questionsis a c cup the same size no matter the band size…

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I would imagine so, but I think there are measurements other than cup size to consider for a proper/ comfortable fit.

I am also clueless about this subject matter.

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The cup size specifies how many inches larger the breasts are than the band, so a c-cup will always be the same size. But if you are buying a larger band than normal, you will need a smaller cup size for a proper fit and vice versa.

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A 34C is not the same as a 38C.
This site can explain it well.

Best bet is to peek at the label on one of her favorite bras to see what size to get.

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@kophia's link and advice are good. (The short answer is no, a given cup size is not the same from one band size to the next because it's proportional to the band size: it's a volume thing.)

Sizes fit different from one brand to the next, and a bra that doesn't fit properly can be very uncomfortable. If you're buying underwear that you anticipate that your wife will wear regularly, please check the return policy so she can exchange it if it's not comfortable. If it's something that you, um, don't expect her to, um, "wear" that much... well, it's still considerate to make sure it fits her and that it's something she enjoys.

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That is sort of like asking if all pants that are a 32 length are the same. While the pants might fit your legs length do they fit you if they are so tight you cannot button them or are so big they fall down?

Unless what you are looking to purchase is a one size fits all item best bet would be to check the tag for the proper size rather then take a guess and end up with something that doesn't really fit.

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If you want a less dry tutorial on bra sizing, way back when there was one running around the internet that the then most-downloaded-woman (silly title) Danni Ashe had put together which was geared at helping men understand it while keeping their attention. It's probably still around somewhere, but I'm not going to search for it from the system I'm on right now.

A note regarding the peek-at-what-she's-got-now strategy ... bras fit wildly differently, so just getting the same size may not be a good match unless it's the same exact model from the same manufacturer.

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Definitely not. As the link @kophia listed states, the general rule is "go up a band size, go down a cup size, or vice versa" - but that is a very general guideline which I've found to not be an exact science. I have also found that different manufacturers fit much differently (both band and cup sizes), and even different styles within the same manufacturer. I second the recommendation to take a peek in her drawer and see what sizes are in there, as well as the brands. If you go to a good lingerie store they should be knowledgable enough to be able to help you translate that into whatever you are looking to purchase.

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Bras are really hard to buy for someone else, is there any particular reason why you've chosen a bra as your gift? Even using all of the advice above (all great advice!) a woman likes to try on a bra before purchasing.

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@ohcheri: "a woman likes to try on a bra before purchasing."

Says the lady selling lingerie online ;-)

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@captainsuperdawg: I know what you're saying but we don't sell those kinds of bras...the kind of bras that women wear all day and want to be comfortable. Our bras are considered "exotic" and intended to be worn for a short time then tossed on the floor :)

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@ohcheri: Would you consider them say "sexy"? ha ha ha

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@iggz: That is one possible adjective a person might use ;)

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Maybe you should consider nightwear instead? Or maybe a teddy? Something less dependent on exact cup and band size. OR Get her the panties and tuck an extravagant gift card inside them for the rest of the lingerie?

What EVER you do, don't depend on the bimbettes at Victoria's Secret for proper advice. They love to tell F cup girls to just go up two band sizes and down two cup sizes. Um, no, breasts don't work that way. It would be like wearing a wider but shorter shoe. It ain't gonna work.

@OhCheri: Yeah, those are the kind of bras that gift a "lift" to the one you're with, rather than support to the "girls."

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@lavikinga: Exactly, I couldn't have said it better myself ;-)

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get a couple ladies together that are all Cs and test them out.

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Maybe it's not as romantic, but a gift card can never go wrong. Aside from fit, there's also style/color/fabric to consider. Personally, I don't care how nice a bra fits if it's made with itchy lace and colored acid green.

Just a thought.

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I can tell the difference between a 36b and a 34c by the feel. I always welcome volunteers to prove me wrong. It only takes about 10 minutes or so.

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I would also add the complication that bras stretch over time to varying degrees, and that it is hard to judge what fabric would be comfortable.

Although I have never met your wife, I would agree with thinking for a while about the giflt. There are a lot of ways for a gift like this to go wrong. If my husband gave me a bra, I would assume that it was a present for him, not for me. Also, do you want to hear, "Did you REALLY think I was that size?"

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Lots of things to consider (most have been mentioned above):
1.) Is this an everyday bra or just something fun and exciting?
THAT right there above is probably the most important. If it is for everyday, continue, if not, "ballpark it".
2.) Size is key -- improper bra is very uncomfortable (or so I'm told).
3.) Style: T-shirt bra, underwire bra, push-up, etc, etc.
4.) Manufacturer: They fit slightly different and each woman probably has her preference.
I've been bra shopping with my wife enough now to know what she likes and what she doesn't like -- she's always around for the "daily fit" bras, but if it's something fun, I have a little more leeway.