6 Tips for Buying Your Daughter's First Bra

The day your teenage daughter buys her first bra is a huge (well, not too huge!) rite of passage. She's a woman! Wowza! Yet be warned, the potential for embarrassment and awkwardness is high here, and teens may have special fashion considerations that you, as a mom, might not consider. To help you navigate this tricky territory, we've got tips for buying a teen's first bra -- from what's up with that padding to why size doesn't matter.

  1. Tips for buying a teen's first braDon't get caught up on boob size. Rather, you should base it purely on whether your daughter wants a bra -- or not. "One of the most important things to remember is that the 'time' for getting that first bra is as much about emotional readiness as it is physical maturity," says Cora Harrington, fashion blogger and founder of The Lingerie Addict. "It's entirely possible for a young woman to have breast buds but no desire to wear a bra or to not have developed breast buds and be very passionate about having one." This may be particularly true if your daughter is developing more slowly than her peers. To keep her from feeling left out, let her join the bra club.
  2. Take her measurements. If your tween is average sized, starter bras labeled "one size fits all" may work. If you're looking at bras with cup and band sizes, you'll need to measure, says Melissa Ovard at Girl Lux. For the band size, wrap the measuring tape around your daughter just under the breasts, where the band sits. Add 5 to that number, and that's the size. (Tape says 23 inches, band will be 28 inches.) For cup size, measure around the fullest part of the chest and subtract that number from the band size. The difference is the cup size -- 0 to 1 inch is an A; 2 inches is a B.
  3. Bring bras home. "One common issue with many moms is there is no separate girls' department in department stores; it is usually right next to the boys' department -- and girls are often afraid of someone from school or a boy seeing them shop for a bra for the first time," says Ovard. So instead, buy different styles, brands, and sizes of bras on your own and bring them home for your daughter to try on in the privacy and comfort of her own room. Just keep the tags on and you can return whatever doesn't catch her fancy.
  4. Don't sweat the pads. "Generally speaking, tween padding is not meant to increase cup size," says Kelly O'Brien at Linger Tween, a website dedicated to providing fun and fashionable first bras that are age appropriate. "If a tween bra appears to have some padding, it's typically a thin layer of foam used to smooth over the nipple area so nothing is visible under the shirt. It's a modesty measure that also helps some girls feel less self-conscious."

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  5. Pay attention to shoulder straps. They are a key component of fit, and many bras geared to girls are not adjustable. "If your daughter is petite, they may be loose and easily chafe," says O'Brien. "If she is tall, they might be a bit too snug." The solution? Look for straps that are stretchy -- and racer-back styles offer the benefit of unrestricted arm movement. Maiibu Sugar offers bright fun colors that young girls love.
  6. Consider alternatives. "These are popular options for shy girls who worry a bra will call attention to them," says O'Brien. The reason: A short or full-length camisole provides a bit of coverage and isn't as noticeable under a blouse. For the same reason, some girls like to start with bras cut in a sporty style that don't feel like a traditional bra.

Has your teen asked for a bra yet?


Image via Sophi Newman/Flickr; © iStock.com/felinda       

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