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Full-busted customers have never had as much choice in bras as they do now. More and more brands that traditionally stuck to A-D are extending their size range, adding DD+ into the mix. But when a bra comes in both smaller and full-bust cup sizes, it’s not uncommon for there to be design differences between those two size groups.

Yes, it can be frustrating. But brands aren’t just doing this arbitrarily. There are very valid reasons why these design changes are necessary.

Here are five of the most common differences you’ll find between A-D and DD+ versions of the same bra: 

Different (or different-looking) lace

Laces come in two broad varieties – narrow ones, designed to be used as trims only, and wider ones intended for use as a main fabric. But even these wider ones will very often have a fancy scalloped or eyelash edging, and then be plainer towards the centre of the fabric.

If a brand is using one of these fancy-edged laces on its bras, it can look quite different on a smaller versus larger cup. On the small bra size, you’ll only see the densely-detailed, intricate edge part. But on a larger cup, some of that plainer ‘inner’ lace becomes visible too.

Occasionally, a brand will use a different lace entirely on the full-bust version. This happens when they initially design the bra to be core-sized only and pick a narrow lace for the upper cup panels, then later decide to create a DD+ version – but find that the original lace selection isn’t actually wide enough to cover these larger cup pieces.

Wider band

The band is the part of the bra that provides the majority of the support. And larger breasts need more of that! A wider band will bolster the support by distributing the weight of the breasts over a larger surface area.

Sometimes, this change can be quite subtle. The band might be a centimetre taller, and have a hook-and-eye fastening with an extra row added. Other times, it can be significant. An ‘open’ band made from elastic strapping may be replaced with solid fabric in the larger cup sizes, for example.

Wider straps

Although the band takes on most of the heavy lifting, the straps do a little support work too. And when they have the weight of a full bust pulling down on them, they can start to dig in more.

For this reason, it’s quite typical for full-bust versions of bras to have wider straps. Again, this distributes the weight over a larger surface area. It ensures that the bra is still comfortable to wear for those with heavier busts.

Related: How To Build A Lingerie Wardrobe You Love

bra brands for full bust

Extra seams

Bra seams are there for two reasons – to determine the shape of the cup (e.g. rounder, pointier…) and to strengthen it. Smaller cup sizes may have just one horizontal or vertical seam, or, in the case of a moulded cup, no seams at all.

In larger cup sizes however, these seams are absolutely critical. Without them, the cups simply can’t provide adequate lift and shaping. So when a bra comes in core-sized and full-bust versions, the full-bust one will typically have more seams.

Added lining

Discovered a sheer bra you love, except that it’s not so sheer in the size you need? This, again, comes down to support. Finer fabrics such as lace can be quite flimsy, which makes using them tricky on a bra that needs to be able to hoist up a heavy bust.

The solution is to add a second layer, doubling the fabric strength compared to using the outer material alone. But even though this lining is usually a sheer mesh, it can still make the cup noticeably more opaque.

Unfortunately, there’s not much brands can do to get around that if they’ve picked an outer fabric that’s easy to warp. But not all sheer fabrics are super-delicate, and sheer full-bust bras do exist. So don’t give up looking!

How to avoid unwanted surprises

In store, you’ll be able to see exactly what you’re buying before you get it. Online, that’s not always the case. Retailers don’t always choose to photograph both the small-cup and large-cup versions of the same bra, even when they’re visibly different. So always be sure to read the product description in full for notes on design changes, and check for reviews from fellow full-busted customers.

Have you ever spotted design variations between different cup sizes of the same bra?

Related: Are Full Bust Bras and Plus Size Bras The Same Thing?

best bra brands for full bust

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

Featured image lingerie:
Charlotte Padded Bra | Charlotte Bikini in Blossom Print
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Published by

Estelle Puleston

Estelle Puleston is the founder of, a blog dedicated to her love of lingerie. She works full-time as a copywriter and digital marketer for the lingerie and swimwear industry, and when she’s not doing that, she’s probably sewing or enjoying a good cup of tea.

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