Move over cuddly toys and everything Frozen – before you know it, it's time to think about her first bra...
Wasn’t it just yesterday that your little girl was cutting her first tooth, spitting out broccoli puree and taking her first steps? And now suddenly, not only have you had to put yourself through the ‘puberty chat‘, but now it’s time for a bra too. Say whaaaaaat? It’s time to arm yourself with everything first bras: when and where to buy training bras, crop tops and bralettes for your young lady. Deep breaths…we’ve got you covered!
When and where to buy first bras for teens and tweens in Singapore
When will my daughter start growing breasts?
Chances are, if your daughter has started the early stages of puberty, the first thing you’ll notice is that her little nipples are suddenly more visible through her tees (especially if she’s wearing light-coloured clothing). This generally happens to girls between the ages of eight to 13 years, with periods generally coming in around a year or two after the breasts first start developing. It’s a slow process. Typically, it is not unusual for breast growth to start on one side before the other. It’s also common for breast buds to be somewhat tender or sore. Uneven breast growth and soreness are both totally normal and usually improve with time.
Breasts stop growing once puberty is done and dusted (around one to two years after she gets her first period) but may change in shape or size up until the age of 18 years-ish.
When should I get my tween her first bra?
Whether it was a moment of pure mortification or major excitement, buying our first bras was a definite milestone in our lives. But while no two pairs of breasts are the same, no two young ladies’ feelings on the subject are, either. Some girls are desperate to wear a bra (especially if their mates already have them), while others want to put it off as long as possible. Whatever the situation, handle it with bucketloads of sensitivity and check with your daughter if she’s ready to take the plunge. Be practical, diplomatic and approachable – if she’s started puberty, she may not have complete control of her emotions at the best of times… #tricky
Books for your tween or teen to understand her body
It’s important to ensure your not-so-little girl doesn’t feel too self-conscious about her totally natural developments, which can feel overwhelming during the first flushes of puberty. Make sure she knows there’s nothing to be embarrassed about and that her breasts will continue to change as life progresses. Plus, your daughter might be comparing herself to her friends or classmates, which could result in some major insecurities surrounding body image! Help her realise that every girl’s breast is different. No matter the size, she is beautiful!
Sometimes it can be challenging to explain everything you wished you might have known about your own body to your not-so-little girl, and we find books always help. She might appreciate these recommended reads that can help her understand her body and how puberty impacts us all.
The Breast Book by Emma Pickett
Could this be the b(r)east book out there on informing young ladies about their breasts? Puns aside, this is a great book for older girls on what happens as their breasts develop, what breasts are for and that they decide for themselves what they do with their breasts and bodies. There’s also useful information on puberty and buying the first bra. Additionally, this book features real-life accounts of living with breasts. For example, a trans person describes his relationship with his breasts and more. Think of this title as a breast-encyclopedia offering up teens all the information they need about breasts.
Beyond Beautiful: A Practical Guide to Being Happy, Confident, and You in a Looks-Obsessed World by Anushka Rees
We live in an image-obsessed world, and it sure does impact a girl’s self-esteem to realise the beauty standards she might not be meeting. That’s where Beyond Beautiful can be a good guide, especially for girls who’ve ever felt negative about their bodies. Full of practical advice, this book helps your young lady see her own beauty in a new light, free from outside influence.
What first bra options are available?
Back in our day, your first bra was probably called a ‘training bra’. (We never did work out what we were training for, mind.) These days, they’re more likely to be known as a first bra. It does what it says on the package. They’re designed for girls who don’t yet fit into the standard cup sizes of a normal bra but still need some basic support, coverage and comfort. There is no underwiring, and generally, as they are aimed at young wearers, they come in fun colours, patterns and fabrics.
Sports bras or crop tops are a popular pick for many tweens and teens. They not only prevent new boobs from jiggling around when PE lessons are on the timetable, but they offer good coverage for wearing under tees. There also less imposing than a ‘proper’ bra. For very young girls, there are also some pretty cami tops available, which are rather like a vest and offer a layer of coverage under clothes.
If those little buds are starting to grow into proper breasts, a soft-cup bra (also known as a bralet or bralette) is a good option – they come in many different fabrics and generally don’t have uncomfortable underwires to deal with.
Where to buy first bras, sports bras and soft-cups for tweens and teens
1. Hippie Chicks by VAN
It was a disappointing first bra shopping experience (for herself and her daughter) that prompted former investment banker Vanessa Hooi to start her own line of training bras. The result? Buttery soft junior bras in designs and colours your little rockstars are bound to fangirl over. Made with cool, moisture-wicking material, Hippie Chicks by VAN junior bras (seen above) get more comfortable after each wash and feel like a second skin. They come in five designs in various colours and prints, with easy-to-adjust straps for a great fit, and they’re totally machine-washable. And yes, delivery in Singapore is free. Sounds like a winner to us!
2. Young Heart’s Lingerie
Young Hearts is a tween or teen girl’s shopping paradise, with plenty of choices for first bras, ranging from crop tops to wireless support bras. The Junior Collection is entirely dedicated to undies for young girls, so expect tons of choice and zero stress. Crop vests (perfect for the very early days of bra-wearing) start at $29.90, with bras from $29.90 (with many great deals on multi-buys). Stores are located all around Singapore, or you can shop up a storm online. If you spend more than $50, shipping to local addresses is free.
For soft jersey crop tops with narrow, adjustable shoulder straps and an elasticated hem, H&M is the place to head (we love the kids’ clothes, too!). The range is small, but it’s a good bet if it’s just basic you’re after at affordable prices.
Next is hands down one of our fave places for kitting out our young ‘uns. The good news is it offers a fair-sized and functional range of first bras. Pick from a variety of styles, including crop tops, pretty camis and bralettes. If you’re buying online, expect a delivery charge, and also note: returns aren’t free, so go easy on the bulk buying if you don’t want to get stung with a huge postage bill when you send it all back.
5. Marks & Spencer
The stalwart of many a woman’s undie drawer, Marks & Spencer not only offers a bra-fitting service (free!) but also has its own range of first bras: Angel Bras. The collection comes in neutral and coloured picks in a variety of styles, all designed with young wearers in mind. Choose from crop tops, trainer bras, soft-cups and full-cup bras. Many styles starting in an AA size and going through to DD cup. Expect to pay around $40 for a twin-pack.
A fave of all the Aussie mums out there. The iconic undies brand Bonds is a great place to shop for first bras, and there’s a varied and colourful offering to appeal to your girls. Shipping to Singapore is AU$20 for orders under AU$100 and free if you go over. (Easy enough… check out the womenswear range!).
A few final top tips for parents of tweens or teens when it comes to puberty
This is a time of change, and it can be as challenging for her as it is for you. Here are some tips to help:
- Don’t stop showing physical affection just because your daughter is starting to mature, dads. Many girls are hurt when men become inexplicably distant after puberty.
Be sensitive about any comments relating to your tween/teen’s body. She might feel uncomfortable with her changing body and might feel uncertain about herself.
If your daughter has shown any early signs of puberty, it might be helpful to make sure she’s got menstrual pads with her, especially if she will be away from home overnight.
Ensure your daughter knows that weight gain and increased curves are part of developing a woman’s body – it’s all normal!
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