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The Dirty Little Secret About Bra Cup Sizes and Breast Augmentation

The Dirty Little Secret About Bra Cup Sizes and Breast AugmentationBra cup sizing was introduced in 1932 by the S. H. Camp company. They did not refer to the size of breasts at that time, but how pendulous they were. In 1937 the Warner company introduced four cup sizes, A, B, C, and D and these represented four sizes of breasts. A few more sizes have been introduced since then, but the basic idea has not changed all that much.

The idea behind lettered bra cup sizes is mostly unchanged. To begin, measure over top the breasts and just under the breasts. The underneath measurement is the bra band size, and the over top subtracted from the band is the bra cup size. A one inch difference between these is an A cup, two inches is a B, three inches is a C, a four inch difference is a D. That’s where we get into to trouble. First of all, standardization really only agrees on these four sizes, after that it gets far more loosely defined, and it varies by country. Secondly, even within these sizes, these letters and numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Where It All Goes Wrong

When they come in for breast augmentation, many women tell their plastic surgeon that they would like a “full C cup.” Ostensibly, this is simple enough. That would be a three inch difference between her band size and the final, augmented measurement over the breast.

But this is not always so clear cut. To begin with, bra sizes do not so much represent the size of breasts as the size of a bra. That is to say, they are for fitting undergarments, not for accurately representing the body. Secondly, many people have a misleading idea of what bra cup sizes mean, because many wear the wrong size bra to begin with. Third, it is often difficult to sum up the variety of factors that breast augmentation entails, like implant volume, shape, placement, projection, and more, with a single letter representation.

What To Tell Your Plastic Surgeon

Breast size is a more than a letter-and-number combination for fitting a bra, and working with your plastic surgeon, you’ll go over a variety of factors that influence the final shape and size that will work with your goals and what your body can handle. You’ll discuss implant volume, shape, and placement, along with aesthetics. You may try on various sizers and outfits to see just how variable breasts can be. Instead of relying on cup size, research and think about what will work best for you, and always remember to talk with your surgeon.

Medical Associations

American Board of Plastic Surgery
American Society of Plastic Surgeons