Bra Size – Is Cup Volume the Key to a Better Fit?

by Estelle Puleston

Jockey have just announced an innovative new bra size measuring system that they’ve spent the past 8 years developing. Some bra retailers have recently begun to move away from the old ‘plus four’ system towards a more holistic ‘add nothing and see if it fits, then go from there’ kind of approach. It’s a good change, but still very reliant on a tape measure. Jockey’s system on the other hand, called a Volumetric Fit System, is completey new.

The idea is that you use a tape measure to take your band size but then rather than using it to measure your cup size too, you try out different mouldable, soft-plastic ‘cups’ to see which fits over your breast most comfortably with no spillage. There are 10 of these cup sizes to try so you’ll end up with a number-number format rather than the usual number-letter format, e.g. 32-3 (a 32 band size and size 3 Jockey cups).

In theory, I like the idea. It’s a common misconception that the cups on a 32B bra are the same as the cups on a 34B, a 36B and so on, when in fact the volume of those 32B cups is approximately the same as on a 34A and a 36AA. If cups are measured by volume on their own, not volume in comparison to the band size, then if you’re a size ‘4’ you’re always a size 4, no matter which band size you choose.

However, I do see some problems with Jockey’s Volumetric Fit System too. I haven’t actually tried it myself, so you’ll have to take this with a pinch of salt, but these are the reasons I’m not so sure it’ll catch on…

Volume Isn’t Everything

If someone is, say, a size 5 cup in Jockey’s system and a 32 band, their breasts may well have the same total volume as someone who’s a size 5 cup and a 38 band, but the volume will almost certainly be distributed differently – the woman who wears the larger band size would likely have wider breasts. If the fit of the cups is based on a ‘one size fits all’ size 5 mould, will the cups on the actual bra be the same or different? Will the underwire on the 38 band be shaped wider than the underwire on the 32 band? Jockey don’t really make that clear, but it’s very important for a good fit.

It Isn’t Free

I’d be interested in trying Jockey’s sizing system out, but the kit costs $19.95. Admittedly you do get a $20 voucher to spend on your first Jockey bra, but if you buy the cups and don’t like the system then all you’ve got is a bunch of plastic boob cups and a voucher you don’t want to spend! It’s a financial risk that I know will put many customers off.

Jockey Is Just One Brand

If every lingerie boutique in the world decided to use this exact Volumetric Fit System from tomorrow, bra shopping would be simple. You’d measure your size with standarised cups and then know your size – your only size – to buy wherever you shopped. That’s better than the pretty unregulated bra-sizing system right now, where I can be a 30F in one brand and a 32DD in another. That adds a lot of hassle and doubt when shopping online!

However, every brand doesn’t use this system and even if it takes off, it’d be decades before it became the new norm. So it’s just one more size to remember for one more brand, and only really helpful to know if you shop at Jockey regularly. Bra sizes are already wildly inconsistent, do we really need yet another sizing method to enter into the equation?

So what do you think of Jockey’s Volumetric Fit System? Do you think it would help you find bras that fit better?


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1 comment

Anonymous August 14, 2008 - 11:12 am

Well, they still ignore everyone under 30 band, large cup sizes are not available at all for 30 and 32 band bras, some small cup sizes are not available for some larger band sizes. Their largest cup size is roughly equivalent to 34G/36FF/38F/40E/42DD.

I wouldn’t call that progress.