Theories abound as to why women’s cups seem to be (forgive the pun) spilling over. Some ascribe the difference to a confluence of health and beauty trends that have accelerated over time. A 2007 study of adult women by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the prevalence of obesity — someone having a body mass index of 30 or more — has increased 2.1 percent since 2004, to 35.3 percent. Breast augmentation, too, is still a popular procedure, despite the recession. And age and hormones play havoc with baby boomers’ bust sizes, as well. But most manufacturers and lingerie shop owners say the phenomenon is due to the fact that more women are being fitted correctly. They call it the Oprah effect. Since 2005, when Oprah Winfrey devoted a show to how to buy the right size bra, the number of women seeking bra fittings has soared.
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Illustration by Alison Seiffer.