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Your Bod

Why your bra size doesn’t actually mean anything

Have you ever wondered how bra sizes worked or needed help picking the right one for you? Keep reading for a quick tutorial on how to find your own! (Spoiler alert: bra sizes don't mean *nearly* as much as you think.)

So, how do bra sizes work?

Bra size measurements include a number accompanied by a letter. This measurement is found with your band size and bust size, typically determined using a tape measure.

Here's how to find your own!

Wearing a lightly-padded or unpadded bra, take a measuring tape and wrap it snugly around your back and under your bust (right under the bra). If it doesn't land on a solid number, round up. This is your band size!

Now, shift the tape upwards to the fullest part of your chest, keeping it snug and parallel to the ground. If it doesn't land on a solid number, round up. This is your bust size!

To find your cup size, subtract the band size from the bust size. If there is a one-inch difference, then you're an A-cup, a two-inch difference a B-cup, a three-inch a C-cup and so on.

Image from: trueandco.com

Your size is then your band size (number) plus your cup size (letter). 

Sister sizing

Here's the tricky part. 

Sister sizes are groups of bra sizes that are more or less equivalent by cup volume. Sister sizes are helpful if you want to make adjustments to your bra size. For example, if you were a 34D and the cups fit comfortably, but the current band size is too loose, 32D might not work because the cup volume will be less. Instead, you can try 32E (DD). Similarly, if the band size was too tight, 36C would be the better option.

Image from: blog.thirdlove.com

With that logic, that would mean 32E, 34D and 36C are all basically the same. This also means that 32E is equal to a 40A, or a 28G. Crazy, right? 

To throw in an additional wild card, different brands use different sizes based on the same measurements. For example, a 34D at Warner's would be a 32DD at Victoria's Secret and a 30G at HerRoom

Then...they don't actually mean anything?

Yeah, pretty much! 

Pressured by social standards, clothing sizes can often be interpreted as synonymous with self-esteem and beauty...when in reality, they're pretty random. And it's not just bras.

An article in the Washington Post reveals that “a size 8 dress today is nearly the equivalent of a size 16 dress in 1958. And a size 8 dress of 1958 doesn't even have a modern-day equivalent — the waist and bust measurements of a Mad Men-era 8 come in smaller than today's size 00."

So next time you feel insecure about your own cup size, remember that it's just a random number labeled by a random brand.

Just like how there's no perfect measurement formula, there is no perfect size.

Related articles: 

Are you wearing the right bra size?

The 15 way-too-real stages of bra shopping

How to find the right bra size for your bod

All GIFs via GiphySlider image by Andreea Pop on Unsplash

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by Sophia Zhang | 1/26/2021
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