A bra size is a combination of a number and a letter, or letters, which represent a bra's band and cup sizes. But there are some misconceptions -- and confusion -- about what bra sizes mean.
How well do you understand yours? And why do you need to?
Understanding bra sizes -- and how they relate to fit -- is the first step to finding bras that fit and flatter your body perfectly.
- Band sizes typically range from 32 to 40 inches, if the lingerie brand is American. Certain brands will go up to a size 44.
- A specialty brand that designs bras for full-figured or plus-size women will typically carry up to size 52.
- Cup sizes are alphabetical, A through D.
Some brands offer cup sizes that are smaller than an A-cup, such as AA or even AAA. These are often great options for a pre-teen looking for a first bra.
- After size D, many American brands carry DD and DDD cup sizes. Many brands for full-figured women will also carry the next cup size after DDD, which is named DDDD, E, or F, depending on the brand.
- The specialty brands that make larger cup sizes typically carry this size range: F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ and K.
How Band Size Relates to Cup Size
It's a common misconception to think that all B cups -- or any letter -- are the same size. They're not.
A bra's cup size is relative to its band size.
This means that in order to determine the actual size of a bra cup, the band size should be taken into consideration. Understanding how band size is related to cup size will help you to choose the right sizes to try on.
Here's an example:
- Bras that are sizes 32B and a 34B have different cup sizes -- even though the letters are the same.
- Bras that are sizes 34B and 32C will have the same -- or very similar -- cup sizes, even though the letters are different.
- Going down one band size, but up one cup size, will ensure that the cup sizes actually stay the same, and they will have a similar fit -- even though the letter sizes are different.
- The reverse is also true: go up a band size, and down a cup size, and the cup sizes will stay the same.
The 1-Inch Standard
Remembering which bra cups are similar in size may be slightly confusing to grasp at first, but the difference in cup size from one letter to the next couldn't be any simpler -- it's always 1 inch.
This rule only applies when the band size is the same.
So, consecutive cup sizes are always 1 inch apart. It doesn't matter if you're comparing a 32A with a 32B--or a 36C and a 36D -- the difference between both sets of consecutive cup sizes is the same, 1 inch.
Every bra is constructed differently, with different fabrics -- so no 2 will ever fit exactly the same -- no matter what the number on the tag says. In fact, your bra size should change depending on the style and brand.
Once you know how to tell when your bra fits correctly, you'll be on your way to looking better in all your clothes.