For many young ladies, needing a bra is one of the first outwardly noticeable, physical signs that puberty is underway and that your menstrual cycle will soon begin. Breast ‘buds’ (true medical terminology here) are what your breasts are called when they emerge from your chest and begin to grow. Some young women develop quickly, while others may develop more slowly and maintain breast buds for a longer period of time. Either way, as your breasts begin to emerge, it is actually important to provide them proper support so that they develop properly—and comfortably. And this is the point when your parents may begin to talk with you about bras.
Fortunately, bras come in all sorts of styles and sizes to fit the unique needs and taste of each woman. Some prefer plain, classic colors such as nude, white or black, while others may prefer more racy styles like leopard print, reds, or polka dots. No matter what your style, lingerie manufacturers Victoria’s Secret, Justice, Wet Seal, Hanes, Maidenform, and a slew of others have what you seek, and they have it in a variety of colors, forms and price ranges.
Yet it’s exactly that—the sheer volume of choices—that can make purchasing a bra a challenge.
Interestingly, a controversy has erupted over bras for young woman as retailers now sell form or padded bra options for young women. These bra styles mimic developed breasts when worn underneath clothing, and can give even young girls (ages 7-10) boobs before their breast buds have even developed. Because of this, a chasm of controversy has developed as parents struggle to keep the physical sexuality of their young daughters in check, as manufacturers push the envelope to develop more racy bra styles. This troubling dichotomy of opinions has reached fever pitch:
“Teens have enough problems with their body image to not allow them to buy them if they want to do so. If a girl is slow to develop and feels inferior to her peers, buying a bra of that type could be an easy fix to the problem. It is no better or worse than a young girl that is too quick to develop wrapping her breasts to make them look smaller.
“My daughter is 14 and finds the push up bras more comfortable. She isn’t wearing them to put her chest on display. No matter what decade you look into from the burning bra era to a lace top over the bra there are always going to be a controversy of one way or another.”
So, what are young women to do? Fear that making a decision about their intimate wear will scar them for life, or worse, stimulate even more negative body image concerns? We hope not…..
Realistically, parents set the tone for and place proper context around what is best for their young daughters. For our part however, we scheduled a field trip to two lingerie stores to uncover the best advice we could on how to find the perfect bra. The answer we got (and we quote more than one sales clerk here) is “personal preference,” but the crucial nuggets we gained are: COMFORT and SUPPORT.
And that is the long and short of it–when selecting a bra, find one that is comfortable and provides support—and you will have uncovered the Holy Grail!
Now, you are probably thinking….whaaaaaattt? How do you know how a bra feels or whether it delivers proper support? The answer: visit a lingerie store (or two or three) and get busy trying them on. When you first enter, you’ll see words that define the immense diversity of available bra options: ‘Demi, push up, full coverage, low cut, 2- 3, – or 4-hook, underwire, wire free, padded, foam, strapless, lace, cotton, t-shirt’…and more.
To avoid this madness all at once, we will simply highlight the easiest bra type to wear as breasts begin to develop called bralettes—akin to half-camisoles or t-shirts, with bra-like straps (see photo). They come in a variety of colors and styles, but can be worn extremely comfortably under clothes, while allowing your body to develop naturally with support. You’ll have plenty of time to shop and search for bras over the years as breasts (and your style preferences) will change over time due to age, weight and hormones—each of which works to modify your cup size and ultimately, how a bra fits. But, even as these changes occur, the predominant factor in bra selection isn’t necessarily the color, style or even the price– it’s the FIT.
Yes, you’ve got it, ladies, how a bra ‘feels’ when you wear it (and how it makes you feel while you wear it…) as well as whether or not it delivers proper support are the main deal breakers.
Have fun shopping…we did!
(1) Most, if not all major lingerie stores will happily measure you for fit. Take advantage of this free service and ASK to be MEASURED/FITTED so that you can accurately select bras that will fit you.
(2) Select a variety of bra styles and TRY THEM ON while at the store. Nothing is more frustrating than buying bras in the proper size (and styles you like) and then getting them home only to find out that they just don’t feel comfortable.
(3) Buy in both basic and fun colors/styles. Having classic colors in your lingerie drawer is a plus (white, nude/flesh/black), and having more fun colors is an added bonus. It can be frustrating when you purchase a deep purple bra you love, but then wear it underneath a white t-shirt and it shows…a lot. Variety will provide more fashion freedom.