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Author Topic: Chest Binding 101  (Read 1457 times)


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Chest Binding 101
« on: December 19, 2015, 06:04:13 PM »
Chest Binding 101

Chest binding is a way for many trans men to curb dysphoria, and is a fairly common step in FTM transition. ďBindingĒ refers to flattening breast tissue to create a male-appearing chest using a variety of materials and methods. While binding with common household items is an inexpensive route, it can also be unsafe. Chest Binding 101 is your guide to how to bind safely, where to get a chest binder, how to choose a binder that best suits you, and how to put on your binder.

How to Chest Bind Safely

The first step in learning how to bind safely is finding about whatís not safe to do. Donít use Ace bandages or duct tapeóthey arenít meant for binding, donít move with your body, and can cause physical harm. They can seriously restrict breathing, cause fluid build-up in your lungs and other serious injuries, such as broken ribs. There have been numerous cases of trans men whoíve acquired permanent scars and other injuries from using Ace bandages or duct tape to bind. Donít do it.

Can chest binding affect my ability to have FTM Top Surgery? ďGenerally speaking, no. Binding over a long period of time can alter your skinís natural elasticity, which may have some minor affects on your final cosmetic results.Ē Ė Dr. Scott Mosser

Even with the right binder product itís still possible to bind unsafely. Despite what you may have been told, donít buy a binder thatís too small for you. Wearing an ill-fitting binder puts you at risk of the same problems as those who bind with Ace bandages or duct tape. Another piece of bad advice floating around out there is to wear tape and/or another binder on top of your binder. This too can cause restricted breathing and physical injury.

Lastly, give your body a break: donít bind 24/7. In fact, donít bind for more than 8-12 hours at a time. Suppressing dysphoria canít come at the expense of your health. Even high quality binders can cause bruising. Use the times that youíre not binding to wash and air dry your binder, which will help make it last longer.

How to Choose a Chest Binder

If you still remember your old bra size, you can find out your binder size by using the Bra to Chest Size Converter Tool. If you donít know your old bra size, you can measure yourself the old-fashioned way:

Take a snug measurement of the fullest part of your chest using a tape measure (best if measured while clothed) and write that number down onto a sheet of paper.

Measure underneath your chest where the crease is and write that number down as well.
Add those numbers together and divide the sum by 2. This number will differentiate your size not only from brand to brand but from binder to binder as well.

Selecting a binder brand and style can be difficult: there are so many options that it can be overwhelming! Plus, there arenít very many reviews of binders other than those about Underworksí and T-Kingdomís more popular models. After buying your binder, help make the experience easier for guys in the future by contributing your review to one of the review sites listed below.

Essentially, there are two types of binders: short ones and long ones. The short ones end right at your waist. The down side of these is that if you carry some extra weight, short binders tend to roll up and act more like a bra. The long ones can be pulled down past your waist by several inches, however itís inevitable that it will still roll up. To reduce the chances of this, wear a belt. Choosing between a short and long binder has more to do with your body type, specifically your abdomen, and not your chest size.

Lastly, consider the location of the company youíre buying from. Buying from a company thatís closer to you can save you a significant amount of money on shipping costs.

How to Put On a Chest Binder

It might seem silly, but youíre probably going to need some help figuring out how to put on your new binder, particularly if you purchased one of the longer styles.

Put your binder inside out and upside down.
Step into your binder and pull the bottom of it up, ideally to your belt line. The binder should still be inside out and upside down.

Use the sleeves as handles to pull the top of the binder (the end closer to your feet) up to your shoulders.

Put your arms through the sleeve holes and adjust your chest to your needs. You may need to pull the bottom of the binder out from underneath itself if you donít want it folded under. For others, leaving it folded under may help stop the binder from rolling up.

Donít be disappointed if you look in the mirror and it looks like you have one big boob in the middle of your chest. You just need to adjust your chest. Reach in from the neck hole and push your chesticles down and out. Youíre basically pushing your nipple toward your armpit to achieve the flattest looking chest possible.

FTM Chest Binding Tips

Very important: When binding, you should not by any means feel as though you canít breathe or like youíre going to pass out from a lack of oxygen.

Binders arenít the most comfortable things in the world. To make binding more comfortable, and to reduce the possibility of the binder moving around a bit, some guys wear a light shirt underneath.

Depending on the size of your chest, you may need to layer clothing on top of the binder to get optimal chest flattening. Youíll find that some of the shirts in your closet require you to layer more than shirts in your wardrobe.

You can swim in your binder. Just wear a sleeveless or sleeved T-shirt over it. Donít worry if your binder seems less effective after a swim, this isnít permanent. Simply wash it and it will go back to normal.

Your chest will look bigger than it really is when you look down at it. Check in the mirror for a more accurate side view.

Not all binders breathe well, and the reality is that youíre probably going to get hot. If youíve already started testosterone, youíre definitely going to sweat. The build up of sweat can irritate your skin causing rashes and sores. Wearing a thin cotton shirt that breathes well underneath your binder may help prevent this. If you find this uncomfortable, try applying corn starch to your body before putting on your binder to help keep it from holding in moisture. If youíve already experienced skin irritation of some sort, take care of it the same way you would an open wound. Washing the irritated area with anti-bacterial soap will keep it clean and help it heal faster.


Chest binding, as cumbersome as it may seem, can be very freeing for transgender men. Thereís a plethora of quality FTM binding products available for body types of all shapes and sizes. Regardless of what you use for binding, please remember to put your health first. Now that youíre armed with all the information you need to find the right binder for you, go forth and feel more comfortable in your skin!

This is a selected excerpt from an article originally published here:
Go to this link to see the complete list of references including their list of chest binder suppliers.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2015, 06:27:31 PM by Mary-Jane »
Definition of Hats aka "Conflict of Interest" Statement: Mary-Jane is Editor of Perth Gay News, The Media Annuncio of the Perth Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence of the Abbey of the Black Swan & Editor @ HIV Institute of WA.

#Twitter @AbbeyBlackSwan1

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Chest Binding 101
« on: December 19, 2015, 06:04:13 PM »