Never ask a woman for her cup size unless you’re her tailor or a very close friend. First of all, it’s rude, and second of all, most women have no idea what their actual cup size is. Indeed, it’s taken a viral TikTok trend for many women to understand their cup and band sizes.
If you’re not sure how to parse your cup size, or what each cup size has to deal with, never fear. Our guide to breast cup sizes will tell you everything you need to know.
What Are Breast Cup Sizes, Exactly?
Many people think that breast cup sizes are related to the volume of the breast tissue. However, that’s not exactly true. The cup size indicates the distance between the widest part of the breasts and the rib cage.
These cup sizes will have different appearances depending on your band size. For instance, a pair of DDs on a 36 band will look much more voluminous than those same DDs on a 30 band.
AAA, AA, and A Cups
Let’s start at the smaller end of the spectrum first. The AAA cup size is the smallest bra size that exists, with a difference of less than half an inch from the breast to the ribcage. AA cups are around half an inch at their widest, and A cups can go up to as much as an inch.
Many women with AAA, AA, or A cups feel a certain amount of self-consciousness about the size of their breasts. Worse, they may struggle to find any bras that fit them in stores.
However, they don’t have to worry about experiencing severe back pain, and can wear bras made of any material without any sort of underwire.
B and C Cups
B and C are considered the “average” breast cup sizes, with most stores catering to their needs. Assuming, of course, that the wearer’s band size falls within what most lingerie stores consider to be permissible limits.
B cups, at their widest, sit about 2in from the rib cage. C cups bump that distance up to 3in. At this size, you should have your pick of materials and styles to choose from. However, those closer to C cups might need an underwire or a bit more support.
D, DD, and DDD Cups
D, DD, and DDD cups experience many of the same struggles that A, AA, and AAA cups do, but on the opposite end of the spectrum. The largest size most US shops cater to is a D cup, and even then, the style options available will prove somewhat limited.
Finding a bra that fits well and suits your style at this size is difficult. Finding a fitting sports bra is even worse. While technology continues to improve in this field, it’s difficult for women with this bra size to find something that contains the motion of the breasts during exercise.
D, DD, and DDD breasts are about 4, 5, and 6in from the rib cage at their widest. At this size, it’s important to ensure that you have wide straps to support the weight of the breast tissue and that the bra itself has enough support. Otherwise, you will experience some back pain.
An Important Note About American vs European Bra Sizes
In the US, you’ll see bras sold under the designation of DD and DDD. You’ll see these same sizes marketed as E and F cups when you shop at stores that use European bra sizes.
G, H, I, J, and K Cups
At these bra sizes and beyond, the idea of exercising with them goes from impractical to almost laughable. Most women also lack the strength or even the figure to support this size of breasts without looking top-heavy or experiencing severe side effects.
Indeed, many women that have these cup sizes naturally reach out to the top breast plastic surgeon they can find near them for a reduction. However, this doesn’t stop others from desiring breasts this size and paying through the nose to get them.
G, H, I, J, and K cups will all require shopping at specialized stores to get bras that fit, as these sizes don’t get sold by regular vendors. This means that design options are limited, and you will pay extra money to get a bra that fits well.
Each cup size here goes up by an inch, so G cups are 7in from the rib cage, H cups are 8in, I cups are 9in, J cups are 10in, and K cups are 11in. Proper support at all times, even during sleep, is an absolute must, as these breasts can weigh several pounds.
L, M, N, and O Cups
The L, M, N, and O breast cup sizes tend to get thought of as the result of too much plastic surgery. However, these cup sizes do exist in nature and come with a whole suite of problems.
At this size, back and neck pain goes from occasional annoyances to daily concerns, even with the right bra on hand. Breasts this large can also cause posture issues. What’s worse: You basically have to order custom-made bras in order to get the support you need to make it through the day.
Looking for More Information About Breast Cup Sizes?
We hope that this guide to breast cup sizes from smallest to largest was helpful for you. While we focused more on the unique challenges each bra size might face, it’s important to remember that every chest is unique and beautiful in its own right.
If you’d like to learn how to get accurate bra cup sizing or how to dress in a way that flatters your chest, check out the Fashion section of our blog. We update each day with more handy guides like this one!