More ac­cu­rate mea­sur­ing and fuller fig­ures mean our cups are run­ning over

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NEWS - By Alice Hinds ahinds@sundaypost.com

For every boom there is a bust but, by any mea­sure­ment, it would seem Bri­tain’s bras are get­ting big­ger.

Ac­cord­ing to re­search, the aver­age cup size in the UK has grown to an am­ple 36DD, a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease since the 1950s when the aver­age woman was buy­ing a 34B.

But are we ac­tu­ally get­ting big­ger? Ac­cord­ing to Emily Bendell, of Blue­bella lin­gerie, our big­ger bras may be to do with how we mea­sure and fit our un­der­wear, as well as chang­ing body shapes.

She said: “It’s prob­a­bly a com­bi­na­tion of both. Women prob­a­bly are get­ting a bit bustier, but the way we mea­sure has ac­tu­ally changed.

“We used to mea­sure around the body then add four inches to that mea­sure­ment, and your cup size would be the dif­fer­ence be­tween that num­ber and across your bust. “Now that has changed, but not with all retailers, so there’s a bit of con­fu­sion in the mar­ket.

“The in­crease in size is partly due to the dif­fer­ent ways of mea­sur­ing, partly peo­ple be­ing bet­ter at get­ting mea­sured and get­ting the right bra size, and partly be­cause women have ac­tu­ally got big­ger boobs as well.

“It’s a real com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors.” Un­like dress sizes which in­crease se­quen­tially, bra sizes are a lit­tle more com­plex to cal­cu­late, and can of­ten leave women con­fused in the chang­ing room.

Emily said: “Peo­ple of­ten look at the let­ter on the end of the size and think that it re­lated to your boob size, but it’s only the com­bi­na­tion of the let­ter with the back size that gives you a proper idea.

“For ex­am­ple, if some­one is a 36B, the vol­ume in the cup is the same as a 34C or a32d.

“So you can have one lady that’s a D cup and an­other lady that’s a B cup, and ac­tu­ally the vol­ume is pretty much the same but with dif­fer­ent band size. “We need to get away from think­ing DD means big boobs and B cup doesn’t be­cause ac­tu­ally it depends on the other mea­sure­ment.”

Al­though Emily ad­mits women are now bet­ter at get­ting mea­sured, it is es­ti­mated that more than 80% are ac­tu­ally wear­ing the wrong size of bra, some­thing which Marks and Spencers’ tech­ni­cal man­ager

Women started telling us and ask­ing, ‘I love this style, why is it not in my size?’

and “bra fit ex­pert” Ju­lia Mercer says she has wit­nessed first hand.

“We know that 84% of women that we have fit­ted are in the wrong size, with the un­der band be­ing the most com­mon area that women get wrong – it’s quite of­ten too large,” she ex­plained.

“The sec­ond most com­mon mis­take is choos­ing cups that are too small.

“Se­lect­ing the cor­rect bra shape to your body shape is key.

“There are four main bra shapes – plunge, bal­cony, full cup and strap­less. Most women can wear a full cup or strap­less, but if you have a smaller frame and closer cleav­age, a plunge will al­ways fit bet­ter. If you have wider shoul­ders and a gap be­tween your breasts, a bal­cony will al­ways fit bet­ter.”

De­spite in­creased de­mand for larger sizes, many women still find it dif­fi­cult to find fash­ion­able or flat­ter­ing un­der­wear, and Emily agrees that some brands in the mar­ket need to catch up.

She ex­plained: “There’s def­i­nitely been a time lag within the in­dus­try. At Blue­bella we’re lucky that we have a very direct link to our cus­tomers through In­sta­gram, and they can tell us what they want.

“Our cus­tomers were of­ten say­ing, ‘I love this style, why’s it not in my size?’ and that’s how we re­alised that, al­though the mar­ket was rel­a­tively well served in terms of func­tional lin­gerie, there wasn’t fash­ion-fo­cused lin­gerie in a larger range of sizes.”

Along­side an in­crease in bra size, women’s fig­ures have also be­come

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