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Gingersnap
06-04-2010, 02:22 PM
Why are British women's breasts getting bigger?

In recent years the average bra size has expanded from 34B to 36D. Lingerie retailers, dietitians and doctors reveal why – and explain how bra designers are staying ahead of the curve

Alice Fisher The Observer, Sunday 16 May 2010 Article history

Odd things are happening in women's bras. In recent years, the average British bra size has jumped from 34B to 36D, which means that while women's backs have grown one size, breasts have jumped up two. Many department stores have increased the range of cup sizes on offer to meet the ballooning demand. In 2007 Marks & Spencer introduced the J cup. Earlier this year, Selfridges began stocking a K cup range, and its sales of D to G cups have risen by 50% year-on-year since 2005. Last week, Debenhams started stocking KK bras, which were previously only available in specialist stores.

In a country where one in three women is overweight, you'd think there was a simple, fat-related reason for this, but obesity alone doesn't explain the jump in cup size, nor the biggest growth area in bra sales: smaller back size and bigger cup size. Judging by recent underwear figures, there are more slimmer women with larger boobs than ever before. Women are happy about this. Men are happy about this. But no one seems happy to explain why this is happening.

Do you know how to work out a bra size? As roughly 50% of the British population wear them, you'd have thought most of them would have an idea. But though a 2009 survey found that the average British woman owns 16 bras at any one time and buys four every year, fitting them is a surprisingly tricky activity. The traditional method reads like an A-level algebra problem. You take a tape measure and wrap it round your chest at the lowest point where a bra sits. You record this figure in inches. You add four to this measurement if the number is even, five if it's odd – and the resultant number is your band size. Then you wrap the tape round again and measure the fullest part of the actual breasts. Next you subtract the band size from breast size to find your cup size. If the numbers are the same, you're an A cup. If there's an inch difference, you're a B; two and you need a C cup and so on. Alternatively, and many bra experts say more accurately, you can weigh your breasts by dunking them into a full bowl of water and measuring the displaced liquid, with 1 litre of water equalling 1kg. It's accurate but useless. You can do precisely nothing with this information, as no bra manufacturer measures boobs by the pound.

Unsurprisingly, as no one enjoys maths or physics homework, the modern way to find the correct fit is to go to a shop and get someone else to do it for you. Egged on by TV stylists, such as Gok Wan and Trinny and Susannah, who've long been rhapsodising over the merits of a well-fitted bra and the wonders they work on your shape and posture, more and more women are doing this. Previously they could go a lifetime buying new bras by guessing or simply choosing the size they'd always worn. They made do. But trained fitters can now be found in almost every lingerie department; instead of relying on water or tape they add an element of mystique to this already complicated process. Fitters are like boob whisperers, their pronouncements made on look and feel as well as measuring.

"We don't use tape measures because we don't believe they work. How can you measure volume with a straight line?" says Anna Prince, a bra expert for the Bravissimo brand, which specialises in DD+ bras. "Instead we prefer to show our customers how a well-fitting bra looks and what it feels like, so they will be able to tell in a matter of seconds whether they've got a good fit."

Marks & Spencer reports that about 8,000 women come to their stores for a fitting every week. As a result of all this bra buying and breast scrutiny, we have more information now about the dimensions of the average British boob than ever before. And what's surprising is how wrong most women were about their bra size.

"In the past few years we've seen a significant change," says Helen Spencer, lingerie and swimwear buyer at John Lewis. "The best-selling size in the business was 34B; that's what every woman thought she took. For us it's now 32D. That's happened in the past 18 months, and watching the sales coming in now, we can see that it won't be long before 32F becomes the biggest seller."

More - much more at the link. This is perhaps the most comprehensive article on rack size that I've ever read. :eek:

Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/may/16/womens-breasts-are-getting-bigger)

jediab
06-04-2010, 02:32 PM
My subscription to certain web sites have proven this article to rather accurate. :D

malloc
06-04-2010, 04:47 PM
Is it possible to import this phenomenon?

noonwitch
06-04-2010, 05:06 PM
I've lost 60 lbs over the past 3 years. I have gone down two number bra sizes, and went up a cup size. My guess is this is due to swimming, and building muscles in the right places. Out of all the ethnicities in my backround, British is the most predominant, on both sides of the family. Plus, I look like my maternal grandmother, whose mother was born in Wales and father was born in Bulton, England.

Even though I'm from a family of large-breasted women, we don't even come close to some of my Detroit sistas. My best friend from college wore an I cup then, and had to special-order her bras from the porn shop in K-Zoo because they didn't have a specialty underwear store there at the time. She's now an M cup. At age 21, she had permanent grooves in her shoulders from bra straps. Now, she has almost crippling arthritis in her back. I'm glad I don't have her problems. She also has to deal with men constantly staring at her and making really crude comments about her breasts.

As for me, I'm just thrilled that I can buy affordable bras at Macy's instead of the cheap crap that the Avenue sells, or the more expensive Wacoal bras.