Fellow mothers often ask me for advice about buying their young daughters their first bra. Having raised two girls, I too had to address this issue. My approach with both girls, who are now grown and have full-busted figures, may have been a little unique. However, they both came through the experience enjoying lingerie and feeling confident about their bodies.
Here’s what I did.
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 it was 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 first daughter loved having it. She felt grown up. She immediately put it on and 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 big sister with it, so it seemed very normal to her. Over the following years, I would get a request for another top or a different color. They also developed an eye for two-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 when they really needed one, it seemed like the natural next step.
Timing is everything.
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 make sure your daughter is bra-equipped before then.
If you are close to the deadline described above, here are three 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 a page for teen and A cup bras. Simply pull up the page 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 the size chart.
2. If you’re a single dad…
The best thing to do is find a female family member or an adult female she’s comfortable with to help her. If that’s not an option, stand back and let her choose (with credit card in hand). Ask a saleswoman for guidance and assistance with measuring.
3. Keep it personal.
Don’t invite siblings, partners, friends or other family (unless you’re a 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 to avoid)
1. To support, or not to support…
Bralettes are great for coverage and minimal support. If your daughter needs slight support, she might start with a simple, soft-cup bra but will probably graduate to more supportive bras quickly. Don’t be afraid of underwires if she’s developing on the larger side. But remember, as breasts continue to grow, you’ll need to buy several different sizes. A too-small underwire cup can hurt. Soft-cup, or wireless bras, are the best option for early success.
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 petite women, not young girls. The wires fall in strange places and without enough breast tissue, they 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, above all things, comfortable. Let her choose a few different styles and colors, but be 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 breasts during high impact activities, they’re made to fit snug. It’s good to introduce your daughter to non-sports bra options since as she gets older, her style will mature and she’ll need something more than a sports bra.
5. White bras
Another mistake moms make is 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 feels natural. If it were stark white, it would look like a mistake.
Try these picks:
Rhonda Sheer 9299
Calvin Klein QF1804
Tween Bee 2173
Ready to start shopping? Find teen and A cup bras at HerRoom.
Find a better fit,