What’s the Difference Between a Teenage Bra & a Normal Bra?


By Sarah Taylor

Is a teenage bra the same as a normal bra? Here at Limitless - home of the Limitless sports bra - we did our research to bring you some answers … some of them surprising.

The short answer: “Yes – and also no, not really!” We explain why.

According to What Type of Bra Should Teenagers Wear? by Kay Ireland, there are three main types of teen bra:

  • Training Bras

  • Everyday Bras

  • Sports Bras

Training Bras

Designed specifically for ‘bra beginners’, training bras look similar to normal bras, with a few possible differences:

  • They often don’t have cup sizes, which can be confusing and hard to calculate for beginners.

  • They avoid under-wiring, which can be uncomfortable and strange to wear if a girl isn’t used to it. It’s also generally unnecessary: under-wiring is there to provide extra support when breasts are fully grown.

  • The padding is not there to ‘enhance’; it’s there to help a girl feel less self-conscious of her breasts under thinner clothing.

In other words, training bras are designed with three things in mind: simple to use; simple to wear; minimal support.

Everyday Bras

When it comes to everyday bras, the differences between a teenage bra and a normal bra decrease.

Everyday bras typically have chest and cup measurements like normal bras. Some are padded, though most aren’t. Some are under-wired (particularly for larger cup sizes) – but, again, most are not.

But while normal bras serve many different purposes, the primary purpose of an everyday bra is one of function over form, and of simplicity over complexity.

Unlike normal bras, which come in many different designs (e.g. full-cup, balcony, maternity, halter, strapless), everyday bra designs are often relatively plain, as is the detailing. Deliberate and considered de-sexualisation of bras is an important factor in all of this. In a world where parents worry their kids are growing up too quickly, bra manufacturers need to be mindful of what is appropriate, and what isn’t.

Sports Bras

In Rebecca Onion’s excellent article, Bra-vo! for Slate, she attributes the rise of athleisure to one altogether positive outcome: an increase in sports training bra choices for girls.

But what about when a girl grows out of a sports training bra and into a normal sports bra … but she’s still a girl?

Normal sports bras are designed for adult women, complete with cup sizes, and support that can feel wholly restrictive to someone younger who is not used to that much material and level of tightness against her skin. And younger people’s skin is softer. Many of the fabric weaves of traditional sports bras feel abrasive, particularly during periods of high activity.

This is why sports bras for younger girls are the principal focus of our business here at Limitless. Girls need something made specifically for them, and they also need them to be as easy to use and to wear as possible, without compromising on performance.

Did you know that, when we asked a large sample of girls about their sports bras, just under 40% of those who responded felt that they weren’t wearing a suitable bra when playing sports?

57% said they would appreciate help in finding the correct sports bra.

The reason for this was as clear as it was disconcerting: there were next to no real sports bras out there that were designed for girls and their specific developmental, emotional, and psychological needs.

And yet a good-fitting, functional sports bra is so important, according to KidsHealth.org:

Once a girl has breasts, a bra is a good idea, especially when the girl is exercising and playing sports. Bras can protect breast tissue and keep the breasts supported. Some girls may also like that bras smooth out their silhouettes and make them feel more comfortable.

So, is a teenage sports bra the same as a normal sports bra?

Our answer: the Limitless sports bra is unique, offering the comfort of the first, and the scientific know-how of the second:

  • It is designed to reduce movement during high-impact activity. Testing has been shown that it reduces movement by 68% vs. a normal bra.

  • The Limitless sports bra is designed to last through the growing years and beyond, offering up to 4 inches (over 10 cm) of adjustability: loosen it for everyday wear, and tighten it for sport.

  • It comes with two different sets of comfort cups, which are designed to provide an extra layer under thin sports tops or shirts, and to even out asymmetrical breast growth.

  • Finally, the Limitless sports bra is front-fastening with a lockable zip, so there’s no grappling with hooks and eyes behind the back, and the bra can be put on quickly – particularly useful when rushing from school to a match.

For more information about the Limitless sports bra, contact our Customer Services team on 0333 600 5500, or email customerservices@limitlessbra.com.