Understanding UK Bra Sizing & Best Brands

by | Nov 1, 2021 | Bra Options, Hurray for Lingerie, Hurray Vacay | 0 comments

What is the difference between US and UK bra sizing? Is there even a difference? When shopping for bras, how do I know which size to choose when it’s made in the UK? Is European bra sizing any different?!

Phew! So many bra questions and so much size confusion! Don’t worry, I’m here to help. I’m an Undergarment Educator and long time bra fitter (since 2005) of bra sizes AA-N cup… and that includes both US, UK, and European cup sizes.

If you’re looking for a first step in understanding UK bra sizing, here is your starter guide. And if you want to dive deeper and finally understand how to find a comfortable bra without wasting money on those you dread wearing, check out my Bra Confidence & Comfort Course! You’ll get all the information you need (in an easy, fun way) to say hurray.

Psst! Some of the brands linked here are proud partners of mine (ilke, Bravissimo! So grateful to share them with you!) or I may get a small thank you if you purchase through the links below. Your purchase through those links like these helps a lot in keeping articles like this coming your way. Either way, I always share items that I truly love and can help you say hurray!

Why should I care about UK bra sizing?

If you don’t live in the UK, it’s common to think “why do I even need to know about UK bra sizing?” In fact, I asked one client what size bra she usually wears, and when she said “38F” and I asked “Is that a UK or US size?”. Her reply: “Well I bought it in the US, so US sizing.” To which I said: “Well you can buy a lot of UK sized bras in the US!” She had no idea! Many UK sized bras are available in other countries, especially North America! More importantly, she had no idea there was a difference between US and UK sizing.

UK bra brands have a reputation for being well made, beautifully designed and very supportive. In fact, some of my go-to D cup and up brands (especially small band, full bust designs) are made in the UK! So many of my bra fitting clients over the years have fallen in love with UK bras. So it’s worth getting to know these brands and how they size their products.

As an Undergarment Educator, I always believe that knowledge is power. And if you are a bra wearer, knowing how the UK bra size system works will empower you to make a loving and informed decision about what you wear right over your heart each day! Hurray! Whether you work with an expert bra fitter, DIY it, or sho online, get to know how UK bra sizing works!

How does UK bra sizing work?

UK (United Kingdom) bra sizing is the method that UK bra brands use. It’s slightly different than other methods of bra sizing in other countries.

BAND SIZES in the UK are the same as those in the US and North America. Note that mainstream sizing (the narrow size range you’ll see in mainstream department stores) will only stock 34-40 bands, while there are many more sizes available!

Typically US and UK bra bands start at 26 and each band size goes up by 2:

26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38…. 56

(Note that Europe and France and other countries have their own band sizing system)

CUP SIZES in the UK start similarly to the US or Europe, then diverge. Here are the cup sizes in each area:

Europe: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, etc

  • These cup sizes just go straight up the alphabet

USA/North America: A, B, C, D, DD, DDD, G, H, I, J, K, etc.

  • The DD replaces E
  • The DDD replaces F
  • (Oh, and by the way, in the US the DD is bigger than the D, but the AA is smaller than the A. FYI.)

UK: A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, K, KK etc

  • DD and E are different
  • There is no EE
  • Double cups start again at F
  • They skip “I” all together

By far, the UK is the most complicated to understand at first. But once you know how it works, it’s all rather simple!

To find your UK bra size when calculating your bra size starting points remember that the US and UK band sizes are the same, so just use the UK cup sizes instead of US! Some bra brands will even put the size equivalent on the tag of the bra so it’s easy to know what size you’re getting. And many online shops will let you know which country (and sizing method) that bra uses! And of course, if you’re shopping with a fitter they will guide you.

Bra Confidence & Comfort students get a handy chart with ALL of the bra cup equivalents, but here is a small start:

US and UK are the same for A, B, C, D, DD… then

US DDD/F = UK E

US DDDD/G = UK F

US H = UK FF

US I = UK G

US J = UK GG

US K = UK H

US L = UK HH

US M = UK J

US N = UK JJ

US O = UK K

Important bra sizing notes: One thing to point out here is that each up size up in each country is equivalent, but may not be exactly the same. When I first learned bra fitting, my mentor taught me that UK bra sizes were were “half sizes” once you got to DD. But more fitting and research, as well as asking my colleagues who design bras in the UK has shown this not to be true. Each cup size up in each of these three countries is usually fairly equivalent.

That being said, bras are a lot like jeans and how the size compares across countries, brands, or even styles within a brand will vary drastically because there is no universal sizing or one pattern that everyone uses. Add in that bras (and jeans) are made of different materials and cuts (or rises) and it’s very possible that the exact equivalent on a size chart may not be the best fit. Read more about why 9 different bra sizes can all fit to learn more!

This is one reason that I teach the Comfort Fit System™ in the Bra Confidence & Comfort Course to bra shoppers like you, and to my fellow fitters. Because regardless of the size on the tag, how the bra fits is the most important thing. Fit = Comfort. (Want a taste? Get my free bra class to see what I mean!)

Want more in depth guidance, including a handy US/UK size conversion chart and the best bra fit tips? Join Bra Confidence & Comfort™, my signature program for bra wearers. You can get a taste (along with a free bra fit guide) in my Free Bra Class right now.

Buy & Try UK Bra Brands

Ready to try some of the best UK bra brands out there? Hurray! Below is just a taste of what the United Kingdom has to offer, along with a few bonus suggestions along the way. Hurray!

Bravissimo

If you don’t know Bravissimo yet, you’re in for a treat! This full bust focused lingerie and swim company is based in the UK, with several shops – one of which I got to visit while in London – and a robust online store. I’ve also been to their NYC store! Their fitters are helpful, kind, and knowledgeable (just the way I like ‘em) and both the stores and online shop carry their own in-house brand, plus loads more! In fact, you can find some of the brands listed below at Bravissimo, plus some non UK-sized brands. Bravissimo makes it so easy for folks in the UK or US to shop their selection of supportive bras, wire-free bralettes, PJs or lounge tops, and gorgeous swimwear with clear sizing method indications on each product online and vast size options in store. Hurray! Below is just the one (gorgeous) bra I’m wearing in this blog post, but jump online or into one of their stores to try more and let them know Kimmay sent you!

JJ Winks screenshot

Bravissimo Jenna Bra

  • Pretty, soft, stretch lace, seamed balconette cups work with your unique bust shape
  • Designed with underwires for a lifted and separated look
  • Genius magnet clasp makes it easy to attach the gorgeous decorative lace back (and provides a secure, no slipping straps fit)
  • Adjustable band and straps for a wonderful fit and lift
  • Available in an array of colors.
  • Available in band sizes 30-40, and UK cup sizes DD-L (read that again, ya’ll! That is a SIZE RANGE right there!)
  • Pair it with the matching high waist brief for the whole look! I’m wearing Medium.

More UK Bras to Buy & Try

Below is a list of some of the best UK bra brands to buy and try for yourself! Shop these at your local small business or boutique! Some also have their own e-commerce site, or can be shopped on Amazon! And keep in mind that many of these brands also offer cup-sized swimsuits, too! Take a look and see which brands are best for your bust. Hurray!

Panache

Fantasie

Elomi

Freya

Royce

Dita Von Teese

Miss Mandalay

Curvy Kate *Use code BRAKIMMAY for 10% off!*

Bluebella

Gossard

Parfait *20% off with code KIMMAY*

Katherine Hamilton

Remember, size is just one part of the comfort equation and that even the best bras out there need to fit in order to feel comfortable, and that comfort will provide you with all day (and night) confidence! If you wear bras, grab a spot in my Free Bra Class to check on the fit of your bras and take your first step toward saying hurray inside, outside, and underneath™!

Free Bra Class

 Want to wear a bra without ripping it off at the end of the day? Watch How to Find a Comfortable Bra Fit For Your Body WITHOUT Wasting Your Money on Bras You Dread Wearing! Plus, you'll also get Kimmay's Bra Fit Guide, and a taste of Bra Confidence & Comfort™. Watch now and don't spend another minute feeling uncomfortable in your bra.

Your turn: Have you tried UK bra brands before? What did you learn in this article? What questions do you have? Come on over and share with me @hurraykimmay on Instagram!
Credits: Photos by the Scandi Sisters during the #HurrayVacay trip to London! No airbrushing or changing my shape – so enjoy the real deal. Special thanks to our sponsor, Bravissimo!