Shopping for Your Daughter's First Bra
Shopping for bras with your teen can be a girly gigglefest -- or a stressful battlefield. To make it the former, focus on getting a good, comfortable fit and making sure you honor your teen's feelings about color and style, advises Judith E. Craig, author of You're Grounded Till You're Thirty! What Works and What Doesn't in Parenting Today's Teens. After all, it's your daughter, not you, who has to be seen in her bra in locker rooms and at slumber parties.
Most important, though, be sure to allow plenty of time to try on different sizes and styles, since bra fitting -- as we all know -- is a very individual matter.
Start by getting an accurate chest measurement. Fitting experts recommend the traditional method of running a tape measure around your daughter's back and rib cage just under her breasts, then adding 5 inches to calculate chest size. (If that's too tricky, you can also run the tape measure across her chest above her breasts but under her armpits and around her back, which requires no math but is considered slightly less accurate.)
Next, measure around the fullest part of your daughter's breasts, then subtract the chest measurement from this number to figure out cup size. If the difference between the two numbers is less than 1 inch, her cup size is AA, 1 inch is an A; 2 inches a B; 3 inches a C, 4 a D, and so on. If your daughter's measurement comes out as an odd number, round up to the next number, since it's easier to adjust down than up.
Preventing a Wardrobe Malfunction
Once you've figured out the correct size, you'll still need to check each bra for a good fit; paying particular attention to avoid bulges under the arms, around the edges of the cups, or over or under the band.
Finally, consider the needs of her wardrobe; she may need a racerback to go under tank tops or even a strapless to go under certain dresses. Grab a big armful of different brands and styles each time you head for the dressing room, and have fun!