Buying Your First Bra: Part 2 For Girls

By Linda the Bra Lady on September 16th, 2011

Bras, bras, bras. Do you wear one? If you don’t now, chances are, you will eventually. But first, you have to decide if you need one. As your body changes (I know- a lot of things are changing) you, and the adults that care about you, can decide if it’s the right time. Don’t worry too much about other girls. Just like with many other things in life, each girl will develop or need different things at different times. And if it is time, there’s a lot to learn. So if it’s time to get a bra…Hurray! Now what? Don’t stress- I’m here to help guide you through bras, boobs, cup sizes and more. Life can be tricky right about now, and your bra shouldn’t be.

First of all- congratulations! It’s pretty exciting to get your first bra. Sure, there may be a lot of other things going on, and some are more important than others. But, in my opinion, your bra is pretty important. I am The Bra Lady, after all. And most importantly, whether you’re a AA, or even a K (yes- K cups exist), you should always wear the right size. Bras are just like shoes- if you wear the wrong size, they feel awful. But the right bra can help you feel and look your best. I promise! Wearing bras, if they fit properly, can be comfortable, exciting and even fun! A well-fitting bra can do a lot of things:

  • Help your clothes look their best

  • Give your breasts a little bit of shape

  • Stop your nipples from showing through your shirt

  • Give you confidence!

  • Provide lift and support

If you’ve tried a bad bra from the local store, and it’s shifting all day, riding up your back, rubbing under your arm… ick! You’ll never want to wear a bra again. The problem is, you’re probably not in the right size. Linda to the rescue! Ask your Mom, Dad or someone you trust to bring you to a bra shop. Mother may know best when it comes to most things, but a true bra expert will really be able to give you the low down on all things bras. And, who knows, maybe Mom needs a brush up! Things have changed since she was young, and she may be missing out on some key information. Of course, I recommend my own Linda’s shops in New York. But, if you can’t get into the store, you can still read up on really useful bra fitting tips and learn about all the different styles out there on my Linda the Bra Lady website and here on the Linda Unhooked blog.

What to know before you go: After you set up a fitting appointment at the store, you should know a few things before you go. First of all- you will have to take your shirt off in the fitting room for the bra fitter. I know, I know, I know! But, believe me, she has seen a million women without their tops on. This is totally normal for us fitters. And even if you haven’t been seen by a million women, you can trust that she is an expert. Think of her as a doctor- a bra doctor! She will measure under your bust, and maybe over it, so she can calculate your size. Then, she will pick some styles for you to try. This is the fun part! Trying on bras can actually be fun- it doesn’t have to be awkward, or silly, or even boring. There are a lot of different choices out there- so explore them! Be sure to listen about adjusting your bra, both when it’s new and as it stretches. A bra may feel a little different at first, but it should never feel painful or totally uncomfortable. Be sure to find a few styles to compare, and choose a few to try at home. I suggest starting with three styles so you can rotate them, and compare them.

What does a C cup look like? This part is super important. Here’s a golden rule: the smaller the back size, the smaller the cup. The back size is determined by the measurement around your torso, just under you bust. This is the most important part of your bra. If the back doesn’t fit snugly around your body, the rest of the bra won’t fit at all. Back sizes in department stores usually run from 32-42 or so. In my shops, I carry 28-52. The smaller the number, the smaller the back size. Easy enough. Cup sizes in department stores usually run from A-DDD. In my stores, I carry AA-N. AA is the smallest, and as the letters go up, so does the cup size. I won’t get into all the details, here. But this is the most important part, ok? A C cup in a 32 is one cup size smaller than a C cup in a 34, two cup sizes smaller than in a 36, three smaller than a 38, etc. Get it? SO if you are petite, you may wear a 30C cup. But in a 32, that could be a B cup, or an A in a 34, or a AA in a 36! I know it can be confusing. But just know this: your Mom’s C cup and your cup, depending on your back sizes, are probably not the same. A C cup in a 30 is actually quite petite! So don’t freak out if your assigned cup size is “bigger” than you thought it would be. It’s all relative to your back size. Read more about bra fitting basics.

Whose bra is this, anyway? Bras are pretty personal. It’s important that you take good care of them, and take note as they wear-out and as your body changes. In the end, your fitter or your parents can help suggest bras for you – but you have to wear it. So, here are a few simple rules:

  1. Wash them before you wear them. Especially if you have sensitive skin. Then, about every 4-5 times you wear your bra, give it a wash.

  2. Washing your bras properly is really important. Take care of them! You can find the directions for washing your bras on my website.

  3. Rotate! Don’t wear the same bra two days in a row. You’ll stretch out the elastic too fast, and then the back won’t fit. No good.

  4. If the bra is totally stretched out, stained, or falling apart, it’s time to replace them.

  5. If your breasts, back, or body shape change enough that your current bras are uncomfortable or you’re busting out (hehe!), it’s time to replace them. AND it’s time to get re-fit. Don’t try to “guess” your new size. Ask a fitter to help determine the new size, and maybe, a new style for you.

If you are unable to come by my stores, you can find directions for my Bra Calculator, on my website. It will tell you how to have someone at home measure you with a soft measuring tape, then enter those measurements into my calculator for an estimated size. “Estimated” is the key word. It’s just a starting point. Finding the right bra, especially when your body seems to be growing overnight, can be a trial and error process. But don’t worry, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! Or, you and your parents can just call or email my Bra Diva experts. C’mon, I wouldn’t leave you hanging, like that!

Congrats and have fun!

Updated 10/14/11: Browse through some of our brand new selection of petite bras– perfect for first time bra wearers!