Frog bra alternatives?
April 4, 2020 5:14 PM   Subscribe

Recommend me a sports bra that's the next best thing to Title Nine's Frog Bra, but without the big ugly straps.

Like a lot of AFAB people with moderately large breasts and a complicated relationship to gender, I am very fond of Title Nine's Frog Bra. I like it because it's basically the next best thing to an actual chest binder - it smooshes my boobs to my chest about as flat as could reasonably be achieved without discomfort, and it supports them and it does not let them move even during vigorous activity.

But the Frog Bra has a big disadvantage, which is that the straps are huge and kind of ugly and therefore make it hard to wear any top where they might show. What's the closest equivalent to the Frog Bra that doesn't have that problem? Is there something with the kind of straps you wouldn't mind showing? I tried googling "minimizing sports bra" but that gets you a lot of mislabeled chest binders.

Here are the characteristics of the sports bra I want:

-Like the Frog Bra, it should smoosh my boobs against my chest very effectively without letting them move or failing to support them. I don't need something that doubles as a binder, I'm not trying to pass or anything, but I would like some minimization. I want compression, not encapsulation. I am not the least bit concerned about avoiding "uniboob."

-It should have fairly small straps, basically "spaghetti straps." (Yes, I realize I'm asking for a unicorn here. I understand that the thickness of the straps is part of what provides support. Do your best.)

-It should not have any sort of underwire.

-Ideally the sizing should be Small / Medium / Large / etc. rather than requiring me to calculate my actual bra size. (I do not need you to evangelize to me about how easy it is to use your preferred method to calculate true bra size, I want to avoid the whole process.)

Any suggestions?
posted by waffleriot to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you been through the rest of the Title Nine catalog? Back before it was discontinued*, people used to bind with the Frog Bra and I don't think Title Nine had anything else with the epic mushing power, but they do have designs that are less overtly "sports bra" that might meet your needs. (There wasn't an obvious replacement at the time the Frog Bra was discontinued. However, binders have become easier to obtain and more comfortable in the meantime, so something could have come on the market and escaped transmasculine notice.)

*To make this answer make more sense for people who have not scrutinised the Title Nine catalog over the years, the Frog Bra was discontinued more than a decade ago (I think) and came back maybe two years ago.
posted by hoyland at 6:10 PM on April 4, 2020

This is the HerRoom's site sorted with compression, s/m/l sizes, Here
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 7:50 PM on April 4, 2020

Maybe look at TomboyX? The straps for their essentials soft bra are NOT thin but they have a lot of fun patterns and the straps generally look more like tank top straps than bra straps. This bra is not intended to compress but I find it minimizes my chest quite a bit. I think because it doesn’t have cups, underwire, or any kind of molding. It just sorta straps them down. YMMV.
posted by lunasol at 9:22 PM on April 4, 2020

A little looking around turned up the Prado Bra from Prana, which I can't vouch for personally but looks interesting. (On sale for $29.50; usually $59; recycled polyester blend; in black, gray, and light blue.)

It's wireless and has very thin straps and 22 percent Spandex. According to Prana's size chart, it accommodates chests of up to 43 inches in XL. (Although one disappointed reviewer said that an S in the Prado ran much larger than an S in other Prana bras that they had bought and loved over the years.)

The reviewers who liked the Prado said it provides medium support, not enough for running but enough for weight lifting or a long hike. It looks more like a crop top than a bra; one reviewer called it "a cross between a sports bra and a tank top."
posted by virago at 9:43 PM on April 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've looked at the rest of the Title Nine catalog but there are so many options it's a bit overwhelming! I'm open to any specific recs there.

I've tried TomboyX soft bras and found them nowhere near supportive/compressive enough. Haven't tried the racerback model, though, which I imagine would be at least a little better on that score.
posted by waffleriot at 9:52 PM on April 4, 2020

I love girlfriend collective bras and wear them almost constantly. I do the paloma bra, which has by no means spaghetti straps, but they're a sort of elegant width and I find the longer overall length gives a very smooshing, comfortable kind of support ( I can arrange myself to get a more sporty/flat sort of support, or more pushed to the middle/up thats still supported by the length and flatness of the bra, almost like a supportive 18th-century corset). I don't like spaghetti straps but the topanga bra, while lower-support, has them and might be more your speed. I wear a 40D and buy the XL
posted by zingiberene at 10:50 PM on April 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

One more suggestion, because apparently I just can't stop Googling:

The Craft Motion Bra
, which is a very simple, over-the-head wireless racerback bra with adjustable straps that fits chests up to 43 inches. (Judging from the Craft bra size chart on the Terry Bicycles website, their largest size would fit someone who wears about a 38E UK/38DDD US. But that's a guess on my part -- definitely ask a customer service rep for more information if you're interested in ordering this one!)

There is padding, but it's not the "hoist your breasts under your chin" kind of padding. It's what Terry Bicycles refers to as "shaping" padding, more of a thin lining.

I wish I could give personal recommendations, but my boobs and compression bras don't get along. A compression bra that is big enough to keep my 36F breasts in line is a compression bra that feels cumbersome on my short torso, unfortunately.
posted by virago at 11:45 PM on April 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don’t have a link (sorry) but I recently got a fairly compressive sports bra at target that had spaghetti straps (maybe slightly thicker... linguini straps?) I believe it was from the All In Motion line. Not underwire, sized S, M, L etc. Probably not as compressive as you want but maybe worth a shot? It was cheap, too.
posted by charmcityblues at 12:01 AM on April 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Used this Title 9 for years. Similar to the Frog Bra. Try it!
posted by Red Desk at 12:40 AM on April 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Last Resort bra by Enell is totally what you’re looking for. Sold at title nine and elsewhere. The biggest I’ve been the past few years is 34/h and it worked! I’m also having luck with Evelyn and Bobbie Defy bras. I never want to take them off. As a 34g, I wear a medium and often sleep in them, they’re so comfortable. Made of synthetic silk cupro.
posted by sweltering at 8:46 AM on April 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

^^^I'm also having luck with Evelyn and Bobbie Defy bras.

I'm going to copy and paste most of one of my own previous comments on the Defy Bra, because it all seems to be relevant.
Hourglassy author Darlene (32FF/G UK; 32H/I US) really likes the Defy Bra in Medium. (Note added 4/5/2020: The Defy has wide-ish straps, but they're nowhere near as ... bulky ... as those of the Frog.)

Her conclusion: "It feels like I'm wearing a regular bra." She wore it to two events in Manhattan and realized when she was walking home from the subway (she lives in Queens) that she hadn't thought about her bra all night. "Unobtrusive" is about the best you can hope for from a bra.

Her blog post has a lot more information on the Defy, including photos of what it looks like under a shirt and how to figure out your size.

MeFi's the thorn bushes have roses, who wears the Defy every day, explains how she wound up trying the bra and cautions that the company's size chart seems to be off the mark.
posted by virago at 11:39 AM on April 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: charmcityblues: Does this look like it?
posted by waffleriot at 3:09 PM on April 5, 2020

Patagonia's Active Mesh is pretty close to what you're looking for. No cups or other shaping. It's definitely more supportive or binding than typical shelf bras that it looks like. Not as much as the frog bra, but worth a shot. REI often carries them, once we can go out into the world again. Sizes run a wee bit big in my experience.
posted by Dashy at 5:34 PM on April 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

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