Because manufacturers employ different bra sizing systems, determining which size to buy quickly becomes challenging and confusing. Recently, I have fielded questions about how US and UK sizing differ which I hope to address with today’s blog. Fortunately, band sizes tend to be equivalent, e.g., a US 32 band is the same as a UK 32 band. Mostly. Since the bra industry suffers from a lack of standardized sizing, variation in how tight or loose a band is cut varies even with UK manufacturers, and across the pond, the problem exists too. Natori, for example, often has a stretchier band compared to Wacoal which uses firmer materials and a tighter cut.
Where the differences surface is how UK and US manufacturers label cup sizes:
|Measurement (in.)||US Size||UK Size|
As the chart indicates, American manufacturers essentially cycle through the alphabet without utilizing a multiple letter system beyond DDD. In fact, some US brands (and many European brands) will label a DD as an E and a DDD as an F.
Like band size, there will be variation across manufacturers in how generous or small the cup is designed. Even within a brand, there isn’t much consistency—a sad statement which can be made of UK manufacturers as well. One of my customers needed a 32DD in the Natori Cool Contour, a 32DDD in the Natori Calais, a 34DD in the Wacoal Embrace Lace, and a 32DD in the Freya Deco. All of her bra sizes were clustered together, but there wasn’t a strict system for traversing from one manufacturer to another. Sometimes the style of bra can impact whether you need to change cup sizes, but there are still inconsistencies among bras with similar designs. Check out the Freya Deco in size 34E (US DDD) and the Wacoal Reveal in 34DDD:
The cup shape for both is virtually identical and requires the same amount of breast tissue to fill the cup; however, the band on the Wacoal is much shorter:
Keeping in mind the inherent differences in bra design, you can still use the chart above to alleviate any confusion about how UK and US cup sizes correlate.
Additionally, to make the process of buying a bra even more daunting and risky, some US brands, like Parfait by Affinitas and Elle Macpherson Intimates, utilize UK sizing systems. If you’re hoping to buy online, you need to determine what sizing method a manufacturer employs before ordering. A UK H cup is three sizes bigger than a US H cup, for example, making it essential to know how a brand sizes its products.
I hope the clarification helps, and if you ever have questions about specific brands or styles, I’ll do my best to answer them.