Petite Scarlet recently catalyzed a wonderful forum discussion when she posed the question, “what is considered a large bust size?”. She asked: 

How do you define this? On the one hand I feel large busted because it can be a fitting problem area, but on the other hand lots of women are much larger busted than I am. Also I don’t see my bustline as a reason not to wear a big scarf a la Angie’s blog post. Where do you draw the line for small/average/large?

FWIW, I usually wear a 32D (ideally it would be a 30DD, but that is too hard to find) am currently in an 34 DD due to pregnancy, but since my girth has increased it still feels more balanced than large to me. I have learned though that my feelings about large and small can be more in my head than what is apparent to other people.

The responses on Scarlet’s thread are fascinating and well worth a read. To summarize, some consider a 36D bra size “busty”. Others feel it isn’t that straightforward because height and bone structure are relevant factors that form part of the visual picture. Some feel that shoulder and chest shape play a role. Some feel that despite your height, you look more busty when you are short waisted. And others think that a D-cup, in all band widths, is a very average bust size. 

I have two main thoughts on this question. First of all, cup sizes are not created equal. A D-cup on a size 30D bra is smaller than a D-cup on a size 38D bra. So using the cup size as a reference point for bust size can be misleading. 

Second, I support the idea that it’s all about how the size of your bust relates to the rest of your body. For example, I have an almost 6 foot tall client who wears a size 36DD. To my eye she looks small busted, and she agrees with me. She is very tall with broad shouders. Her height and extra strong shoulder line make her bust size appear relatively small. On the other hand, I have a client who stands at 5′ 2″ with a short torso and wears a size 32D. Although her bra size is smaller, her shorter proportions increase the size of her bust relative to the rest of her body. She looks like she has a fuller bust than my tall client. 

Although it’s interesting to hear how people’s perceptions on bust size differ, it’s more important to think about but how your bust size affects the way you dress, and how your clothes fit your bustline. In other words, do you want to minimize or maximize your bust size, or leave it be. Scarlet hits the nail on the head when she puts it like this: 

You are only “large-busted” as a shape modifier if you feel like it is something you need to dress around. I personally don’t feel I need to dress around my bust line (i.e. minimize or balance it), although I do need to take the extra effort to find the shirts/dresses that fit.

I’ve noticed that my clients are different in this regard. At one extreme, some large busted clients like to accentuate the size of their chest. At another extreme some small busted clients like to minimize it. And then there’s every bust size dressing preference in-between. 

I’m 5′ 6″ and wear a size 29D or 30D sized bra. I feel neither large nor small busted. I do not dress around my bustline, although wearing a form fitting turtleneck clearly accentuates the size of my bust. I often wear form fitting turtlenecks so I’m fine with looking more full busted on those days. 

Do you feel small, regular or large busted? How does the size of your bust affect the way you dress? Do you prefer to minimize or maximize the size of your chest?