I was eleven, and according to my mother, more emotionally ready than physically. My sisters and friends were all wearing bras, and I felt self-conscious and left out.
My mom took me, WITHOUT my sisters (which was very rare and quite special), to a local department store where I was convinced nothing would fit me. After all, I hadn’t really even started developing yet (c’mon boobs, where are you?!). But I desperately wanted to fit in and wear a bra. I tried on a few soft bralettes and was SO thrilled to find some that actually fit! My mom purchased a couple for me, and I immediately put one on and never looked back.
Afterwards, she took me for ice cream to celebrate. I remember feeling like I was on top of the world… I was officially grown up! It was such an important experience for me, and I am so grateful that my mom really took the time to make it special.
If there is ONE single thing I miss the most about my 12-year career as a bra fitter, it was being able to create an amazing experience for young girls with their first bras.
Getting your first bra is a HUGE milestone in every woman’s life, whether we treat it as such or not. This experience truly has the power to create a sense of self-awareness and confidence, but it can also produce shame and uncertainty if not handled properly.
So, for all you mamas out there who want to make your daughter’s “first bra” experience a positive one, here are some tips on how to achieve that!
WHEN to go.
There really is no “standard” age in which to expect breast development to begin. For some, it can be as young as seven years old, while for others it may not happen until age sixteen… or even older!
Many parents feel it’s unnecessary to begin bra shopping until there are obvious physical signs. The truth is, when your daughter expresses an emotional need or desire for a bra, she’s ready. The emotional signs are just as important as the physical ones, if not MORE important!
The physical indicators include soreness or sensitivity around the nipple area, and little “buds” or bumps showing through clothing. If you notice your daughter covering up or hunching over, it likely means she is aware that her breasts are beginning to develop, and/or someone has already commented on her showing through her shirts.
My first experience, like many young girls, was initiated by emotions. It’s important to remember that emotional indicators can be just as significant as the physical ones. When she begins talking about her friends wearing bras and saying she wants one, it’s imperative to acknowledge this. Even if you don’t feel she is physically ready (or maybe YOU’RE just not ready?), this is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with her, AND help boost her confidence early on.
Tip: Plan a special “girl’s only” outing, and include yourself in the bra fitting/trying on process. It’s important to show her that you understand what she’s going through, and by experiencing these activities together, it creates common ground. The more interactive you are, the more likely her first bra shopping experience will positive and memorable!
WHERE to go.
Although I personally recommend taking her to a professional, you can easily find training bras, camis, and bralettes at local department stores – even Target or Wal-Mart. This is a great option if you have a limited budget or schedule, or if your daughter isn’t physically developing yet. But, if you’d prefer that she get a more accurate fitting and personalized service, try finding a local small business that specializes in bra fittings.
Tip: I used to host an annual Mother/Daughter fit event at my shop, specifically designed for these special “first” fittings, and it was always such an empowering, encouraging experience for everyone involved. Be sure to check your local bra boutiques for happenings like this!
WHAT to buy.
Your daughter will likely choose the bra she wants herself, but it wouldn’t hurt to help guide her in the process. Knowing what’s best for her wardrobe and educating her on all of the different options can help her make the right decision.
She may opt for the hot pinks, cobalt blues, and lime greens, but be sure she gets a neutral color that she can wear under lighter colored clothing.
For girls who have not begun to develop yet, try starting with a camisole or longer bralette. At this point, a single layer of fabric will be plenty of coverage! (Try Yellowberry bralettes – I love love love this brand and their story!)
For girls who are just beginning to “bud”, try something with a bit more coverage like a double layered cami or bralette with subtle lining/thin layer of padding or fabric. This will help to conceal her growing tissue. (Try Coobie bralettes – I personally own SEVERAL of these!)
For girls who have surpassed the early stages of development and require more support and concealment, now is the time to make sure she gets fit into the proper size. I would recommend taking her to a boutique or shop that specializes in bra fittings, or even offers special events for first fittings.
Getting properly fit at this stage will ensure maximum comfort and support throughout her development. There are TONS of wire-free and under-wire bra options that offer support and lining without a ton of padding that are perfect for teens & pre-teens! (Try Wacoal or Montelle bras)
Have fun, mamas!
If you have any questions or need further assistance with this topic, PLEASE feel free to contact me! I would absolutely love to help!