Your Daughter’s First Bra

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!

mother-daughter1

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.41Y459ZO9GL._SY200_

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!

 

What’s Your Bra Fitter REALLY thinking?

While it’s a known fact that we women are generally overly critical of ourselves, self-slander is habit that can and MUST be broken.

Upon entering my shop, you’ll notice a sign that says “Absolutely NO Body Shaming Allowed”. This is not a suggestion. This is a rule that we reinforce for the emotional well-being of all present individuals. Speaking poorly of yourself breeds a negative vibe, and not only does it make you feel worse, it makes others (within earshot) begin to question their own appearance. Some women are so numb to the habit, they don’t even know they’re doing it, while others do it as a way to avoid negative reactions from other people. Without realizing it, they’ve put those “imperfections” on center stage under a big fat spotlight of negativity.

We understand that exposing parts of your body to another person can stir up certain insecurities, however, the things we observe in the fitting room aren’t what you’d think:

1. We don’t see what you see.
It may be hard to believe, but the majority of your so-called “flaws” generally go unnoticed by others, until you verbally call attention to them. People don’t notice that you might have one breast smaller than the other, or that you have a little pooch on your belly. Women CONSTANTLY make the mistake of pointing these things out to their friends, family, and significant others, but once they’ve been brought to attention, they can no longer go unnoticed. It’s SO true that you are your own worst critic, but  people will see what you want them to see. If you want them to see a confident, beautiful woman, then BE that confident, beautiful woman!!!

 

2. We are laser focused on our goal.
Our main goal during a bra fitting is to make you feel AMAZING in a bra, and we do this by focusing all of our attention on the fit process. We honestly don’t notice other parts of your body (unless you point them out to us, as mentioned above), as we are super-concentrated on finding you the best, most comfortable and supportive bra possible.

3. You have unlimited potential.
When you enter the fitting room, we don’t see wrinkles and rolls, dimples and bumps, small or big boobs. We see beauty. Uniqueness. Vulnerability. When you enter the fitting room, you do so with a clean slate… a blank canvas. To us, you are whatever and whoever you want to be, and it’s up to you to embrace this opportunity to re-create yourself! With a little practice, you can change your focus from the things you don’t like about yourself, to the things you love about yourself!

3. You are gorgeous, darling.
Don’t worry… I won’t give you the “everyone is beautiful” speech here. To me, that just lumps women together, creating the notion that we’re all the same on the outside. But we’re NOT! We all have different stories, unique features and little imperfections that should also be embraced and celebrated. Beauty and attractiveness isn’t ALL about physical appearance. It’s about the little things that make you unique – your laugh, your thoughtfulness, your confidence. These are just a few of the things that should truly define “beauty” instead of the physical standards set for us by the media. These are the things we see and appreciate the most!!!

Small Business Hustle or Bust?

I am a small business owner. I may not have any fancy degrees or certificates, and I am certainly no expert on business strategy or financial planning. I don’t know much about stocks and investments, nor am I well versed in wall-street lingo. I am a 29-year-old entrepreneur. I didn’t grow up in a wealthy family, and I had to pay for my own college education. I’ve had many jobs and I’ve made many mistakes. I know what it’s like to be broke and what it feels like to be broken. I’ve never been the kind of person to wait around for something I want. I go out and take it. I jump without looking. I am not a planner. I just DO. I’m a risk-taker & an adventurer. I don’t follow scripts, plans, and outlines. I wing it. I am an innovator. I don’t follow the crowd. I don’t listen to people who believe that riding the coattails of successful leaders is how you get to the top. Those moguls got there by doing things their own way… by being different, bold, and daring. I AM different, bold, and daring. I am ONE of the twenty-eight MILLION small business owners in the country. I am passionate, knowledgeable, and determined. I am not just good at what I do. I am GREAT at what I do.

Over the last year, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what you do, but rather, how you do it. There are over 20 stores that exist within a 50-mile radius of my shop, that fall into the same category as mine. I didn’t choose to start a business because I wanted to do what they do. I started a business to do what they don’t do. To fill in the gaps they create. I wanted to raise the bar and create a higher standard.
Along the way, I’ve discovered that many people (mostly bankers, lenders, investors, etc.) view my business as just a retail store. A retail store that offers “luxury” items, instead of the “necessities” they actually are. Within my 6-month search for capital, not once did I speak with someone who asked about the impact I’ve made in the community, or how many women I’ve been able to help since I opened. None of them were interested in how many people come to the shop on a daily basis, and how most of them refer their friends and family in to experience what I offer. None of them cared to understand how my business has been surviving without credit cards or money in the bank this whole time. All they cared about were numbers. Did I meet their required minimum revenues? Did I have excellent credit? Did I own a home or a car?
No, no, and no.
While I understand the risk involved in lending and investing, I don’t understand why there aren’t more options available for business owners in my situation. I run a successful business (despite the lack of available funds) and I need capital to meet the high demand for my products and services. I can’t tell you how many organizations I’ve contacted who claim to help businesses like mine – with owners who may not have good credit or any assets. None of these organizations actually do what they claim. They all have the same requirements and expectations, and if you don’t meet them, you’ll be asked to call back later when you are more appealing to them- that is, if you even still exist in a few months. I’ve realized that no matter how much time I spend looking, and how many people I talk to, I’m NOT going to find what I need from companies & organizations only interested in the bottom line.

It’s a sad moment when you realize that the last option you have, is to ask your community and clients for help. I recently launched a crowdfunding campaign, and having to share my struggles with the people I serve has NOT been easy. I feel like a failure, despite all that I’ve accomplished. The campaign has been live for a little over a week now, and I’ve barely reached 1% of my goal. I’m finding it hard to promote it, pushing people I know into “helping me”. I don’t want to have to ask for their help. They already do enough! It frustrates me, regardless of whether it’s a lack of planning and/or research on my part, or a lack of available assistance from lending establishments.
It’s difficult, too, to sift through all of the advice I get from various people trying to help. I’ve received some really great suggestions on how I can “stay afloat”, but they all require me to change my business model, or do things a little differently. I refuse to change what’s unique and special about what I do just to make money. I might as well be any other lingerie store.
I’m really disappointed with the deceptive information advertised by lending establishments and other small business & start-up development organizations. To new business owners, the options seem so vast and promising. I’m saddened by the thought that thousands of other innovative small business may have been forced to shut down because of this. If small, local businesses are supposedly re-building our economy, and over 50% of working Americans are employed by small businesses, shouldn’t there be a larger focus in helping us succeed???

Rant over.

Lady In Red

One of my favorite man-clients stopped in at the shop last night, and we somehow got on the topic of the color red (i.e. why is red lingerie so popular).
I decided to do a bit of digging around on the subject, and surprisingly found VERY little written on the color in relation to the psychological effects red lingerie has on people.
jessica-rabbit-jessica-rabbit-29119802-900-1082In general, the color red represents extremes. It’s the color of passion, love, seduction, violence, anger, and power. Although certain shades of red are recommended for specific skin tones, the color is still attention-grabbing regardless.
Psychologists (according to The Telegraph), say the color red “carries subtle but powerful messages about how receptive a woman might be to romantic advances”, which, they say, is why men find it more alluring.
According to Psychology Today, the majority of men find women wearing red more attractive than women wearing any other color. To test this theory, two psychologists showed a group of men two photographs of the same woman wearing two different colors, and then asked which one they found more attractive. “The results showed that the men rated the woman in red as more attractive and more sexually desirable than the same woman in blue”, but most of them said the colors had no influence on their opinion.
So obviously, the link between red and sexual attraction appears to be subconscious and involuntary. And it get’s worse when you throw in some red lipstick! Scientists say that
lipmen are MOST drawn to a woman’s lips, and will spend an average of 7.3 seconds fixated on a woman’s lips specifically when she’s wearing red lipstick. That’s distracting…
But men aren’t the only one’s who benefit from this colorful accessory. Poppy King, creator of Lipstick Queen says, “‘Red lipstick is a source of strength. You put it on and suddenly you feel more capable than you did without it.” It has sort of become a symbol of power and dominance… a “look at me!” accessory.

How do YOU feel when you wear red? Do you wear it with a purpose?

Irritations & Indentations Caused by Your Bra

There are many theories out there regarding bras that leave red marks and/or indentations, and whether or not they should be tolerated. A fine line exists between these common side effects versus other more irritating ones, but most women come to the wrong conclusion when determining what is acceptable.
Bra MarkingsNot ALL markings left on your skin from clothing are bad. Think about what happens when you wear pants, socks, tights, shape-wear, and pretty much anything that doesn’t just “drape” over your body. The pressure caused by fabric placed firmly against your skin will likely leave a mark, but these are only bad if they cause pain and discomfort.

Bras are designed to support breast tissue. Period. Finding a bra that is right for you should be based on what feels comfortable and supportive to you, not on what any experts, celebrities, or magazines say. When I first started my career as a bra fitter, I remember helping HUNDREDS of women who flocked to the store to buy the bra that Oprah had been promoting. Little did they know, Oprah’s bra really only fit about 1 in 10 women. We all have different-shaped bodies and breasts, there is no ONE bra that will fit and feel like a dream on everyoneSome women find more comfort in an “industrial strength” fit, while others prefer softer, lighter fabrics, with a more relaxed fit. If you purchase a bra for any reason other than the fact that you feel fabulous, comfortable, and supported in it, you probably won’t be happy with it.

As a fitter, my opinion is always contingent upon whether the bra is supportive enough to do it’s job on each different body. It’s impossible to know what hang-ups or sensitivities a woman has unless she tells me. Some annoyances and discomforts stem from the unfamiliarity of wearing a properly-fitted bra, while others can come from a number of different things.
RashWhenever I meet a woman who complains about a bra irritating her skin, here are some questions I ask:
1. Is the bra causing a skin rash or actually cutting into the skin?
3. Has the bra been washed since it was purchased?
4. Is the band sitting where it should? Are the straps adjusted to the proper length?

Skin rashes that occur from wearing a bra are typically caused by the fabric or finishing materials, and NOT the fit. Some women have allergies to certain fabrics such as latex, polyester, nylon, etc., and even more women have allergies to formaldehyde and other chemicals used to make fabrics waterproof and resistant to wrinkles and shrinkage. If you are unsure of what is causing your rash, trying washing your bra a few times before wearing it again. Skin chafing is completely different from skin rashes, and is usually caused by friction, or the constant rubbing of skin on skin or fabric on skin. The majority of women who complain about chafing from their bra, are generally wearing the wrong size. Wearing a bra that fits snugly against your rib cage (along with the right cup size) will eliminate the discomfort caused by unnecessary movement of fabric that’s too loose.

Another good way to avoid unnecessary digging or cutting into the skin, is to wear bras with thicker/sturdier bands, which tend to offer more of an even distribution of pressure and support. Additionally, although it’s a rare occurrence, defective bras are often produced and can sometimes slip through the cracks. If something in your bra is poking you, feels sharp, bent, or uneven, RETURN IT… it’s probably a defect!
IndentationsThe most common cause of markings and indentations are due to the fact that most women are not used to the way a bra is supposed to fit, and they revert to old habits; tightening the straps, hooking the bra on the middle or last hooks, etc. Doing this with well-fitting bras, however, can cause discomfort, a decrease in support, and an increase in red marks and indentations. Be sure you are wearing your bra properly, with the band straight across or a bit lower on your back, and the straps loose enough to feel comfortable, but tight enough to stay put.

Remember that some red markings/indentations are inevitable (check out the image at the top – these are normal markings from wearing a bra). As long as you feel comfortable and supported, these are okay!!!