When you think of bra sizes, you may think of standard cups and measurements.
However, did you know that the average bra size for a woman has dramatically shifted and changed throughout the years, based on regions, diets, and culture?
On average, women in the United States wear a 34DD bra. This is significantly larger than even 20 years ago when the average bra size was measured at approximately 34B.
What are common bra sizes?
Bra sizes vary depending on which region you are in, what country you reside in, as well as what type of behaviors and garments are appropriate in your own culture or community.
If you are living in the United States or even in the UK or Australia, the most common bra sizes used today include:
For those living in Europe, Japan, France, and Spain, the use of AA, DD, and DDD are not commonly used.
The most common bra sizes in these countries include:
If you live overseas or if you enjoy traveling internationally, it is also important to note that many countries around the world use “band size” options when selecting a bra, rather than providing simple cup sizes with singular letters.
For instance, while most of Europe measures bras in the same manner as Japan, Japanese bra cup sizes are written with the cup size first before the band size, such as B75 instead of 75B.
What are common band sizes when it comes to international bra sizes?
In the US and the UK, band sizes include:
Throughout the rest of Europe and Japan, band sizes include:
For those who visit Spain or France, familiarize yourself with the following band sizes:
And, for a complete 180, Australia represents their bra band sizes using the following measurements:
How do I know which size is right for me?
Before traveling abroad or visiting another country, research how to go about sizing clothing if you intend to shop or invest in a new wardrobe while you are away from home.
You can also ask a professional who specializes in bra fittings to help you to find your bra cup size as well as your bra band size, depending on your current location and where you intend to travel or reside.
How do you measure your band size?
Whether you are in the market for a new bra now or if you are thinking of investing in new bras, you will first need to measure yourself.
Learning how to measure your bra size can feel intimidating at first, but it requires no more than a simple tape measure and a few minutes of time from start to finish.
To get started with measuring your bra size, you will first need to determine your band size.
To do so, place the measuring tape you are using directly beneath your breasts and up against your torso.
This is the area that should be measured in order to determine the band size that is right for you.
Always round to the nearest whole number to determine the band size that is right for you.
Note: When measuring your band size, you will add four inches if the number you read is even.
For those who read an odd number, be sure to add an additional five inches in total.
This will be your final band size if you are limited to finding a bra based on band size instead of calculating the cup size you require first.
How do you measure bust size?
After you have your estimated band size, you will then need to measure your bust.
You can measure your breasts’ bust by placing the measuring tape directly across the center of your breasts, where they are the largest, widest, and where they protrude from the chest most.
Connect the measuring tape and ensure it is pulled together snuggly while taking your measurements.
You can use this number to determine what cup size you will require based on your band size as well as the overall girth and weight of your breasts themselves.
Reasons why bra sizes have increased in the past few decades
Bra sizes were once much smaller. Throughout the 70s and 80s, bra sizes in the US were typically A and B cups.
Today, the average breast size in the United States is DD, with more women than ever having a C cup or larger.
Some of the reasons why breast sizes may have increased in the past few decades alone might include:
- Food/dietary changes: An increase in food additives, preservatives, chemicals, and even hormones can have a significant impact on humans.
- Pregnancy: While it is known that many women experience larger breasts during pregnancy, many more are keeping their larger breasts today. This may be due to an increase in prenatal vitamins, care, and supplemental foods, in addition to a boost in nutrition available for nursing and pregnant mothers today.
- Hormonal imbalances: Unfortunately, the size of one’s breasts can be determined by genetics while also being influenced by potential imbalances in the body, namely when it comes to the body’s own hormones. If a woman has unpredictable hormones or menstrual cycles, she may also experience issues with her breasts in terms of size.
- Weight gain: Whenever you gain weight as a woman, you have an increased risk of developing larger breasts, even if you are already living with larger breasts. Weight gain and fat content are two of the leading reasons why women’s breasts are much larger today than they were even just two to three decades ago.
- Inflammation or abscess: At times, it is possible for a woman’s breast to become inflamed or to develop an abscess, which can cause it to swell and ultimately appear much larger than normal.
- Medications: If you are using a new medication or if you have medications that can cause various side effects, it is advisable to determine whether or not they are directly responsible for the inflammation of the growth of your breasts.
What is the largest breast size measured and recorded?
According to Guinness World Records, the woman who has the largest breast size on record is Annie Hawkins.
Annie Hawkins, who often goes by the stage name of Norma Stitz, currently wears a bra size of 52I.
While she is currently wearing a 52I naturally, her current measurements and waist/hip ratios indicate that she is better suited to wearing a 48V.
Are there health conditions associated with large breasts?
Yes. Unfortunately, there are both physical as well as mental health conditions that are associated with large breasts that often go undiscussed in modern society.
Some of the most common health issues that are associated with larger breasts in women include:
- Chronic pain: Larger breasts are a source of chronic and persistent pain in many women of all ages. Those who have naturally larger breasts are much more likely to suffer from chronic pain throughout their upper and lower back.
- Rashes: If you have larger breasts, you have more than likely experienced at least one rash due to the skin rubbing together and your breasts getting in the way of your skin’s pores.
- Numbness: Those who have extremely large breasts may also experience numbness in their nipples, while others find their breasts sensitive and pleasurable. Many times, this is due to excessive weight in the bra that is ultimately clamping down on nerves that send pleasure to the brain.
- Shortness of breath: If you find it difficult to walk long distances or even to work out with large breasts, it is likely due to the excess weight you are carrying around in front of you from day to day.
What is the “right size” of breasts?
There is no right or wrong size of breasts. In fact, some individuals prefer to have little to no breasts, while others find larger breasts much more appealing and comforting, for both owners of the breasts as well as those who may be interested in them romantically and/or sexually.
What is most important is becoming more comfortable with your own breast size, regardless of what others think.
Can you naturally shrink your breasts?
At times, it may be possible to shrink your breasts, but only if they are larger or more engorged due to poor diet, weight gain, a lack of exercise, or even hormonal imbalances.
Can you naturally enlarge your breasts?
If you want to naturally enlarge your breasts, you should seek out foods that are helpful in boosting the overall fat production and storage throughout your body.
Naturally, enlarging your breasts is often done by gaining weight, but doing so in a safe and healthy manner will not impact other areas of your body in a negative way.
How can I make my breasts appear larger than they are naturally?
You can use an array of tools and garments to help make your breasts appear much larger than they are naturally, such as:
- Breast tape: Use tape when heading out in a dress or a gown without causing your breasts to fall or sag.
- Padded bras: Wear a padded bra to provide additional support and a boost to the breasts themselves.
- Push-up bras: Wearing a push-up bra is one of the quickest and easiest solutions available to help boost the overall appearance and height of breasts at any age, regardless of their size.
How do I find the right bra for me?
Finding the right bra for you should not feel overwhelming, especially once you are familiar with both cup and band sizes.
Once you have an approximate measurement of your bra, you can then begin to shop in person or you can opt to order your new bra right from home, online.
Whenever you are searching for a new bra, keep the following tips in mind:
- Always measure your bust as well as your band line before you shop for a new bra, even if you have done so recently.
- Compare bra types and styles to find materials that are right for you.
- Read reviews on various brands to find a bra that will last
All breasts are unique to each individual and no one pair of breasts is truly identical.
Accepting your breasts and learning to love your natural shape can help you on your journey to find a bra and wardrobe that is flattering on you and truly right for your figure.