Over the shoulder boulder...squisher...
September 8, 2014 8:06 AM   Subscribe

In search of the Very Best minimizer bra that there is, please!

I'm a 32DD or 34D, a short lady (5'2" if I stretch out) otherwise fairly slim all over, so that the chest --at best-- looks perpetually like the prow of an Elizabethan war ship.

This has never been my preferred aesthetic, and after many years of looking sad-faced at button-down shirts and other nice things, I finally resigned myself to the nonsurgical, non-starvation-based solution: minimizer bras. I've been buying the Lilyette minimizer for a while, but I'm tired of how quickly it gives up the ghost. (Even with gentle hand washing, air drying, constant rotation in and out of service, pampering by faeries, it does its job for 4 months at best.)

Internet searchings reveal a lot of bras, but not terribly many in my size, and generally incomplete/conflicting reviews. So: Does anyone here have a preferred minimizer bra that is:

-Not a long-line or corset
-Decently long-lasting (I mean at least 6-9 months, you know?)
-Ideally available in a few colors, as it would be my daily bra.

Price isn't really an obstacle; at this point I'll pay a hefty sum for a super-great awesome bra. I'm not really looking for *binders*, per se, but something that reduces just by a cup size or two. (Though hey, if someone has a really great binder, throw it in the mix whynot?)
posted by like_a_friend to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a big fan of Wacoal these days, specifically this style.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:17 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This sports bra is not intended as an everyday minimizer bra, but it does a really nice job of flattening just a bit (I would say ~one cup size), without looking like you're wearing a sports bra. The color options aren't awesome, but they've got the basics covered.
posted by obfuscation at 8:26 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

+1 for Wacoal. Do you have a Nordstrom near you? They usually have a large selection + great fitting.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:49 AM on September 8, 2014

Minimizers might not be your only option. Tons of women unknowingly wear bras that don't fit right, generally too big in the band and too small in the cup. You might want to check out the measuring method on reddit.com/r/abrathatfits to make sure 32DD/34D is really the right size for you, since it's a very common incorrect size. Having a bra that fits really well (and fits your breast shape) will make a huge difference in how your tops fit!
posted by flod logic at 8:50 AM on September 8, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Marks and Spencer do a great range, I bought this 2 pack at Christmas and have been alternating them pretty much daily since then and they're still in great condition.

Also: currently free delivery to the US, Canada, New Zealand, etc!
posted by humph at 8:52 AM on September 8, 2014

I like the Olga minimizer, but I'm a different shape from you. Have you been to an old-fashioned lingerie shop where ladies bring you bras until you find the right one? I think that kind of in-person expert advice is incredibly valuable - they know the bras better than anyone and when you go in in person they can see your boobs, and how your boobs look in different bras, and make better suggestions.
posted by mskyle at 10:07 AM on September 8, 2014

Not a direct answer but something I learned recently - apparently leaving a day between uses reduces the amount that bras stretch out, much like how alternating shoes makes both pairs last longer. It might be helpful to make sure you're rotating them.
posted by brilliantine at 11:08 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I dunno...as a busty person - both larger and shorter than you, at that - I hated minimisers. They just squash all the boob under the armpit. (You can't put your arms down straight.) Not comfortable, and not a good look. Seconding the advice to go to an old-fashioned bra shop where they know how to measure, because I didn't know I could be dressed, standing up, and still see my feet until I was measured by the bra ladies and got a proper, beautiful, underwired Freya balconette 34-I'm-not-going-to-say-what. Up to that point I'd believed two untrue things: that M&S is the go-to place for bras and that underwired bras are uncomfortable.

And now, with a judicious concealed safety pin or two, I too can wear button-down shirts! I mean, you may have tried this approach and it didn't work out, but just in case you haven't I'm thirding the recommendation.
posted by glasseyes at 1:22 PM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: by way of answering some questions:
-my measurements have been identical via the Reddit method, the lovely and very thorough lady at my local lingerie boutique, and the Nordstrom's lady, so I think they're pretty much what I'm working with
-definitely looking to minimize, ideally as much as possible without actually binding my chest flat, not just support.

(The long-term plan is to have surgical reduction, but finances just won't allow for that quite yet due to other less-delayable medical expenses.)
posted by like_a_friend at 1:40 PM on September 8, 2014

I'm almost exactly your size (not thin, just normal) and find that the Lilyette is by far the most comfortable and correct shape. It doesn't leave boob bulge at the edges. Many brands have the wrong spacing at the center (between cups). Like you I find the Lilyette brand ones aren't as sturdy.

I have found that if I lengthen the straps more than I think necessary they do last longer. Plus I try and not wear mine when doing sweaty exercise.

Olga is OK but not the right shape for me but I'll wear one when my outerwear is going to be loose enough to hide it. Boy, I hate the big boobs and I'd love surgery too.
posted by mightshould at 2:29 PM on September 8, 2014

If the reason you don't want binders is because you don't want to appear flat or uniboobed, you might see if wearing two bras helps--underbra that provides really great compression (for example) is always going to mess up the shape, so add an outerbra to adjust shape (probably foam cup, but you'll have to try it on with the underbra to see if it looks natural on you in that context).
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 4:09 PM on September 8, 2014

My experience is exactly the opposite. I'm a couple of inches taller than you, and my bra size is 30F or 30G or something similar (depends on the manufacture, I just go to a good bra stores and they fit me). I used to only wear minimizers, but recently switched to molded cup bras and my button down and dress shirts fit so much better at the chest. Also, my overall my figure looks much better. Minimizers squash my boobs, hide my waistline and make my boobs look like a roll of fat. Does not look good with dress shirts, and it does not help on the "closing that problematic button" front. In fact, it's way easier for me to find dress shirts that fit now. For the first time in many years, I don't hate my boobs.

I'd take a couple of dress shirts to a good bra store and try bras on with said button downs. Try different options and see what fits well. 32DD should not that very hard to find in physical stores, and bra sizes vary a lot between manufacturers and even bra models anyway.
posted by sockpuppetdirect at 4:51 PM on September 8, 2014

Ok, these are technically sports bras, but they CHANGED MY LIFE. I am a 30F and these are amazing. They hold everything in place and nothing moves (it's like my boobs are in boob jail, basically), yet everything is comfortable, and there's no uniboob whatsoever: the Anita Momentum and the Anita Maximum Control Extreme.
posted by mothershock at 7:08 PM on September 8, 2014

+1 for glasseyes.

I've never found a minimizer that didn't make my boobs look wider and more spread out. I love Wacoal and they have some fantastic bras that are not minimizers. I'm in the "lift and separate" crowd.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 10:42 AM on September 9, 2014

Response by poster: Well, shoot; I had kind of thought that a good minimizer was a unicorn, and it looks like I might be right. I've ordered one of the M&S pairs, and if that's no good, I guess I will just go the bind-flat route. (Or keep replacing my bras 3 times per year, ugh....)
posted by like_a_friend at 3:20 PM on September 9, 2014

Have you tried the Moving Comfort Fiona bras? They are a fairly good compression-type bra that does a good job minimizing without too much of a uniboob. My partner has about 9 of them.
posted by barnone at 6:02 AM on September 17, 2014

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