For decades, conversations around bra sizes have focused squarely on the cup size. We’re sure you’ve heard schoolyard jokes like ‘A = Almost Nothing, B = Barely There, C =’ etc. Well, we’re here to tell you that not all cups are created equally, and in truth, breast size / bra size is about much more than just the cups. Don’t believe us... read on.
The Truth About Bra Cup Sizes
When buying a well-fitted bra you need to know that not all cups are the same. This means that the cup size of a 32D is not the same size as a 34D.To explain this properly we will need to go into the details of what the cup measurement and band measurement is, and what the two in unison actually mean?
Measuring The Band Size
The band, which is the number part of your bra size, is the measurement of the circumference of your bodydirectly under your bust. Getting the correct measurement can be tricky, and your results will be dependent on whether your breasts are supported (by holding them up) or not. When you don’t support your breasts, you are likely to end up with an incorrect measurement.Band Size Intervals and Decisions
Band sizes only come in two-inch intervals, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38 etc., if you measure between intervals, you have to choose either the smaller band or the bigger band. If you have bigger breasts, we always recommend that you opt for the smaller band size, as this will offer you more support. If you have smaller breasts, we would recommend the larger band size because you require slightly less support from the actual band.
This is a very important decision! Too many women forgo the support of a snug band in favour the comfort of a bigger band. They do this, only to be let down (literally) by the lack of support the bigger band offers - especially when the bra stretches. Your professional fitter should be able to advise you what would be right for you.
Measuring The Cup Size
The cup measurement, is calculated by working out the difference between your over-the-breast measurement and your band size measurement (both measured in inches). Every inch difference is equal to a bra cup size. At Liza Clifford Studio, we have chosen to work in the UK sizes, as this is most closely aligned to the South African retails store sizes. It also helps empower the women we see, giving them the necessary knowledge to make a better bra choice.
Cup Size Lettering Explained
Each inch difference between the band and over-breast measurement is a cup size. Starting with a A, and working all the way through B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, to K. To clarify, there are no double letters before the D, there is no double E, and there is no I.
Feeling a little overwhelmed with all this information? Don’t be! That’s why we do what we do, and we’re here to help navigate the sizing terrain on your behalf.
The Importance of The Fitting
A measurement is only a starting point. Fitting the bra is actually the most important aspect and you can read all about the difference between a fitting and a measuring service here. As we have said before, no two women are the same, and in some instances even two breasts on the same body aren’t the same. Getting a bespoke and tailored fitting can drastically improve the way your lingerie fits, feels, and supports.
Understanding The Band / Cup Size Ratio
Now that you know what the band and what the cup refers to, we can explain why each band has a different size cup even though they use the exact same letter; in essence why a 32D is not the same cup size as a 34D.
While the difference in measurement in these two instances remains the same, the starting point is bigger in the 34-band size. This means the breast size of a 34D is actually bigger than the 32D. The same breast size (referring to the cup size) of a 32D in a 34-band size is actually a 34C.
These are the kinds of adjustments you should be making if your bra feels too tight, but you are happy with the coverage of the cup. Bearing in mind, if the cup is too small the bra may feel tight and sometimes just a small cup adjustment makes the bra fit better without choosing a bigger band. Again, a very common misconception.
And That’s Why Bra Cups Aren’t Created Equally
Now that you are armed with the necessary information, and understand why a D cup is not a standardised measure across every band size, we hope you’ll be able to see the importance of a proper fitting. When you engage an expert fitter, you’re engaging someone who understands the nuances in band and cup size, and also how to get the most out of a bra. So next time someone passes on a meme or joke saying ‘A = Almost Nothing, B = Barely There, C =’ etc., we hope you’ll set the record straight!