Updated on July 7th, 2023 at 05:19 pm

The descriptors women use on themselves have evolved over the years. Today, body-positive words like plus-size and full-figured are common. Even though some people use them interchangeably, you can’t help but wonder, is plus-size the same as full-figured?

No. Plus-size is used to refer to women’s size 12 and above. Full-figure women have rounded frames and prominent breasts and hips. A full-figured woman has a cup size D or higher in the lingerie world, while a plus-size woman has a cup size D and a 40+ band size.

Let’s see how these terms will inform your clothing choices and what they mean for your health.

What is the difference between full-figure and plus-size?

image of plus-size-vs-full-figured - Extra Large LivingAccording to body type, a plus-size woman is above size 12, while a full-figure woman has prominent hips and chest but without having a slim waist. A clear difference is seen in the types of bras they wear. Generally, a full figure focuses more on cup size, while a plus-size focuses on band size.

A lady with a cup size D and above is full-figured. If she wears a cup size D with a 40+ band size, she’s plus-size. This means that full-figure women tend to have smaller backs than plus-size women of the same cup size.

As expected, plus size women wear different bra sizes. To be comfortable, you need to purchase the correct size. This calls for you to learn how to measure bra size at home.

Does full-figured mean curvy?

No, it doesn’t. A full-figured woman has a rounded frame with a full bust, wide hips, and a thick waistline. The term curvy has less to do with overall weight and more to do with fat distribution on different body parts to create the curves. Curvy is often associated with the hourglass figure.

The hourglass figure is similar to the full-figure but with a slimmer waist. At the waist is where the curve is most prominent and where their name comes from. Aside from this, almost everything else is similar, including the bra size.

Does full-figured mean fat?

Not necessarily. Full figured describes body shape and size, while the term fat points to excess body fat. Full-figured women could be well within their ideal weight, while you might come across fat average-weight women. Carrying extra fat can lead to serious medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, or type 2 diabetes.

Why does it matter whether you are a plus-size or full-figured woman?

Knowing your body size is crucial because it affects your clothing, health, and training. Understanding your body type will help you pick dresses that’ll flatter your body and elevate your beauty. Aside from this, the clothes you wear exude fun, calmness, class, and femininity to those in your immediate environment.

Alternatively, they could send lazy, clumsy, or don’t care vibes which influence the judgment you get from others. Your body shape is also crucial to your health. It informs you how easy or difficult it is to gain or lose body weight. Also, it tells you which body parts accumulate fat first and fast than others.

Lastly, just because your body looks great doesn’t mean you are fit. Understanding your body shape helps you or your trainer create a custom training schedule and exercises that target specific body parts for the best results.

Why do bra brands fit differently?

There isn’t a universal bra sizing system. As such, some lingerie brands use UK sizing while other brands use US sizing. For instance, a US DDD bra size is equivalent to a UK E bra size. Therefore, when shopping from a UK-based brand, you’ll have to convert the bra size to US bra sizing. Other contributing factors include:

Brands use different models

Bras go through several stages before they are ready for sale. A crucial step in their design process is fitting on models. Fit models allow designers to see how the bra fits and looks on a real person. Design issues are identified at this stage and fixed. The fit models act as representatives for all women, which causes the variation in fit.

Bra cut

Half cup, demi-cup, full cup, and quarter cut bras fit differently depending on the shape of your breasts. Bra cuts also vary in cradle, band, and underwire length and width and strap placement.


Rigid fabrics that don’t stretch affect how bra bands and cups fit. For instance, power mesh bands have a snugger fit compared to stretch lace. While bras with satin fabrics and foam cups have a little stretch.

Final word

Knowledge is power. Understanding plus-size and full-figure differences will lead you to make better decisions about the clothes you buy. You’ll also learn to love your body and what to do to make it look better and healthier. For more information check out Extra Large Living.

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