I enjoy helping others find garments that allow them to feel comfortable while looking their best.
It often seems the grass is always greener on the other side, even with breast size. Many large-breasted women want to go down a few cup sizes, and, of course, smaller-breasted women are often looking for ways to enhance their breast size.
What some people don't think about are the potential negative repercussions of having large breasts. They can be very painful for women's backs and necks. Straps that dig into the skin can cause shoulder pain. A properly fitting, seamless minimizer bra that optimally supports the breasts can decrease pain while reducing the appearance of the bust size.
With this type of bra, the cups are shaped in such a way as to spread out the breasts, so that part of the breast tissue is pushed out into the area under the arms. They claim to reduce size (in appearance) by one to two cups sizes, depending on the brand.
What to Look for in a Minimizer Bra
Proper sizing is the most important part of finding the best minimizer bra!
- Having padded straps is a huge advantage. They will reduce the pain of straps digging into the shoulder area. Bali bra minimizers do a great job at this. A few Lilyette bras are also very comfortable, don't “dig” into shoulders, and are great minimizer bras.
- Look for bras with a center gore that doesn't stretch so that it will maintain its shape and fit. Wacoal bras do an excellent job with this.
- Look for bras that have a more rounded cup so that you can maintain your shape and not have that harness/sports bra uniboob thing going on.
- Look for bras with adjustable straps. Surprisingly, not all bras have this necessity. Adjustable bra straps are an integral part of a well-fitting bra.
- Look for bras that minimize from side to side as well as from top to bottom. This four point compression provides the best minimizing results as well as the ability to maintain the natural shape of your bust.
- Look for a seamless bra. They really do make a big difference aesthetically.
How to Find the Right Size
You will need a cloth measuring tape and someone to help do the measurements.
Measure the area just under the breasts. Expel the air from your lungs to get the best measurement. You want this final measurement to be even, so if you get an odd number, round up to the nearest even number. If you get an even measurement, this should be your band size. However, you might discover the next size up fits better, for example, if you get 32", you may want to go up to 34". Remember to write the number down.
Now measure the circumference of the area from your back to around the fullest part of your breasts. Hold the tape horizontally and make sure it's flat on your back and kept uniformly horizontal to the floor. Your arms should be down at your sides. Round up to the nearest number, and again, write it down.
Calculate Your Bra Size
Subtract the band size from the cup size. As a rule of thumb, each inch difference is equivalent to one cup size (or letter). Example: If your band size measures 40” and your cup measurement is 44", then you will subtract 44- 40”= 4. Your proper bra size is then a 40D. 40 is your band measurement and D is the fourth letter of the alphabet.
Inch-to-Cup Conversion Chart
DD or E cup
Wacoal Minimizer Bras
Wacoal bras are simply top of the line in terms of attractiveness, seamlessness, functionality, and comfort. Naturally they've been in the spotlight lately as Oprah has declared them her favorite minimizer bras. I was a fan way before Oprah declared her love for Wacoal bras, and I can tell you they are hard to beat.
Wacoal Elegance Hidden Wire Minimizing Bra
The Wacoal Elegance Hidden Wire Minimizing Bra is an all-around, great bra to wear every day. It's something you would be happy to be seen in as it's very attractive, has lacey cups, minimizes up to one inch, and is very comfortable. It looks great under clothes, is seamless, and doesn't create that between-breast mini trampoline that other bras do. It provides a nice contour of the breasts, a nice silhouette, and doesn't create that abhorrent uni-boob look. It's a little more spendy at about $60.
The material doesn't readily stretch out, so it continues to minimize and offer support for a long time. I've purchased other bras that quickly lose their shape, and therefore functionality, so I'm bra shopping again just a few weeks later. This Wacoal bra is really a good investment.
Wacoal Slimline Seamless Minimizing Bra
I have the Slimline Seamless Minimizing Bra as well. This Wacoal bra is not quite as attractive as the Wacoal Elegance, but it a tie with the Bali Passion for Comfort Minimizer as the most comfortable bra I own. Plus, it looks fantastic under clothes. No kidding, it really is a seamless bra. You can easily wear white halter tops and not see the bra underneath. I can literally go for a little jog and my breasts stay in place. They don't spill out the sides, look round, and the straps feel great.
The only negatives about this bra are the price and that the straps got stretched out sooner than I would have liked. I prefer the Wacoal Elegance straps for this reason but I've purchased another few of these because this is still a near-perfect bra.
Lilyette Minimizer Bra
My favorite Lilyette minimizer bra is definitely the Lilyette Women's Minimizer Bra #427. This is the best mix of comfort, attractiveness, price, and durability. It's very soft and supportive at the same time. Some of the better minimizers have less soft material over the cups, making them somewhat uncomfortable to wear all day. The last Lilyette minimizer bra I loved was discontinued and I was worried I'd never find one that compares. This one certainly does.
Bali Minimizer Bras
Bali Women's Passion for Comfort Minimizer Bra
The Bali Women's Passion for Comfort bra is my newest favorite. It just seems to hit in all the right places, minimizes without feeling squished, is soft, and doesn't have a pattern that shows through your clothes. The straps actually stay in place and don't readjust themselves all day long. It's true to size as well. I know my bra size and this one really seems to be right on the money. I actually went to a specialty store once to get fitted for the “right bra.” I walked out of there after spending an ungodly amount of money with a bra that hurt. This one fits like I wanted that one to fit. The only negative is that the cups are elastic and will stretch over time. But, I have stocked up on a few of these in fear they will be discontinued. This is my favorite Bali Bra minimizer and is tied for comfort with my Wacoal Slimline Minimizer.
Bali Satin Tracings Minimizer Bra
I've had quite a few of these Bali bra minimizers. I used to prefer the Bali Women's Passion for comfort, but the Bali Satin Tracings Minimizer Bra has become tied for first place. My absolute favorite thing about it is the comfortable straps. It purports to reduce appearance by 1 ¾ of an inch and I will say it works well. No doubt about it: The price is right; it's very inexpensive. I used to have problems with the straps stretching out, but I bought one recently and haven't had the same issue. It seems they've made some improvements! I highly recommend it for its comfort, minimizing ability, and price.
Signs You've Found the Wrong Bra
The following are signs you haven't found the right bra yet:
- Your breasts have no shape. You look like you're wearing a harness
- You can't see the individual breasts. You just have one big shelf going on up there.
- Your blouses don't look smooth, either because of obvious seams or lace, or because your breast tissue is popping out of the bra.
- It doesn't pass the "bounce test." Granted, we're not looking for a sports bra here, but if you have large breasts, you want to feel like you can run to hail a taxicab without feeling self-conscious. Do a little jumping around the dressing room.
- No matter how you adjust it, the bra feels uncomfortable. This just doesn't cut the mustard, ladies. Even if you think it's the proper fit and you look great, if it's not comfortable, don't fool yourself. You won't wear it!
Jan Shaffer on April 11, 2016:
I wish you would address the petite torso. Many of the underwires are too long and poke me under the arms. I am looking for a minimizer that seams will not show under knits. I have purchased the Aviana Satin and Lace and love the fit but the seams show through.
KJ SunnyDay on March 27, 2016:
Thanks for the GREAT recommendations and info. I, too, have worn the Wacoal Elegance hidden wire minimizer for many years and still can find nothing that comes close to having everything in one package - especially the no bounce! I am going to try your second recommendation of the Wacoal Slimline Seamless minimizer, just because it is so seamless. Thanks again.
Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on November 23, 2010:
Schoolgirl, it is comfortable. As I mentioned in this hub, you do need to make sure you are wearing the correct bra size. I don't even feel the underwire at all. In fact, it keeps the girls from slipping out underneath the band, which really hurts.
Thanks for the visit and comment.
schoolgirlforreal on November 22, 2010:
I noticed you mentioned liking the: Bali Women's Satin Tracings Minimizer Underwire Bra #3562
Is it comfortable? The underwire looks like it might stick into your body, or maybe not as long as you have a snug or looser fit?
Anyway very helpful hub, I actually never knew exaclty how to measure myself and these look Very comfortable as well as minimizing...i need that.:)thx!
Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on September 27, 2010:
Hey, thanks so much, prey!
prey from places you should hope we never meet on September 27, 2010:
Thanks, I actually didn't know some of this [could be cause I'm still fit for training bra ha] and I did forward it to mom, she'll appreciate this, and my sister who sadly is so plumped bet she'll never need one again! I swear they do not move!
Thanks, cool hub girl