at the bottom of your cups may be due to a long torso but also try a band size smaller too.There's something interesting that I want to add. I've talked to Brittany from Thin&Curvy about this recently being that she has the same problem. One thing that we've both noticed is that going up a band size can help. Essentially, it allows the band to slop down more and the cups to sit higher. Of course, the problem with this is stability being that a looser bra band doesn't necessarily sit still. Also, on a larger bust it might not provide enough support to prevent back pain. However, if this is something you struggle with often it might be worth a try.
Another comment too... the fit on a bra can look very different on a woman with a short torso vs. a long torso. After my Bravissimo Alana review Les Gros Bonnet sent me an email showing her shape/uplift in the Alana. We're roughly the same height/bra size and I have to say the appearance was like night and day! Where for me it was low, and blah, her breasts looked uplifted and rounded! I think this also helps to explain why she doesn't like push-up bras that much. The biggest difference that we came up with was torso length. So it's a good thing to keep in mind when you're reading reviews on blogs. :)