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A Fish Out of Water

Now that September has started, Anna is back in the pool four or five days a week. In the sometimes strange world of year-round swimming, most swimmers take August off to give their bodies a much needed rest. It seems odd to me that the one month kids want to swim, year-round swimmers…don't. They can ride bikes, go for a run, lounge by a pool, play in the ocean. But swimming laps--don't even THINK about it. So Anna channeled her inner runner and went several times a week for runs in our neighborhood. And my girl was a fish out of water because running is NOT her sport. She wore a tween sports bra from Dragonwing which definitely helped. The Keyhole seamless sports bra, made of moisture-wicking fabric, was soft and comfy in the August heat and fit really well across her broad shoulders. The Dragonwing sports bra made her runs more comfortable, so I am really happy we found it. Now Anna (my fish) is back in the water as I write on this rainy evening. The heat of August will soon be a distant memory as we settle into the routine of school, swim, and sleep. I am grateful for the structure it imposes on our life but a small part of me misses our less-regimented August lives. Late dinners on the porch, s'mores with friends and some time to catch our breath before school and swim start again. Now we're back in the daily routine and my fish is back in the water. All is right with the world.

The Power of a Girl's First Bra

I had the pleasure of talking recently with Kelly O'Brien, owner of Linger Tween, a shop that specializes in undergarments for tweens and teens. She's a big fan, as are her customers, of our Racer and Keyhole sports bras. Not surprisingly, we talked about the importance of a girl's experience with her first bra. Between the two of us, we've had hundreds of conversations with girls and mothers about their desire to find sports bras and traditional bras that are made for tweens and teens, not mini-sized women's bras or lacy, plunging, push-up styles that are not age appropriate. A girl's first bra is important to her sense of self and can have a lasting impact on how she views her body. She wants -- and should -- feel comfortable, at ease, free to move, and free to be herself. For a girl who plays sports, her first bra is often a sports bra. I've talked before about why a sports bra makes a great first bra. A sports bra that's comfortable, provides the right amount of coverage, supports and moves without binding or riding up, and doesn't scream "bra" can help a girl see herself as the healthy, active, powerful person she is.

New Year, New Gear for Athletic Girls

Relax we've got your new athletic gear for girls In this month of new beginnings, we're delighted to introduce some fabulous new products for sports girls. Now's the time to discover the Dragonwing Difference of perfect fit, soft & snug stretch, high tech wicking fabric, and I-don't-even-know-it's-there comfort, all designed just for girls. TAP photos for more info and to shop. Game On Headband: soft, stretchy, non-slip (thanks to double strips of silicone on the inside) to keep hair out of your face, so you can focus on your game. In 5 great colors. GameOne Sports Headbands for Girls Keyhole Sports Bra -- now in Chartreuse with Azure Blue trim! Super comfortable, soft and snug, double thickness for coverage, moisture-wicking and antimicrobial -- what more could a girl want?! Keyhole sports bra for girls, now in chartreuse green with azure blue trim Winter Bundle: girls leggings plus 2 sports bras for $100 (savings of more than $15). Stay warm, dry, and comfortable! 

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.

Falling in Love with our Keyhole Sports Bra

I had the great pleasure of meeting Julie and her daughter, Abigail, at a recent Dragonwing Trunk Show* in Bronxville, a short drive from New York City. Like most girls, Abigail is very active. And like many young girls looking for a first bra, she was having difficulty finding a comfortable, age-appropriate, and well-fitting bra that would provide the coverage she needed. I recommended she try our Keyhole sports bra. She and her Mom are delighted! Julie wrote a review on our website and placed an order for two more Keyholes. Review of Keyhole sports bra for girls: My daughter was struggling to find a perfect first bra... and fell in love with the Keyhole sports bra. She was so thrilled with the fit as the coverage was snug, but not too tight. As well, the back styling made it contemporary. With narrow straps for added arm movement and double-layered coverage, the Keyhole Sports Bra is the perfect athletic bra for girls who prefer slimmer straps and a slightly lower neck. • Sweat-wicking fabric keeps girls comfortable and cool. • Four-way stretch fabric provides coverage, and support and won't ride up. • Tag free means no irritation or chafing. • Made in the USA. Available Colors: Black/Bright Pink, White/Teal * If you'd like to host a Dragonwing Trunk Show and earn free girlgear, contact me.

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.
This one thing could keep your tween girl in sports

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.

Founders of JogBra inducted into Inventors Hall of Fame Dragonwing girlgear

Inventors of the First Sports Bra Inducted into Hall of Fame

Our girls need strong examples of women that aren’t afraid to stand up and blaze a trail. Women who took the brave step forward to break a barrier, not just for themselves, but for the generations of women that come after them.

 

In 1977, three women came together and did just that. Each with their own personal superpower, they found a way to bring something into existence that would change the face of women’s athletic wear and women’s participation in sports forever At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller, and Polly Smith were honored for their invention of the Jogbra and will be inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame on May 6, 2020

This brainchild initially came from Lindahl, an avid runner from Burlington, Vermont, who discovered that conventional bras lacked the support and design needed for the level of physical exertion running required. She wanted a bra with stable straps, breathable fabric, compression...and comfort. Lindahl asked Polly Smith, her childhood friend and costume designer for assistance in creating something that could meet the need.

Polly referenced the world of men’s athletic wear and sewed two jockstraps together, which Lindahl wore on her runs. After real-life testing, Smith modified the prototype, adding non-chafing seams and an elastic band for support. Lisa Lindahl partnered with Hinda Miller to co-found Jogbra Inc. in 1977. The garment, created out of necessity and passion, was patented in 1979.

Jogbra, which grew into a multi-million-dollar business, is credited with helping millions of women run in comfort and with confidence. The impact of the Jogbra on women’s health and the growth of women’s sports is undeniable thus earning Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller, and Polly Smith their historic membership in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  Keep in mind, the National Inventors Hall of Fame only started inducting women in 1991 and to date, of 603 inductees, only 47 are women—less than 8%.

Dragonwing’s beginnings were much like Lisa Lindahl’s. Founder MaryAnne Gucciardi repeatedly found herself and her athletic tween daughter at a loss when shopping for appropriate and supportive sports bras, athletic camis and compression shorts designed specifically for young girls.

Much like Polly Smith, MaryAnne focused on creating a highly functional sports bra.  A major pain point for girls are straps that slip, droop or chafe. Another is a sports bra that rides up because the bottom band doesn’t have enough support – or a bottom band that digs because it is too compressive. Dragonwing’s sports bras address these issues with a wide bottom band which is essential for support and straps that don’t droop, slip or chafe. As well, Dragonwing has zeroed in on the amount of fabric on the back of their sports bras. It’s a crucial element often missed by other teen athletic wear designers and serves an important functional purpose—it helps prevent back problems as active girls grow.

With a line of athletic sports gear like Dragonwing, girls can embrace their femininity and their athleticism without sacrificing the quality of the gear they wear and feel secure in the support their developing bodies need.