This one thing could keep your tween girl in sports

Thanks to Chris Deacon for her excellent journalism in the Sept 6 issue of Today’s Parent. Her article follows!

Studies show that girls start quitting sports in the tween years—this solution might surprise you.

Growing up, Juanita Lee ran track and rowed, but her sport of choice was tennis. She played the game from age six until age 14 when— seemingly overnight— her breasts grew from a 32A to 34DD.

The change immediately set her apart from her more petite, flat-chested opponents and made the teenager extremely self-conscious. She hated the sensation of her breasts moving when she ran on the court and how exposed she felt in her scoop-neck tennis dress whose padded cups only accentuated her size. And because breasts move independently of the body, (both up and down and side to side,) Lee also started experiencing breast pain, an issue she was too embarrassed to discuss with her parents. Not long after, Juanita used a sports injury as an excuse to quit tennis altogether and turned her attention to rowing, where breast movement wasn’t an issue, and running, a sport that—while still painful—meant she could wear baggy t-shirts for coverage.

Lee isn’t the only girl whose breast development has affected their participation in sports. In a 2016 survey of more than 2,000 British girls aged 11 to 18, nearly three-quarters said their breasts got in the way of enjoying sports. According to the study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, when girls hit puberty they start pulling out of athletics and skipping gym class to avoid the pain and embarrassment of breasts that are either too big, too small or —the chief complaint—too bouncy.

It turns out there could be an easy fix—a sports bra. While a given for professional female athletes, this undergarment is often omitted from the equipment list of girls’ sports teams. And while jockstraps are offered to boys for protection and to prevent discomfort caused by excessive movement during exercise, sports bras that serve the same purpose for girls have not been a part of the cultural conversation. In fact, only 10 percent of girls surveyed in the British study had worn one.

So how can a parent navigate the tricky terrain of breast development and sports with their tween? Here are five tips:

Start the conversation early: Your daughter may not need the support of a sports bra yet, but it’s worth tackling the topic early on, before she gets embarrassed about it. If she’s not ready for the discussion in the moment, MaryAnne Gucciardi—whose company, Dragonwing girlgear specializes in performance base-layers such as sports bras and support tops for girls aged 8 to 17, encourages parents to stick with it. “It’s a hard conversation for a parent,” she says, noting that dads in particular, have a hard time with the topic, “but it’s even harder for a child. They don’t know yet what they need. They just know what they’re feeling.”

Be matter of fact: Gucciardi also suggests sticking with the facts when broaching the idea of a sports bra. “You could say something like, “I want you to play your best. I want you to feel comfortable, and have good support to prevent injury and stay healthy and just like boys with a jockstrap for support and to prevent injury, this is what girls wear,’” she says. Explain to you daughter the difference between your average tween bra (which often looks like a sports bra) and the real thing. Most tween bras are made with thin cotton and flimsy straps. A good sports bra, by contrast, has smooth but stretchy fabric that moves as the athlete moves, with straps and a band that stay in place.

Shop it alone: While the odd girl might enjoy looking for a bra with her mom, most don’t, says Gucciardi, so parents should start the process. One idea, she says, is to buy a few different styles of sports bras and support tops and leave them in your daughter’s drawer—while keeping in mind she probably won’t model them for you. “She might have you hand them back and forth until she finds one that she likes,” she says, “Be patient. If you let her control the conversation, then she’ll feel in control of her body.”

Go for fit: Thirteen-year-old Melanie Paulson’s* parents have been helping her shop for sports bras since she started developing breasts in Grade 4, with little success. “I don’t find them very comfortable,” says the avid hockey player, who now shops in the women’s section. But many women’s sport bras are padded which makes breasts look bigger—the last thing most tweens and teens want. And Gucciardi cautions that an improper fit—caused by a bra that’s too big— can lead to back problems. “You could have a bigger bust but a small rib-cage,” she explains, suggesting that parents seek out sports bras that are specifically designed for tweens and teens, and that take this silhouette variation into account so that the fit is precise. Lululemon, Nike and Gucciardi’s brand all carry quality sports bras for this age group. Look for a fit that is snug but not tight with straps that don’t droop or slip. And if you’re buying online, it’s worth taking the time to measure your daughter and refer to the size chart rather than order the size that corresponds to her age. Parents should measure just under the rib cage to get the right fit as opposed to across the chest, and, when the bra is on, be able to fit not more than one finger under the band. The band should be as wide as possible while still being comfortable for your child.

Comfort is key: Gucciardi recommends quality sports bras that use high performance, moisture wicking fabric (that moves the sweat away from the skin) with mesh for coolness and breath-ability. “Girls get super embarrassed when they think they sweat and smell and that people notice it,” she says. Also look for thin, removable pads for coverage and softness. “Nipples showing is another source of embarrassment,” she says. Nipple chafing— especially common with runners— is also an issue. Finally, choose a sports bra that’s seamless and tag-free to prevent irritation.

Now that you’ve got a bra for your daughter, can you really expect it to be the difference between giving up sports and staying in the game? For Juanita Lee, now 27, the answer is—absolutely. “I was kind of a shy kid and I never felt comfortable saying, ”oh, my boobs hurt.” she says. In grade 10, Lee got her first sports bra at the suggestion of her female rugby coach, and she played rugby until the end of high school.

*Name has been changed.

The “why” of Dragonwing girlgear.

kickstart_bannerPeople often ask me why I am so passionate about sports and girls and I have a simple, important reason – we need this generation of girls, now more than ever, to reach their potential.  Sports participation at any level is one path to actualizing potential –it is established and proven – we don’t need to create a new program or study its benefits.  But social expectations and social media are getting in the way of girls.  When I realized “the underwear experience” could have an impact, I had an aha moment that I could do something about it.

Let’s take Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid.  On one level of the pyramid is community or village – we all know and accept that it takes a village to grow a strong confident girl.  We are happier with friends, family, a team, a tribe.  Belonging is important.   Connections give life meaning (Brene Brown).  Sports provide a natural community.

The next level of the pyramid is self-esteem.  Sports build self-esteem in so many ways, such as setting and achieving goals, graciously winning, building resilience, pushing your comfort zone for what you think you can do and then exceeding it – just to name a few. For more on this, check out this TedEx talk by Alisa Herr.

Unfortunately, feelings about breast development are a top reason girls drop out of sports.  According to a recent study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, “three quarters of school-aged girls report breast-related concerns regarding exercise and sports.”   75%!!!  That’s just not acceptable.  Starting and normalizing conversation about body changes can improve this.  Sports programs frequently recommend protective gear for boys, like cups, or compression shorts, but there is no comparable list recommended for girls. At Dragonwing girlgear, we provide girls that list and more.

Having an excellent-fitting, high-performance sports top – whether it is a bra, cami or thermal tee-shirt, that is designed especially for the athletic girl’s figure, can eliminate worries about underwear malfunction.  Embarrassment about changing bodies can alleviate concerns about body image.  At Dragonwing, we strive to free up emotional energy– so girls can focus on their game – and everything else they want to achieve… because when girls are confident, the possibilities are endless.

 

 

 

“The Most Comfortable Bra Ever”

 

Elise’s daughter plays soccer and volleyball and is already a big fan of our Keyhole Sports Bra. But now she has a new favorite: our seamless Racer Sports Bra for girls. 

“The Racer bra was a huge hit – she said it is the most comfortable bra ever.”

"The most comfortable bra ever" customer review of Racer Sports Bra for girls, teens. Click for more.

Discover the Dragonwing Difference yourself & check out The Racer:

– Super fine yarn and double-layered coverage ensures support, comfort, and coverage.
– Wicking fabric keeps moisture away so you stay cool and confident.
– Shoulder straps provide support and don’t droop.
– Soft, snug bottom band won’t ride up no matter how far you reach, stretch, throw, or run.
– Tag free and seamless so there is no chafing
– Made in the USA.

The Best Thing a Girl Can Say About a Bra

 

Most people don’t talk much about their underwear. And if you’re a preteen or teen girl, it’s likely you really don’t want to talk about your bra, especially your first bra, with anyone.

That’s why we’re always thrilled when we hear that girls love their Dragonwing sports bras, not just because of the perfect fit but because it’s so comfortable that they aren’t even aware of it. In fact, the most frequent comment we hear is some version of “I forgot I was even wearing a bra.”

That’s what Diane P. wrote to tell us after she bought her daughter our Racer Sports Bra in black with teal trim.

“My daughter says she doesn’t even realize she has it on because it doesn’t dig or irritate her skin. She is super sensitive so that is saying something.  I will be ordering another one soon…. Thanks again.  Love the product.”

 

Review of Racer Sports Bra for Girls: My daughter says she doesn't even realize she has it on.

 

What are YOU or your daughter looking for in a bra? Please tell us in the comments.

 

Black Friday Deal on Girls’ Sports Bras

We’ve got a terrific Black Friday deal on our best-selling sports bras for girls — and you don’t have to wait until Friday to enjoy it! Wouldn’t you rather spend the time enjoying your family — and delicious Thanksgiving left-overs?!

Buy 2 Dragonwing bras for girls, get 1 more free with promo code 3BRAS. Shop here

From now through Sunday, November 29, buy any 2 of our bras — The Racer, Keyhole, School to Sport, Half-Tee, or Mesh Racer — and get a third bra* absolutely FREE!

Promo Code = 3BRAS

As always, shipping is free. We’re committed to girls getting the perfect fit, so take a moment to measure and check the size chart. We know girls of all ages come is all sizes and shapes, so our sizes are based on measurements, not on age.

 

* Put any three bras into your shopping cart and apply promo code 3BRAS to purchase and receive the lowest-priced bra absolutely free. Offer good through 11/29/15 only.

Teen Review of Racer Sports Bra

We’re thrilled with the recent review by Mom Trends of our Racer Sports Bra for Girls, Chill Weight long sleeve top and spandex leggings for girls. Logan, the soccer-playing, 8th grader intern who wrote the review, captured the essence and mission of Dragonwing.

Dragonwing girlgear is a a tween and teen girls athletic wear brand that’s embarking on a mission to change how girls play sports.

Here’s the deal–Dragonwing girlgear wants girls to be able to concentrate on their sports without worrying about adjusting their sports bra or tugging down their shorts.

Since Logan’s review covers three of our products, I’ll include each one in a separate blog post. First up, our Racer girls sports bra.

Close-up of dragonfly on back of Racer sports bra: soft, snug & oh-so-stretchy

Here’s what Logan wrote about our best-selling sports bra:

I love the material the Racer sports bra was made of. It’s soft, snug, and oh-­so-­stretchy. The dragonfly design on the back is really cute, and the long length combined with the wide band means that it stays in place without digging into your skin.

I normally don’t wear a sports bra anytime I don’t have to, but I want to wear this everywhere.

The clothes are made just for girls’ bodies, and they’re all age ­appropriate. By that I mean, none of the bras are padded or lacy, and everything is snug, but not tight. All the clothes have flat seams and tags, so there’s no rubbing or discomfort.

Stay tuned. Our super soft and comfortable Chill Weight leggings for girls are next!

Making the Most of Summer’s Last Days

Hello Dragonwing friends!

Recently my rock climbing team had a friendly – and super fun — competition hosted by our gym. I ended up taking 5th out 10 people, which wasn’t my best but still good.

Dragonwing Teen Ambassador Madi rock climbing at gym

Summer has been flying by way too quickly. By the time you read this, I’ll be back in school! I’ve been shopping like crazy getting school clothes and supplies, but I’m most excited to wear my Dragonwing Racer Sports Bra because it’s the most comfy one I own!

I made the best of my last days of summer break by climbing more and enjoying swimming and hiking. A couple of weeks ago, I invited a friend to go camping with my family and do a 12 mile hike. We both loved it! We passed 3 beautiful lakes and a bunch of mini waterfalls on our way to the top.

Dragonwing Teen Ambassador Madi & friend next to lake in Colorado mountains

This summer has treated me so great that I’m fine with it ending because there’s not much I didn’t accomplish. Until next time, when I’m in school!

What were some of YOUR favorite summer memories? Leave a comment!

Two Sports Bras isn’t Enough for Athletic Girl

 

Wendy’s teen daughter got her first Racer Sports Bra at the start of the summer — two actually – one each in black/teal and white lime! She loves them and has “been begging for some more!”

After she ordered four more Racers in early August, Wendy generously wrote a review on our website.

Great quality & comfort. They’re very soft and comfortable and the fit is great. Much better than anything you can find at a big box sporting goods store. Would love to see more colors!

 

We’re happy to announce that we’ll have several new colors of the Racer later this year. Be sure to join our email list, so you’ll be among the first to know when the new colors — and a few other new products — arrive.

 

Girls sports bra review: "daughter loves the Racer...soft, comfortable & the fit is great"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hands down the best sports bra”

There are plenty of reasons why our Racer Sports Bra for girls is our best selling item: unmatched comfort, superior fit, durability, and value.
TweenhoodReview

Blogger Wendy Morelli of Tweenhood, a leading blog for parents of tweens, summed it up in a recent review. She wrote that her 13-year-old hockey-playing daughter “absolutely loves” the Racer:

Whether she’s skating suicides on the ice, doing burpees or planks, she said it was extremely comfortable and soft, she didn’t feel it at all. It’s hands down the best bra she’s owned to date. Now that’s saying a lot, since all her bras are mostly sports bras, but you can really see and feel the difference with the Racer Sports Bra. The fabric is thicker than other sports bras and it has a good stretch to it.

“She didn’t feel it at all” is one of the most common comments we hear about our sports bras. And we love it! When girls can move and play without even thinking about their clothing, they’re free to play — and be — their best. And THAT’s what Dragonwing girlgear is all about.