Pages

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Torso length, height, underarm fit and lift

Sorry for the long rambling title but this post covers a lot of bases and I wanted that to be clear from the start.

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
Certainly some of these complaints can happen on women with all torso lengths that are busty but I've noticed that they're more common among  women with shorter torsos.   Some of the complaints are easier to fix (like finding bras with lower underwires, altering strap length, and avoiding push-up bras).  The shirt complaint is a bit trickier but often times looking for clothes that specifically cater to busty women can help.

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 bralessinbrasil@gmail.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

not

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. 
Whew, that's a long list and, again, not ever issue could be chalked up to a long torso but if you're nodding along with a lot of these issues then finding appropriate bras for a long torso might be your problem.

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 Fat

I 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 & Underwires

The 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 Cups

Again, 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 Cups

By 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. :)

87 comments:

  1. This is really interesting! I've always felt like I had a "short torso"... I'm going to need to do some measuring to figure it out once and for all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do and let me know what you find out! Do you have the the normal fit issues for a women with a short torso?

      Delete
  2. Thanks for this! I've always known I had a longer torso, but I never stopped to think how it could affect my bra fitting. I have most of the problems you mentioned, and it's exciting to see this recognized as a real thing that needs to be addressed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to hear that I'm not crazy with this post. ;) These are things that have been bugging me for awhile and it only really came together recently that they were related to my torso length. I'm curious how a bra fitter would handle them. Maybe Butterfly Collection or A Sophisticated Pair will weigh in eventually. :)

      Delete
    2. It's just SO enlightening! I thought I just had weird breasts or something. I didn't pull out a measuring tape or anything, but just estimating, it looks like my armpit to underbust is well over two inches. I've almost always had empty space at the bottom of cups, and I just blamed it on my breasts. I never realized it could be something else completely.

      Delete
    3. Nope, no weird breasts here. The issue is, is that there's just so much diversity that you really need to look for someone with similar breasts as your self to see how a bra will work for you (and often time's it's not that the bra is poorly constructed but that it's not constructed with your breasts in mind).

      I too was baffled by the empty space at the bottom of the cups. It wasn't until I got out the measuring tape and checked that I really got my answer. ;)

      Delete
  3. This resonates so strongly for me. I have essentially ALL the long torso issues and it is absolutely maddening, especially since due to my high hips I don't actually have a long torso, practically speaking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds incredibly frustrating. :( I'm hoping that by making this post more people will become aware of the issues and maybe some solutions will eventually crop up in the near future!

      Delete
    2. We are twins! I definitely have the problems of the short torso people (and I have a short torso) But I also have the underarm problem, and the not enough lift problem. Especially in my Freyas after a few months. And Panaches generally kill me because they come up way to high and poke me! Ugh! I thought I was just a weirdo.

      Delete
    3. That's interesting. Although, I do think it has more to do with the placement of your underbust, root of your breast and armpit height, so it could certainly be possible to have a short torso and these problems. I think it's just a more common issue among women with long torsos, but could certainly happen among women with short torsos too!

      Delete
  4. What a great read! I'm on the way other end of the spectrum as far as cup size goes, but the principles and issues are almost exactly the same. Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing and I was actually wondering if this occurred in smaller busts too, so I'm really glad that you commented!

      Delete
  5. I am totally confused.
    What is the torso length you are talking about? Doesn't everyones underbust sit under their breast root? Isn't that the definition of underbust?
    So what makes this an issue of torso length rather than breast shape? Could it just be an issue of a specific softness/ shape of breast?
    I am petite (5' 2") and have always felt like I have a short torso (it's not very long compared to some people, and if i'm not careful my boobs can hide how tiny my waist is because they are almost on top of each other). Yet I experience most of the same fit issues as you describe for the "long" torso.
    Would you mind clarifying more? I love all your advice, it's super helpful, but I am just struggling with your definition of torso length as a petite woman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the safest way would be to look at the diff measurement above (the difference between armpit to bottom of bra band vs. armpit and bottom of the root of your breast if you lift it up by your hand).

      Certainly, this can happen on shorter torsos too (although most of the women who I have talked to who experience these symptoms have longer torso) the biggest thing would be how far underneath the root of your breasts do your bands sit? If you look specifically at my top sketch, do your breasts slope down into the cups of bras?

      I don't think necessarily that your underbust is exactly level with your bust. It depends also where your breasts are rooted in terms of your shoulder blades, ribcage etc. For instance, my breasts appear to be rooted parallel to where my shoulderblades are on my back, which is somewhat higher than where I would define my underbust to be (which is the area below my shoulder blades where a bra band most comfortably sits).

      Sorry if this is a bit confusing, let me know if I should explain it further. :)

      Delete
    2. When people talk about short and long torsos, height really has nothing to do with it. It's about proportions, rather. I'm also 5'2, and I have a long torso. Picture for example: http://i.imgur.com/yf7MZ.jpg

      Delete
    3. Yes, to what Criss said. It's much more about proprotions than your actual height. For instance, someone could be quite tall but have a short torso in comparison. That's one reason I mentioned my conversation with Les Gros Bonnet because we're basically the same height but have different proportions. :)

      Delete
    4. I was going to mention that too, about height. My mom is (was, major shrinking!) 5'8" with a super short torso, me being 4" shorter it's the complete opposite and very long. Almost to the point of looking awkward. Thank you so much for putting this post together!! I have every single one of the problems mentioned and I always attributed it to the wrong size. Now I know better =)

      One thing I will point out though, the Panache bra pictured is not the same style as the bra above it. They're called "partial bands". If you were comparing 2 full band styles it might make more sense. BUT...a partial band can still give all these problems. I have them quite bad in the Cleo Jude and I plan on altering it to a full band in the near future because the cups just sit funny. That bra has an especially tiny center gore as well. I have a question though. When you say the wires dig in, is it the front bottom, or sides? My biggest problem with partial bands is that the front of the underwires press down on my ribcage and kills, unless I shift then up.

      Delete
    5. (cont.) Oh, in regards to neckline length. They're always too deep. Not sure if this implies my upper torso is short but the nip to neck distance on me is a smidge over 8". Or would that still fit with the problems of a long torso?

      Delete
    6. That's a good point about them being too different band types. Ultimately, I was just looking for two bras to compare, one with wires even with the band and wires below. :)

      For me the wires dig in, in the front. Essentially, it's the low wires that curve down below the band that give me the worst problem. The Panache Sienna has been the bra that I had the most trouble with this. It sounds like from what you're describing that we have the same problem. If the cups were to sit higher on me, then the underwire would no longer dig in (and this would also avoid the extra breast tissue on top and the emptiness at the bottom of the cups).

      Hmm... I think the only way to really compare the nipple to neck distance would be with two women with the same breast size (I know on Bratabase they watch that measurement, so it would be interesting to know the data there). It could be, though, that you also have full on top breasts that cause this, closer spaced breasts (that cause a larger cleavage) or are proportionately smaller from your armpit up to your neckline.

      Delete
    7. This is a very old comment at this point, but I wanted to mention that neckline length actually has a lot to do with having narrow/wide shoulders! If you have narrow shoulders, the "V" doesn't spread out as much as it's designed to, making it extend longer.

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good point Lillefix and I definitely don't have much experience with a short torso myself so you may very well be right about having issues once you go up higher in the cups.

      I know some brands are much more apt to have higher wires: Curvy Kate, Panache whereas Bravissimo and Ewa Michalak tend to have shorter wires.

      I have wondered, especially after writing this post, if the wires that dip below the band are actually helpful to women with short torsos? Do they also deal with the wires poking their ribcage or do their ribcages sit lower?

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. I know there are a few brands that have the wires that dip below the band. Curvy Kate has some (although I don't think they are nearly as low as Panache). I'd be curious to see if there are women who really do benefit from this positioning.

      Yes, I definitely agree it's more about positioning than necessarily long vs. short torso. Below in the comments I know there are a few readers who have short torsos but highly placed breasts just to prove that point. :)

      Yes, also to the wire positions being an issue too. Although, there are some bras that are worse for me in terms of wire positions/width but do better for me in terms of preventing underarm fat (like the Curvy Kate Portia above). I have yet to find the perfect bra that covers all the bases!

      That's a good point about depth vs. wire height. I get the impression that some brands compensate for that by making the cups wider and more shallow, which effectively pushes some of the breast tissue into the underarms a bit. I suppose then they can get away with shorter wires but that also makes it more difficult for ladies who truly do need that extra depth!

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  7. I know the problem you are describing, but associated it with too narrow underwire. My torso is rather average then really long, but I have underwires poking my ribs and wrinkles at the bottom of the cups when I move the bra to be lower then the root of the breasts are to prevent it from sitting on my breasts tissue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's interesting. Like I said above, I think it's more of a combination of all the issues that can be related to torso size. I can definitely see how if the wires were not wide enough that you'd have to lower the bra to make it more comfortable.

      In my own case, though, this has happened in bras that were definitely the correct size (in terms of underwire width etc) or even in ones that were too big. Moving up the band (as I tried with the Alana) actually fixed the problems but that would mean wearing my band across my shoulder blades.

      Just goes to show how much variety there is out there in body types and fit issues. ;)

      Delete
    2. Looks like shoulder blades position has something to do with length of the torso. That's interesting.

      More I know about bra, clothes and how they fit more I suspect that our bone structure defines it 50%+ (do you know that our skeleton proportions define where we put and loose weight?)

      Delete
    3. Yes, I'd definitely agree with that. I think the most obvious case of skeletal structure playing a role is women who have wider hips vs. butt but with the same measurement. In that case depending on who extreme the difference sometimes the pants sizes can be quite a bit different!

      Delete
  8. This is really interesting to me. I have what I'd describe as a short torso. I'm 5'1.5" and all my height is in my legs, if my torso matched my legs I'd be about 5'6. That said I have some of the same problems as ladies with a long torso like you describe above, just because of where my breasts sit. I have a fairly low underbust, but the root takes up the majority of the space on my chest. So I'm not really sure if I have a long torso or a short torso based on your descriptions. But based on the problems, I'd say I have a long torso. I use the same solutions that you do, open top bras and higher wires. I look forward to reading other comments (and any follow up posts).
    On the side, have you seen Questfortheperfectbra's post about having issues with a gap at the bottom of her bras. She went down a bandsize and was able to find a better fit in the cups. I wonder if she is an example of a long torso or a short torso with a similar problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If your breasts sit well above your underbust then I definitely think all of this can apply to you too. :) I haven't seen Questfortheperfectbra's post but I'm definitely going to check it, thanks for the heads up! Darlene found the same thing. I think it might be one of those symptoms that shows up due to a few different problems. However, that would be interesting if she also had a long torso!

      Delete
  9. Yup, long torso here at 5'9.5. That explains why I hate my Panache Porcelain with a vengeance and love my Cleo Juna and Freya Nieve longline. Freya is coming out with the Carys longline at the end of July. Maybe that'll help some of us?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I'm very jealous that you've found some longlines that work well for you! I've always suspected that they'd be a better fit on me too but it's good to hear first hand that they do improve the fit. So far, though, I have yet to find one in a 28J (Curvy Kate are you listening?) but it really might be a good solution for readers in a difference size.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I'm a 34/36 FF. Makes things easy. I feel sorry for my more-endowed friends and coworkers who cannot find bras as cute as mine in their sizes. I'm very excited about the Freya Carys coming out. I intend to nab every variation on it, price be hanged!

      Delete
    3. I hope it's a great fit for you when it comes out! I think with some bras you just have to ignore the price. ;)

      Delete
  10. I have a short torso. I usually wear HH or J cups and find getting bras with a good fit really difficult. Most large cup brands use higher and wider underwires which are impossible for me to wear. I'm also a 28 back with a very bony ribcage so if the fit is slightly wrong it's severely painful.

    For me, I've found EM bras work the best. The wires are narrow and come lower which means they don't cause any problems. Interestingly I have to go up a size in them, wearing a 65H or HH instead. The 60 I have I have to wear with an extender as it hurts. I think this is down to my ribs being bony though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that makes a lot of sense. I have a very squishable ribcage so for me the 60's work quite well even though we have the same measurement. :)

      I've also heard that the Ewa Michalak bras work well for short torsos. Ironically, though, my new CH Toffik came after writing this post and I have to say that it works well on my long torso too! I think it just comes down to bras that are very well made.

      Delete
  11. This was an eye opening post. I have a long upper torso, and should wear a 28 band, likely an E cup. I am in the US and it is pretty hard to find 28 bands to try on, and the Freya cup shape does not seem work for me (my boobs are wide and not very full on top). Your analysis made clear to me why so many bras are ill-fitting (Mystere, Chantelle) even if the band is ok. Sadly knowing what the issues are does not make more bra styles available (longline, demi cup, anything but full coverarge) and I do not currently have the resources to order from the UK or Poland and US online bra sellers do not offer 28 bands for many styles. I had hopes for Panache, but now I think it may not be a good fit.

    P.S. For a short torso I might recommend Elle Macpherson, the bands are very tight (32 = 28) and the straps were too short for me when I had them fully extended.

    Mona

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might want to get in touch with Butterfly Collection (she does online skype fittings), A Sophisticated pair or Breakout bras. I know that all three carry 28 bands.

      I'd actually recommend checking out ebay UK. You can really get some amazing deals there and it's a good place to start when you're still figuring out your size. The prices are low enough to really make it worth it (and they often ship to the US and have returns). Brastop is also really great but it's good to watch for times when they offer half-off/free shipping.

      Curvy Kate definitely offers more open top bras in your size (although the bands aren't super tight in their Show girl range, just to give you a heads up there). Panache Cleo might be a good option for you being that they have a wider range of styles (but I can't say how well they work regarding torso length because their padded ones don't come in my size, regrettably). Another possibility could be Bravissimo and I don't think their shipping costs are that bad either..

      Delete
  12. after reading this post I think I suffer from this, must go and try my bras to confirm the theory.
    a minor detail: the white bra with pink ribbon it's the portia not the lottie ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the heads up on that! I'll change it in the text. :)

      Delete
  13. Wait? We're the same height? I thoought you were at least 3 inches taller than me! I definitely have trouble with getting the wire to sit at the crease of my bust even though I have a short torso, but in my case, if I make sure to hike it up and adjust the straps, the band sits at a normal height. I think the ploblem has a lot to do with how high/low your breasts sit, regardless of torso length, but it is easier to fix on a short torso. In my case, part of it is also just the weight of my breasts I think

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm 5'6" (although sometimes measure slightly shorter depending on the doctor's office). I guess I must look taller or something because this seems to be a common assumption. ;)

      That's a good point about the weight of your breasts too. I think heavier breasts (and this has got to be a big problem for lactating moms, especially!) tend to drag down the cup so it's that much more important to get a cup that fits you breast shape spot on.

      I try the strap thing and it normally makes either my band ride up too high (if the band is at all loose) or makes the straps dig into my arms on the sides.

      Delete
  14. June, we have many of the same issues I see! I have always been confused about all the talk I hear about needing shorter wires, because for me, they are just not long enough! I always try to spot of bras plunge down a lot after the end of the cup. I wouldn't mind something like this: http://image.dhgate.com/albu_227997415_00/1.0x0.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a gorgeous bra! Yes, those wires seem like that would help a lot. I'm guess it probably doesn't come in anything close to my size? It seems like a very good starter bra especially for women who are getting used to their band size and need a lot of support underneath the arms from breast tissue migration.

      Delete
  15. This post was illuminating. That's why my v-neck shirts come down to my belly button? That's why every time I buy a push up bra I feel indecent? I knew I had a really short torso (even for my height, 5'3), but I didn't realize it was responsible for so much havoc, including always being stabbed in the armpits by my underwires. I always thought that it was the quality of the bra, and if I spent enough, I'd find ones that didn't stab me. But other than Freya, I never really did, so I stopped buying anything but Freya bras.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, torso play a big role! I never realized it at first either but it does. In terms of shirts you might have some luck bringing in the shirts along the shoulder seams so that the neckline sits higher. Or you could try wearing a choli underneath. :)

      As for low wires, definitely check out Ewa Michalak bras. Many of the other commenter on here with short torsos swear by them! I also found that the Bravissimo Alana had very short wires, so maybe another to try?

      Delete
  16. I know you asked me on Twitter, but I hate twitter (I'm too long winded for 140 characters!) so I'm weighing in here. First, like you, I'm all torso with heavy bust tissue, so getting lift is paramount for me. One of the things I look for in bras is a banded frame (with the extra fabric at the bottom) because it usually means the underwire are going to sit closer to the root of the breasts and that the bra will stay secure throughout the day. One of the reasons I swore off Panache for a few years was because they often set their underwires lower, which works well for some women, but for me, I felt like I wasn't getting as much lift. Additionally, I look for wider wings as well as styles with a fuller side cup. It helps keep all of that tissue contained and supported. Fabric can also help with this problem too. Bras that use more rigid materials can give more lift and shaping than the bras that use flimsier materials. Lace styles or stiff fabrics will have less give, which means the weight of the breast won't put as much pressure on them to bend or fall. From a fit perspective, I have to say that my Panache Andorra is currently my absolute best fitting bra. It really encompasses all of those qualities (wider wings & underwire, banded frame, stiff fabric, etc.) and holds me up and in place throughout the day.

    Interestingly, I see more women struggling with fit because of a shorter torso. For them, they often feel like they have too much bra (wings are to high, underwire digs into the top of the armpit, band of the bra rolls on the waist), so styles with a bandless frame, in particular, work better for them.

    A few of the the things you've described as symptoms of a long torso can also be attributed to breast shape too. I often get "the shadow" at the bottom of bras where there's no breast tissue there. Part of this is because, yes, I feel like I need the bra to sit a smidge higher, but a larger reason is that the cup is shallow there and the weight of my (bottom-heavy) breast sitting higher in the cup weighs down the fabric. I actually had a shallow cup problem with the Curvy Kate Romance but it was the part of the cup near the center gore.

    Because of weight loss, I lost some firmness in the top of my bust that kind of "fell" to the bottom, so my bras really have to work on lifting from the band. As a result, one final thing I like to look for is a 3-section balcony cup with the bigger sections on the bottom. Curvy Kate tends to expand the top portion section as they size up in the cup, and I prefer to see that kept smaller since I feel like it doesn't give as much hold/bottom-lift as my bras from Freya or Panache. Of course, my Tease Me bra is still, without a doubt, the best for getting the girls "up there."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for dropping in and responding! I was definitely hoping you'd say something! :D

      First off, I do think you're very right in that this is a less common issue compared to women who struggle with having a short torso. I've often seen posts discussing short torsos, too high underwires, too tall cups, too long straps etc. The only real comment I've ever read about long torsos is that we should lengthen the straps (not even remotely good advice for myself...). I guess that was the real drive behind this post was that I wanted to point out that this was an issue (and I suspected for other women too!).

      Thanks for the advice on the fabrics, bands, and wings. I keep hearing good things about the Panache Andorra so I should give that a try at some point. I've always preferred bras with stiffer materials (well, with the one exception of the Thrill Me but I think that I like that for other reasons) so I think that's just another piece to this puzzle.

      Definitely, it could be a shape issue too. I believe in Curvy Kate that happens with me because the cups are too shallow at the bottom. However, I get this in my Cleo George too and it definitely has more depth. I think my new Ewa Michalak Toffik is about the only one that doesn't do it.

      This also reminds me, I really need to try the Tease Me. :)

      Delete
  17. The more I read your blog, the more I love it! You're a fountain of wisdom!! Love this kind of post on shapes and bodies, and not only reviews of bras!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for posting this. I have a long torso and most of the issues you mention. Now I know why some of my bras "fit" but still aren't comfortable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem, I'm glad it could help. :D

      Delete
  19. Wow, these are literally ALL of the problems I have with bras! (Thanks to http://bybabysrules.com/ for pointing out this post!) I am average hight (5' 5"), but have short legs and a long torso. Wearing smaller bands has helped a bit, but I still have troubles... and I love bras where the band is actually lower than the underwire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad this could help you to be aware of the problem! We're really right about the same height then (also long torso+shorter legs). What bras with the band lower than the underwires have worked well for you? Please share! :D

      Delete
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I never even thought about this, but it makes perfect sense! I've always known I have a pretty long torso - especially since I'm tall, but my legs are rather normal (prob a little longer than average). I have always had trouble finding tops and shirt that are long enough, but I never realized how this too has affected my bra-fittings! Thank you so much for sharing :D

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi. All your issues appear to me. But for me it's even worse.

    I have a long torso, and a wide ribcage curved outward. This will happen: I will need underwires that are extremely high under the armpits and as I am smaller under the bust than the underbust my bra will wander down to the exact point where it poke my ribs. There it will stop. No going anywhere, but you can imagine the pain on my poor ribs :D

    Most women at least are smaller the closer they come to the waist. I'm bigger and bigger. My smallest part is right under my bust just before the ribcage curves outward.

    http://www.breastimplantsvirginia.com/gallery-album/?performAction=Display&entry_id=197 Look at this sight (not to alter any boob I would never even think about it, but because theire pages are so informative on shape!

    Most women are not curved outward under the bust. I've simply got the male frame with the large boobs to go with it.

    A longline is therefore out of question as it will fold upwards.

    Rediculously I have sloping shoulders to go with this frame. :D

    On the good side having this low set boobs will be for me I at least can fake a waist with a bra that is wide enough at the sides and sits really really tight. For most girls the babydoll line would look silly. On me it looks normal.

    As I have this odd shape I have been digging into body shape issues a lot cause it took me forever to understand what the heck was wrong.

    I have yet to find a bra blogger that looks the faintest bit like me :D I have boobs wandering all over the place. Two backrolls, huge armpit rolls and I could probably even collect some tissue from *under* my breasts if I wanted.

    However, I am really happy to hearing that Andorra has long wires as I am expecting it this week and is desperate for new bras :)

    Thank you for this post, it explained a lot to me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We actually have similiar shapes then! I think you might like my post on different midsections ;) : http://www.bralessinbrasil.com/2011/11/waistland-part-2-beauty-and-bras.html where I discuss having a smaller underbust than waist. I'd also have the same issue with longline bras, although, my guess is if I could find one long enough, it might not be bad, or better yet an overbust corset that actually fits!

      Like you I get poked often in my ribs too, ugh. :( You might want to try Ewa Michalak bras. I reviewed my latest here and because the wires are higher, it really works amazingly well on me: http://www.bralessinbrasil.com/2012/07/ewa-michalak-ch-toffik-28j-poland-never.html

      I'd definitely suggest spending a long time scooping all your breast tissue into the cups. I get some crazy underarm fat too if I'm not careful and only a tight band+lots of scooping has managed to fix this at all.

      Delete
  23. Hi again. Yes we have a somewhat similar shape, but if you look at this http://www.kurvigheter.se/klara/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/klara-utklippt-i-profil-utan-nederdel.jpg do you still look like me? As you can see I first curve out under my boobs, then in again at the waist and then out again under the waist. I also bulge everwhere and have some serious migration boobies on my back :D

    As you can see no longline would ever fit me.

    You seem to be smaller just under your bust and then more evenly distributed without much of a waist?

    I will try Ewa Michalak as soon as I have a clue what so ever of my size. The more I scope the bigger the boobs gets. It just seem to never end.

    I will set up my own blog in Swedish to document my journey :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link! I wonder if you could get away with a mini-longline bra? Basically one that starts at your underbust but the cups are slightly elevated above it?

      Yes, I'm quite similar and at my highest weight we looked almost identical. ;) I really don't have much of a defined waist at all. My underbust is my smallest and from the side I round out immediately from the underbust down.

      I think Ewa Michalak would still be a good starting spot for you and I'd suggest checking out Bra Nightmares blog: http://branightmares.blogspot.com/ for good reviews too. Also, let me know the link if you get a blog up!

      Delete
    2. How cool is that! I seldom find people looking like that and I constantly look for them :D

      I do think even a small longline would curl up on me. However I really would want bras to have like 5 hooks instead of three and those hooks would need to sit on top of where all hooks go now. Like a back thats really tall.

      I read your Ewa Michalek review and I really really want to try it. It's just that I don't have the slightest clue of how to know my size. I don't even know my size in Panache, Freya or CK yet. I migrate underarm and back fat like a mad person now and my boobs have totally gone wild on me :D

      Bra Nightmares is really good yes :)

      Delete
    3. I know the feeling. Sometimes I feel a bit of an oddity with my body type because in some ways it has problems that cut across many different body types. It's a bit crazy making. :)

      Yes to the extra hooks, have you tried the Freya Active yet? Not exactly the best shape but it does have 4 hooks (I believe).

      As for finding your size... My favorite calculators are from Butterfly Collection and A Sophisticated Pair:
      http://www.butterflycollection.ca/bra-size-calculator/
      http://www.sophisticatedpair.com/bracalculator.htm

      Beyond that it's mostly a matter of just trying on a bunch of bras. Ewa Michalak is tough because returns are so far away but well worth it if you figure out your size.

      Delete
    4. So I have looked at you again. And at me again. And compared and compared.

      I am going to complicate this even more now :D

      I really do have a longer torso. I have yet to find wires poking. But as I need wires 19cm wide they end up behind my arms (my root is there for real) and there is nothing to poke there :)

      But: Even when my boobs slope down into cups (Andorra do have the same shape as the other Panache superbras) I litterary have boobs up to my chin. Big root.

      So I'm thinking that if one has a bigger root and have boobs high on chest the problems with a longer torso will be a little different?

      http://blog.curvykate.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Group-Emily.jpg Compare Laura Ann Smith (left) with Laura Butler (mint) Who will have the longest torso?

      It's hard to tell. Laura Butler has boobs lower on torso than all the others. The others I would say are high on chest. Also I would say Laura Ann Smiths boobs take up the most space on her body. Both in width and height.

      Alice Rose Rayman: http://blog.curvykate.com/star-in-a-bra-uk-top-ten-alice-rose-rayman/ Long or short torso? She certainly slopes into that bikini for sure. But what I want to show is more the space her boobs take up on her torso. Even when she slopes down into her cups she has boobs up to her armpits.

      My underarm fat will put itself on my cups. It will crease very proportionately and rounded on top of my cups making me look even full on top. But it will still be kind of shallow. As the full cup Panache is working like a pushup on me I feel little in the dark here :D

      I don't even know what would happen if I lifted my boobs to a higher level, but I'm thinking I don't need it. For a party it would probably rock. But for everyday wear maybe the superbras would work.

      It's just that I certainly prefer my fuller on top boobs over underarm fat :D

      High wires wings and coverage therefore, desperately needed. By high wires I mean like wires in line with the underbust 19 cm wide and 14 cm high on the wings with cups not deeper than 33 cm. Poor me :D

      I really should start my blog because this shape is not that usual :D

      Delete
    5. I'm going to reply to myself now. Because I think I might have overlooked the possibility that I was full on top. Sagged boobs looks full on bottom per se? But I bulge on top of every bra I try when I scope the underarm fat in place on the boobs. Even those I don't fill out on the bottom. My boob shape in scoped state really looks like haters in the Sienna :O http://brasihate.blogspot.se/2012/01/panache-sienna-review.html

      However, I need the coverage she hates!

      Delete
    6. Those pictures are really great and I'd say that at least per this post Laura Butler (mint bra) would probably run into some of the long torso issues where as Laura Ann Smith (left) might not. In terms of torso lengths (just by eyeballing them), they look about the same but Laura Butler has a higher, nipped in waist whereas Laura Ann has a straighter torso.

      I does sound like you have full-on-top breasts. That's definitely possible when you have soft breasts too. ;) I have bottom heavy breasts and the signs of it are basically wrinkling on the top of cups even when they fit perfectly elsewhere and also issues will filling out the bottom of cups (but like in this post I don't think it's just for the bottom heavy reason). A good bra to test the difference is the Masquerade Rhea. It seems to work well for top heavy breasts and work horribly for bottom heavy breasts. On the reverse side I'd say the Bravissimo Alana works well on bottoms heavy breasts but always cuts into the top of breasts for top heavy breasts.

      Delete
    7. I will try out the Masquerade in the future I think :) Right now I'm awaiting my third brastop order :D

      As for now CK Emily is the best bra I've tried. It gives me the rounded lifted slightly minimised shape I want. (I'm quite in line with Hater on her taste of shape).

      About fuller on bottom vs top I'm still not sure. I drown in everything just like you. It's after scoping I quadraboob in everything.

      However I do really need the ridiculously wide and high wires. So I'm leaning about a few CK models, maybe some Panache will work after all, but the best migration bras might be extremely altered Freya balconettes. They do seem to have the best wires.

      And as I've said elsewhere I will start blogging and I do look forward to your migration post :)

      Delete
  24. It almost looks like this woman (http://www.ewa-michalak.pl/news.php?id=1342815125) has the same issue with breasts sloping down into the cup somewhat instead of being fully supported by the bra.

    This post describes my issues very well and I do have a slight longer torso with shorter limbs proportionally. Before reading this post I always thought I had very teardrop shaped breasts but I've realised that if they are up where they should be they're not teardrop shaped at all, I just have a lot of breast tissue above the cups that is left completely unsupported.

    Sizing up in the band wouldn't work for me because my ribcage is fairly evenly sized throughout and doesn't really taper or widen much at all, still, I haven't been able to find a bra that works so far. Tight or loose they all sit too low (I think they reason they slide down is that if I pull the band up far enough it sits on top of my shoulderblades and their movement pushes the band down again) and don't give enough support. I also get gapping at the top of the cup despite slightly cutting into breast tissue if it were to stay high enough instead of sliding down.

    So I guess this long comment was just to agree with your assessment that longline bras with *elevated* cups might work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huh, interesting! I wonder about that a bit too. I've noticed that often times you see this on bra models, especially because they tend to favor taller women so I imagine many have this issue.

      Sizing up isn't really the best thing for me either. I think a longline with elevated cups is about the only solution that I can think of that would consistently work. I wonder if anybody would consider making one? :D

      Delete
  25. Another example of ill fitting: http://www.bravissimo.com/perfectfit/fitting-video/ The Bravissimo fit guide video. She is bulging out of her cups at the sides and in the back. And to me it looks like the bra cuts her breasts of horizontally.

    I might be a perfectionist but I really don't like that fit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I see what you mean. I wonder if they remembered to lean for and scoop in that video? It looks like she might have been able to go up a cup size just doing that.

      Delete
  26. Wow, this is me! To check out the underbust vs. breast root issue (I always thought they were the same), I fastened a 32 bra I'm returning on the tightest hook and placed it lower on my torso, where it's not interfering with my lats, shoulder blades, or underarms. It felt great! I could raise and lower my arms without the band riding up and down!! Of course now it's way too low for my breasts. I want a longline! Is there some way I could show you a couple of pictures illustrating this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can email me at bralessinbrasil@gmail.com if you have any questions. :) When buying bras definitely buy ones at least with the wires level with the band (like my CH Toffik: http://www.bralessinbrasil.com/2012/07/ewa-michalak-ch-toffik-28j-poland-never.html). A longline would certainly be best but it's at least a start. ;)

      Delete
  27. I have a short torso. I believe the reason why some people with short torso experience similar symptoms as the ones described here is due to the fact that it your bra is too high in the armpit and digging there then the most natural reaction is to pull it down. Then as a consequence your band gets pulled down lower than your underbust. Then as a consequence you have sagging in the bottom of the bust and empty cups on the top. I actually find bras like panache tango plunge to be very uncomfortable because even if the wire in the front is lower than the underbust the wire on the side of the armpit it very high. I also suffer from the wire being too broad not just too high.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's a great point, thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  28. Wow! This is so interesting!
    I definitely have a long torso and I have pretty much all these problems. I have so many of the issues you have written about, including very soft breasts (though no children, they've just always been like that).
    Your posts have been so helpful to me to figuring out WTF is actually going on with my bras, so thank you!

    I have often said that I would love a mini-longline, with maybe 2 inches of band in front and a high cup, but certainly no such thing exists (in my size, anyhow). Also, my 34.5" underbust is the very tiniest part of my torso (I usually wear about a US size 18), and I go out just below it, enough that I don't know if it would fit even if something did.

    My bras never, ever have enough lift. If I pull the top of the cups straight up several inches they fit so much better! As it is, the straps are always set way too far out, and like you said, the cups drop down. But how to make this actually happen?

    Just to make this even more complicated, best I can tell I need around a 32K or KK (even though I measure over 34" a 34 band is pretty much always too big) which means I am sized out of almost everything out there, certainly out of any brand in which I would need to go up any cup sizes. Do you happen to know of anything that has worked well for you that would have the size I need?

    In any case, thank you for your interesting and helpful posts!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow, just read through this after being linked to it on your most recent post. I have a very short torso, but have very low-set breasts, and I have all of these problems! I was actually just thinking about it while I was getting dressed this morning and noticing that none of my bras actually sit up right under my breast root where they're supposed to. I think this problem may be related more to where your breast root is in relation to your torso than the length of your torso itself - maybe shorter-torsoed women are just more likely to have higher breast roots? In any event, this post has been eye-opening, and I will definitely be keeping these tips in mind from here on out!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi, I just wanted to let you know I'm re-posting this to reddit's A Bra That Fits (http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/) in response to a fit problem I've been having, and this article addresses. Lots of women have been asking for help with this, so I'll be posting this for everyone to see!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I hope it ends up helping many women. :)

      Delete
  31. I kept nodding throughout this article.

    Any bra suggestions for those with smaller cups? I'm roughly a 28E and cups in my range don't go up very high in the underarms, even if they do in larger sizes. Nothing I've tried keeps all my migrated breast tissue in place :/ And the Curvy Kate Portia bra doesn't seem to go very high in the underarm on the 28E.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll have to ask around because I really am more ignorant on the smaller cup sizes. My first thought would be Panache, which often times also has higher underwires.

      Delete
  32. This is so interesting. I have wide breasts and I think a long torso. I've never found a comfortable bra. The underwires always bug me, but I have to have them. I think I've finally figured out that my size is 38DDD after years of wearing B and C cups! I'm 5'2" but have a long torso. The Ewa Michalak HM Gold looks like a good option, but can you list some other good choices for us in the USA?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With wide breasts and a long torso I'd probably suggest either Curvy Kate or Panache. They both have high underwires and tend to have wider center gores too. You might also want to try Elomi. I'm not sure about the wire width but I've heard their bras are very comfortable.

      Delete
  33. Is there any chance you could give us a list of the bras that have the higher wires here? I'm having such a hard time finding them. If you have the time, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Did you ever find a long line bra similar to this? I have this same exact issue. Long torso. Pendulous breasts. The panache tango II and panache fern comes close to fitting right because the underwires are so high, but still, I can pull the underwires to my root as much as I want but the weight of my boobs eventually pushes the underwires down so the cups/underwires are level with the bottom of my boob. And like you mention, making the straps tight fixes the underarm fat, but then the band rides up. I just ordered a Ewa Michalak off ebay to see if that's any better

    ReplyDelete
  35. I am short waisted, but have a long rise (the bottom half of my torso from waist to crotch is long). I am VERY short waisted if you use the measuring technique of hand width to smallest part of the waist - I am slightly less than one hand length from underbust to waist.

    Most Panache wires poke me under the arms, and I get underarm fat easily. I have lots of space in the tops and bottoms of most cups and so far the ONLY bra that fits me is a Cleo Juna. It's technically a balconette but to me is cut like a demi; however, the wires are too long under my arms so I am still in search of perfection.

    Parfait Affinitas and Curvy Kate bands/wires fit me well; unfortunately, I've yet to find the perfect cup combo. Fantasie bras are generally good wire fits for me, also.

    ReplyDelete