I sat down today to write this entry, inspired by several recent “first bra” fittings at the shop, and realized… I don’t even remember my first bra. For an emotional experience so obviously significant to many of the girls (and grown women) I see in my fitting rooms, I couldn’t believe that I had no recollection of my own experience.
Curious, I called my mom.
I was eleven, and apparently more emotionally ready than physically ready for a bra. My sisters and friends were all wearing them, 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 bralettes, and was SO excited to find some that fit, I immediately put one on when we got into the car. Afterwards, she took me for ice cream, and I know I must have felt like a million bucks!
For all you moms (and dads) 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 is no “standard” age in which to expect breast development to begin. For some, it can be as young as seven years old, for others it may not happen until they’re sixteen.
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 physical indicators include soreness or sensitivity around the nipple area, and little “buds” or bumps showing through clothing. If you notice her 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, too. 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 not ready?), this is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with her, AND help boost her confidence.
Tip for Moms: 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 be a memorable one!
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 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 for Moms: I actually host an annual Mother/Daughter Fit Event at my shop, specifically designed for these special “first” fittings, and it’s so much fun! 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 enough!
For girls who are 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.
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. This 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!
Good luck, moms and dads!
Lola’s Fitting Room, Co. specializes in bra fittings for women ages 7-100, and offers a variety of styles and sizes at affordable price points. If you live the in the Chicagoland or Kenosha area, and you’re interested in bringing your daughter in for her first bra fitting, please visit our website for more information!