Breast volume and bra size



Publication Details

McGhee, D. E. & Steele, J. R. 2011, 'Breast volume and bra size', International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 351-360.


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to measure the breast volume of a large sample of women and their corresponding correctly fitted bra size, in order to demonstrate the range of volumes within each size and the variation amongst different bra sizes. Design/methodology/approach – Breast volume of 104 women was measured via water displacement and was compared to their professionally fitted bra size, in the one style and brand of bra. Findings – The mean breast volume of the left and right breast was 642 and 643 ml, ranging from 125 (size 10A) to 1,900 ml (size 24DD). The average professionally fitted bra band size was 12 (range size 10-24; Australian sizing) and cup size was DD (range A-G). A range of breast volumes was found to correspond to the same bra size and the volume of any one cup size was not homogenous amongst different band sizes. Practical implications – Appreciating the range of breast volumes that correspond to each bra size is important in terms of both bra structure and design in order to provide adequate breast support. The large variation in cup volumes associated with different band sizes suggests women should not consider themselves to be an isolated cup size, but rather a combination of a band and cup size. Originality/value – This is the first study to publish normative breast volume data, and the corresponding correctly fitted bra sizes, for a large sample of women. This is important information for bra design and to assist women achieve correct bra fit and support. Keywords Women, Breasts, Water displacement, Bra fit, Bra design, Anthropometric measurement, Biomechanics, Garment industry

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