I’m frequently asked questions on the topic of buying a girl her first bra. Having raised two girls, I too had to address this issue. My approach with both girls, who are now 19 and 21 with full-busted figures, may have been a little unique. However, they both came through the experience enjoying lingerie and without any insecurity on the subject. So, if I may, allow me to share what I did. It might be the right approach for your daughter.
I bought each girl a cami-top or crop-top when they were little – like 5 or 6. I showed it to each of my girls and told them their bra to wear when they wanted to. That was it. I just gave one to them and walked away.
And here’s what happened…my oldest daughter loved having it…she felt grown up. She immediately put it on and then spent the next week or so wearing it under different tops. She also wore it around the house as a top. (Mind you, she grew up during the Britney Spears era, so that look was not unusual.)
Two years later, I gave one to my second daughter. She had the benefit of seeing her older sister with it, so it seemed very normal to her. Throughout the following years, I would get a request for another top, or a different color from time-to-time. They also acquired an eye for 2-piece bathing suits – another opportunity to become familiar with the concept. Eventually, the idea of a bra became “no big deal” and when the time came where they really needed one, it and seemed the natural next step.
If your daughter is older, you need to know that for most girls, the drop-dead date to own and wear a bra is at the start of the school year when mandatory gym classes begin. This is probably her first exposure to seeing what her peers are wearing. For me, I’ll never forget that first gym class. I was still wearing t-shirts when we were required to change into our gym clothes. Within the week, I had my first bra. So, forewarned is forearmed…make sure your daughter is bra-equipped before then.
If you are close to the deadline described above, there are 3 things to keep in mind…
1. Provide options, then let her choose They know what they want, so provide options and then sit back and let them pick the style and color they want to start with. HerRoom has its own page and filter devoted just to teen bras. Simply pull-up the page, choose the bra department, select “Teen” in the Style filter, and let her shop. Sizing can get a little tricky, so once she picks out her favorite(s) and she’s unsure of her size, make sure she looks at our size charts.
2. If you’re a single Dad… The best thing to do is find a female family member or an adult female who she’s comfortable with to help her. Otherwise, stand back and let her choose (with credit card in hand.) Ask a saleswoman for guidance and assistance measuring.
3. No audience and no announcement Don’t invite siblings, partners, friends or other family (unless you’re in the category of single Dad) to bra shopping day and don’t tell the world (unless you have her permission) about her new purchase. This is about her body and shouldn’t be made into a big deal.
5 Things to Look For (and not to look for):
1. To Support or Not To Support? Bralettes are great for coverage and minimal support. If your girl’s needing slight support, she might start with a simple, soft-cup bra but will probably graduate to more supportive, teen bras quickly. Don’t be afraid of underwires if she’s developing on the larger side. But remember, as breasts continue to grow, be ready to buy several different sizes. A too-small underwire cup can hurt. Most early success is had with the soft-cup or wireless bras.
2. “Petite” doesn’t always mean “young” Wacoal makes a fabulous line of petite bras, but they don’t fit young girls properly. The underwires fall on the wrong part of the body and the cups don’t look right. Petite bras are really designed for a petite woman – not a young girl. The wires fall in strange places and without enough breast tissue…tend to move up the chest.
3. Girls need more than one bra style, even in the early stages She should have a few everyday bras that are, foremost, comfortable. Let her choose a few different styles and colors, but make sure to include at least one bra in a skin tone.
4. Don’t assume a sports bra is a perfectly good teen bra option If your daughter’s an athlete, she should also have a sports bra. Because sports bras are made to protect the breast during high-impact activities, they’re made to fit snug. It’s good to introduce your daughter to non-sports bra options since she’ll get older, style will mature and she’ll unavoidably need something more than a sports bra.
5. White bras Here’s another mistake moms make – buying white bras for their daughters. The girls don’t want white…they want nude, black or a cute pastel print. To them, a white bra looks too much like underwear. They’re growing up in a world where seeing a bra strap or parts of the bra showing feels natural. If it were stark white, it would look like a mistake.
Rhonda Shear, Ahh Divine Underwire Leisure Bra, 9299, HerRoom.com
Calvin Klein, Lounge Lightly Line Wirefree Bra, QF1804, HerRoom.com
TweenBee, Microfiber Full Coverage Bra, 2173, HerRoom.com