my angst about bra wearing and pre-adolescense - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 01:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wonder if anyone wants to talk about bra wearing and pre-adolescents? I must admit to very conflicting feelings here. My dd could, I guess, wear a training bra, and has a few, but I wouldn't say it's the first thing that comes to mind for her when getting dressed. I don't push it because I don't want her to feel that she has to wear an item of clothing that she might not choose at this point. However, I have been told by a few relatives that my dd Should be wearing a training bra, that it's important for modesty, for not attracting attention in a "negative' way, for support, what have you.

Now, I don't think that this is going to be that big of a deal for dd. She will choose or not choose to wear a bra when and if she feels ready. Or maybe she will choose to wear cami's if that makes her feel comfortable. I will talk it through with her, talk about support for athletic activities, etc. I really think it will be just fine, when it needs to be fine. My big conflict is in how other people see my child...to me she's still a baby, yet a beginning pre-adolescent. I think she should have the time to decide what's right for her, when it's right. I don't want to hear anyone suggesting that my dd needs to not attract "negative" attention. Yuck! She has no idea what kind of attention is out there, and though I want to shield her, I am angry that little girls are sexualized. Maybe that's the crux of it...I just didn't expect to hear this talk about my little girl yet. I don't want this in her consciousness yet.

That was a bit of a vent-this is my first trip through this experience, so I don't have anything to fall back on. Anyone want to offer any BTDT ideas?
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#2 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 02:08 AM
 
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My Mom got me a bra long before I was ready mentally (although physically I was quite ready). I shoved it to the back of the drawer & nothing was said about it again. When I felt it was time (I don't remember what prompted it - a comment from a friend or just mulling it over in my mind maybe) I started wearing it all the time. There was no stress about it & no embarassing moments either.

It was simply, you are developing physically now & many girls/women feel more comfortable being supported by a bra (I did develop very quickly & support was more the need), here is one, you can wear if/when you want.

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#3 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 02:31 AM
 
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My dd asked for one when she was ~11, because she didn't like wearing her undershirt any more and "all the other girls" in her class were wearing one. IMHO she didn't really *need* one then, but I also wanted to support her desire to fit in and be comfortable.

I got her some sports-type bras & it worked out fine.
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#4 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 03:59 AM
 
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I really understand what you are saying. My dd1 is 9 and she asked for a bra at 8 years old, because she had some sudden development. It kind of blind sided me, except I could see she was developing breast, but "I" wasn't ready for her to wear a bra.

She picked out two bras to wear, the beginner bras, that are sweet with puppies and such, and wore them for some time. For some reason this summer she put them away in her drawer, and that is fine with me.

Funny thing is that my other daughter, same age, was not developing, but she begged for a bra, and I am quite sure she would have worn the bra if she already had it. : ) Each girl is different, and we have to respect whatever she wishes. She has to live right here, right now, in our society, how it is right here, right now.

Yes, I am angry that little girls are made into sex objects. That is horrible, and shows what the society we are living in, is like. I wish I could change that, but the only thing I can do is stand up for my daughter, as she wishes, to defame the way that girls are seen. My girls are also seen as smart, funny, athletic and so much more, and I will not allow society to define who my daughters are, and I don't think they will either.

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#5 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Each girl is different, and we have to respect whatever she wishes. She has to live right here, right now, in our society, how it is right here, right now.

Yes, I am angry that little girls are made into sex objects. That is horrible, and shows what the society we are living in, is like. I wish I could change that, but the only thing I can do is stand up for my daughter, as she wishes, to defame the way that girls are seen. My girls are also seen as smart, funny, athletic and so much more, and I will not allow society to define who my daughters are, and I don't think they will either.

Hugs mama!
Thank you. This is the way I feel as well. The bra wearing isn't the issue because I will help and support my dd as she wants, AND help her understand how to live in the real world. It's just that I was kind of taken aback by the idea of sexualizing a young child. Don't get me wrong-I'm far from naive. It's just a bit different when it's your own child.
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#6 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 02:26 PM
 
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Both the grandmothers are big on the girls wearing bras, and I don't think it has anything to do with the sexualization of little girls, in their minds anyhow. I has more to do with the coming of age tradition of girls and their mothers shopping for that first bra (or as my friend tells it, you weren't a real woman until you'd been felt up (ie fitted for your first bra) by the old Mrs. --- at the lingerie counter at the local department store--we're talking small towns here, folks); and I also think it has to do with simply that idea is that when girls develop breasts, they should wear bras. I don't think most people feel it is means the girl is looking for negative attention so much as that it is simply one of those things that many people in our parents and grandparents' generation do not question. It irritates me that my kids wear tennis shoes without socks. Mainly because that is not how *I* do things...I recognize that and don't say anything.

And they've got a point, to a degree. When your nipples stick out, people notice. Do you care? I mean, you can't really do much about your developing breasts and nipples. If you don't care, don't worry about it. If you want to smooth it out a bit so that it's not so noticeable, throw on a bra. Later it does indeed become an issue of support, and once again, if you need or want the support, throw on the bra. If not, don't worry about it.

We're "dealing" with this right now, for lack of a better word. My 11 yr old dd is just getting nubs. Her breasts are definitely noticeable under her t-shirts. We've had a brief discussion about this. For her, she is very uninterested and uncomfortable talking about this sort of thing. I'm not sure why. She just is naturally an extremely modest person. So when we discussed doing some school shopping this year, we talked briefly about looking at sport bras. With my oldest dd, she WANTED the bras way before she needed them. It's more of a fashion/style thing, with her. So this was never an issue. With my youngest, she would probably never bring it up. But I also know, based on her previous comments and her personality in general, she would be mortified if someone (a kid on the playground, a friend, an old grandma with filter issues) would say something about her developing breasts being noticeable under her shirt.

We're going to look at some very sporty bras, buy one or two, and then it's her can of beans whether she wants to wear them or not. My offer to buy her bras has nothing to do with sexualizing her. It has more to do with guiding her own sense of modesty, and allowing her the choice to wear them. After all, if you don't provide them with the bra, it's not really a choice for them, is it?

I totally get what the OP is saying, and I'm not saying that there isn't a lot of that in society, particularly in terms of clothing choices and what is viewed as acceptable behavior for girls vs boys--I'm just offering another perspective. I don't think the idea of buying girls bras when they are still youngish has to be sexualizing. To the OP--I think you are doing a great job being thoughtful about it and considering whether it is in your daughter's personality and lifestyle that she might want one. And the fact that it's about *her*, not about what others might say or think.
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#7 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 04:48 PM
 
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I don't see the bra issue as one of sexualizing so much as it is modesty. If you have breasts and you're wearing a thin, light shirt, people are going to notice your breasts, no matter what age you are. If you or your dd are concerned about modesty, you can put some options out there like a bra, a sport bra that looks like a tank top under a regular shirt, or just layering shirts, which is the style nowadays anyway. Because our culture does view visible breasts as immodest, you could have a conversation about it with your dd without being judgmental. It might be better for you to start that conversation now rather than have one of her peers tell her in an embarrassing way. When I was developing, I had a boy come up to me (I was wearing a white tee shirt) and point out that my nipples were showing. I was extremely embarrassed.
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#8 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 05:00 PM
 
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Underwear is just underwear. There's nothing sexual about buying panties for a 2 or 3yo who's freshly out of diapers, and there's nothing sexual about buying bras for a girl (whether she's 8 or 12) who's just starting to grow breasts.

DD1 was one of those girls who was super excited about getting her first bra. DD2 didn't care nearly as much, but she had DD1's hand-me-downs at first, and then I took her bra shopping when she wanted to wear bras more often and wanted to select something more comfortable (as what SHE found comfortable was different than what DD1 had selected.)

I've never pressured either one about bra wearing. I make sure they have bras that fit appropriately, and then the choice is theirs.

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#9 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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The two previous posters just said what I was trying to say, in a bout 1000 less words.
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#10 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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My mom bought me a couple of training bras when I was about 10 and just started to develop a little. I wore them a little bit but they drove me nuts! I can still remember the plastic clasps itching terribly. Needless to say it didn't take long before I wouldn't wear them, mom never said anything about it either way. A couple years later I got a couple of sports bras and wore them on gym class days at school (since I felt I needed the support and noticed mom always wear that type of bra when she worked out) and that slowly transitioned into wearing them daily purely by my choice. I actually only wore sports bras until I was about 17 or 18 and then I finally got a regular bra. I used to strip mine off as soon as I got home even up until a year or so ago. But I actually got a couple of nice very well fitting, soft, comfortable bras that I can wear all day with no issues...the only bad thing is when they're both in the wash! :-)
As far as it being a sexualizing thing...I don't know about it being sexual as so much as just the social norm. I agree with OPs as they said it'd be better to have mom mention when a bra should be worn (under tighter fitting t-shirts/tank tops or anything white or a sports bra during athletic activities) instead of having an insensitive boy or girl say something.
My suggestion is to buy her a couple of cute traning bras during back to school shopping when you'll be buying her new underwear and socks and other clothes and let her decide when to wear them (maybe with a little guidance from mom) and when she's ready she will. Don't make a huge deal about it but let her know they're there if she wants to wear them.
Good Luck! Our little girl won't be here for 3 more months and then we'll have a few years till bras and puberty but it's good to get perspective now! :-)

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#11 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 07:26 PM
 
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I'll just chime in with what we are doing right now.

My 10 yo doesn't need one and didn't ask but when she wears certain shirts I felt like she needed more for modesty's sake. I bought her 2-3 sports style/half cami bras when she got some new clothes recently. I can't tell when she is wearing them (isn't that the point?) but I do see them coming through the laundry. She doesn't have enough for everyday and we talked about white tshirts v black, etc. I made sure the ones we got were comfy and cute (think puppies and rainbows. ) not at all sexy. It is totally up to her at this point. I notice her friends wear them inconsistently too.

You don’t owe them an explanation, just a response.
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#12 of 100 Old 08-01-2009, 01:48 PM
 
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I didn't start developing breasts until I was 15, and my mom refused to get me a bra.

This was a source of a lot of embarrassment for me. When I was 10 my classmates were starting to wear bras, and the subject of my bralessness was fodder for a lot of very harsh teasing in the locker room.

I understand my mom's point of view now, for her it was a financial issue. We were poor and she simply could not afford to buy me a garment that I didn't need. But I begged and begged, I just wanted to fit in.

I say, around the age that girls start wearing bras get her one even if she doesn't "need" it. Stuff it in her drawer and let her decide if she wants to wear it.

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#13 of 100 Old 08-01-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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It's just a bit different when it's your own child.
Wait until the first time you see a grown man looking at your child in "that" way. My daughter's somehow blossomed this year, and is rather.... fetching. We were walking down the street together the other when I felt some guy's head turn to watch her pass. He definitely got a glare.

She asked me to take her bra shopping when she was...... 11? She didn't really need one, IMO, but she told me she wanted to go with me rather than her stepmom, who'd apparently made some comments about taking her. She wore them on and off, as the mood struck her, for a while. I left it up to her, although a few times I did say that whatever she was planning to wear might fit better with some support.
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I "allowed" my flat 9yo dd to get a training bra because she had a loose jumper she wore that exposed her nipples often and I though she should put something on and she picked the bra over a tank top because some of her equally flat friends own "bras". I started wearing a "bra" before I was developed enough to warrant one because you would get teased in the gym locker room in Jr. High if you didn't wear them yet, but that was at 12 not 9.
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#15 of 100 Old 08-01-2009, 03:27 PM
 
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My mom is very anti-bra. She would not buy me any even though I started developing around age 10. I was embarrassed and often dressed in layers with several shirts. I started buying bras with my own money when I started working at around age 15.
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#16 of 100 Old 08-01-2009, 04:10 PM
 
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Wait until the first time you see a grown man looking at your child in "that" way. My daughter's somehow blossomed this year, and is rather.... fetching. We were walking down the street together the other when I felt some guy's head turn to watch her pass. He definitely got a glare.
This, except my dd has blossomed yet other than height-wise. She is a "tall-poppy".

I hate when I get it from other mothers. Dd1 was in a running club this summer and when I first met one of the other moms she commented on dd and asked how we were dealing with all the boys. To her credit (or because it went right over her head) Dd said it was a co-ed team and if they wanted they could try to run with her but that she has the advantage of long legs. It was particularly funny because she is not actually very fast.

You don’t owe them an explanation, just a response.
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#17 of 100 Old 08-01-2009, 04:33 PM
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Target has some great training bras that are more like short, tight tank tops and don't really feel like a "bra."

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#18 of 100 Old 08-01-2009, 06:50 PM
 
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This, except my dd has blossomed yet other than height-wise. She is a "tall-poppy".

I hate when I get it from other mothers. Dd1 was in a running club this summer and when I first met one of the other moms she commented on dd and asked how we were dealing with all the boys. To her credit (or because it went right over her head) Dd said it was a co-ed team and if they wanted they could try to run with her but that she has the advantage of long legs. It was particularly funny because she is not actually very fast.
LOL My daughter's pretty savvy and has a good clue what they're after, but she has a good dose of self-confidence and attitude. And the smarts to make wise choices. But I kinda feel sorry for any guy she chooses to go out with.

It's an interesting time.
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#19 of 100 Old 08-01-2009, 07:13 PM
 
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LOL My daughter's pretty savvy and has a good clue what they're after, but she has a good dose of self-confidence and attitude. And the smarts to make wise choices. But I kinda feel sorry for any guy she chooses to go out with.

It's an interesting time.
You just discribed my dd too. (Except I don't feel sorry for the guys, but I think that's a dad thing).

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#20 of 100 Old 08-02-2009, 12:35 PM
 
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If my child were interested, regardless of age, I would comply with something age appropriate.

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#21 of 100 Old 08-02-2009, 10:50 PM
 
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Target has some great training bras that are more like short, tight tank tops and don't really feel like a "bra."
These are working well for my dd. Unfortunately, the only other small-sized option our closest Target had was the mega-padded version.
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#22 of 100 Old 08-02-2009, 11:21 PM
 
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My dd is 9 and she is really developing. She takes after me, I was wearing a c cup in the 5th grade. We already got her bras for modesty. I never really thought about it because it was how things were when I was that age too. Also it really did not seem like a big deal to tell her they were for modesty because we have talked about modesty so much over the years that it is no big deal.

We do not push the bra wearing most of the time. There are just some outfits that need them because of the cut or the fabric.

I am not sure about any of you but when I was starting to get breast buds I was happy to have a bra to smooth things out. Some stages of breast growth can be very awkward looking and it made me feel self concious. I think it is probably nice to give a girl the option to have one on hand just in case she might wake up one morning and feel the need for one. Maybe that was just my experience, I don't know.

Sigh.....sometimes I think I liked the terrible twos better than all this!

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#23 of 100 Old 08-03-2009, 01:06 PM
 
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My breasts are still 'awkward looking' at 35. I am about a 36AAA and I don't wear a bra to smooth things out.

I haven't worn any kind of boob restricting underwear for a good while now and didn't wear anything for the last six months of bf my dd.

I often go out in just a t shirt and I have to say that I haven't found anyone staring at my nipples. If they do look I imagine that they register the fact that I can't be wearing a bra in the same way as they register that I wear compression hosiery one one leg (due to DVT) and don't comment on either of these. I don't think I'm attracting unwanted attention and I am a sexually active woman with 4 children as evidence not a child.

If she is happy not to cover her nipples then don't make her feel bad about it. Tell your relatives that they need to get over themselves - register it and move on - end of story. Why are they looking at her chest anyway?

Going from being 'free' to being restricted by elasticated garments is an odd sensation. I don't like it and I don't need it so I choose not to wear them any more.
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#24 of 100 Old 08-03-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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You just discribed my dd too. (Except I don't feel sorry for the guys, but I think that's a dad thing).
LOL Mine has a very sharp tongue. So yeah - I feel sorry for the boys.
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#25 of 100 Old 08-03-2009, 09:53 PM
 
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I have tried to replace some of DD's t shirts with the kind of t shirt that has a little bit of gathered material in the front. The ripples in the shirt kind of hide everything. And I have bought a couple of little bra tops, which she sometimes wears and sometimes doesn't wear.
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#26 of 100 Old 08-04-2009, 03:06 AM
 
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These are working well for my dd. Unfortunately, the only other small-sized option our closest Target had was the mega-padded version.
Seriously, what is up with that?

DD & I just went and got her 1st "bras" yesterday (the smaller tanky ones at target, but with spaghetti straps) and she looked quite askance at all the padded ones.

 

 

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#27 of 100 Old 08-05-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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These are working well for my dd. Unfortunately, the only other small-sized option our closest Target had was the mega-padded version.
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Seriously, what is up with that?

DD & I just went and got her 1st "bras" yesterday (the smaller tanky ones at target, but with spaghetti straps) and she looked quite askance at all the padded ones.
10 points to your house for using the term ' looked askance' in normal conversation.

14 y.o. daughter and I noticed the same thing at Target just last week. All the regular looking bras with cute prints are push-up. They're obviously marketed to teens, as well, so you'd think they'd provide some bras without push-ups. :

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#28 of 100 Old 08-05-2009, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Kohl's also has padded training bras which dd decided she had to have (we were buying a few types to try out). Holy moly-not the look I was hoping for for her! DD was pretty impressed with herself, but the plain athletic version seemed most comfy to her, and thus became her choice.
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#29 of 100 Old 08-06-2009, 04:23 PM
 
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Kohl's also has padded training bras which dd decided she had to have (we were buying a few types to try out). Holy moly-not the look I was hoping for for her! DD was pretty impressed with herself, but the plain athletic version seemed most comfy to her, and thus became her choice.
Okay, that is the funniest thing I have read all day. I remember wanting those when I was in junior high and not developing anything and then thinking maybe people would notice if I only had boobs on the days when that particular bra was clean.
My dd asked for bras over a year ago but is another "tall poppy" and really doesn't need one. I got her some of the camis with shelf bras for modesty issues under white shirts and tanks and told her maybe in a year or two. She said she just wanted it to be like a teenager.
Now that she is getting closer to being a teenager she is totally reluctant to grow up and I am worried she will be uncomfortable with the issue but plan to let her pick out some of the thin spaghetti strap types in colors she likes pretty soon (or as soon as I can afford it) anyway just because so many girls her age are wearing them that I am afraid if she does not have them, that might be noticed.
I was pretty much driving before I needed one and suspect she will be too but since they are becoming so common so young, I just don't want it to be something she feels insecure about. So we'll buy a few and if she wants to stuff them under the bed, that's her business.

“ it was her habit to build laughter out of inadequate materials....She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall.”
 -Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (I frequently ask myself, 'what would Ma Joad do?')

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#30 of 100 Old 08-08-2009, 09:28 AM
 
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my dd (10 1/2) was picking out new underware and a few bras the other day and she was wondering why in the world someone would want a padded bra, lol she wears the sports style over the head types...not every day but I have noticed she is wearing them more often (she'll be in 5th grade this year... sniff....sniff)

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