The current fashion industry places a great deal of emphasis on a thin, willowy female figure. As a result, not only are garments cut and styled to fit that image, but women strive to achieve the figure that is necessary to wear these clothes. One of the solutions pursued by women who have large breasts, for instance, is to wear a minimiser bra. However, there are dangers associated with this approach to fashion.
As one might guess from the name, the purpose of a minimiser bra is to try and press down or minimise the projection of a woman's breasts. Women with larger breasts wear this type of bra to make their breasts more manageable, as it makes wearing clothing like button-down shirts easier. The bra functions by pressing the breasts back toward the chest and moulding the tissue of the chest towards the centre cleavage, back toward the armpits and sides, as well as down toward the waist. The breasts aren't physically reduced, but they are made to appear smaller.
Since a minimiser bra is meant to make the breasts appear smaller, the bra provides very little actual support to a woman's chest. A bra's cups are meant to provide most of the support for the chest, with maybe 10 per cent of the support coming from the straps. In poorly fitted bras, and in minimiser bras, most of the support comes from the straps. This leads to shoulder and back pain from lack of support, and can lead to chronic aches and pains.
The act of compressing a woman's breasts, particularly when they're given improper support as well, can damage the tissue of which they are made. This often causes the breasts to lose firmness. Wearing a minimiser bra when running or exercising can cause even more damage, particularly to the tissue found at the base of a woman's breasts. When the breasts bounce too hard, and at once, they create a solid mass that can stretch and impact the tissue of the chest, which can be very damaging.
The dangers of wearing a minimiser bra are made even worse by women who opt for one that is of an even smaller size than they need. Information on the tag of a minimiser bra takes into consideration a woman's actual cup size, so buying one that is even smaller in an attempt to get more reduction out of it is more likely to result in increased strain and tissue damage, as well as being very uncomfortable. It's also worth noting that many women wear their bra strap too high on their back, which could also lead to increased pain and poor support.
The only way to avoid the problems associated with minimiser bras is to wear a bra that properly supports the breasts, and which does not compress the malleable tissues. Seamed bras, particularly those from Europe, are popular for providing exceptional support. Regardless, compressing any body tissue and putting it under pressure can be dangerous and damaging, and should not be done for purely cosmetic reasons.