My daughter Luisa is 10. We’ve been talking about getting your first period and having growth spurts, hair growth and voice changes. Talking about bras is nothing new (it’s what I do!) but talking to Luisa about bras for tweens is a hot topic. It started with my niece about two years ago when she needed her first girls training bra and now Luisa’s friends are part of the circle needing info about the best bras for girls.
This is a hard topic to address, mom or dad, we know! But let’s not make it painful. This first bra moment can stick with girls for YEARS. I had a friend whose dad bought her her first bra— it was a large, wire, lace bra which he spun from the ceiling fan as he introduced it. Trauma!
This is a training bra— it’s the first opportunity for you to address bodily changes happening with your daughter in the most positive way.
Frequently asked questions about girls training bras:
I hear these same questions repeatedly from moms, so let’s address each of the q’s here.
How do I know if my daughter needs a bra?
There are two answers here.
1-If your daughter asks for a bra, she needs a bra. She may not physically need one yet, but if she wants to enter the conversation, chances are it’s a topic amongst friends at school. And you want her to be relevant in this conversation.
2-If you notice your daughter is changing and needs a bra, then let’s get the ball rolling. DO NOT WAIT. Are you noticing the physical growth of breast buds? Are you seeing that your daughter is embarrassed about her development? Is she hunching her shoulders forward trying to hide developing breasts? These are all signs that developmentally she is ready for a more mature undergarment than just an undershirt or tank top.
What type of bra should a tween wear?
Bras for girls are sometimes called starter bras or training bras. These are light, comfortable bras that are more for coverage than support. They generally come in numbered clothing sizes, but sometimes come in S-XL, so check the sizing chart of the brand you choose.
How to shop for a training bra for girls?
1- Style: Does she prefer sporty, discreet, colorful? Match her style with the starter bra.
2- Brand: Amazon is a great place to start the search. Target and Kohls are great for girls training bras as they have dedicated departments.
3- Size: Shop by shirt size or S-XL for most brands, look at each brand’s size chart.
4- Comfort: Tween girls hate anything itchy. Look for products without labels, hardware or anything itchy like lace, logos, etc.
5- Easy Care: For your own sake, choose cotton or easy fabrics that don’t require hand-washing.
Should I get my 10 year old a bra?
10 is an age when a lot is happening for a young tween. This may or may not be the time your daughter needs a first bra. Some girls need them younger than 10, some are not quite there yet in growth. If your daughter has asked for a bra or is showing development, this is a great time to start the conversation as to why girls wear a bra, and perhaps start them with a lightweight, cotton training bra. This is really just a transition from an undershirt, so I like breathable bras that feel good on the skin; without tags, hardware or anything itchy.
What is a good bra for a 11 year old?
If your 11 year old is asking for a bra or showing signs they need a bra, check out our list below of 12 best training bras. I always recommend soft, comfortable, lightweight training bras. Comfort is key. So is color. You want your daughter to feel comfortable and confident in her first bras. Lightweight sports bras are a great way to go as they feel fun without feeling like they’re wearing a ‘bra’.
What is the best bra for a 12 year old?
12 is the year of embarrassment (ok so are the years 9-21 where parents are concerned). This is a time to introduce your daughter to a bra with confidence. Let your daughter pick a bra she feels comfortable wearing. You want this to be comfortable, yes, but also in a color and fabric she feels good about. Do not introduce sexy, lacy, push up or wire bras unless this is something you all feel comfortable with. Likely none of those things are necessary for quite a while.
How to select your daughter’s first training bra
I like to give girls choice so that they can feel empowered in this first big decision about their body. Order a few styles/colors online and present them to your daughter as if it’s her choice. It is! My niece loved her first reversible sports bra, whereas Luisa likes something that looks like a skinny-strap tank top. The point is, they will be more happy being the decision maker. Your job mom/dad is to bring them options and teach them about when and how to wear the bra.
Do you need to take your daughter to get measured for her first bra?
Hopefully you are addressing her first training bra long before needing to get measured— hold off on a bra fitting until you are seeing real breast development. For a training bra, you can likely go with basic sizes online for coverage and minimal support.
Do tweens need wire bras?
Is your daughter developed? Does she look like her breasts are larger than a B? If so she may need support, which can come in wire form or wireless. I really prefer wireless (for all sizes!), especially for young girls. There are sporty bras and other bras with amazing technology that give lift and support without the discomfort of a wire.
Does my tween need a padded bra?
Many bras today come with a removable pad that provides coverage without adding any size/bulk to the breast. These removable pads can be a real pain in the ass (pro-tip, take the pads out before laundering the bra), but they can also be life-savers. If you notice your daughter covering her breasts when her nips are showing, encourage her to use the removable pads so she doesn’t have to worry about show-through. It’s so sad to see a girl embarrassed by her nipples/breasts, let’s do what we can to minimize that!
Separately, a ‘padded’ bra is one that adds a bump in the cup, making you look larger than you are. For a tween, I would steer clear of a padded bra. That conversation may resurface during the teen years, but for tweens this is really about confidence and coverage.
12 Best Bras for Girls Ages 9-14
1. Best overall bra for tweens: Bleuet Reversible Tween Bra
This was a winner for my niece. She’s a sporty girl and I will never forget how proud she was to show it to me for the first time! It’s colorful and reversible, very smooth and soft to the touch. There are no itchy tags! This is sporty enough to wear as an everyday training bra and has adjustable straps to give it a custom fit.
2. Best tween bra with removable pads and J-Hook: Fruit of the Loom Girls’ Bra with Removable Padding
This two-pack is a great choice for a girl who wants flexibility. This bra has adjustable straps, a J-Hook (see below) and removable pads. I like the cinch at the center for a little definition between the breasts, which also helps with breathability. The thin straps are for girls who don’t want a sports bra look and the cotton is light and stretchy.
3. Best seamless bra for tweens: Athleta Girl Day to Day Seamless Bra
This sweet, simple training bra for girls is seamless and super soft. It has an X back design, so it doesn’t slip off shoulders (so annoying!). The racerback is also great for tanks and summer shirts— great camp option. It comes with removable pads and is available in size XS-XXL (6-16).
4. Best tank style bra for teens: Offline by Aerie Longline Sports Bra
Some girls love a longer length bra since it feels more tank than bra. This racerback option from Aerie is a win win.
5. Best convertible bra for teens: Cosabella Teen Wireless Bralette
This is a great time to teach your girls about bra straps. Do they want them to show or not? This super soft, stretchy bra is convertible, so if you want to keep straps hidden, even with a racerback tank, just cross the straps and you’re done. We also love the sweetheart shaped neckline with removable padding and soft elastic band under bust.
6. Best sports bra for teens: Happy Nation Seamless Sports Bra
You’ll be happy for this two pack from Happy Nation. Size range is small to extra large plus “plus” size for each. This brand caters to girls 8-14 years old. They are cute trendy and give light coverage with a double front layer.
7. Best multi-pack training bra: Amazon 5 Pack Girls Training Bra
Basically, your perfect first training bra in a set of five. You can’t go wrong here. This cotton bra offers light support and coverage if this is the starter bra you need. If you need padding for modesty, keep reading on the list, but for something to get started, great choice.
8. Most comfortable teen bra: Hanes Big Girls Seamless Cooling Bra
More than 2400 reviews of this bra tell us that it’s a good one! And with a two pack, you can’t go wrong for the price. I appreciate the wider straps (less slipping), nice support and separation (without a wire) as well as the cooling fabric for our young girls who def get a little sweaty during their day.
9. Best patterned bras for tweens: Old Navy Cami 4-Pack for Girls
When your tween doesn’t need or want a bra, a cami in cute colors and prints could be a great starter option. They look like a tank top, so nothing too girlie sticking out from under their tanks or tees.
10. Best lightweight teen bra with shaping: Uniqlo Airism Bra for Teens
I am a big fan of Uniqlo for intimates, but one of my good mom-friends reminded me how great the brand is for girls. Airism is the most lightweight, breathable of Uniqlo’s assortment and this bra is a top pick for tweens and teens. The super light, buttery fabric feels weightless, yet the pads give the coverage and shape many developing girls need.
11. Best longline bra for teens: Maidenform Girl Ruched Bralette
I love this hybrid bra for teens and tweens. It feels like a smooth seamless tank, yet has adjustable straps and removable pads. The two pack is a great deal, especially considering they can wear this bralette option every day.
12. Best strapless bra for tween and teens: Reebok Girls Seamless Strapless Bandeau Bralette
These easy, breezy bandeaus are the answer to all the crazy, strappy tops the girls are wearing, especially for summer and for parties. These are seamless and have removable cups, depending on whether your girls need them or not. I also love the smooth back, so that if they’ve got a low-back top on, this will just look like an under layer vs a ‘bra’.
What’s a J-Hook?
A J-Hook is a tiny piece of metal that let’s you convert your bra from traditional straps to racerback in a hot second. Great for racerback tank tops or dresses if you want to hide those bra straps.
Training bras for girls
Don’t be afraid to buy your daughter a few styles for her first bra. Let her try them on and see which she feels most comfortable in. Let’s make this big moment a happy one!