When to Start Wearing a Bra and How to Buy Your First Bra

I remember the first time I had to buy a bra, I wasn’t even sure I needed it! I didn’t want to shove my sensitive chest into something that looked so restricting. I unfortunately didn’t have a say in the matter, and now here I am, fifteen years later, telling you what to look out for! Getting a first bra is a really big deal for any girl. You might feel excited about it, or embarrassed, or a mixture of both. This is normal, and you shouldn’t worry about it. There are ways to tell when you need a bra, but it’s important to remember that every girl is different, and you might develop at a different pace than your friends, and that’s okay! If this is a question that you’ve been having, we’ve outlined some of the things that you can look out for to help you make a decision.

Look for breast buds poking through your shirt

If you see these small breast buds, it might be time to get that first bra. Breast buds are small bumps that appear under each nipple and you might experience some tenderness or soreness when breasts begin to bud; this is normal, and nothing to be concerned about. It just means you are starting to develop. Next, the nipples and areola – the darker, circular patch of skin around the nipples- will get darker and bigger. Then the breasts will start to grow more, at first perhaps having a pointy shape. Breast buds are an indicator that you’re on your way to developing a full bust, but if you want to wait for a bit before you don that bra, that’s okay too!

Know when you might need one

The average age for a girl to start wearing a bra is around age 11. That being said, some girls need one earlier- by age 8- while others don’t need one until they are 14. Every girl is different and her body develops differently. There is a certain amount of peer pressure that comes into making this decision, as girls with (bigger) breasts are fetished all over the world; sometimes girls who aren’t really that developed ask to wear a bra because their friend is wearing one. Ideally this shouldn’t be a factor, but we all know how tumultuous adolescence is. If you really want to, but don’t need to, you could start out by trying a training bra. Either way, you should not worry about whether you are developing like other girls, as everyone moves at their own pace, and that’s okay! There will be more important things to worry about.

Recognize the signs of puberty

Developing breast buds is just one of the many changes a girl will experience as she starts to enter puberty. You might start to grow pubic hair; in some girls, pubic hair actually develops before breast buds appear. Puberty can also cause a girl to gain some weight, especially in the belly area, making it look more rounded; this is a natural sign that a girl is starting to mature physically. Finally, menstruation is also an indication, although your periods might be very infrequent at first. All of these things are normal signs of puberty and they can help you figure out if your body is ready for a bra.

I’m sure you have a lot of questions that need answering. The best person to go to is a close female relative- be it your mother, aunt, sister or grandmother- and talk to her about the process of puberty. For many girls, getting her first bra is a complicated experience; you might worry about being teased by boys or other girls if you are developing faster – or slower- and the insides of a middle school classroom are not the most accepting space. You must remember that your body is going through a lot of changes and being sensitive to this change is very normal.

It is important to ask the questions that you have, so that you are better equipped to deal with your body’s changes and be honest about how you feel, nobody is going to hold it against you. This is a crucial time for girls, as it is the first time they are being exposed to the standards of beauty that exist for women, and you might even encounter a couple of situations where other girls are being discriminated against because they might not be developing at the same pace that other girls are. You MUST realize that women are beautiful no matter the size of their breasts, because too many people and institutions will tell you otherwise. It doesn’t matter what the billboards and magazines tell you, you’re a woman no matter what size and shape you are!

Life is complicated, your bra should not be!

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