Why D cup breasts aren't as big as you think (and why you shouldn’t care anyway)

When you run a lingerie brand that specializes in larger cup sizes, everyone wants to talk to you about bras. More specifically, everyone wants to talk to you about bras for “freakishly” large breasts. Today we’re going to talk about why this perception of larger cup sizes is inaccurate and why the D / DD cup divide is unhelpful for those seeking the perfect fit for shape and comfort.

The facts

For most retailers, the major sizing divide is at a D cup. For a long time, no one even made bras that went above a D cup! The idea of “standard” bra sizes is a hangover from the days when bras were made in very few sizes and were measured differently.

Today, the average bra size of a woman in the UK is a 36D and a 34DD in the US. This means that many women who aren’t perceived to have large breasts wear a bra size that falls in the D+ cup range. This D cup divide is therefore not representative of womens' bra sizes today.

There is no bra size without band size

Whilst people like to talk about a D cup as though it represents some mystical standard size i.e. ‘big’, no bra size exists without a band size, it is therefore meaningless. Let’s take two examples: a customer who is a 28D and a customer who is a 38D. Both of these women are a D cup, but one (the 28D) is 5 band sizes smaller and could be considered small chested by some whilst the other (38D) might appear bustier than average. This is because band size is inextricably linked to cup size and you can’t discuss one without the other; it is therefore not possible determine a person’s breast size by cup size alone.

Both of these women are a D cup, but only the 38D woman would be visually perceived by most as being above a D cup i.e. 'big'. For more photographic evidence, check out The Bra Band Project (http://www.brabandproject.com). As you can see, the same cup size looks completely different across a range of band sizes!

The D cup divide creates a negative image of fuller busted women

As a society, we’re not particularly well educated about the ins and outs of bra sizing. What we’ve done instead is create an artificial divide that can make some of us feel inferior or abnormal.

Those who need D+ cup bras are immediately presented with a ‘specialty’ section of a store that offers a far narrower choice of beautiful and elegant designs. This experience communicates the message that not only is D+ a ‘specialty’ size i.e. different or large, but that women in this size range are less deserving of beautiful undergarments; a message that can be particularly damaging for young women learning about their bodies. It can also contribute to body image issues when someone is properly measured for the first time and discovers that they are in this “negative” D+ cup size range.

Offering a wide range of cup sizes is about offering lingerie for all shapes and sizes

When we set out to create a lingerie line that catered for a wide range of cup sizes, we knew that it was about creating lingerie for a wide range of body shapes. As a result, we put lots of extra money and time into trying our prototypes across a wide range of fit models and bra sizes. We’re especially proud of the innovative look and feel of our Sophia Bra, which reinvents the unpadded bra and ensures that it fits beautifully across our customer base.

We knew that creating lingerie above a D+ cup required creating lingerie that works for women who are apple, pear, hourglass shaped etc. It required creating underwires that work from a 26 band size through to a 38 band size. It required designing new shapes and silhouettes that work for women who are tall, petite, muscular and curvy. It required embracing variety.

Our hope for Katherine Hamilton is that when a customer is fitted into one of our bras, all she will see is how wonderful she looks and how comfortable she feels in our lingerie and how special her body is.