I can’t wait to grow up! they think while they are still trapped in their young bodies, waiting impatiently for signs of adulthood. For boys, it’s that first, almost-invisible hint of a mustache. For girls, the first bra might be the confirmation they need.
Aida Yodites remembers her first bra well: the giddiness she felt and, just as vividly, the discomfort. You know the training bras of old: that stiff polyester-spandex blend that was most likely white, unattractive and came with a thick elastic band that left imprints on the skin.
Three years ago, when Yodites’s daughter, Faith, turned 10, she expressed to her mother how upset she was that her brightly colored undergarments showed through her clothes. The next day, they went shopping for neutral undergarments in girls’ sizes, but came up empty-handed. Yodites decided right then and there to do something to change the undergarment landscape.
She researched fabrics and manufacturers here and abroad, sketched ideas and, eventually, worked with a team to come up with a prototype to her liking. She became so obsessed during her quest that she quit her business marketing job, lived off her savings and gave herself a two-year timeline to create the perfect underwear for young girls.
The result is Delicate Seams, a line of seven products – The Cami, The Bralette, The Sportlette, The First Bra, The Bikini, The Hipster and The Girlshort – made from soft fabrics in neutral nude, blush and chocolate colors. The intimate wear is targeted for girls ages 9 to 15.
Did you have a background in design at all?
I have a marketing degree and worked in the life sciences industry. I had no idea that I would be designing little girls’ underwear. But, this was something purely personal for me. When I was 15 years old, I started designing my own dresses, and my parents found a patternmaker in L.A. I just always loved to draw and sketch. I think it just was this thing inside of me that I liked to do. In searching for the right prototype for [Delicate Seams], I kind of just followed my gut. I walked the streets of L.A. by myself, going from place to place to place, and people were very helpful in helping me connect the dots.
What makes your fabric so unique?
It’s a 90/10 poly-spandex blend. I told the manufacturers that the fabric had to be perfect. I actually designed everything myself. Then, I had a prototype maker. I then went to a manufacturer who was able to mass produce in Asia, a family business that has worked in Asia and South America for 30 years. I wanted to partner with people who understood. When I showed them the prototype, they wanted to know, “Where did you get this fabric?”
There’s still a fabric mill in L.A., right off the 10 freeway: Ashers Fabric [Concepts]. They did the U.S. Olympic [swim] team’s uniforms. Ralph Lauren designed them, but they sourced the material. Their material was so soft, and I knew it was the kind I wanted.
What was your daughter’s response to your products?
Oh, she loved them! And now at 13, she still wears The Bralette every single day. She says it’s super comfortable, and that’s something that girls have never felt before at that age. I wanted to introduce them to something more mature but something that was also age-appropriate.
Our fabric is so forgiving that people are stunned at how much wear they get out of one size. I wanted them to be inclusive of all body types. Girls come in different and beautiful shapes and sizes. My girl is a thick soccer player, and she’s been wearing the same medium for like a year.
What are some tips you’d give parents (fathers and mothers) for discussing puberty’s impact on the body and talking about the first bra?
Searching for the first bra resonates with every woman, but if you think about it, sometimes girls are even awkward in front of their mothers, so it might be even more awkward with Dad. If you are a single father raising girls, it never hurts to reach out to someone in your circle, an aunt or friend.
I wanted to create a brand that all parents could trust. We had a [product] party recently, and men were there at the party. Dads, uncles, granddads. When it comes to talking about the changes in kids’ bodies, I would encourage parents to talk about one thing at a time and leave it at that. Then come back in a month or so and follow up. You can relay information in small doses over long periods of time so kids don’t feel overwhelmed.
We’re introducing something to girls that they are going to have to wear the rest of their lives. If I can create something that they don’t even really feel on their skin, I’ve done my job.
For more information, visit delicateseams.com.