Customers often ask me about minimizer bras and there seems to be confusion about what these bras do and how to choose the right one. The name is a little misleading: minimizers don’t actually reduce breast size or bra size. But what they can do, very effectively, is reduce projection and the circumference of the chest. They do this by redistributing breast tissue so that it moves toward the front center and further up on your chest. Think of it like a mountain being reshaped into a large, but flatter hill. Basically, a minimizer takes the peak of the mountain off. The cup reshapes the breast volume, so it might feel compressed. Don’t mistake this for the bra being too tight.
The reduction of projection depends on what cup size you wear. I spoke to several manufacturers and from the information they gave me, here’s a rule thumb: A minimizer will reduce the circumference of your chest, meaning the measurement around the fullest part of your breasts, like this:
C cup by 3/4 inch
D cup by 1 inch
DD or larger by about 1 1/4 inches and possibly more.
For example, if you measure 38 inches around your chest at the fullest part of your breast, a minimizer will reduce that to 37 1/4 inches. If you want more details on measuring for circumference and breast projection, take a look at my bra fitting guide. Some minimizers claim to reduce "size" (meaning circumference) by as much as 2inches. But again, even the best minimizer in the world will not reduce the actual size or volume of your breasts.
Why would I want a minimizer?
- If you wear a larger cup size you may find that button-down shirts gap. Some women buy shirts in larger sizes to combat this, but then you end up with a shirt that doesn’t fit well, even if it does button. A minimizing bra solves this, so you can wear the proper shirt size and it buttons neatly.
- Form-fitting clothes may pull and give you a horizontal line across the front. A minimizer reduces that so clothing will hang better.
- You might feel that your breasts are disproportionately large for your body. A minimizer will reduce projection and may give you a more balanced silhouette.
- You’ve actually considered breast reduction surgery. That’s a pretty drastic step. Try a minimizer first.
- If you’ve got larger, wide-set breasts, a minimizer can give you more cleavage. Women with pendulous breasts can also benefit from the shaping of a minimizer. If you’re not sure what type of breasts you have, try my Know Your Breasts ™ Bra Finder. This can be really helpful when determining what a minimizer might do for you.
What size should I buy?
In general, manufacturers don’t offer minimizers in sizes larger than a UCS® D6 or D7 cup. Look at HerRoom’s Universal Cup Sizing System® to find your Universal Cup Size. In sizes any larger than that. there’s so much breast tissue that there’s simply no place for it all to go.
Just because you’re trying to reduce the appearance of size doesn’t mean you should also buy a smaller bra. Buy the same size you wear in regular bras. Band size is especially important: if the band size is too large, you’ll actually look wider.
Now that you’ve got the basics of what a minimizer bra does and does not do, browse HerRoom’s extensive selection of minimizers to find one that’s right for you.