Finding a bra you love only to discover its size range stops just before your bra size can be frustrating. However, in some circumstances, you may not be totally out of luck.
Say you’re a 40C and the bra you have found stops at 38DD. You MIGHT be able to wear the 38D or 38DD in that bra if the band doesn’t feel too tight. Deviating from your traditional bra size is called the cup size game. Substituting bra sizes really works more successfully on women with band sizes 40 and above and D cups or larger because there is more breast tissue and body circumference to work with – a 2″ band increase or a 1″ bust line circumference increase is less significant than on a smaller framed person. But, smaller framed women also have way more bra choices.
There are 2 important things you need to know about cup size. The first is that a cup size on one band size is not equal to the same cup size on another band size. In other words, a 32D bra has smaller cup volume and diameter than a 34D bra even though both bra sizes are a D cup. So I bet you’re wondering why the industry assigns the same cup size to both.
Cup size is a measurement of how far your breasts project from your chest wall. Each cup size denotes a 1″ increase in your body’s CIRCUMFERENCE measurement at your bust line. Knowing this fact can help you zero in on your correct bra size. For example, you try on a bra and the band feels comfortable, but your breasts are spilling out. Keep going up in cup sizes on the same band size until you find the bra that fits. Alternately, the cups fit great, but the band is too big. When you go down a band size, you now know that you need to go up a cup size to maintain the same underwire diameter and similar cup volume (Example: Go from a 40C to a 38D).
The second important point about cup size pertains to women with cup sizes larger than a D cup. Trying to find cup equivalents among brands can be very difficult. In one brand you are a DDDD, but this same cup size can be a G, F, or FF in other brands. The first thing you should know is that all manufacturers size their cups up by 1″ circumference increases. They may call their sizing by different letters, but the increases between sizes are uniform. So, as mentioned above, find out how many cup sizes above a D you are. At HerRoom.com, when you look at the sizes available in a particular bra, HerRoom displays the cup sizes in order from smallest to largest. If you are 4 cup sizes larger than a D cup, you can count 4 sizes from D to find your correct size in that particular brand. Again, it doesn’t matter what the cup size letter is. Just make sure you count the right number of sizes above their D and you will have the right size.
When a manufacturer grades his patterns to create different sizes for a bra style, he moves the bust points slightly wider with each cup size increase. B cup bust points are 1/2″ farther apart than A cups. Bust points get 1/4″ farther apart between B, C and D cups, and 1/8″ farther apart with larger cup sizes. Now that I’ve shared the cup size game with you, I want to make a final point. It is always best to purchase your true and accurate bra size if you want to maximize your proper fit.
Learn more about bra cup sizing at HerRoom.