As you can guess, I (Darlene) love to talk bras and full bust issues anytime I visit a lingerie store. Sometimes the fitter is simply polite, and other times she turns out to be a recent journalism graduate who is just as passionate about the subject as I am. That’s who I met at Suzette’s Lingerie in 2014, and two years later, Shannon Thomas is finally writing a guest post for us. Shannon describes herself as a “New York City-based writer and bra specialist aiming to change lives one byline and bra strap at a time”.  (Leah will return with another great post for Off the Rack next week.)untitled-102

As a little girl, September was always one of my favorite months. The air was cooling, I could begin wearing my cute cardigans again, and I loved going back-to-school shopping with my mother. You know the usual list: perfectly sharpened Crayola colored pencils, fresh notebooks, and of course crisp clothes for the upcoming semesters. As a bra fitter, I see mothers come into my store with their daughters during back-to-school shopping as well, and I smile from the sweet nostalgia.  About half of the young ladies are in their early to mid teens getting what is their first–but certainly not last–fitting. The other half are young and still waiting for their turn.

Now the young ones are my favorites because they are the most impressionable. They sit quietly, their pupils wide, watching my every move as I adjust their mommy’s lady parts. The more engaged ones help their moms pick the juicy seasonal colors like Panache’s Envy in Peacock. One charming little sweetheart asked when will she get a bra because she wants “a pink one like Nicki Minaj”.

I believe the earlier you begin to create a healthy attitude about breasts with young girls, the better it will be for them psychologically. They will have higher self-esteem; it’ll be one less thing for them to worry about in life because being a woman in a male-dominated society can be hard enough. But where does this healthy attitude toward body image begin? With you, Mother Dears.

I cannot count the number of women who groan and complain about their breasts being a burden and how unhappy they are about their bodies. Because of their breast size, their first instinct is to cover up and hide in shame the very assets that contribute to their membership in the cool club of womanhood . . . and they do all of this in front of their daughters.

Children are literally like sponges, and they absorb every stimulus around them. Statistics show little girls as young as six years old have issues with their bodies and how they are shaped. Can you believe that? Now if mommy is complaining about her body, that gives little baby girl a reason to automatically pick at herself and begin a cycle of body shame and anxiety over her own physical development.  Body shame? Along with your great skin and awesome bone structure, is that what you want to pass on to your daughter? I think not.

To combat this, mothers can start by looking at their bodies as the majestic, strong vessels they are, vessels that allowed them to create life. Not all women are so fortunate. I encourage my customers to try different styles and brands that play up their wonderful assets and make them feel comfortable in their own skin.

I get it: most body issues can’t clear up overnight, and if they are that severe, don’t let them show in front of your daughters. Maybe have them wait outside of the fitting room until you’re finished, so they remain untainted. Mothers should also begin to educate their daughters about breasts to create a sense of normality about them. A mother needs to emphasize the importance of wearing the correct size early in case her daughter is blessed with a large bust so that they can be easier for her daughterto manage later on.

Lastly, keep in mind they are still just children . . . don’t zap the fun out of adulthood for them just yet.