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Fitting Tips

for Bras for Teens.

Sue Blake looks at how to make buying your daughter's first bra a pleasant and positive experience ….for both of you.   Sue Blake is a mother of two teenage girls and previously owned a lingerie boutique.

Buying a good bra is difficult for many adult women. How much harder for a teenager, many of whom are insecure about their bodies? Perhaps your daughter is in denial; her body changing, but she wants none of it. Others girls are desperate to be like their friends and "graduate" to a real bra, even though there is little need. Remember your first fitting? How can you make buying your daughter her first bra a nice experience to remember?

Think about what your daughter needs.

Think about your daughter's activities and what she wears. If she wears white school shirts then skin tone may be best. White bras may seem more appealing, but nude is less likely to show and doesn't discolour as quickly. Are her favorite T-shirts clingy? Then a bra with a light foam cup will give modesty. If she plays sport then a sports bra is important. Tests conducted by the Australian Institute of Sport show that an unsupported 12B bust can bounce up to 8 cm during running. A good sports bra will significantly reduce breast bounce. An action back will solve the problem of slipping straps. If your daughter plays a lot of sport, consider a sports bra for everyday day wear. A sports crop may also be a good choice if your daughter is resisting wearing a "real" bra, as its looks less traditional.

Generally speaking, a simple softcup (a bra without an underwire) is a good first step up from the light crops that many pre teens wear. These are made of better quality fabrics, which give more support and the cups are made from shaped pieces stitched together, rather than tube like construction. Adjustable straps are a good feature. Bras such as Berlei's Touched wire free, Berlei First Sport, Lovable's Suddenly Shapely soft cup and The Berlei Body bra are all suitable and reasonably priced.

Choose a store with a non threatening environment.

Think about whether your daughter would prefer a department store or a small boutique and select a store whose staff are friendly, knowledgeable and able to make your daughter feel comfortable.

Talk to your daughter about what to expect.

Reassure her that she will not be required to bare her breasts to a total stranger. Explain to her that the sales assistant will discuss what she needs, show some bras to both of you, and give her one to put on. Once the bra is on, the fitter will ask permission to enter the change room. She may adjust the straps and back and should explain what to look for at each stage of the fitting process. A fitter should never touch a customer on the breast at anytime or make comments of a personal nature. Don't be surprised if the tape measure is left hanging on the hook; measuring can make young girls feel uncomfortable and its value is often negligible given the variation in sizing between styles and manufacturers.

Refrain from making comments about your daughter's body.

I hesitate to write this as I am certain that no parent wishes to cause their child hurt or embarrassment, but it often happens. Loving, caring parents, feeling nervous for their child, make thoughtless comments. "She's so much bigger than her sister was at this age" or "She's so plump, she has her father's genes". Apart from the pain it causes the teenager, it places the fitter in an awkward position. Does she acknowledge it and embarrass the daughter or ignore it and risk offending the parent. A good fitter is not judgmental about bodies - the focus is finding the right bra.

If possible leave siblings at home.

Younger siblings rapidly become bored and an older sister's advice is not always constructive. Comments such as "that makes you look flat, you want them pushed up and out more" are not helpful. You and your daughter will find it less stressful if the two of you are able to go unaccompanied.

Allow sufficient time.

Remember that the sales person is trying to satisfy three requirements. She has to find a bra that 1) fits well, 2) your daughter is happy to wear and 3) suits your budget. On occasions this can be quite a challenge, particularly as some girls have definite ideas about what they want to wear. Tight time constraints are not helpful. Some stores will take appointments which ensures better service if the store becomes busy. If you can, take the time to make it a special occasion, perhaps go for a hot chocolate or milk shake afterwards.

With a little thought and planning your daughter's first fitting can be a special time…for both of you! Breast of Luck!

Sue Blake is a mother of two teenage girls and previously owned a lingerie boutique.  She shares her experience and advice with us.

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