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Have you even been shopping for bras with your tween/teen? Because let me tell you, it takes some adjustment (bra straps pun intended).
I had imagined first bra shopping was, like watching "Wizard of Oz" and tasting cotton candy, kind of a timeless classic event that remained untouched through the years. We'd go just the two of us. We'd look through the white cotton AAA trainers. We'd grab lunch and daydream of this once little girl now on the cusp of womanhood.
It's totally not like that. There is no somber and solemn girl-bra shopping it seems. Target has bras and they're in bright colors and patterns, and, since we all buy everything at Target these days, that's where you're going to get your girl's first bra. You're going to notice, like every 21st century mom that went before you, that training bras are more fun than when we were kids, maybe too much fun. They come with matching underwear, often bikini, and they have all the sexy lady-bra features—front fasteners, removable straps, push-up cups and padding.
If you've been the kind of mom who hoped her girl would ease in to these adolescent moments, choose comfort over style, find her own agency in her budding sexuality, you're in for a surprise. I'm not saying the size 4 plunge bra will turn your American Girl doll-loving tween into the Miley Cyrus of her school. What I'm saying is that, aesthetically, functionally, bra-mechanics wise, there is no easing in. Little girl bras are mini versions of big lady bras, animal print cups and everything. Brace yourself. Because there are no training bras of yore option. You will walk out of there with a lavender and pink plaid demi "cup" with straps that can be modified for tanks and tube tops. Because that's what they have. They being Target.
If you're confused by the trainer bra situation, you're not alone
I feel like I've put a lot of effort in educating my kids about trends, fashion, marketing and advertising to the point where I'm getting called out when I impulse shop. "Mom, you're such a sucker for end-caps." (Sue me.) Being vigilant takes time and energy. Battling bras? Can't we just intentionally ignore airbrushed models on the covers of fashion magazines? I didn't want my kid to think I would think she's bad if she preferred a molded cup, which she didn't, really. But she hates shopping as much as I do so Xhiliration was our only option.
What you should know, if bra talk has started in your home, is that (1) if you're confused by the trainer bra situation, you're not alone; and (2) there are other options (sort of).
An 18-year-old in Wyoming, Megan Grassell, decided to push back against the teen bra industry after taking her little sister out shopping. She thought all the bras they saw were inappropriate and didn't fit right, which gave her an idea. She founded Yellowberry, her self-designed line of teen bras, which are cute and girls can do sports in them and sort of ease into that adolescent moment without having to choose between leopard print or zebra stripes. Grassell launched with a Kickstarter campaign, where she raised $42,000—nearly twice as much as her goal.
"You shouldn't have to buy a sequined push-up bra when you're 13," shetells the Lingerie Talk website. "You shouldn't have to feel pressured to look a certain way."
True. But if you're gonna buck the trend and go for less plunge and fewer fasteners, it will cost you. Whereas you can pick up a prematurely sexy bra at Target for, like, six bucks, Yellowberry's Tweetheart and Tiny Teton will set you back about $40 each. Which! If a kid were going to wear it forever then that might not feel too expensive. But there's, you know, projected growth, so, I don't know. Maybe sequins with an eye-roll and mini-lecture will have to do for me and my family.