There has been a lot of press recently about the website ThirdLove and their claim to be the first company to create bras in half cup sizes. This claim, however, is simply dead wrong. I have seen first-hand several attempts to market half cup bra sizes. Here is the history:
In 2004, Playtex launched its “Thank Goodness It Fits” collection, which featured bras in half sizes for cup sizes A-D, calling them “Nearly A,” “Nearly B,” “Nearly C,” and “Nearly D.” Although Playtex put a considerable amount of effort into marketing its half cup size collection, it was taken off the market in 2008 due to lackluster sales.
In 2007, Le Mystère launched their version of the half cup size concept with its “No. 9” collection. Working with a plastic surgeon, they designed and patented bras that complimented the unique changes in shape and size that occur after breast augmentation. They tried to create half band sizes that also included half cup sizes. Their half cup sizes ranged from C to DD (for example, sizing for a C cup included 32C, 33C, 34C, 35C, 36C, etc.). A 33C would fall halfway between a 32C and a 34C in both band and cup. Again, this collection was heavily marketed, but ultimately faded away one style at a time. Interestingly, the strapless bra in his collection lingered the longest because it had a terrific fit for all women regardless if they were augmented or not.
Natori also attempted a half cup size collection in 2007 with the “Zen Unique Fit” collection. This line was designed for the woman whose unique figure wasn’t quite a B, C or D cup because she was shallow on top or full on bottom. Their sizing scale range was 32A, 32A+, 34A, 34A+,36A, 36A+, and so on. The collection only lasted for a few years because of low sales.
So, why hasn’t half cup sizing caught on?
I feel like there are four reasons half cup sizes don’t appeal to most women:
1. Let’s say a woman buys a bra in a half cup size and decides it’s a great fit. Essentially, she has just removed herself from every other brand that uses traditional cup sizing. Her bra choices in the market are now reduced to one manufacturer. Women don’t like to be boxed in when it comes to shopping options.
2. Most women don’t have equally sized breasts – instead, one is usually larger than the other. So, a half size might be a better fit for one breast, but obviously not both.
3. After doing the math, many women decide it’s just not worth it. The difference between cup sizes is a mere 1” in circumference at the bustline. So, by moving from a 34B to 34C, your bust circumference measurement will only need to increase by one inch (from 36” to 37”). That’s a pretty small size increase. Now, consider an even smaller change by a half cup size – which would only increase your bust circumference from 36” to 36.5”. To get a better understanding of cup sizing, watch my Expert Video: Mastering The Cup Size Game.
Cup sizing as it relates to chest circumference
4. The half cup size attempts are usually in the smaller cup sizes (AA to C), but the center panel width and cup location is more important than cup size. Breast tissue is malleable, so larger breasts can be resituated to fit into their cups properly. Because smaller sized breasts have less breast tissue, their sizing needs to be more exact. This isn’t so much about actual cup volume as it is about cup location on the chest. For example, a woman who wears an A cup doesn’t have that much breast tissue. What matters most is cups that work for her breast location. Breast location can be wide-set, close-set, or average – so width choices in a bra’s center panel matters more than cup volume. To learn more about cup sizing for smaller breasts, watch my Expert Video: Bras For Women With Small Cup Sizes.
Think about half shoe sizes. Unlike bras, shoe half sizes make sense. Feet are mostly composed of bone and cartilage, which is very different from malleable breast tissue. So, a more exact fit is needed. But, even some shoe manufacturers will opt out of half sizes when the shoe is either open-toed or has a stretchy toe.
So, is it worth the effort to adapt to a new bra size that will make your current bras obsolete and drastically reduce your bra choices in the market?
I’d say no.
While ThirdLove claims to have 70 bra sizes, that’s not much when you consider the fact that the average bra on the market today comes in 32 sizes. HerRoom carries more than 200 different bra sizes without any half cup sizes.
Instead of turning to half cup sizing, women that feel their fit isn’t quite perfect have a few better solutions:
1. Try a bra with a stretchy upper cup edge design. This will give you a solid foundation in the lower part of the cup while giving you a more custom fit at the top. Not only is this a great choice for women who think they are between sizes, but it’s also great for women who are uneven – each breast will get a custom cup fit.
2. Try a bra with stretchy fabric in the entire cup. This will give you a custom fit regardless of breast size or unevenness. At HerRoom, you can find all these selections here. Currently, HerRoom has almost 300 bras with this feature to choose from.
3. Adjust your straps. It’s tempting to put a bra on straight off the hanger or out the bag. But, bras need adjusting – especially in the straps. Once you put your bra on, stand in front of a mirror and before adjusting the straps, pull them up. Do your cups suddenly fit better? Often, the answer is yes. Now you can adjust your straps and have a better fit.
Women have enough to worry about. There is no reason to further complicate bra sizing with more size options. If you’re larger than a D cup, HerRoom’s Universal Cup Sizing® System has made finding your true size in every brand even easier. Find your UCS® now!
Find a better fit,