Her First Bra: How to Make Bra Shopping a Positive Experience for Your Teen

Did you know that a girl’s breasts can start to develop when she is as young as eight years old? While the changes range dramatically from person to person, it’s important to keep an eye out for them as puberty approaches.

If you’ve determined that it’s time for your daughter to buy her first bra, there are a lot of considerations to take to ensure that it’s a positive shopping experience. Of course, these bodily changes can stir up some major self-conscious feelings or shame in your teenager, so it’s crucial that you treat the matter with care—in doing so, you can easily turn what could be an embarrassing time into a downright enjoyable one.

Here are some of our top tried-and-true tips for a successful first mother-daughter bra-shopping spree.

Have the Talk

Make sure to set aside some time to chat with your daughter before hitting any stores. First off, you want to understand what your daughter is looking for. Does she want a bra now for some support during gym class? Do all of her friends have bras and she feels left out? Does she get self-conscious about her nipples showing under t-shirts?

The more information you have, the better you’ll be able to help her make decisions while shopping. You especially want to know when she’ll be wearing her bras. Does she plan to wear one every day, or does she just need one for athletic activities? Will it need to work under a school uniform?

If she has a special occasion coming up, will she want to wear one under her dress? Since there’s an overwhelming number of bras to choose from, this conversation will help to narrow down your selection.

Know Your Styles

As you well know from your own shopping experiences, there are a number of different bra styles available, and your daughter—who’s never shopped for one before—may need some schooling on the subject.

At home, pull up some pictures of different options, such as a bralette, camisole/shelf bra or training bra, t-shirt bra, and sports bra. Explain the benefits of each and get a sense of her needs and preferences. It’s a good idea to talk about underwiring, too, and how it functions. Your daughter may very well not need it yet, in which case you can opt for a wire-free or soft-cup bra. However, if your daughter is already somewhat fuller busted, underwires might make her feel more secure.

Keep in mind that your daughter will likely need more than one bra style, even if she’s still in an earlier phase of breast development. Whichever styles you choose, be sure that she has several comfortable options she can rotate throughout the week. Ideally, you’ll want at least one or two nude bras, as they’re the most versatile color and will disappear under almost any color top.

Size Smarts

Obviously, size plays a huge role in bra shopping. Only a well-fitting bra can make you feel and look your best in any ensemble. Determining your daughter’s correct size is the key to ensuring that she feels confident in whichever bras you buy.

The best way to do this, of course, is to take her to a professional. Fit specialists can not only take your daughter’s precise measurements but also offer advice on which styles will suit her breasts and body best, as well as provide some tips on putting them on and wearing them properly.

Still, a fitting with a stranger might sound nerve-wracking to your teen. If you haven’t been fitted yourself recently, this might be a stellar opportunity for you to participate as well. Your daughter is likely to be less nervous if you’re both doing fittings together.

It’s a good idea to do her first fitting at a smaller lingerie boutique. These types of independent specialty stores come with more privacy than the lingerie section in a massive department store. You may also want to call ahead of time to book an appointment—that way, you can fill the professional in on the fact that this is your teen’s first fitting. Remember: Your daughter’s body is continuing to change, so she’ll need to be fitted again in six months to a year, at the most.

If your teen simply can’t handle the idea of getting measured in a store, then skip it altogether and perform a fitting at home. It’s far more important that you daughter feels as comfortable as possible. Fortunately, there are online fitting guides and size calculators to help you out.

Strategize on Stores

Consider some of the pros and cons of different shopping strategies. Department stores or larger chains have a lot more options. Still, they can be a bit overwhelming—not just in terms of the number of products but also the shopping environments. Additionally, they may cater more to adult women, which could make it challenging to find styles that are appropriate for your young daughter.

Online shopping can help you to home in on specialty sites with solid selections of bra styles and sizes geared to pre-teens and teens. Independent lingerie boutiques are also a great place to start for this reason. To boot, the staff tends to be a little more hands-on with its guidance in these smaller stores, and, with a smaller inventory, you may find decision-making in the shopping process to be easier.

Don’t forget: The most important aspect of buying your daughter’s first bras is making her feel comfortable and supported. Ideally, you want her to know that she can come to you with any questions or concerns about how her body is changing. And, most importantly, you should frame bra shopping as a fun experience—that way, it’s something she looks forward to rather than dreads down the road.


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