When should I get my first bra?
This is a common question, and there’s no single way to answer it. Triumph’s Bra Fit Expert Sandra Noppinger tells Girlfriend it’s all about when you feel ready.
“I would recommend to get your first bra when your breasts start to develop or when you feel ready,” she says. “While it may feel like a big step, it’s important that you feel as comfortable as possible.”
Some girls develop younger and get fitted as young as 10 or 11 (or even earlier), while other girls may develop a little later. Some don’t need or want to wear bras until they’re 15, 16 or even 17.
When deciding what age is right for you, think about what will make you comfortable and if you need more support during the day or for activities like sport.
What size should my first bra be?
A lot of girls make the mistake of buying their first bra in the size 10A, thinking it's the ‘starter’ size. Others buy a bra one or two sizes up thinking they can “grow into it”. Don’t do it! The reality is that ‘first bras’ come in all different sizes, because girls are all different shapes and sizes.
“There is no specific size that we recommend, as it depends on your individual shape and style,” Sandra explains. “That’s why it’s always best to start with a Bra Fitting Expert to determine how the bra can best suit your needs.”
Most bra stores – like Triumph, Bonds, Bras N Things and Bendon – offer free fittings where a trained bra fitter will help you find your exact size. Triumph even offers online bra fittings, which are great if you’re trying to figure out your size in lockdown. Book one here.
If you can’t make it to a store or you’re not totally comfortable, you can also measure yourself with some online tools. Try the Bras N Things size calculator, or check out the Bendon sizing chart, which comes with instructions on how to find your size.
What happens when I get fitted for a bra?
The exact details will vary from store to store, but most fittings go in pretty much the same way.
Sandra shared the full process at Triumph with Girlfriend, explaining: “If you are already wearing a bra, we will ask you some questions about the fit and size of your current bra. We also want to know if you have any concerns about your current fit, as well as what style you would like to wear.”
If you’re not sure, your fitter can help you out with any questions.
“Then we will show you how to measure yourself or assist you with your measurements (depending on COVID-19 rules). However, measurements are a guideline only, as different styles can vary in fit and we want you to feel as confident and comfortable as possible!”
“We will then provide you with some style recommendations and be sure to check that the fit is perfect for you.”
It’s not as scary as some people think and bra fitters like Sandra will always give you space and privacy if you get nervous or uncomfortable.
What should I look for in a first bra?
Your first bra should first and foremost be something you’re comfortable in.
“We want to avoid fabric pinching or straps and underwire that dig into your skin,” Sandra says. “Depending on your size and breast shape, it’s very common to choose a wire-free style as your first bra.”
She suggests the Body Make-Up Soft Touch Wirefree Bra ($59.95) or the Triaction Seamfree Crop Top ($44.95) from Triumph. Bonds also offer great wirefree styles like the Retro Rib Wirefree Tee Bra ($44.99) or the Originals Triangle Crop ($29.99).
Over at Bras N Things, you can try the Body Bliss Wirefree Bra ($54.99) or the Jewel Wirefree Contour Bra ($44.99). And Best & Less have some great budget options, like the Teen 2 pack Crop Bra for $16 or the Teen Wirefree Sports Bra for $12.
Girls who want or need extra support can also go straight into a style with underwire if they’re comfortable. Underwire isn’t scary (so long as you’ve been fitted correctly) and there are a lot of super simple styles that will offer extra support and comfort.
How many bras should I own?
The number of bras you own will depend on your lifestyle and cost. Sandra often recommends owning five, so you can swap them out daily, while other people say owning three is fine too.
“I would also recommend to have a variety of styles, for example one or two sports bras and a couple of everyday bras in neutral colours,” Sandra says. “At a later stage you might also like to consider strapless designs too.”
Go with what will suit your lifestyle and fashion the best, and only buy what makes you feel comfortable. Neutral and plain designs are good everyday options.
How do I know if I’ve changed sizes?
“As soon as you have the feeling that ‘I can’t wait to take off my bra!’ at the end of the day, or you don’t feel supported anymore," Sandra says.
We all change sizes plenty of times in our lives, so get fitted every six to 12 months to keep on top of your sizing. There are other tell-tale signs your bra isn’t the perfect fit anymore, like spilling out the top or the band riding up.
“Signs that you aren’t wearing the correct size can be that the wire is digging into your breast tissue or you notice some gaping or over-spillage in the cup size,” Sandra says.
Do I need to wear a bra at night?
This is an age-old question, and the answer is that it’s up to you. Sandra explains: “While you don’t need to wear a bra at night, it is all about your individual comfort. Sometimes a lightweight bra without underwire is the preferred option.”
The sloggi Zero Feel Top from Triumph ($39.95) is a comfy option for sleeping in. Bras N Things also offers the Modern Comfort Bralette ($39.99), another wirefree style great for bedtime.
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