Bras, Cup Sizes & Rice Sizers
Wearing the Right Bra
It is common to wear a bra that does not fit properly. In fact, studies show that roughly 75% of women wear incorrectly fitted bras. This is difficult because
- Most women have one breast that is larger than the other and bras are made symmetrically. A bra may fit your left breast better than your right breast, in which case it may help to choose a bra that fits your larger breast and use a pad to fill in and support the smaller breast instead of getting wearing a bra that unnecessarily compresses the larger breast.
- Bra designers don’t use the same shapes for the cups so each brand and style may fit differently and reshape your breasts in different ways. Wearing a properly fitting bra is important to help support your breasts without compressing them or making them lie flat in the bottom of the cup. It is also important to have straps that fit well and are not unnecessarily digging into your skin.
Other reasons why choosing the correct bra may be difficult can be explained after knowing how bra sizes are defined and measured.
First, an A cup is not the same for people of different chest diameter. This is because of how cup sizes are measured. The first number in the bra size is your band size. This should be measured as the circumference around your torso directly underneath the breasts (at the inframammary fold) in inches. This should be done with a measuring tape fitted flush against your skin but not causing any denting or dimpling of your skin by being measured under tension.
The next measurement is your bust size. This should be measured as the chest circumference going across the fullest part of your breasts. Here’s where it gets tricky. For patients with sagging breasts their fullness may be in a lower position than where it should be once supported by the bra. Therefore you may want to use your hands to hold your breasts up higher onto your chest while someone else measures your bust size.
Once you have obtained your two measurements, band size and bust size, you can refer to a bra size calculator to estimate your cup size.
One of the most common errors made in choosing a bra is choosing too large a band in a smaller cup. Or choosing too large a cup in a band that is too small and digs into your sides. It is better to wear an accurate band size and then choose a cup that best fits your breasts rather than pick the cup size first.
It is also important to not worry if choosing the right band made you drop from a C to a B-cup. Having the bra fit properly is more important. These errors in bra selection are made evident by the way breasts are often sized up using cup sizes alone. The band size is often not even mentioned during a consultation.
“I am an A-cup and I want to be a C-cup” is commonly heard by our surgeons at B.A.E. But what does that mean? We already know that cup sizes are not the same in people of different chest diameters. That means someone with an A-cup may have larger breasts than someone with a D cup!
Mind blown? This is because in society we put too much emphasis on cup sizes. Cup sizes do not measure the actual volume of your breasts, instead they reflect the ratio between your chest circumference without your breasts and the circumference including your breasts. Cup sizes are more a reflection of your relative breast projection than they are the actual volume. This point is also salient when combining liposuction with your breast procedure. Taking down unwanted fat around your chest and armpits will reduce your band size, thereby increasing your cup size without doing anything to your actual breasts!
We compiled the following table of bra sizes with estimated cup volumes to help illustrate these points. As you can see, someone with a 38A actually has breasts that are each 90cc larger than someone with a 30D.
Difference between bust and band size (U.S. & Canada)
For patients with large breasts seeking breast reduction, this table can also help estimate what your final bra size may be after a certain volume of breast tissue is removed. For example, a patient with a 34G may benefit from having 500 cc removed from each breast, leaving them with roughly a 34C as their post-operative bra size.
These are estimates and sizes can change by bra manufacturer, but at Bay Area Esthetics we believe in informing our patients as best we can to help you clearly communicate your goals and expectations for breast surgery.
Meet Dr. Pourtaheri
Dr. Navid Pourtaheri is a Board Certified, Fellowship Trained Plastic Surgeon. An engineer before becoming a surgeon, Dr. Pourtaheri has a leg up when it comes to problem solving and surgical planning with the latest technology.
For breast augmentation patients, sizers are an easy way to test out what a desired implant volume may end up looking like. At B.A.E. our well-trained surgeons will be able to tell you an implant size range that may work best for you based on past experience and taking measurements. We also have professional sizers and special photography we use in the office to help confirm the approximate implant volume that will work the best for you.
If you are on the fence about surgery and would like to visually estimate what different breast implant volumes may do for you without seeing a surgeon, there are ways. For one, you can make rice sizers to try on as follows.
Go out and buy some rice, whichever type you like to eat or just buy what is least expensive. Measure and adjust the amount of rice based on the table below using measuring cups used for baking. Transfer the measured rice into a ziplock bag and remove the remaining air from the bag before sealing it. Some of the more common implant sizes used in breast augmentation are highlighted below in yellow.
|Amount of rice
After making both sizers, place them within your bra, beneath each breast on either size. Take a look now in the mirror – is this the look you were going for? If not, try removing or adding some rice – do this in 1/4 cup increments since breast implant sizes are made incrementally as well.
If the bra is fitting too tightly or your breasts are pouring out, you should wear a bra in a larger cup size for this test. But please don’t go up in band size because that means you have not thoroughly read our webpage and committed it to memory! Just to review, your band size should not change after a breast augmentation unless combined with liposuction; breast augmentation primarily changes your cup size only. Take photos of your final look with the rice sizers in that you like the best, and bring them to your next visit with us to share your thoughts and preferences.
At Bay Area Esthetics we know that selecting the right implant is a personal decision and it’s our job to help you make the best choice. We hope you have learned something from reading this page. We love sharing knowledge to help you become a breast guru among your friends and family! When you are ready to take the next step, come see us for a consultation to discuss your breast enhancement goals and options.
Contact B.A.E for more information or to schedule a consultation.
Your information will be kept confidential.