On the surface, this is that quintessential high-fives-all-around-'Murica! type story: Women's bra sizes have gotten WAY BIGGER. Like, comically so. From Racked.com:
The average bra size in America is growing at a nearly exponential rate. According to sales data and customer surveys collected by national lingerie retailer Intimacy, the average American cup size has gone from 34 B in 1983 to a whopping 34 DD in 2013.
According to the retailers we talked to, sizes appear to be on the upswing throughout the industry. The current bestselling bra size size at online lingerie emporium Figleaves.com is a 34 E. Figleaves.com's private label brand Just Peachy has also seen a high demand in larger sizing—up to 38 G. The retailer also has plans to roll out a new collection offering selections up to 38 H to continue to meet demand.
Why has this shift occurred? It's not what I kind of suspected—that everyone in the U.S. has gotten more, uh, rotund over the past three decades. As anyone who has recently accessed Wikipedia's entry on "Brassiere measurement" will tell you, an increase in number means an increase in band size around the torso. Letter increases reflect changes in cup size. Since the number stayed at 34 between 1983 and 2013, the populace hasn't gotten huskier.
Instead, bra manufacturers point to something else—which should also deflate your image of every woman in America slowly morphing into a porn star. Women are actually wearing the correct size now, whereas before, they were forced to stuff into bras that didn't fit. Again, from Racked:
Intimacy believes that the demand for larger sizes comes from a mix better customer service and a heightened awareness among the customers themselves. "Instead of forcing D+ breasts into A to D cup bras, women are beginning to purchase larger cup sizes (G cup, for example) that actually fit properly," said a rep. "[Twenty years ago] the American market carried less than 20 sizes, so women with bigger breasts squeezed into bras that were two or more cup sizes too small. Therefore, the idea that breast size is increasing is perhaps slightly inflated due to women actually purchasing larger (and more accurate) bras for themselves."
The truth is always boring.