Buying your preteen her first bra is a right of passage. It represents the onset of adolescence and is an excellent opportunity to bond with your daughter. Whether or not you buy your daughter’s first bra in a store or on-line, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the event by going out to lunch, seeing a movie, or completing the purchase with a new outfit for your daughter! Of course, it’s also important to remember that this might be a private moment for your preteen. She may be self-conscious about the changes going on in her body and may not want to share this new phase with siblings or other grown-ups. Being available to your daughter at this time opens up the opportunity for other conversations about growing up and having a healty body image. It can be an uplifting experience and have a positive impact on your daughter’s self-esteem.
When to Buy
Most experts recommend buying your daughter’s first bra during the early stages of breast development called the breast bud stage. Typically, this stage happens between 8-13 years old, and often mirrors the child’s mother’s experience of growth during puberty.
Girls who develop early or later than their friends may feel uncomfortable with their bodies and become concerned about fitting in with their peer group. For early developers, a cami or sports bra is a good solution as it can even out the contours of your preteen’s body, making her feel less self-conscious. Late bloomers, may request a bra in order to fit in with their friends. Changing clothes during gym classes, slumber parties and camp can make preteens feel exposed and embarrassed. There is no harm in buying a bra for a late developer if it helps make her feel more comfortable. The most important thing to do at this stage is to reassure your daughter that her development is normal, so she will feel positive about her body.
What to Buy
In this early stage, a bralette (aka training bra), cami or sports bra are good options. Training bras are not meant to offer support, but instead offer comfort and protection while young and often tender breasts are developing. Since it is your daughter’s first experience wearing a bra, it is important to find one that fits well. A good fit means that the bra stays in place across her rib cage, is not too tight and feels comfortable. Feeling at ease while wearing her new bra will help your daughter feel good about her growing body.
As your daughter grows, she will need to buy a bra with more support. Wearing the correct size bra will help your preteen feel less restricted and make her figure look proportionate. In order to achieve this, you will need to know your daughter’s band and cup size. Since the thought of being measured at a specialty bra shop may be intimidating to your preteen, consider using a bra size calculatorto find the right fit.
When buying bras, your daughter should consider the different styles of clothes she wears. Will the design of the bra work underneath all her shirts? Is she active in sports – does she need a sports bra? Don’t forget to buy a few bras so that they can be regularly laundered.
Where to Buy
Luckily, preteens have lots of options when it comes to buying bras. Best of all, if your daughter doesn’t feel comfortable shopping in a store, you can shop on-line together in the privacy of your home. TweenParent.com found some stores that we think offer a good selection of bras for preteens and young teens.