Research shows that girls are entering puberty, marked by breast development, significantly earlier than 15 years ago. Today, more than 20% of girls in grade 3 have started to develop breasts, and many begin as young as age 7 or 8. Of course, many other girls don’t begin until they become teenagers.
Regardless of when they first need a bra, girls want something comfortable that provides enough coverage so they don’t feel self-conscious and allows them to move with confidence. Girls and parents alike want a first bra to be age-appropriate, not the padded or plunging bras of Victoria’s Secret or many other teen retailers.
A well-fitting, comfortable sports bra, or a sports camisole with a shelf bra, is often the best choice for a girl’s first bra for several reasons:
- With no clasps or cups, a sports bra doesn’t shout “bra” and provides a smooth silhouette under clothing – at school and on the playing field.
- A sports bra is easy to wear, with nothing to clip or adjust. She can put it on and take it off all by herself. A sports bra or cami under school clothes also makes the transition from school to sports practice quick and easy.
- Sports bras are made for activity and all girls are active, whether they’re climbing or jumping at recess, running for the bus, or playing soccer, hockey, basketball, or any other sport.
Key things to look for in buying a sports bra for your tween:
- Fit that’s snug but not tight. The bra should move when she moves but shouldn’t ride up whether she raises her hand in class, throws a ball, or runs around a gym. The straps should be secure and shouldn’t droop or slip. Measure before buying and check the size chart to be sure you’re ordering the right size for your girl.
- Soft, smooth fabric that wicks moisture away from her skin, keeping her cool, comfortable, and chafe-free on – and off – the playing field. Look for a sports bras that’s seamless and tag-free so there’s no irritation.
- Coverage without bulky padding. Padding isn’t needed or wanted by most young girls and pre-teens. Look for a sports bra or cami with double-layered fabric that provides a measure of modesty for girls whose breasts are starting to develop. As girls develop further, support becomes more important – especially for athletes.
When your tween is ready for a traditional bra, it’s best to shop at a store that provides individual attention and offers a variety of age-appropriate options. “Trying on your first bra in a big discount retail store can be unnerving for an 8- or 9-year-old who may already feel shy about the experience,” notes Kelly O’Brien, owner of LingerTween in New Jersey, who carries a wide variety of traditional and sports bras for tweens.
The highest compliment we get from our tween customers is when they tell us that our sports bras are so comfortable that they don’t even know they’re wearing one. That means they’re focusing on doing the things they love, living their lives free and with confidence! Who could wish for anything more for a girl?
About MaryAnne Gucciardi
MaryAnne Gucciardi is the founder and CEO of Dragonwing girlgear, the first line of high performance, supportive, and comfortable undergarments designed specifically for teen and pre-teen girls (ages 8-17). The company’s mission is to empower girls to play – and be – their best with high quality, age-appropriate clothing that gives them the freedom to move and play with confidence. Instead of worrying about their changing bodies or being distracted by poorly fitting clothes, they can enjoy playing and competing. Dragonwing ships to Canada!