Have you noticed that lately, bra sizing has taken on a life of it's own. Suddenly, what used to be called a DD cup can now be referred to as an F,E or DDD, and an E cup can now be a G, H, I or J.
When I started designing swimwear some 25 years ago, DD seemed to be the largest bust size in existence. Maybe I just didn't notice because I was a mere B cup and DD's weren't yet on my design agenda.
Since then I have fitted thousands of women of all shapes and sizes. Up until only a few years ago,E cup was the largest size I encountered with the exception of one woman who I'll call Milly, who came to me in great distress because she couldn't find a swimsuit to fit her breast size. She'd only found one bra to fit her which was a "G" cup. She had the largest bosom I had ever seen and to this day, she still wins the prize.
My point is that nowadays, I encounter women on a daily basis that say they are F's, G's and even J cups and they aren't as big as Milly was. Somewhere along the line, cup sizes have gone haywire. Breasts have NOT suddenly increased in size! Only the names of the size.
I believe the main reason we have this bizarre situation is that there is no agreed size standard across manufacturers for measuring and specifying bra size and some manufacturers wanted to introduce half sizes which pushed the sizes out to H, I and J.
But the variations are ridiculous....For instance, a common cup size system amongst European manufacturers, in order of increasing size, is: AAA-AA-A-B-C-D-DD-E-F-FF-G-GG-H-J, although the use of double letters is not consistent between manufacturers (e,g, some may use EE rather than F, DDD rather than E, etc.). In the United States, various manufacturers and boutiques recommend adding different numbers to the measured circumference to determine the under-the-bust (band) size. Still others, particularly stores that specialize in speciality sizes, do not recommend adding anything to the size, as the band is meant to fit around the area measured, not higher.
Many countries (such as Asian and European countries) use the metric measurement system rather than the Imperial system used in the science field known as International System of Units. When metric is used, sizes usually correspond as, for example, 32 in Imperial is a 70 in metric, 34 in Imperial is a 75 in metric, and so on and so forth. Here in Australia and in New Zealand dress size is used instead of band size.
To further complicate the issue, no two women are the same, and no two breasts are the same. Breasts vary in the position on the chest, and in their shape. Most women are asymmetrical (10% severely), with the left breast being larger in 62% of women, especially when the breasts are large. Furthermore, as breasts become larger, their shape and the distribution of the tissues within them changes, becoming ptotic and bulbous rather than conical. This makes measurements increasingly unreliable, especially for large breasts. Similarly the heavier a build the woman has, the more inaccurate the underbust measurement as the tape measure sinks into the flesh more easily.
Obtaining the correct size is further complicated by the fact that the size and shape of a woman's breasts fluctuate during her menstrual cycle, and also with weight gain or loss.
Fashion and image drive the market, and these factors often take precedence over comfort and function. Some women intentionally buy larger cups and pad them, while yet others buy smaller cups to give the appearance of being "full".
Considering all these factors, how on earth does any woman know what bra size she is??? I realised I had to go back to basics: the only measurement we all agree on is the "inch" and the "centimetre".
Most people own or have access to a tape measure with these increments printed on the tape. It's an inexpensive and useful device. By using it with our Size Calculator you can take the guesswork out of ordering a swimsuit online from Sue Rice Swimwear. By following the instructions, you receive your unique Sue Rice size with which you can choose a style to fit your figure type, including bra size.
Because swimwear is more flexible than a bra, we have NOT introduced more letters into our bust fittings. So if you are a DDD, E or F in a bra, don't be alarmed if your Sue Rice size includes D or DD, and if you are a G, H, I or J, the Sue Rice Size might include DD or E.
Now you'll have another bra size to add to your repertoire! One that truly fits your unique shape.
About the Author Sue Rice has been a designer and retailer of beautiful womens bathing suits and swimsuits for over 20 years.
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