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Understanding the Difference Between US, UK, and EU Bra Sizing Systems

Every woman knows that finding your correct bra size can feel like an uphill battle. Cup and band sizes can vary across brands, and some styles may feel more snug or loose than others even if they’re the same size. Rare sizes like a 40a bra can be difficult to find in most sizing systems. To add even more complexity, bra sizes change drastically once you start shopping from stores across the Atlantic. Here’s a short guide to understanding the differences between US, UK and EU bra sizing systems.

Finding Your Measurements

Before you dive into international size conversion charts, do yourself a favor and take your own bra measurements. It’s a good idea to re-measure any time you shop for new bras, especially if it’s been more than a year or two.

One reason many women wear ill-fitting bras is because breast size and shape change frequently throughout a woman’s life. Aside from the obvious causes such as pregnancy or weight fluctuations, hormone levels and aging can affect the fit of your bras.

To take new measurements, start with a flexible tape measure. All bra sizes are determined by band size and cup size. Variations exist between systems partially because of metric units (centimeters instead of inches) and partially because of differing breast sizes in a country’s population.

Write down all of your measurements in both inches and centimeters if you’re shopping for international bras. Band size is the measurement around the band of the bra, underneath the breast. Take this measurement tightly. Bust size is the measurement around the widest part of the bust, and is taken more loosely. Once you have your new measurements, input them in a bra fit quiz to determine the best bra type for your shape and size.

Bra Size Converter

Once you have your measurements, you can use a bra size converter or conversion tables to determine your size in UK or EU sizing systems. The biggest difference between sizing systems is the letters used, with some countries doubling letters such as FF or GG while the American system progresses through the alphabet to H, I, K and J. Those with DD or smaller breasts won’t find as many differences between sizing systems.

Shopping Tips for Bras Outside the U.S

Using sister sizes can help you find the perfect fit, and you can do it while shopping internationally. Bra sister sizes are the sizes that are closest to the size your measurements give you. If this fit isn’t quite right, your sister size may fit much better in some brands. To use this strategy for EU and UK bra shopping, first, find your US sister sizes. Then, use a converter on those sizes to find international sister sizes.

French bra sizes are different from the rest of the EU. They tend to run smaller than most other sizing systems, with an AA cup in the US converting to an A cup in France.

Take your bra shopping across the Atlantic by taking your measurements in centimeters as well as inches. Look up the correct chart for the country you’re shopping from and use sister sizes to refine the fit.

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