Chest Binders what are they used for?
A binder is what we use to flatten our chests in order to give the appearance of a male chest. It can help a lot with passing and is usually quite common in transitioning. It can also help with our dysphoria. Some of us (me) we weren’t exactly graced with small chests, that can’t be hidden by layers of clothing, so using a chest binder helps compress our chests enough to pass as male.
I have tried a number of ways of binding in the beginning. I used a back support that seemed to work but was too big and bulky and my movements where restricted. I then happened to be looking on Ebay and picked up a second-hand Underworks 997. I had to double it over and I also bought a compression vest to try and keep everything in place. Unfortunately I found I couldn’t keep it on for more than a few hours at a time before it affected my breathing and began digging into my ribs, but it definitely did the job. It gave me the flattest chest ever, however I suffered while wearing it. A friend of mine bought the Tri-Top secondhand from Ebay but couldn’t get along with it so I inherited it. Now I only wear that one so I have no need for layers anymore. Sometimes I don’t even wear one it’s all down to personal preference.
It is recommended that you don’t wear you binder for too long a period of time as this can restrict your breathing and cause bruising to your rib cage. If you have to wear it for longer then try and take breaks. Some suggest to not wear it longer than 8 hrs.
There are a number of different binding methods such as using more layers, back supports, sports bra’s and compression shirts.
I found it very difficult to find any UK stockists. As I researched the sites I did find their stock was the same as supplied by Underworks so the prices won’t vary that much.
If anyone can find any more UK based suppliers feel free to contact me.
Each binder supply have different sizing guides to help you make sure you pick the right one, below is the sizing guide for Underworks.
How to care for your Binder
You can either hand wash or machine wash your binder, just remember to only use cold water. Use a gentle cycle if you decide to pop it in the washing machine. Drip dry or flat dry, do not place your binder in the dryer.
Listed below are just a few outlets that supply chest binders or compression vests here in the UK and Overseas.
Xbody previously known as Firm51, their Xtreme binders are similar to underworks.
Ebay have a selection of binders for sale.
Amazon has a selection of chest compression shirts available, Underworks also has a store selling a selection of their binders.
DANAE dutch fashion designer specialized in shaping underwear and swimwear for gender creative people.
GC2B provides high quality chest binders at an affordable price. Our binders feature a front and back, double panel, mixed material design to construct a flat appearance. GC2b provides the gear needed to help you safely achieve your ideal form. Based in the States.
Underworks also known as F2M Binders, based in the US and this is by far the most popular place to get your binders from. They have a complete stock catering for FTM’s.
T-Kingdom is based in Taiwan. They do different styles of binders and also with the option of having ones with velcro.
Other places to look
Big Brothers used binders is dedicated to helping out a fellow transguy with getting a binder. They are based in the states.
MORF Binder Exchange Scheme have been redistributing free binders since 2011 to trans* men and trans* masculine people all over the UK and around the world who need them. (website is currently unavailable 20/11/16) You maybe able to contact them via Twitter.
For a full list of suppliers check out our Binder Suppliers page.