Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes and I firmly believe that there is no “right” or “wrong” bra size. Still, I can’t help but be interested when research comes out showing what the average bra size is, not just to see how I measure up, but also because I’m curious and I like to know things. Yeah, it’s that simple.
So what is the average bra size for American women? Surprisingly, research has found that the average size has gone up… a lot. Intimacy, a brand that makes truly awesome bras, compiled research from sales data and customer surveys to find that the new average American bra size is 34DD. Yes, double D. This is pretty shocking, especially when compared to the average bra size of 1983, which was 34B. And just a few weeks ago, I wrote about how the average size was 34C, which was published in the book Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History in 2012. That means that in about a year, bra sizes increased a lot.
I have to admit that when I first read this research, I was pretty skeptical. While a 34DD isn’t ginormous or abnormal, I would still call it a big size – especially when comparing it to the average sizes of 34B and 34C of the past. So, um, why are our breasts seemingly growing bigger by the month?
According to research, it’s not that our boobs are growing – it’s that we’re finally paying attention to what size we actually are. Women are going bra shopping and they’re getting real fittings, rather than just buying a bra that seems like it sort of fits even though it doesn’t.
A rep from Intimacy explains: “Instead of forcing D+ breasts into A to D cup bras, women are beginning to purchase larger cup sizes (G cup, for example) that actually fit properly. [Twenty years ago] the American market carried less than 20 sizes, so women with bigger breasts squeezed into bras that were two or more cup sizes too small. Therefore, the idea that breast size is increasing is perhaps slightly inflated due to women actually purchasing larger (and more accurate) bras for themselves.”
Okay, that explanation makes way more sense than thinking that our boobs are in the middle of a collective growth spurts. Gurl editor Caitlin and I once had the pleasure of going to a fitting at Intimacy and, as Caitlin wrote about before, it kind of changed our lives. I’ve been buying bras from Victoria’s Secret for as long as I can remember, but one fitting at Intimacy showed me that I was wearing a size that was way too small. I was shocked but also thrilled that I had found such a comfortable bra. I never even knew bras could be so comfy!
And Intimacy isn’t the only bra retailer that has noticed a shift towards larger sizes. Specialty bra retailers like Cosabella and Fig Leaves have noticed that more customers are buying bigger sizes.
I think this has a lot to do with what the rep from Intimacy said – people are more into bra fittings right now. But I would be really interested to see data from Victoria’s Secret, since the sizing there is so different from Intimacy. Whatever the reasons, it seems that paying more attention to our boobs can only be a good thing.
How do you measure up to the average bra size? Do you think it’s accurate? Have you ever had a bra fitting before? Where do you buy bras? Tell me in the comments.