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When you're browsing in a lingerie shop for a new bra, the selections are generally marked 32, 34, 36 and 38. From the time you got your first bra -- and maybe even before that -- you've known that those numbers refer to inches. But sometimes tags on girdles or bras have numbers followed by "cm," and the numbers are much bigger than you're used to. What's up with that?
The abbreviation "cm" stands for centimeters. Many countries use the metric system, so you may not see your bra or girdle size in inches if you're shopping in a foreign country. But if you're a diehard lingerie fan, why let a little thing like that stop you? Because 1 inch equals 2.54 centimeters, your bra size in centimeters is a much bigger number than you're used to. Think of it as the same exact you, only more.
If you wear a size-36 bra size, that translates to somewhere between 88 and 94 centimeters. A 36B cup is around 88 centimeters, and a 36D is about 94, according to Next Retail Ltd., a seller of women's fashions. Just measure your bust at the fullest part with a measuring tape marked in centimeters, rather than inches. Another thing: don't assume you'll have an easy time finding your size, especially if you have a rather generous bosom.
Tags on girdles may say "S," "M," "L" and -- just to keep you from having to guess -- may include measurements in inches or centimeters. For example, a tag might say that "M" means a waist measurement from 27 to 28 inches and a hip measurement from 37 to 38 inches. The tag might also say the waist is 68 to 71 centimeters and the hips are 94 to 97 centimeters, according to Hot Gossip Bra Shop, an online lingerie store.
Lingerie, as well as other clothing items, are more likely to have tags with both inches and centimeter measurements if the garments are intended for export to different countries. If you're shopping in a location like an Asian country, you may have a very hard time finding bras and girdles in larger sizes because most Asian women are smaller than American women. No, ladies, that doesn't mean you have go around braless; just pack a few extras if you're planning a long stay.