How Can 30DD Breasts (Professionally Fitted at Nordstroms) W/o a Bra Look Like an A Cup? (photo)

My bra size is 30DD/E, which the wire length fits me 100% and I can fill the cups when "swooped and scooped". However, w/o a bra on my breasts look like an A cup since I have very little projection & my breasts are ridiculously tall (they start at my collarbone). My under bust:29" bust:36" breast measurements – perimeter:8" width:5.3" height:7". After wearing way too small bras for years I have a lot of migrated breast tissue. How can I get the breast tissue to be less tall and more "outward"?

Doctor Answers (10)

How can 30DD breasts look like an A cup?

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Hello! Thank you for your question. In general, implant size does not correlate with bra cup size. The cup size itself will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as who is doing the actual measurements. Thus, cup size is never a reliable indicator for your breast size. I typically encourage my patients not to communicate her desires in cup size but more on the actual look and appearance.  You do appear much smaller than a DD. You would be a great candidate for a breast augmentation with the goals you desire. 

Good communication between you and your surgeon of your expectations is warranted - choosing your surgeon wisely is the first step. Discussion of your wishes and having an honest and open dialog of your procedure is mandatory (e.g, implant type, incision, placement, lift, etc). I have found that photographs brought by the patient is helpful to get a visualization of the appearance you wish for in terms of size, shape, fullness, etc. In addition, your surgeon's pre and postoperative photographs should demonstrate a realistic goal for you. Once this has been accomplished, allow your surgeon to utilize his/her best medical judgment during the procedure to finesse the best possible result for you after preoperative biodimensional planning and fitting the right implant for your breast width.

Hope me that this helps! Best wishes for a wonderful result!


Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Cup sizes and breast dimensions.

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Cup sizes are one of the true mysteries of plastic surgery. There is no standard classification and manufacturers use this to their marketing advantage. However, one can make some generalizations in regards to cup sizes in relation to the chest wall circumference (the 30,32,38 number). Breast volume changes for smaller chest walls will general jump up cup sizes quickly. For instance, it takes much less breast volume for a size 30 bra to go from an A cup to a C cup when compared to a 36 or 38 size bra. This can lead to cup sizes that state a D or DD for a breast that does not have much in the way of volume. Also, as you go up in bra size 34 to 36, the cup goes down. For instance, a 34C cup would equate to a 36B cup.

As for your second question, what you are asking for is projection. The distribution of you breast tissue is normal anatomically. To increase projection, breast implants are your best option.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

How Can 30DD Breasts (Professionally Fitted at Nordstroms) W/o a Bra Look Like an A Cup? (photo)

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Thank you for your question.  The cup sizing system is somewhat arbitrary, especially when it comes to places such as Victoria's Secret and Nordstrom.  Their DD size is a C cup at Macy's or other places with more standardized sizes.  Their purpose is to make women feel good about themselves.  Judging from your photos, you definitely are not a DD cup and by any generally accepted standard you are a B cup.  It is understandable that you have upper pole fullness, but that cannot be transferred down, but it can help create a nicer contour if you get implants to give you more projection.  Best of luck.

Ruben B. Abrams, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

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Don't trust Nordstrom's or Victoria's Secret bra sizing

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You are clearly not a DD. You are more likely a B cup. Nordstrom's and VS are notorious for having undersized bras. It is called vanity sizing. It is good for business for a small breasted woman (size A-B) to go into their stores and buy a C cup....the woman feels better about themselves and becomes a loyal customer. It is the exact same thing that jean companies do. Jean companies size their jeans very big....so the size 8 woman can go buy a size 4 and feel better about it.  

Matthew Schulman, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 167 reviews

How Can 30DD Breasts (Professionally Fitted at Nordstroms) W/o a Bra Look Like an A Cup?

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Dear Molli,

Thank you for your question/photos.  Clearly you are not a DD/E.  You seem to be a B+.  The bra must either be padded or very down-sized.  I would say you have very nice symmetric breasts, however, if you desire increased size, you would be a great candidate for breast augmentation.

Best wishes,

Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Breast size

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The appearance of your breasts would in my opinion be more in the B cup range.  There is no manufacturer standard for cup sizes.  If you are happy with your breast size then leave them alone.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Bra size seems different than breast size

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You have raised a great question. Unfortunately there is not a standardized measurement/fitting formula that is used in the bra/lingerie industry. That is why I never guarantee a bra size after any type of breast surgery. To my eye you do not appear to be a DD/E fullness even with a narrow chest size of 30. My advise is not to pay attention to the bra size but rather your appearance in the bra. Buy what you like and rip out the tag. If you are looking to change the size/fullness of your actual breast - that's a different story. Then you should consider breast augmentation. 

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Volume in lower half of breast will help restore proportion

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Thank you for your question and for providing the photographs.  Sometimes bra sizes just do not make any sense.  As a rule of thumb, if your chest circumference is small, such as yours at 30", your cup size will go up quickly per given breast volume compared to someone who has the same breast volume but a larger chest circumference.  This could explain your cup size although I agree you are not a DD in my book.  Try not to focus on the cup size because it really does not make any sense.  Are you happy with the size of your breast?  If not, an implant can give you more volume and projection.  You cannot do anything to change the height of your breast but if you have more volume in the lower half, below the nipple, you may look more balanced and you may feel better about the shape.  I hope this helps a little bit.  Tracy M. Pfeifer, MD, MS

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

How Can 30DD Breasts (Professionally Fitted at Nordstroms) W/o a Bra Look Like an A Cup?

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There are no fixed definition of cup size. The C cup on a 34 band is smaller than the C cup on a 36, and larger than than on a 32.  I have patients who tell me they wear a 34 C or 32 DD--two cup sizes  difference for a two inch band difference. 

For a 36 band, an 8 inch hemi-circumference would be called a B in my book. 

I agree that an eyeball test would call this an A. If you have bras that fit, it shouldn't matter too much what the label says. If it does, there is not much you can do about it. 

If you want more projection your only option is breast implants. It does not appear that you have fat to spare for fat grafting, which is an option for some women. 

If you wish to pursue, the next step is a consult with a  plastic surgeon. RealSelf has listings of surgeons in your area. You should consider cross referencing the listings from the The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery dot org). A listing in the ASPS website assures you that your surgeon is not only board certified,  but also is a member in good standing of the major plastic surgery organization in the U. S. Thank you for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Double DD

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Looking at your breast i don't see a DD.You could have an aug to fill out your breast but it all depends on how you feel about your size now.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.