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European Bra Size versus American Bra Size – What’s the Difference?

December 9, 2008 by Tomima - 9 Comments

One of our fabulous Customer Service Representatives, LaBresha, emailed me recently and told me many of our customers ask about the difference between European bra sizes and America bra sizes.  She then suggested I blog on the subject.  Well LeBresha, thank you for your suggestion, and here you go!

Let me begin with a little history.  The bra cup letter sizing as we know it today was first introduced in 1935 by The Warners Company.  Shortly after this measuring system was accepted in the US, the European corset manufacturers followed.

The numbers used today for our bra band size (e.g. 34, 38 etc.) were devised shortly after WWII.  Back then, women with the measurements of 36-24-36 were determined to be the ideal hourglass silhouette of the day.  But, since the band size represents a woman’s underbust measurement, the true measurement would be something more like a 28 or 32. Now, this is where marketing came in.  The industry decided to have the bra band sizes sound more appealing to women.  So, they took the underbust measurement, added 4-5 inches to it, and came up with the band sizes that we use today. This is why you add the 4 or 5 inches to your underbust measurement when you are calculating your bra band size.

So, now let’s talk about cup sizing today. A recent inquiry came to us from a woman stating that she’s a 36F in European bra sizing.  She wanted us to tell her what her US bra size would be.  There is no easy answer to her question, unfortunately.  This is because there is no consistancy in bra sizing between European brands and American brands when it comes to cup sizes larger than a D.  Over the years, various bra manufacturers, in their attempt to be unique, have varied their bra sizing from the traditional naming of cup size.  It used to be that American manufacturers would size their bra cups as follows: AA, A, B, C, D, DD, DDD, DDDD.  European manufacturers sized their cups: AA, A, B, C, D, E, F, G.  But, British manufacturers had their own scheme: AA, A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF.  So you can now see why it would be difficult to convert one size to another.

Here is my personal suggestion to women who have breasts larger than a D cup, and want to find their bra size in a different brand.  Know how many cup sizes larger you are than a D, and then you can always find your correct size.  Cup sizing up through a D is universal.  The grading of cup sizing is also universal.  Therefore, if you know you are 3 cup sizes larger than a D, you can simply find the D cup size on any bra manufacturer sizing chart, count up 3 cup sizes from there, and that will be your size.  Here’s is an example: suppose you know you are a DDD cup in the US which is 2 cup sizes larger than a D cup.  Using our cup sequences method, you would be an F cup in the European example, and an E cup in the British example.

But let me make it even easier for you.  At HerRoom, we have this great fitting chart we always keep current that compares all the brands we offer.  Simply find your cup size under the brand you know fits, then go up and down the column to determine your size in other brands.

fitting chart

Now what about band size?  Well, thank goodness this is pretty standard across all brands.  However, some European brands do like to use the centimeter number to identify your underbust measurement – and they don’t add 4 to 5 inches to make it sound better.  So, a 32 band size would be a 70, a 34 band size would be a 75, a 36 would be an 80 and so on.  The good news here is that at HerRoom, we only offer traditional band sizing for all our items, regardless of country of origin.

So there you have it.  It’s really not that difficult to understand and adjust to once you know the system.  And of course, if you have any further sizing questions, my ace Customer Service Representatives like LaBresha are there to give you any assistance you need.