Our Five Favorite Tween Brands – We Bet They’ll be Yours, Too!

Being a mom of a tween-aged girl (that is, an 8-13 year old) can be a challenge, to be sure. That sweet girl you once knew is changing in a lot of ways, and finding out what she really does and doesn’t like. These years are a big part of shaping the woman she’ll become, and your support – however much she thinks she doesn’t need it – is critical.

This is particularly true for active girls, as this is the age when so many of our daughters stop participating in organized sports. The factors contributing to that decline in participation are varied, and as unique as the girls themselves, but one consistently cited reason is a lack of confidence. Confidence in their abilities, their changing body, in possessing a skill set that will take them to the next level.

That’s why we love these brands that focus on tween girls! Each one is focused on inspiring confidence in your favorite girl. From putting her best face forward, from clothing to footwear, stylish bags and of course the BEST athletic gear for girls, these are the tip-top providers of tween products.

CALZICO

Calzico offers fun and functional fashion that inspires confidence! Their cute and versatile age-appropriate clothing for tweens ages 6-14 includes soft reversible tees, dresses, jackets and skirts, so your favorite girl can be confident and comfy from the classroom to the playground!

Calzico’s creations flip, zip, and layer! Their zipskirt (with the removable layer) or the reversible jacket that can be worn four ways mean your favorite tween can create over 20 different looks with just a few pieces. Designing garments with greater versatility, comfort, and function is Calzico’s central focus — so many ways, she’ll have outfits for days!

Founder Shannon Tennyson counts on daughter Callie (the “Cal” in Calzico) to review sketches and provide design, fit and style input. Together, they makes sure every item is well-designed enough to last multiple seasons and provide a variety of different looks. To get their amazing 4-in-one jacket or top-selling zipskirt, visit them online at calzico.com. If you’re not ready to buy just yet, sign up for their updates and receive their free Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist for Tweens, free!

VISIT CALZICO HERE

Dragonwing girlgear

Ready to find the products that will make your daughter strong beneath it all? From the moment she steps out the door to the high-fives after practice, Dragonwing girl gear lets her know that you’re there to support her, all day long!

Dragonwing girlgear founder MaryAnne Gucciardi struggled to find age-appropriate, supportive athletic gear for her daughter. Clothes in the girls’ departments were all fashion-focused and made of lower quality fabrics, not meant for real athletes. Women’s athletic wear didn’t fit and wasn’t age-appropriate. Forced to shop in the boy’s department, everything was ill-fitting. Shopping trips were awkward and sent the subliminal message that being athletic and strong wasn’t feminine.

So MaryAnne set out to design her own solution, a line of performance wear designed for pre-teen and teen girls. No wedgies. No slipping straps. A fit that’s snug. But not tight. Made for the sports they play. She calls it girlgear.

The result was something even greater, that gives girls the freedom and confidence to focus on the competition, skills, and teamwork of the sports they love, empowering them to play – and be – their best. Dragonwing offers not just the ultimate in sports bras, but camis, compression shorts and leggings with good looks that are only surpassed by their performance… just like your unstoppable daughter!

SHOP DRAGONWING HERE

prep skincarePrep Cosmetics

Great skin starts at an early age! Prep Skincare gives your tween a line of age-appropriate and fun cleansers, moisturizers and more to inspire habits that will protect her skin for a lifetime! There are no cutting edge ingredients in PREP’s formulas because at this age, girls just need good tried and true, safe ingredients that won’t cause them harm as their bodies develop and grow.

PREP Cosmetics is on a journey to empower young girls to take care of their skin and their health. She’ll be thankful today to have a beauty routine that is all her own, and even more thankful tomorrow for the positive effects protection from the sun will have on her skin and her confidence.

GET THEIR STARTER KIT, HERE.

PREP’s Chief Medical Officer, Carole Aponte, MD recommends girls use the starter kit every day to keep their healthy skin clean, fresh and protected. Each order comes with their PREP skincare 101 guide, which teaches girls how and when to use each product.

 

Sari Bari handmade productsSari Bari

While Sari Bari most certainly isn’t limited to items that appeal to tweens (those bed covers are AMAZING!), we love their mission and their promise and it’s a great message to share with our daughters.

Their unique products are made in Kolkata, by women exiting the commercial sex trade or who are vulnerable to exploitation or trafficking. The Sari Bari promise doesn’t stop with the job –  they firmly believe that’s not where the freedom journey ends. Holistic care is a high value at Sari Bari, which is why they journey with women as partners in their social support needs as they continue to take courageous steps towards restoration and wholeness.

Watch their video to see them in action:

Ready to check out a unique gift that gives back to the world? Your tween will collect about a million compliments on her Meye Messenger Bag!

Hannah's ShoeboxHannah’s Shoe Box

Your tween girl’s feet may be as big as yours, but that doesn’t mean women’s shoes are appropriate or even comfortable!

Hannah’s Shoebox was created after the store’s owner, a mother, became frustrated with her challenge to find age-appropriate shoes for her then six-year-old daughter who was wearing a size six shoe at that time. Her daughter’s shoe size continued to match her age until she reached age 11. By that time, the challenge to find age-appropriate shoes had become even more difficult. That’s when and why Hannah’s Shoebox was born.

Don’t waste another dime on poorly-made shoes that just don’t meet your daughter’s needs! Hannah’s Shoe Box offer quality shoes in women’s sizes 5-13 that are undeniably cute and age-appropriate for tweens! Every style and occasion is covered, from every day school and uniform shoes to special-occasion, with the boots, wedges and sandals your girl wants.

BROWSE THE GREAT STYLES HERE!

 

So, the more you know, the easier this “parenting-a-tween” thing gets, right? Inspire her confidence in all areas of her life – with these great brands and your support, you know she can take on the world! Be sure to share this post with other moms – they’ll thank you later!

*Money can buy you lots of great Dragonwing gear, but it can’t buy you love! These opinions are solely our own, based on personal knowledge of the above products. These are not affiliate links, and no promotional fees have been paid.

Dragonwing Icon

 

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.

 

 

 

5 Back-to-School Tips for Active Girls

 

The start of the school year is filled with anticipation, excitement, great promise, and sometimes anxiety. What will my teachers and classes be like? Will I make new friends? Will my “old” friends still be my friends? And, when transitioning to a new school, will I fit in?

Girl with backpack and bike back to school

At Dragonwing girlgear, our mission is to empower girls in sports and in life. Building connections, feeling confident inside and out, and making routines and transitions as smooth as possible can help get the school year off to a great start! Here are our 5 back-to-school tips:

1. JOIN A TEAM OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, IN OR OUT OF SCHOOL. Being part of a team is a great way for girls to make friends, stay active, reduce stress, improve mental health, and develop lifelong skills – like teamwork and resilience — that are the benefits of sports participation.

2. CHOOSE CLOTHING THAT GIVES GIRLS COMFORT AND CONFIDENCE FROM THE INSIDE OUT. The start of school, particularly for girls whose bodies are changing, can be a time of hyper self-awareness. Research shows that girls are starting puberty, marked by the start of breast development, significantly earlier than 15 years ago, sometimes as young as 8 or 9 years old.

Regardless of when they first need a bra, girls want something comfortable that provides enough coverage so they don’t feel self-conscious and fits them just right, so they can move and play with confidence. Girls and parents alike want a first bra to be age-appropriate, not the padded or plunging bras of Victoria’s Secret, Target, and other retailers.

A well-fitting, comfortable sports bra, like our Keyhole and Racer sports bras, or a sports camisole with an inner layer, like our Un-Tee Sports Cami, is often the best choice.

3. MAKE THE TRANSITION FROM SCHOOL TO SPORTS EASY, QUICK, AND COMFORTABLE. The start of the school year and fall sports season means girls – and parents – need to make quick transitions from school to practice or competition.

Need to change clothes in the car or on the bus? Concerned about modesty while changing out of school clothes and into sports gear? When getting dressed in the morning, choose base layers (aka “undergarments”) — like our sports bras, camis, and light compression shorts — that are cool and comfortable under “regular” school clothes and make changing for sports quick and easy. No need to completely undress; just take off school clothes and pull on a sports jersey and shorts.

What a girl wears under her uniform can help her feel confident and play her best. Undergarments that are comfortable, fit great, and provide appropriate coverage empower girls to play the sports they love without being distracted by droopy straps, bras or shirts that ride up, or bunching shorts.

4. PLAN AHEAD FOR COOLER WEATHER. While it may be hot and humid now, the arrival of cool, fall weather always seems to surprise us. Afternoon practices and games – or the trip to and from school — can quickly turn chilly or downright cold.

A pair of leggings and a long-sleeve top under sports gear can keep a girl athlete warm, agile, and in the game. Moisture-wicking fabric is a must, so the sweat moves away from the skin and girls stay dry and warm. When shopping, consider the sport as well as the fit. Many soccer girls love our Capri-length Chill Weight Leggings because they don’t interfere with shin guards.

5. THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS A GIRL NEEDS ON HER FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL WON’T FIT INTO HER BACKPACK OR GYM BAG. She carries these treasures inside herself: a spirit of adventure and curiosity, a desire to learn and tackle new challenges, and a sense of confidence in herself.

**********

A slightly revised version of this post originally appeared on the Sports Mom Survival Guide, a great resource for parents of young athletes with tips, ideas, and recipes. 

 

Girl’s Keyhole Bra = Comfort, Confidence

review Dragonwing sports bra: fashionable comfort for young girlWe know that girls of all ages come in all shapes and sizes. And we know that girls love to play, whether on the playground or on a competitive playing field. Sadly and far too often, girls drop out of sports and start becoming less active when their bodies start to develop.

In a recent review of our Keyhole Sports Bra, blogger Chloe M. recounted her young daughter’s experience:

My little 8-year-old loves her sports… however, her weight, size, and now developing body was making it hard for her to be comfortable when she played.
The Keyhole Sports Bra changed everything and provided her with fashionable comfort for everyday use.

 

The first day she wore the new bra she said she felt like she was years younger again. No discomfort.

 

Her friends in the locker room even commented on how cute it looked and asked where to get one.

 

We LOVE hearing how Dragonwing girlgear boosts girls’ confidence, empowering them to be the strong, active, fun-loving kids they are! Read Chloe’s full review on her blog, Reviews by Clo.

Tell us how Dragonwing has made a difference for YOU and we may feature you in an upcoming blog post.

 

Tween Confidence-Boosting Sports Bra

You’ve heard me  say that our mission is to empower girls to play — and be — their best, with freedom and without distraction.

The notion of girls being able to move freely without being self-conscious or distracted by their clothing is simple and yet oh-so-powerful.

Robyn, mother of soccer-playing girls ages 8 and 11, wrote to share her — and her older daughter’s — delight with our Keyhole Sports Bra. Her daughter didn’t like the tight fit of other sports bras, especially under her arms. They selected the Keyhole because its design allows for more arm movement, the fit is snug, not tight, and the fabric is super soft and stretchy.

A winning combination, as Robyn wrote:

Sports Bra so comfortable tween forgot she had it on., Mom review

 

Before ordering, Robyn checked our size chart and double-checked her selection with us, just to be sure she’d get the right fit. And she did!

We offer free shipping on every order, including for returns and exchanges, to ensure that girls get the right size and perfect fit.

 

 

 

 

Girls Athletic Wear “Made in the Carolinas”

I recently spent several hours with a film crew from TWC’s “Made in the Carolinas” series for a featured story on Dragonwing girlgear. We traveled to the North Carolina manufacturing plant where our seamless sports bras are made  and then to a soccer scrimmage and practice with our spokesperson Cindy Parlow Cone and a team of amazing teen girls.

We’re all  delighted that TWC’s “Made in the Carolinas” profile captured our mission and spirit perfectly. And we take pride in our seamless sports bras being Made in the USA, right here in North Carolina.

TWC "Made in the Carolinas" profile Dragonwing girlgear: Apparel Geared for Female Athletes

Reporter Richard Green explained part of what makes our girls athletic wear perform so well, “Dragonwing incorporates elements that wick away moisture, prevent chafing and essentially  allows girls to compete without worry.”

Soccer great Cindy Parlow Cone echoed that Dragonwing’s sports bras, compression shorts, and other athletic wear “empowers girls to be free and not worry what they’re wearing under their uniforms.”

Soccer star Cindy Parlow Cone: Dragonwing empowers tween teen girls to be free & not worry about what they're wearing under their uniforms

“Girls on the field who wear Dragonwing clothing are sold on the benefits,” said Green. Teen soccer player Sarah agreed, “It’s nice having something locally made, locally created, and something that actually fits.”

"It's nice having something locally made, locally created, and something that actually fits."

I was pleased to have the opportunity to highlight our mission of empowering girls to play — and be — their best. “We want to give girls an advantage. If their gear performs better, they will play better.”

Dragonwing athletic clothing empowers girl athletes

Please help spread the word by sharing this post with your friends and family — by email or social media.

 

Review: Tween Loves Half-Tee Sports Top

We love getting positive reviews from girls — from pre-teen and tween to teens — who love our girlgear.

 

 

tween girl feels like she can do anything in Dragonwing half tee sports topVicki is a fellow sports mom and entrepreneur, the founder of Throw Like A Girl sporty apparel for girls who love  sports. Her daughter, age 11, loves her super-comfortable Half Tee Sports Top.

“She says she feels like she can do anything in it!”

To which we enthusiastically respond, “She can!”

 

 

“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. 

Importance of Rest for Tween, Teen Athletes

For a tween or teen athlete, rest is a critical part of her training. I know that sounds slightly counterintuitive given that mastery of a sport requires hours, months, and years of practice. But rest contributes to athletic performance  in many ways.

The first is simply to avoid injuries. As tween and teen girls train and practice in any sport, they incur microscopic injuries — tiny muscle tears, a slight strain or sprain. A day or two of rest allows those small injuries to heal and not develop into bigger injuries.

Rest is even more critical for year-round athletes whether soccer, softball, swimming, or gymnastics. Those athletes are using the same muscle groups repetitively, so rest is needed to avoid overuse injuries. For example, year-round swimmers often take time off in August (ironic that swimmers aren’t swimming during the hottest month of the year). They can bike, run, or laze around but no hard core training.

Rest is also important for an athlete’s mental game. In sport as in love, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” When your daughter started playing her sport, she likely did so because it was fun. It’s still important, at any age and any skill level, for the sport to remain fun. That doesn’t mean that the athletes shouldn’t work hard, but as coaches and parents, one of our jobs is to nurture the love of the sport. Taking a physical break from training and competition can strengthen that love.

Finally, sleep — the deepest form of rest — keeps athletes at the top of their game. Literally. These kids work hard balancing  school, chores, family commitments, a social life, and sports. As fellow blogger Emma said so well, their plates are really, really full. In order to function at their best, athletes need plenty of sleep to restore body and mind. Most pediatricians recommend an average eight to nine hours of sleep. That means turning off computers, phones, televisions and getting into bed at a reasonable hour.

So rest is really a three-legged stool–rest the body to prevent injury, rest the mind to maintain love for the sport, and get a good night’s sleep to put it all together.

 

Sports Bra May Be Girl’s Best “First Bra”

Research shows that girls are entering puberty, marked by breast development, significantly earlier than 15 years ago. Today, more than 20% of girls in third grade have started to develop breasts, and many begin as young as age 7 or 8. Of course, many other girls don’t begin until they become teenagers.

Regardless of when they first need a bra, girls want something comfortable that provides enough coverage so they don’t feel self-conscious and allows them to move with confidence. Girls and parents alike want a first bra to be age-appropriate, not the padded or plunging bras of Victoria’s Secret or many other teen retailers.

Un-Tee cami sports top (camisole with inner shelf bra) in 7 colors

A well-fitting, comfortable sports bra, like our Racer or Keyhole, or a sports camisole with a shelf bra, (like our Un-Tee sports cami, above) is often the best choice for a girl’s first bra for several reasons:

– With no clasps or cups, a sports bra doesn’t shout “bra” and provides a smooth silhouette under clothing – at school and on the playing field.

– A sports bra is easy to wear, with nothing to clip or adjust. She can put it on and take it off all by herself. A sports bra or cami under school clothes also makes the transition from school to sports practice quick and easy.

Keyhole sports bra for tween, teen, girl

Sports bras are made for activity and all girls are active, whether they’re climbing or jumping at recess, running for the bus, or playing soccer, hockey, basketball, or any other sport.

The highest compliment we get from our tween customers is when they tell us that our sports bras are so comfortable that they don’t even know they’re wearing one. That means they’re focusing on doing the things they love, living their lives free and with confidence! Who could wish for anything more for a girl?

Key things to look for in buying a sports bra for your tween:

Fit that’s snug but not tight. The bra should move when she moves but shouldn’t ride up whether she raises her hand in class, throws a ball, or runs around a gym. The straps should be secure and shouldn’t droop or slip. Measure before buying and check the size chart to be sure you’re ordering the right size for your girl.

Soft, smooth fabric that wicks moisture away from her skin, keeping her cool, comfortable, and chafe-free on – and off – the playing field. Look for a sports bras that’s seamless and tag-free so there’s no irritation.

Coverage without bulky padding. Padding isn’t needed or wanted by most young girls and pre-teens. Look for a sports bra or cami with double-layered fabric that provides a measure of modesty for girls whose breasts are starting to develop. As girls develop further, support becomes more important – especially for athletes.

When your tween is ready for a traditional bra, it’s best to shop at a store that provides individual attention and offers a variety of age-appropriate options. “Trying on your first bra in a big discount retail store can be unnerving for an 8- or 9-year-old who may already feel shy about the experience,” notes Kelly O’Brien, owner of LingerTween in New Jersey, who carries a wide variety of traditional and sports bras for tweens.

A slightly revised version of this post originally appeared on Tweenhood.ca, a great online site for parents of tweens.