Tuesday, October 11, 2011

D's just aren't that big!

You don't have to look far into many sitcoms to find jokes about how large D cups are.  It's pretty silly actually, considering that the average size that most women think they are is something between a 36C-D (see here and here).  However, considering that MOST women are wearing the wrong bra size due to the stupid add 4-5" to your ribcage rule then we'd actually have to recalculate what women should be wearing!

Let's go on the conservative side and say that the average women is a 36C.  However, since she's probably following the add 4" rule to her underbust then she's actually a 32 band size.  That means she'd also need to go up two cup sizes (because she has to go down two band sizes) so that would actually make the average bra size 32DD!  However, if a woman is wearing a band size that's two sizes too big then it's hard to see if the cups actually fit correctly so that means her cup size might actually be even bigger!

Does this make sense?  Well, according this the average measurements according to race are:
  • White: 41-34-43
  • Black: 43-37-46
  • Hispanic: 42.5-36-44
  • Asian: 41-35-43
If we assume that the waist=underbust measurement (a fairly safe assumption within an inch or two)  then we can find the average Freya size (from Biggerbras.com) for US women according to ethnicity
which gives the average bras sizes of:

  • White: 34F
  • Black: 36F or 38DD
  • Hispanic: 36E/F
  • Asian:  34F or 36DD
 So umm... regardless of race EVERYONE is on average a DD cup or higher. Clearly there are a whole lot more D+ cups out there then people assume.

Now, let's investigate this further.  As I've discussed before all  D cups are not created equal so a woman with a 28DD cup and a 36DD are going to look quite different.  To see this just check out this blog and the picture there from Balkonetka

Actually, G cups don't even look massively huge if you ask me..

What I suspect is happening is that all these women wearing 36C and 36D cups are in such poorly fitting bras that they really don't know how well their breasts can look in well-fitting bras. 

Now, another problem is clothing manufacturers.  Clothes are typically made to fit a B cup, well, that just makes no sense at all!  Here's an interesting discussion on the way clothing fits.  Here you seem some reasons why fit is so poor now-a-days and here you can see why manufacturers are not adding more plus-size (even though the average US women is a size 14, so right on the cusp of plus-sized). 

So why is the fit of clothing such a big deal?  Well, I'll have to put up some more outfit posts once my new bras arrive but basically it boils down to this.  If you're wearing an ill-fitting bra+clothes that are built for a B cup even though you're a lot larger then your boobs are going to sag, you'll probably end up buying a shirt with a waist that is too large and it's really hard to SEE that you have a large chest.  Instead you just look more overweight.  A well-fitting bra + well-fitting clothes allows others to actually see your figure and it's more obvious that you have large breast.  So many of these "36C" women are actually making their busts look smaller and their waists look bigger with their current choices in clothes/bras, probably the opposite of what they want!

EDIT: I wanted to add a link to this blog that discusses the US denialism of larger cup sizes. 


  1. The lack of knowledge about bras over a D cup comes from decades of lazy retail (it's cheaper and more convenient to buy just 5 cup sizes A-D) and women are still pigeonholed into the Big Boobs = Hussy category so there is shame attached. All this is NONSENSE and there are lots of lovely ladies reclaiming the best of the big bust brigade! Here's my take on the reluctance to embrace the D cup http://blog.butterflycollection.ca/2011/10/why-are-women-afraid-to-break-d-cup.html

  2. Underbreast measurement: 33"
    Waist measurement: 28"

    Difference 5"

    I stand 5'7" tall and weigh about 160 lbs, so am not a super-skinny freak of nature.

    1. Your statement "If we assume that the waist=underbust measurement (a fairly safe assumption within an inch or two)..." seriously distorts the issue, at least for me.

      My bust is 35". My waist is 28". Using your (flawed) shorthand system, there is a 7" difference between my bust and underbust and therefore I should probably be wearing some letter after "C" in the bra alphabet.

      In the real world, there is 2" of difference between my underbreast measurement and my bustline and I am reasonably certain that I do not represent a D cup on this planet or any other.

    2. which_chick I get the impression that you feel quite defensive about my post but I want to say a few things:

      - with an underbust of 28" you seem to fit right into the average for your height/weight: http://www.bralessinbrasil.com/2012/03/underbust-survey-part-1-data-range.html I'm an inch shorter than you and 156lbs also with a 28" underbust so that seems right around my size. You actually might be interested in our Bra Band Project for comparison: http://www.bralessinbrasil.com/2012/05/30-and-under-bra-band-project-is-live.html (although at this point it only has D+ cups but http://32aabra.com/ is working on the C ups and under so look for that soon.
      - Of course, underbust=waist will not work for everyone. I just used a quick estimate. What I found in my underbust survey is that underbust to waist measurements were within about +/-3" (on average) and there were certainly some women who fall into the extremes on both ends. http://www.bralessinbrasil.com/2012/03/underbust-survey-part-5-clothing-sizes.html . Thus, using underbust=waist was not that bad of a guess (considering you'd have roughly an equal number of women who fall on both sides of the mean).
      - In terms of bra fitting I would never, EVER suggest using your waist measurement to calculate your bra size!!!! Again, I was just looking for a statistical average here (and now I have much better data thanks to the Underbust Survey). If there is a 2" difference between your underbust and bust (so I take it your underbust is then 33"?) then I think either a 32B/C or 34A/B would be a good starting point for you.

      I'm sorry that you feel defensive, I wrote this merely to point out that D cups are not as huge as most people make them out to be. This is certainly NOT an attack on my small-busted friend but rather to point out that many women should not be afraid of sizing up to larger cup sizes if needed (and often times it is, being that my underbust survey found that the average bust is about 7-9" larger than the underbust).

    3. Also, depending on the band size, a D or DD cup may actually be a small bust. Eg a 28D is a sister size to 34A. So is 26DD.

  3. I've never measured under my bust but I know it's smaller than wheremywaistusedtobe. I'm pear-shaped and start expanding pretty much from the end of my ribcage. I'd be in strife if I thought those measurements would be the same! :)

    (Sorry for necro'ing the thread, but someone pointed me to your blog yesterday and I'm trawling interesting entries.)