It may sound like a headline from The Onion, but actual British researchers have pinpointed the ideal breast shape, according to a study published in the very real journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
In this rather unusual bit of science, the British doctors surveyed 1,315 people (men, women, and plastic surgeons), asking them to look at photos of different breasts and pick the proportions they liked best. The winning ratio across all three groups: 45:55, as in 45% of breast tissue falls above the nipple line and 55% below. Turns out, this is a “natural” shape—similar to the Venus de Milo—and nothing like the orb-like, fake boobs of yore.
“Particularly in the United States in previous decades, plastic surgeons have used implants that were often round due to being filled with saline,” wrote researchers Dr. Patrick Mallucci of The Cadogan Clinic and Dr. Olivier Branford of the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust in an email. “These inevitably gave an unnatural football-like or ‘Baywatch‘ breast with overfilling of the top of the breast due to the implant shape and lack of understanding as to what to aim for.”
Surprisingly, one subset in the study was more apt to choose perfectly even melons: women over 40. The likely reason? They pine for what they’ve lost up top. “As the breast ages,” wrote the researchers, “it becomes more fatty, the skin sags and the nipple falls, often with breast volume loss.” (As if those of us in our 40’s need a reminder of all that!)
Maybe you’re thinking: How dare experts reveal what’s “perfect” when we all know beautiful breasts come in all shapes and sizes! Well, before you get too worked up, keep in mind that the study was meant to help plastic surgeons have a more consistent template not only for breast augmentation, but also breast reductions and reconstruction after cancer.
Topline takeaway? A natural bosom is the favorite, even with guys—no matter what beer commercials would have us believe. As the British doctors explained, “Preconceptions that men prefer an artificial augmented look are false.”