With all the press lately on Heidi Montag's current new breasts ('DDD', or 'F'), and her apparent desired increase ("an 'H', for Heidi!" - her words), it was brought to my attention that most people don't know how bra cup size for a woman's breasts is determined!
Many women (and men) don't quite understand the difference between the number (34, 36, 38, etc.) and the letter cup size ('A', 'B', 'C', 'D', etc.)! Eight in ten women also do not wear the correct bra size.
The following will explain how how bra and cup size is calculated:
Measuring Bra Size
1. Bra Size (the NUMBER, or the "band" size)
Measure around your body under your breasts at the level of the breast fold, in inches (in the U.S.). Other countries use centimeters (cm) - see the charts below.
2. Cup Size (The LETTER, or the "bust" size)
Measure around the fullest part of your breasts, also in inches.
This is the tricky part, and the reason why you may fit several different bra cup sizes, depending on the amount of lift that the bra provides. Many women develop droop to their breasts, and may be a 'B' without any push-up, a 'C' with a little underwire, or even a 'D' with some major lift by a bra. See below and try on different styles and types of bras to understand this better!
Bra Size Charts
Based on the difference in inches between your band and your bust circumference, you can calculate your bra cup size in letters:
Keep in mind that as like dress sizes and designer clothes, many stores may fit women's breasts differently. For instance, based on my patients' comments alone, Victoria's Secret often fits women as a 'C', whereas Nordstrom bras often fit the same women as a 'D'!
Custom bras or specialty stores can cost a bundle! However, investing in a good bra can sometimes help to avoid Plastic Surgery, if a simple "lift" in clothes is what you are looking for!
However, if you desire the effect of a push-up bra or additional padding, a breast augmentation may be an option for you. Be sure to visit a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive experience in breast evaluation and breast surgery to learn more!