Guide to Buying Bras for Tweens and Teens

  |   By Elisabeth Dale

Bras for tweens and teens are in the news, thanks to one young woman's attempt to buy her little sister a first bra.

Megan Grassell took her 13-year-old sibling bra shopping and was appalled with what she found. There weren't many choices outside more mature, sexy lingerie styles. Her frustration turned into a successful Kickstarter campaign and the launch of a new company, Yellowberry. Their first line of colorful crop top bras has been so well-received, they're swamped with orders.

bras for tweensTiny Teton Watermelon Bra
image via Yellowberry

But Yellowberry bras won't be the perfect first bra for every young girl.

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Here are five reasons why:

1)   Age of breast development.  Girls can be as young as six, or in their mid-teens, when they begin puberty. Breast development also varies by race, with African Americans and Hispanics developing a bit earlier than Caucasians. What a 9-year-old chooses isn't the same as what a 14-year-old prefers. This broad spectrum of ages and changing body types is reflected in the girls' bra market; with some brands classified as Training, Juniors, or Missy bras.

bras for tweensFruit of the Loom Spaghetti Strap Short Bra
via HerRoom

2) Rate of growth. Budding breasts go through stages, from initial small “mounds” or swollen nipples to full cups of breast flesh. Each girl follows her own timeline. Some speed through the process and others take up to four or more years. Girls can move up the alphabet or stay around the same size. Late bloomers often go off to college and return with bigger boobs.

bras for tweensMaidenform Girl Softie Contour Bra
via HerRoom

3) Comfort counts. Growing breasts can be physically and emotionally painful, awkward, and uncomfortable. Many girls want wireless or hook-free styles made of 100% cotton or other soft fabrics. Extra lining can protect sensitive or itchy, expanding skin. It's a good idea for a new bra wearer to try more than one kind, to find the one that makes her feel and look her best.

bras for tweensXhileration Girls Bra
via Target

4) Money matters. The $8.99 two-pack of Hanes crop top bras appears to offer more value than one $38.95 Yellowberry bra. Bra costs add up, especially if a girl goes up two or more sizes a year. And not everyone can afford pricier bras. It's good to know a bit about bra construction, so you'll get more for your money.

5) Style and sizing. Design makes a difference. An A cup may want molded or push up cups, while a D cup might look to the support found in a cut-and-sewn bra. Different bra brands, even when they carry the same letter/number label, don't fit the same. Bra newbies, whatever their age, can learn more from a professional bra fitter.

It doesn't matter at what age a young girl develops. It's still important to help her find the right first bra. What's invested up front (pun intended) guarantees she'll get a good start. After all, she has years of bra buying ahead of her. Why not enjoy them?

Featured image: Royce My First Bra

What about you? Have you had to buy bras for tweens or teens? What did you like---or not like---about your first bra buying or wearing experience?

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