Bodies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and it’s so important to love yours and make the most of what you’ve got. Some of us have a curvy, full bust, which has its perks. But, it can make it challenging to find a great-fitting bra. You might desire a smoother shape under tight or form-fitting clothing, or you could find gaps between the buttons of more structured shirts.
Whatever the issue, one way to overcome it is with shapewear like a minimizer bra. The Bali Passion for Comfort Minimizer Underwire is an excellent option. Compared to standard bras, minimizer bra cups are fuller, shallower and often made of non-stretchy or firm fabric.
The guide below will walk you through what to consider when choosing the perfect minimizer and how much you can expect to spend. It also answers some common questions and lists out our top picks.
A minimizer bra is similar to a sports bra as both offer compression. But, unlike a sports bra, a minimizer bra has two separate cups to smooth and shape. The difference between a sports bra and a minimizer bra is that minimizer bras are designed to reduce the bustline’s circumference while supporting and shaping your breasts.
The primary function of sports bras is to hold your breasts firmly in place by compression during high-impact activities, like running or jumping. It just so happens this process makes the bust appear smaller. The downside is that sports bras can also make your breasts appear to be squished together rather than separate since most don’t use underwires or have individual cups.
A good minimizer bra doesn't mean it has to be tight and uncomfortable. Both an underwire bra and a wireless bra can be comfortable and supportive. You don’t need to give up one for the other. If you look for a minimizer with a wide back band and wide shoulder straps with padding, you’re more likely to find the best bra for you. A bra like this will stay put better than something flimsy. A tight bra will leave you uncomfortable and less likely to wear it for the long term.
Counterintuitive as it may sound to those with full figures, a thin layer of padding is good. It cushions and prevents straps from digging into your skin, maybe even helping you forget you’re wearing a bra in the first place.
Bra design counts for a lot. A good minimizer bra shouldn't have a design so thick that it creates an uneven appearance under thin material, t-shirts or fitted clothing. An unlined bra designed with seams can show through light or tight clothing. But, you shouldn’t be able to see much of a seamless minimizer if it’s of good quality. Instead, it should offer a smooth silhouette.
Fun fact, the first patented brassiere was designed by a New York woman to minimize the appearance of her corset through a thin gown.
Although you can find minimizer bras with or without underwires, opting for no underwire is a bit counterproductive. You’re likely considering a minimizer because your bust is larger. Larger breasts need solid support, and underwires help with just that. Try one of each to compare and notice the difference.
The only times when you might want to go without an underwire is if an underwire makes you incredibly uncomfortable or if you’re looking for a comfy sleeping bra.
The material of a minimizer bra can affect its functionality. For example, cotton is soft and great for sensitive skin but can shrink in the wash. Polyester blends tend to balance support, comfort and moisture control, but they can feel scratchy. Nylon fits nicely and enhances your shape but isn’t too supportive or absorbent. Lace is pretty and feminine but probably not durable enough for an everyday bra.
It’s essential to know your bra size. Measure yourself or find a quality lingerie shop and get fitted. People often feel they need a smaller size for minimizer bras to impact, but this is a myth. Too much compression can cause breast soreness, back pain or circulation issues, among others. You should also seek out quality. Cheaply or poorly-made minimizers can overly compress breast tissue or cause unflattering spillage.
Expect to spend anywhere from $10-$70 for a minimizer bra. It all depends on the brand, fabric, quality and whether it comes with an underwire.
A. If you have a larger bust or are simply looking to streamline your appearance under tight or fitted clothing, a minimizer bra is for you.
A. Depending on your bra size and the quality of the minimizer, your breasts might appear to be one to one-and-a-half inches smaller. These bras work best for breasts on the softer and larger side since they move around easily.
What you need to know: This lightly lined bra minimizes up to one-and-a-half inches, is made of a nylon-spandex blend and contains a hidden underwire for comfortable support.
What you’ll love: The bra’s adjustable straps are gentle on the body and the cups are smooth so that you won’t see lines under tighter or fitted clothing.
What you should consider: Some users found the lining wasn’t enough to prevent the bra from showing through a lighter shirt.
What you need to know: This feminine minimizer features sheer lace top panels, adjustable straps and breathable mesh on the sides and bottom.
What you’ll love: Many wearers of this minimizer felt that it did make their bust look much smaller.
What you should consider: You will likely see the bra’s seams through a t-shirt, but the lace should be hidden unless you’re wearing a sheer shirt.
What you need to know: This seamless lined bra can be machine-washed and is made for comfort with its four-way stretchy fabric.
What you’ll love: Perfect for working out, this supportive minimizer keeps you cool and dry by keeping moisture away from your skin.
What you should consider: Some users found this bra tight-fitting.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Emma Caplan is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.