20 June, 2017

Bra Science: How Band Size Changes with Cup Size - Freya

Welcome to part two of my series on how band lengths are not always equal between cup sizes. Last time we had Cleo by Panache, now we're testing Freya's band lengths.

I collected Bratabase data on the stretched and unstretched band lengths in a couple of band sizes of Freya bras - the ones with the most data. The results are as follows:

This chart, as you have probably guessed, shows Freya's stretched band lengths.

In 28 and 30 bands, from D to G cups, the bands are fairly consistent. However in 32 and 34 bands, the data is more varied - this is probably due to the smaller sample sizes of these band sizes. (I also want to note that the 34s are comparatively larger than the 32s, 30s and 28s).

When we analysed Cleo's data, we saw a clear increase in stretched band lengths from G to GG cups. Here, there isn't anything quite as visible though there does appear to be a band length increase of about 0.5 to 1cm. H cups are reasonably consistent with GGs, aside from in the 34s which I think is down to lack of data (the sample size drops dramatically from 34GG to 34H).

And then, for some unknown rason, HH bands are massive! In 30 bands (the band size with the most data), H to HHs increase by over 1.5cm.

And then, even more confusingly, at J cups the band sizes decrease down again, around to the lengths the bands started at in D cups in 30 and 32 bands, and the J cups on 34 bands having smaller bands than the HHs (but not quite back to where we started).

To see if we can shed some more light on this behaviour, let's take a look at the unstretched band lengths:

You can see that the trends are similar with the unstretched band lengths. There is a definite jump from G to GG cups - and what's interesting is this jump definitely increases with band size.

H cups appear to have slightly shorter bands than GGs, but there is a marked increase in band length from H to HH cups.

Again, the J cups appear to have a slight decrease in band lengths.

Let's see if any interesting trends pop up if we take these sets of data away from each other:

Is this a bra data line chart or the London tube map?

While this data is a mess, I think there may be a few useful things we can glean from it:

As you would imagine, larger band sizes generally stretch more. However this difference is definitely not as pronounced as with Cleo bras - the 30s and 32s are very similar in their stretchiness. However, the 34s are much stretchier.

There no longer appears to be a jump from G to GG, suggesting that GGs are just made larger than Gs as opposed to getting stretchier.

Most of the data shows an increase in stretchiness from H to HH, but other parts show a decrease, overall I think HHs are stretchier than Hs.

But there definitely is a dramatic decrease in band stretchiness from HH to J cups.

Again I have some theories as to why we're seeing the data that we're seeing:

  • Changes to patterns at key sizes
I've mentioned this before as a top cause of changing band length and again I think it's applicable here. 

  • Certain styles only being made in certain size range - and the changing styles using different constructions
Freya sells, among other things, plunge balconies and balconies. Often their plunge balconies go up to a G cup while the balconies start at a GG and go up. Perhaps their balcony cuts have longer bands by nature than their plunge balconies? To see if this is affecting anything I decided to look at some specific bratabase data:

Freya Arabella had a plunge balcony version going up to a G, and a balcony version from GG upwards.

In 30G the bands stretched to 82.5cm, in 30GG however the bands stretched to 85.5cm.

In 32G the bands stretched to 82.4cm, in 32GG the bands stretched to 90.5cm

By contrast, the Patsy Plunge Balcony is labelled as such up to an H cup. Let's see what the band lengths for that are...

In 30G the bands stretched to 79.5cm, whereas in 30GG they stretched to 80.7. (In 30FF they stretched to 80.8cm.)

In 32G the bands stretched to 85.7cm, whereas in 32GG they stretched to 83.8cm. (In 32FF they stretched to 84.1cm)

Can we learn from this? Probably not, but there is really not a lot of data for what I'm looking for. However this does back up my theory, as the Balconies were noticeably looser than the plunge balconies, and the Patsy stayed reasonably consistent throughout cup sizes. I'm confident that despite the 32G Arabella Plunge Balcony having a smaller(!) band than the 30G that there was not a lot of user error, as the reviews claim the 32 to have a tight band but the 30s to have a very loose band.

Also, lots of Freya bras just stop at G, GG or H, so maybe the lines that run into HH-J territory simply have loose bands overall?

  • Longer wires taking less force to pull outwards while measuring a stretched band
I explained my line of reasoning here in the previous post. And decided that if it were happening here, that it would account for gradual increasese in band lengths, rather than big size jumps, and of course we're not seeing gradual increases here but big jumps. I'm not sure if the increases we're seeing align with that that well.

  • Different cup sizes using different materials
I don't know if this is the case or not. We do know that Freya change some of their cuts after G cups to different, reinforced constructions (addressed above) but do they change within cuts between cup size?

  • Different sizes potentially being made in different places
Again, I don't know enough about large scale bra manufacturing to really make a strong case here. Maybe the place that's making the J cups just tends to make bands shorter than HH? 

  • User error and differences in measuring for different sizes on Bratabase
This following passage is straight up copied and pasted from my previous post, because it still applies here:

Maybe people who wear J cups really give their bras more of a tug than those who wear D cups? It's a possibility. Maybe they each try  to simulate the force their bras will be under, and since people with larger cups generally have heavier breasts, they stretch their bras more when measuring. Again, this would account for a gradual increase in stretched band lengths but not the jumps we see here. Also, this would not affect unstretched band lengths - even though we see clear differences with cup size and unstretched band lengths.

I also would like to point out that I tried to choose sizes with lots of data - many data points have over 100 bras listed, most have over 50, and a few have less than that.

I understand that there are big limitations with this data. Different bra lines stop at different sizes, and bras themselves vary hugely in band lengths from cut to cut. However this data is still useful in realising that clearly there are drastic differences in band size with changes in cup size, and we should bear this in mind when recommending bras to others or trying bras for ourselves.

Have you encountered any of these things with Freya bras? Let me know!


  1. Thank you for gathering and analysing all this data! In general, it confirms my experience with buying bras based on user recommendations. A 28-band D-cup wearer will have a completely different experience with band length or stretchiness in a specific bra than a 38H wearer. And even with similar sizes there may be differences depending on breast shape&weight and measuring techniques than can vary between people. We have to bear this in mind.

    1. Thanks for responding! It definitely is important to bear this in mind.