Large Cup Bras: Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of a Bigger Cup Size

May 14, 2023

Large Cup Bras: Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of a Bigger Cup Size

Shopping for bras in the US, sometimes it feels like the alphabet stops at "D."

Most bra brands have sizes available in A, B, C, and D cups across different band sizes. They may offer a DD in a limited number of styles, but that's usually where it stops. Because of this, women are often "fit" into a bra within the available range, that well... doesn't actually fit!

Since cup sizes are defined by the difference between the bust and band, there is no such thing as a standard cup volume for a particular letter size.

For example, a 30 D cup is going to be a lot smaller than a 42 D cup in both the band and the cup - these are not even close to the same or similar sizes.

Still, the common way to define a "large cup bra" is when the difference between the band and bust measurement is at least 5 inches, which is DD or bigger.

According to a bra experts, the average bra size in the US today is a 34DD, and about 60% of us need a cup size larger than D.

With the majority of women today falling outside of the typical A-D range, thankfully more bra brands are shifting their focus toward creating comfortable, supportive bras for those of us with a 5+ inch difference between the circumference of our ribcages and the fullest part of our busts.

Read on to learn more about the diverse world of "large cup bras," and how to find a bra that gives you the proper support you need, and actually fits your measurements. 

photo of two beige bras against blue sky

The Problem with Sister Sizes

Let's start by acknowledging the reality of how many women in the US found their current bra size.

Popular mall stores like Victoria's Secret offer measurement services where fit specialists help customers measure their band and bust and match those measurements to a bra size, or most often, a few sizes. 

Customers with measurements that are outside of the size range offered at that store are typically presented with bras in "sister sizes" to what their measurements actually reflect.

Since bra cup sizes are only meaningful in relation to the band size, "sister sizes" are those with the same cup volume and different band sizes. In order to keep the cup volume equal, as the band size goes up in bras, the cup letter goes down.

Sister sizes are very useful for making size adjustments or tweaks for a bra that say, runs particularly tight or loose in the band, or the cups run particularly small or big. 

Illustration of sister size bras with different band sizes and same cup volume

This concept also allows stores and brands that max out at a D or DD cup can still "fit" customers into a larger cup simply by increasing the band size.

Here's the problem with that: 

Most of a bra's support comes from the band, so sister sizing up to a too-loose band means you are losing essentially all of the support from the bra. 

Getting the perfect fit for your actual measurements and shape needs to be your goal. 

The solution is finding brands and styles that offer a wider size range so that you're able to find a size combination where both your cup and band fit properly. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there, if you do your homework and keep a few things in mind!

What To Keep in Mind When Shopping For Large Cup Bras

With an idea of what types of bras you can go for, here's a little checklist of things to watch for during your next shopping spree!

1. Your Band and Bust Measurements

It might seem like anything bra-related beats you over the head about getting the right size before you shop.

Using the ABraThatFits measuring calculator guidelines will help you on the right path. ( as mentioned already, it's not always the best idea to trust bra fitters at big box stores, as some women find themselves forced squished into their biggest available size all to secure a sale!).

2. Your Breast Shape

Once you've your size, inspect how your breasts naturally sit to figure out their shape.

Knowing the best styles for your shape will quickly cut through the jungle of bra designs!

3. How The Bra Brand Measures

With the influx of more European brands into the US market, you're going to want to know how your bra size translates to different sizing methods.

So, what are these differences to watch out for?

  • EU Sizing: The band size is measured in centimeters. Translating EU bands to US and UK bands is NOT just a matter of converting centimeters to inches. For example, a US 36 translates to an EU 80 (even though 36 inches is 91.44 cm). The cup size will be the difference between the band and full bust measure. So, for every 2.5cm (1 inch) difference, go up a cup size.

  • French Sizing: Follow the EU sizing to get your base measurements. And then add 15cm to your band size to get a French fit. The cup size convention stays the same.

  • UK Sizing: UK sizing uses the same band size convention as the US, which are based on inches, though the actual measurements of bra bands can vary quite a bit. In some cases, the guidance for UK and US-based band measurements is to use a tight underbust measurement in inches plus 4 in order to arrive at a comfortable band size. In cases where the band runs larger or is stretchy, going slightly smaller than this would be appropriate. The cup goes up a size for every inch difference between the full bust and band.

  • US Sizing: US uses inches, too, so UK and US band sizes will be the same. The difference lies in cup sizes past DD. Essentially, US sizing doesn't use a multiple-lettering system whereas the UK does. For example, a UK 38FF will be a US 38H.

Dealing with different sizing options is mind-numbing, but thankfully most brands show all sizing methods to make it easier for you.

Note: there can be variations of true-to-fit sizes between brands due to fabrics used and stitching techniques. So, look for both the brand's size chart and fit notes specific to each style to help you get the right bra.


Key Elements to Look For in Large Cup Bras

1. Multi-Panel Cups for Support

Multi-panel cups are those that have stitching along the cup fabric. Two common types to look out for are 2-piece cups or 3-piece.

2-piece cups have two pieces sewn together, leaving a vertical seam. This stitching creates a rounded natural shape for your body.

Whereas bras with 3-piece cups round your shape and give you a great lift. The 3-piece stitching provides more support to the bra and is particularly important in a large cup bra.

Because of the stitching, many women don't even entertain the idea of multi-panel cups as they often are seen through t-shirts.

However, many bra brands have noted this and now create multi-part cups without wrecking your silhouette.

And more and more of them now sell beautiful multi-part cup bras that work perfectly as a t-shirt bra too!

2. Supportive Underwire for Added Structure

Although going wire-free is the only choice for many, those of us with full-figure needs will likely want some underwire bra options as they give the best support to your body.

The underwire adds structure and integrity to your bra while helping support the weight. And an underwire prevents the tissue from spilling out and gathers your girls to the position you want them in.

But, when wearing an underwire bra, you gotta make sure the wire isn't resting on the breast tissue. If it is, then the cup size is too small.

And if you have a small waist, look for narrowly-set underwires so there's no unwanted wire poking into your side.

3. Wide Straps for Added Comfort

As a default for many large-cup bras, wide straps give extra support to your bra. Without them digging into your shoulders.

Even though most of the support should come from the band, having wide adjustable straps helps hold the cups against your body even better. And helps your body carry the weight of your bust against your body.

These wide comfortable straps must be strong enough to help keep your ladies contained in the cups.

photo of woman wearing black bra

Types of Large Cup Bras

Below is a short list of the most common bra styles that suit large busts.

  • Full Coverage Bras

  • Balconette Bras

  • Plunge Bras

  • Minimizer bras

Exploring the different types of styles possible can be overwhelming, but knowing your breast tissue and shape will help cut that style list down.

Full Coverage Bras

A full-coverage bra does exactly what it says on the tin. The cups fully encompass the breasts, preventing boobs from escaping.

 The FB Nibynic by Ewa Michalak is a fabulous full cup bra with maximum support for those with extra full busts.

But this full coverage may not suit everyone, or every outfit. Full coverage styles may be visible under low cut tops or dresses, and don't provide opportunity to show cleavage.

Although not always the case, full coverage styles can be problematic for asymmetrical breasts, especially less flexible styles that don't quite match your shape. So, if you find your smaller boob getting lost in the abyss, full coverage  may not be for you.

For more flexibility in fit, have a look at shopping for bras with a balcony shape.

Balconette/Balcony Bras

The shape of the neckline is the tell-tale factor of a balcony (also known as a "balconette") bra. These bras tend to have either a square or sweetheart shape, and their name suggests create the look of a balcony coming off your chest to cradle your bust. They often have a higher bridge between the cups to create this shape and often the cups are multi-part in order to create structure for added lift and support.

There are many variations of bras made with a balcony shape. Some common differences include:

  • Material: balcony bras are made in a variety of fabrics, everything from lace, to opaque knits, to mesh.

  • Padding: balcony bras can be unlined, molded with a thin layer of foam, or padded for extra lift.

Plunge Bra

For many, the plunge bra only appears for a night out with your partner or friends.

The deep-V neckline is ideal for a low-cut outfit, but it doesn't mean a plunge bra can't be part of your daily wardrobe.

Another versatile bra for all sizes and shapes, the plunge is perfect for those with wide-set (or East-West) breasts.

I'm talking about those ladies who act like they're sulking in opposite corners from each other on your chest.

A plunge bra gathers and lifts your boobs, emphasizing your sexy cleavage while supporting them in their new positions.

There's still thinking that plunge bras aren't made for a bigger figure, but that's wrong, and we have a gorgeous beauty waiting to grace your closet below to prove it!

Minimizer Bra

Giving you more breathing space and less restriction than a sports bra, minimizer bras are designed to be comfy against your body while reducing your busty appearance.

Sports bras don't typically care what your shape looks like. Instead, their aim is keeping your ladies secure.

Which is where minimizer bras step in.

This bra style aims to streamline your shape and help reduce the 'torpedo-ness' that comes with projected breasts.

And they're ideal for outfits with straining buttons, like a summer dress or office blouse!

two photos of a woman wearing a black minimizer bra

Brands That Make Large Cup Bras

No matter if it's lingerie, formalwear, or fancy dress, we deserve to feel confident, comfortable, and sexy.

To achieve this feeling, it all starts with our first layer: our bras and panties. So, what are some of the very best bra brands that cater to us bustier gals?

  • Ewa Michalak: Ewa Michalak is known world-wide for their incredibly wide size range, which may be the widest available anywhere. Standard sizes from EU 60-140 (which translates to US 28-60) and UK cups from AA to P. As each piece is hand-sewn, Ewa Michalak is known to also create custom sizes for certain bras.
  • Gorsenia: sizes from EU 65-115 (US 30-55) and cups all the way to a US M.

  • Gorteks: Carry sizes from EU 70-100 (US 28-40) with cups reaching US L, depending on size and bra design!

  • Savage X Fenty: A fun and sexy brand that caters to band sizes up to a US 42, with an H cup being the largest available. Unfortunately, this brand does not offer much in terms of small band large cup bras.

  • Cuup: known for their sheer mesh styles and modern lines. Cuup bands go up to a US 44, and cups go up to a US H.

Sticking with Polish brands is the most common piece of advice for full-figure women.

I'm talking about those first three bra companies on the list.

These Polish companies keep the larger of us in their mind's eye and create beautiful, soft, and, most importantly, supportive bras for us to live our best lives.

So, what are the very best bras for large cupped ladies?

Best Supportive Bras for Large Busts

So, now to the good part. We've plucked a few of the very best bras that Polish brands have to offer in some of the different styles listed above.

So, let's get into it!

Best Balcony Bra

Ewa Michalak BM Balconette is a gorgeous beauty worthy of a spot in your wardrobe. The sheer black lace glides over beige opaque-lined cups. Keeps you protected while feeling sexy at the same time.

The high bridge, adjustable straps, and 3-part cups beautifully encompass your ladies, gathering them in and up. And with narrowly-set underwire, this cutie looks flawless on any band size!

Best Plunge Bra

Ewa Michalak PL Padded Plunge is the ultimate go-to for a sexy white bra. With beige undertones, this padded plunge looks great under any outfit. Full of delicate embellishments, the low peekaboo gore and 3-part cups support you while showing off your gorgeous silhouette.

What tops this off is that the pads are removable, perfect for helping the asymmetrical of us while creating a gorgeous cleavage.

Best Minimizer Bra

Gorteks Zara bras come in beige and black, perfect as a t-shirt bra option. These wireless bras have those all-important minimizing effects. A dream situation for those times when you want to focus on your tasks at hand rather than working around your bust.

The Zara has extra side support vertically on the band, keeping your breasts secure inside the flattering, minimizing fabric.


photo of a group of women wearing underwear

These are only a little taster of the range of plus-size bras we have to offer. So, check out our full collection and revel in the fact that whatever bra you pick, you'll have some happy, supported ladies on your hands!


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