Dotdash Meredith and Yahoo Inc. may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below.
These bras may minimize, but they won’t hold you back
While some women may lament life with an A cup, there are plenty of DDs who’ll argue that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Beyond the daily struggle of finding clothes that fit properly, women with larger breasts often have to deal with chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain. And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the discomfort that comes from shoulder straps digging into their skin.
The struggle is indeed real, but a good minimizer can do the heavy lifting (no pun intended) to compress your breasts and take precious inches off your bust line so that your clothes fit correctly. The best minimizers reduce fullness without flattening; they shape your breasts, smooth out any underarm bulge, and if you’re lucky, you might even find one with comfy straps that don’t dig into your shoulders.
When shopping for minimizers, Cami Raymond, Senior Design Director for Ruby Ribbon, suggests looking for ones that are made with stretchy fabric, wide straps, and a band that can provide most of the support. Also, look for minimizer bras that smooth your shape and try them on with problem wardrobe pieces so you can see the type of shape it gives. Our favorite is the Le Mystère Side Profile Smoothing Minimizer Bra because it checks off all those boxes.
But read on for more of our top picks.
Le Mystère Side Profile Smoothing Minimizer Bra
What We Love: It minimizes underarm bulge
What We Don’t Love: It’s only available in two colors
Le Mystère’s Side Profile Smoothing Minimizer does everything a minimizer should do. Designed with molded underwire cups and an inner power micro liner for an ultra-smooth finish, the bra looks great even under t-shirts. The cups are soft, but there’s ample support for the girls and no unwanted padding. It also features side smoothing wings to further cover and smooth.
And while the floral jacquard lace looks pretty and delicate, make no mistake, the mesh liner is doing the heavy lifting to keep underarm bulges in check. It even features fully adjustable stretch straps and a leotard or ballet back, which adds even more support. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a minimizer with a natural look, this is it.
Price at time of publish: $64
Size Range: C - H | Colors: 2 | Materials: Polyamide, elastane, spandex
Bali Passion For Comfort Minimizer Underwire Bra
What We Love: It comes in 26 colors for those who like their options.
What We Don’t Love: Even with lace insets on the cups, it might be a little plain for some
Anyone who regularly shops for a minimizer can tell you that it’s pretty hard to find a good, supportive minimizing bra for under $50, but Bali does it in fine style with their Passion for Comfort Minimizer. It goes up to a G cup — and covers many in between sizes, like DDDs and small bands with large cups — plus 26 different colors for anyone who likes to keep their options open.
While this bra offers smooth, full coverage with no counterproductive padding, wearers will find plenty of support courtesy of its hidden and encased underwires. Bali’s Passion for Comfort Minimizer Bra has elegant lace insets where the cups meet the straps, but it still looks smooth under t-shirts and knits, and reviewers often note a visible reduction in bust size.
Price at time of publish: $33
Size Range: C - G | Colors: 26 | Materials: Nylon, spandex
Lilyette Strapless Minimizer Bra
What We Love: It has silicone beading along the inside to prevent slippage
What We Don’t Love: It’s only available in two colors
No lingerie closet is complete without a strapless bra for formal wear. And if you’re well endowed, a minimizer is crucial so as not to detract from your finery. Naturally, slippage is a concern for anyone who wears a minimizer, but with a wide band, invisible boning, and silicone along the interior top and sides, Lilyette’s Strapless Minimizer elegantly handles any potential issues. With seamless molded cups and underwires for shaping, this strapless bra minimizes your bust line up to 1.5 inches, offers plenty of lift and support, and artfully smooths out your silhouette.
A quadruple back hook-and-eye closure and sweetheart neckline round out a nice list of features. Plus, if you’re looking for a one-and-done addition to your lingerie wardrobe, the Lilyette Strapless Minimizer Bra comes with detachable adjustable straps to accommodate multiple clothing styles.
Price at time of publish: $48
Size Range: C - DD | Colors: 2 | Materials: Tactel nylon, elastane
Vanity Fair Women's Beauty Back Smoothing Minimizer Bra
What We Love: It helps smooth back fat and underarm bulge
What We Don’t Love: It’s more utilitarian, rather than super sexy
With a double-lined cup, Vanity Fair’s Beauty Back Smoothing Minimizer promises full coverage with no show-through, and it’s smooth enough to wear under t-shirts or other thin materials. Reviewers have noted that this bra does its job to minimize their bust line up to 1 1/2 inches while still offering plenty of support. It beautifully shapes and smoothes your sides and back, and the straps are a good width and thickness, so there is less chance of them digging into the tops of your shoulders. “The Vanity Fair minimizing bra is perfect for everyday wear. It’s comfortable, lightweight, and will ensure your clothes look flawless when worn,” says Ghana Sarfo, brand ambassador for Snatched Body.
Price at time of publish: $16
Size Range: C - H | Colors: 12 | Materials: Nylon, spandex, polyester
Montelle Pure Plus Full Coverage T-Shirt Bra
What We Love: It’s a T-shirt bra with pretty lace details that make it anything but boring.
What We Don’t Love: According to reviewers, the lace may curl over time.
According to reviewers, this highly-rated plus-size minimizer is extremely flattering. Typically, padding is often counterproductive for minimizers, but the slight padding on Montelle’s Pure Plus Full Coverage T-Shirt Bra offers modest coverage without any unwanted bulk. Crafted with the brand’s ultra-soft microfiber and a lightweight four-way stretch foam cup, this T-shirt bra beautifully lifts and supports your bust without throwing your curves under the bus.
The side wings and underbust of the bra are lined with a power mesh for exceptional smoothing. It’s even embellished with smooth stretch floral lace (that adds even more support), but it’s virtually imperceptible under clothes and oh-so-pretty. And if the bra didn’t offer enough support already, it also features a ballet back, and the strap widths and hook-and-eye columns increase with size.
Price at time of publish: $64
Size Range: B - H | Colors: 10 | Materials: Nylon, spandex
Chantelle C Magnifique Seamless Unlined Minimizer
What We Love: According to reviews, it minimizes bulging while offering flattering lift and support.
What We Don’t Love: Some reviewers have expressed concerns over design changes that ultimately affect its comfort and performance.
With underwires, thick straps, and quality fabric, the C Magnifique Minimizer from Chantelle minimizes your bust line by one inch, all the while providing ample coverage and plenty of lift and support. The sides aren’t particularly wide (compared to other brands), but they beautifully smooth out underarm bulges.
The soft stretch cups are lightly lined and smooth, ultimately creating a rounded, natural shape while providing a seamless look under any outfit. Inner support panels in the full-coverage cups help center the breast tissue, further adding to the bra’s slimming and minimizing effect. A leotard back helps to take some weight off your shoulders for the ultimate in comfort, and a double-lined mesh band subtly smooths your back and sides.
Price at time of publish: $78
Size Range: D - DDD | Colors: 7 | Materials: polyamide, elastane
Wacoal Women's Visual Effects Minimizer Bra
What We Love: It has a pretty stretch lace that looks smooth under your clothes.
What We Don’t Love: The DD sizes have a scaled-down strap that can dig into your shoulders.
Wacoal’s Visual Effects Minimizer Bra promises to comfortably reduce your bustline by one inch — according to reviews, it does just that. This minimizer is designed with underwires and a double-layer molded cup for maximum support. And unlike other minimizers (which, let’s face it, can be kind of boring), the cups are made with a beautiful stretch lace that defies the odds — it’s not itchy, offers full coverage, and looks surprisingly smooth under your clothes. A leotard back and adjustable stretch straps round out a nice list of features of this customer favorite.
Price at time of publish: $35
Size Range: C - I | Colors: 5 | Materials: Nylon, spandex
Lively The Minimizer Bra
What We Love: It smoothes, shapes, and minimizes without flattening.
What We Don’t Love: The bra isn’t padded, and reviewers have indicated that their nipples are visible.
The minimizer bra from lively provides just the right amount of compression to minimize your bust line but not so much that it flattens you out, ruining your shape. The double-layered fabric cups look smooth under your clothes, and there’s no extra padding to add unwanted bulk. The minimizer bra also features plush adjustable straps, a ballet back for added comfort and support, and a J hook that turns the bra into a racer back in mere seconds.
One reviewer summed it up nicely and even offered a clever explanation for how Lively’s Minimizer Bra does what it does, “My life is complete! I can wear clothes again! Minimizes but gives volume on the top with zero spillage and no back fat. I don’t know how they did it. It honestly has to be witchcraft.”
Price at time of publish: $45
Size Range: C - G | Colors: 2 | Materials: Nylon, spandex
What to Keep in Mind
Shopping for a bra is tough, no matter what size you are. But women who regularly shop for minimizers will probably tell you that it’s slightly more challenging to find a bra in this category. You’re looking for a bra that offers comfortable support and reduces your bustline without smooshing your assets and obliterating your curves — that can be a pretty tall order. Ultimately, when you’re shopping for minimizers, think about compression first, but pay attention to the overall construction and try to steer clear of padding.
“When looking for a minimizer bra, it’s important to look for a bra that fits your shape,” says Sarah Sullivan, Creative Director of LIVELY. “A few things are in play when shopping for a minimizer bra. The shape of the wire should not only provide support for the weight of your breasts but also allow your breast tissue to spread. The fabric should provide a good amount of compression but not flatten your shape like a sports bra might. The shape of the cup should help spread the breast tissue to minimize the projection of the breast. And lastly, since there is a lot of weight to support, look for a strap that will provide comfort all day — one that is slightly padded or wider than a traditional strap.”
“You also want to consider how much compression you like as some extreme minimizer bras might distort the shape of your breasts, possibly giving you a look you don’t like,” says Sarfo. “A minimizer bra should lessen the size of your breast when worn, not fully distort the way they look.”
Ballet or leotard backs
According to Sullivan, ballet backs are a “great option when shopping for minimizers, and they should be on your checklist. “Ballet Backs provide good support, especially for larger breast sizes,” she says. “The shape of the back and the distance between the back straps allow the band to hug your body more closely, providing comfort and support.”
Cami Raymond notes that “ballet backs really make a difference as the “U” shape enables the bra to lift your bust line by having the band under the bust stay secure. The “U” shape also helps elongate the torso, improves your posture, and even prevents [the bra] straps from falling down your shoulders.
“If you are looking to minimize, you should avoid bras with thick padding,” says Sullivan. “The goal is to minimize, so you don’t want the extra volume of a pad. [Fortunately] most minimizer bras are made with some sort of compression fabric [which are] slightly thicker than a typical unlined bra, so you will still get the modesty of a lightly padded bra without the added size.”
Your Questions, Answered
What does a minimizer bra do?
“A minimizer bra purpose essentially makes your breasts smaller by flattening them to your chest more so than a regular bra,” says Sarfo. “For those who have larger breasts, it can be tough to find clothing that accommodates them. A minimizer bra helps to make clothes look more seamless when worn, and can also help to simply make a woman’s chest feel more secure [by reducing bounce].”
Should a minimizer bra feel tight?
According to Sarfo, “You should be fitted for a minimizer bra just like you would for a regular bra to ensure no spillage, pain, or gapping. A minimizer bra should feel tighter than a normal bra but not to the point where it feels painful, as this means it is the wrong size. The bra should be snug but not dig into your skin.”
Why Shop With Us
Sharon Brandwein is a freelance writer and SEO specialist. She has vast experience reporting on lingerie and undergarments, having written numerous articles for InStyle already about undergarments. In addition to her own experience, she also interviewed a select group of experts for information on how to pick the best minimizer bra.
For more InStyle news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on InStyle.