There Is No Such Thing As “One Bra Size”

Very often patients want a specific bra size after a breast procedure, but it is actually hard to talk about bra size when there actually is no standard bra size. It really depends on the shape of the bra and the fabric used. If a bra is stretchy in the back, you might find you are slightly smaller in the band. Whereas if a bra is tighter in the back or double lined, you might need to go up a size.

Let’s say a patient wants to be a D cup after a breast reduction.  One might think that any bra with a D cup will now fit your breasts. But in reality, if you compare a 32D and a 40D, they have nowhere near the same about of volume of space in the cup. It also depends on the shape of your breasts. Some bras are cut for rounder breasts while others fit more of a teardrop shaped breast. This is why it is hard for surgeons to guarantee a specific bra cup size that you will be after your procedure.

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Another main reason it’s hard to talk about specific cup size is because of the many different bra brands out there.  Some US brands, like Victoria’s Secret, list their bra sizes as D, DD and DDD while other brands go from a D size to E, then F. This tells us that letter cups aren’t equivalent across different brands of bras.  Also, even across the same company different bra sizes are not incrementally different.  In fact, most women can wear more than one number/letter size because the actual volume of the cup does change across different brand sizes.  Every brand has its own way of sizing which isn’t the same caliber at every store. For instance, at Gap, I (E.P.) am a 34C, at Aerie a 34B, and when I have been measured at Victoria Secret’s they told me I was a 32D. Clearly, case in point that there is no such thing as one bra size!

At the end of the day, bras are like any other item of clothing, only trying it on will answer the question of what size bra fits you best.  What matters most to us is that our patients feel comfortable and confident in their breast size which can fit one or many different bra sizes.  Lastly, it can take at least 6 months after breast surgery for a close to “final” bra size due to swelling and settling of the breast after breast reduction, augmentation, or lifting.

Article written by Emma Peditto, PA, Samuel J. Lin, MD, FACS