The moment can sneak up on you. But at some point, you’re going to look at your tween daughter and realize she’s ready for her first bra. Buying a first bra can be an emotional experience for both mom and daughter. Some families may find the process of shopping for a first bra intimidating.
The bras on display may seem far too mature for your preteen daughter, or the selection might be overwhelming and you don’t even know where to begin.
Luckily, there are bra styles that are perfectly appropriate for tweens, as long as you know what you need and where to shop.
Here are seven perfect first bras for tweens, plus everything you need to know before you start shopping with your daughter.
Tips for shopping for your preteen’s first bra
Be clear on the purpose of your tween’s first bra. Does she need support and coverage because she has begun developing breasts? Is it more of a social consideration at this point? Does she want a bra because her friends are wearing them, too?
Also consider when and where she’ll be wearing a bra. Will it be something she can wear every day? Is it intended to be worn under certain outfits like school or athletic uniforms?
Understanding the purpose of your daughter’s first bra will help you narrow down your choices, so thinking this through before hitting the mall can save you time and aggravation.
What type of bra does your tween need?
Keep in mind that the term “bra” for the tween age group is fairly broad. It includes bralettes (soft, unlined bras with lightly shaped cups), camis, and sports bras. There are also age-appropriate soft cup bras if your daughter needs the support.
A cami or crop top-style bra can be a good first bra. Try these if there isn’t much breast tissue yet but the nipples have begun protruding. This style will provide sufficient coverage, and there are lots of age-appropriate options.
Once breast tissue has begun developing, bralettes and other soft cup styles will provide necessary support.
Tips to measure for the perfect fit
First bras tend to come in sizes small through large or extra large. Different manufacturers will have tips for measuring. Some may offer a key for bra band size based on top sizing. In general, to determine band size, use a soft tape measure to measure around the ribcage.
Add five to this number for a band size figure. To determine cup size, use the tape measure around the fullest part of the breast. Subtract this number from the band size figure to determine cup size.
Perfect bras for tweens
Whether your daughter is excited about the idea of wearing a bra and wants something colorful and stylish, or prefers something that is easily hidden, there are lots of great options for tween bras.
From sports bras for athletic events to everyday bras, here are seven perfect bras for tweens.
This reversible top comes in a comfortable, breathable cotton and spandex blend with just the right amount of stretch. It’s a good choice for a first bra.
This option is soft and seamless with no metal hooks or clasps. Yellowberry is a basic, stylish, high-quality first bra. It’s fully lined for full coverage and comfort. There are no pushup features or padding included. You can machine-wash and dry it.
With a low neckline and thick lining for full coverage, this bra is a great choice for girls who are a little more developed. It has no metal hooks or wires. The straps are also adjustable.
These bras feature slim, adjustable straps and a pull-on style with no hooks or closures. The material is soft with no padding for light coverage and support.
This racerback bralette comes in bright colors. It features a double-back crossback for a nice detail. It’s also machine-washable.
This is a good transitional choice between cami-style undershirts and soft cup bras. A nylon/Spandex blend is comfortable and stretchy. Wide straps add to the comfort of this bra.
A nylon/Spandex blend, this crop bra is soft and stretchy with ruching for light shape. It’s comfortable and stylish for everyday wear.
Shopping for a first bra can be an experience that you and your daughter both look back upon fondly. Make the process as comfortable as possible by staying lighthearted. Take your daughter’s wishes into consideration to find a bra that serves its purpose (coverage and/or support).
Also try to make her feel happy and grown-up. Comfort is key and sizes will vary, so be open-minded about trying different styles and brands.
Around what age will my daughter need to start wearing a bra?
There’s no one right answer to this, as every girl develops physically and socially at a different rate. Breast development in girls can start as early as 7 to 8 years old, but many girls start later. Talk to your daughter early and often about how her body will change so she will feel comfortable asking you (or agreeing with you) to go bra shopping when the time comes.Karen Gill, MD, FAAP Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.