My boobs were the first part of my body I ever felt confident about, and I usually take every opportunity to emphasize them accordingly. But sometimes—like when your job-interview-appropriate blouse starts to strain against its buttons so badly you look like you’re posing for the cover of a romance novel, or when the classy bridesmaid dress you’re trying on reveals a veritable Marianas Trench of cleavage—a large chest can be real trouble.
I’d resigned myself to a buttonless fate until I stumbled upon a magical subset of undergarment called minimizing bras. Are these bras, which are designed to reduce your bust by a cup size or more, the sexiest bras you’re ever going to wear? Probably not. But, after taking six different kinds for a test drive, I can attest that they live up to their name—without resorting to the smush and squash techniques favored by your trusty sports bra.
Below, find a ranking of the best minimizing bras, from “does the job” to “you’ll pry this off my cold, dead, chest.”
6. HSIA Minimizer Underwire, $19
Don’t be fooled by the delicate lace and the pretty design: This minimizer bra lives up to its name, and the black and white iteration looks very Black Swan. It doesn’t make it up higher on the list because the material is a tad flimsy and doesn’t provide a ton of support.
This is not the comfiest bra of the bunch, but it does sit the best underneath thin fabrics and t-shirts. The straps are thick and supportive, but not bulky, and the underwire, to quote a bad Geico commercial from the early aughts, lifts and separates. It’s also available from band size 30-44 and cup size C-I.
Most of the minimizer bras that I tried reduce cup size by about an inch, so this one gets major points for reducing boobs by three inches without fully smooshing them. And it’s pretty damn comfortable, to boot.
The Amazon reviews convinced me I needed to get this inexpensive bra (they also convinced me I needed this vibrator but that’s a different story). I was promised a comfortable, supportive bra that would help my clothes fit better, and that’s what it delivered. However, the texture definitely shows through t-shirt material, and while normally I don’t mind that, the unsexy design of this bra is not something I want to show off. It works best under thicker materials.
2. Spanx Low Profile Minimizer Bra, $68
Even though this bra is full-coverage, it manages to do it in a chic, minimalist way. The fabric is heavy enough to keep your nipples from showing (winter is coming, guys), and very soft to the touch. The neckline also works with lower-cut tops. It comes in band sizes 34-42 and cup sizes C-G.
I bought a salad and a can of kombucha today for lunch, and that cost more than this bra. I’m giving it top honors because it is wildly comfortable, under $20, and it does an excellent job of making my boobs look smaller while also maintaining two distinct boob shapes (no uniboob here!). I am not someone who generally enjoys wearing full-on bras, so the fact that I just said “wildly comfortable” is telling.
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