U.S. vs U.K. Sizing - What's the diff?

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Many women come to forever yours lingerie to find their true bra size. Usually upon their first time visiting us, we ask what size they are currently wearing. Once they tell us, we ask, "Is that in U.S. sizing?" The response is usually a very confused look! Of course it is! Why the heck would Canadians be expected to understand U.K. sizing!? Well, the answer is simple, you're not, and 90% of women in North America are in the same spot as you! But fear not because today we are taking you to bra school. Before we understand U.K. Sizing, we need to understand U.S sizing. Doing it the other way around would be like having dessert before dinner! Let's save the best for last. Many of you have probably visited large American chain lingerie shops, and some of you may have even gotten measured in these stores. 9 times out of 10, these stores will tell you you are a DD and most likely 2-4 inches larger around the ribs than you really are. Why would they do this you may ask? Simply put, it's because they don't have a size large or small enough to fit you properly. Understanding bra sizing takes months and even years to properly learn. (Our fit specialists go through 3 months of intensive training, but the learning doesn't end there!)

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Your band size should reflect the measurement around the ribs - Photo by Brian Perkins

The number one quick fact that I can teach you here today that will make your life easier is this; there is no such thing as one cup size. What do I mean by this? A woman wearing a 30D is standing beside a woman wearing a 42D, obviously their body size is completely different, but they are both in a D cup sized bra. Their breasts are most definitely not the same size! The band size of a bra effects the cup size. Every time you increase the band measurement, the cup increases in size as well. Are you still with me? I know, it's pretty confusing. Here is another example.

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Luciana and Rebecca both wear and 'E' Cup even though they have different size busts. Cup size is relative to the band size. A lady goes into a North American chain lingerie store that carries bras that go up to a DD size cup. She measures 34 inches around her rib cage. The store clerk can see that her breasts look far too large to fit into a 34DD, but they try it on anyway and her breast tissue is spilling out all over the place. The clerk knows she doesn't have a cup larger than a DD, but she knows that in a 38DD, the cup is much larger and so they try that on. Perfect, (not really, but hey, she can only work with what she's got!). Now in the 38DD, all the woman's breast tissue is in the cup, so that must be her size right? Wrong, she is now in a bra that is 4 inches too big around which is the most important part of a supportive bra.

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This is an example of someone wearing a US size before and a UK size after. Many women fit into the US sizing at large lingerie chains, but most of us do not! Wondering what your bra size is? Check out our UK Bra Size Calculator HERE!
When the band of a bra is not tight enough to anchor itself on your rib cage, you are losing lift and support. That's when you run into back pain, the bra shifting back and forth on your breast tissue causing discomfort, the dreaded underboob sweat, and a whole slew of other nasty problems. So what is the fix? Unfortunately in US sizing, there isn't one. But don't lose hope, fortunately in the U.K. they've got it all figured out! Time for dessert! Here at Forever Yours Lingerie we carry up to an O cup in UK sizing. Usually when I tell people that, they say, "Like, O as in OMG!?" Yes! But when you understand that the band size effects the cup size, it isn't as scary as it sounds, and when you are in a properly sized bra and you look and feel amazing, who cares what the size tag reads! U.K. Sizing is not some crazy different sizing scale. It's the same as US sizing, but with WAY more options to get the perfect fit. With having such a large range of cup sizes, it is easier to get your band size and proper cup size all in one! So remember that lady we were talking about that measured 34 around her ribs? It turns out, she should actually be wearing a 34G and not a 38DD! In U.K. sizing, a 34G exists and is actually a very common size!

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Have an idea what your bra size is? Check out our Shop By Size Chart!
It is my hope that today's bra school session puts you more at ease when you shop with us and even when you shop North American stores. Understanding sizing, even on a small scale, will hopefully make your bra shopping experience that much better! And if it's all too much of a headache, well that's what we're here for! Come see us today!

                                                  Amanda - Fit Specialist and Head of Training