Everything about binders

All about Binders

Flattening the chest by using a binder can make people of all genders feel more comfortable in their own body and become more self-confident. Wearing a binder can also greatly reduce gender dysphoria. Always remember that chest binding is not without health risks: it's wise to read up on the use of binders beforehand. Below you can read everything you need to know about binders.

What is a chest binder?

A binder, also known as a chest binder, FtM binder, bra binder or breast binder, is an underwear garment that allows you to painlessly and effectively flatten your chest to make it look more streamlined. Most binders are tanktops, bands or tops of elastic material that fit tightly around the torso. Many people wear their binder under their daily clothes, but it is also completely okay to wear your binder as a regular top. A binder works by pressing the breasts flat against the chest, spreading the mass of the breasts. This makes the breasts appear flatter and less present.

Why a chest binder?

Binders can be worn by a variety of people inside and outside binary, such as trans men, non-binary people, people who have just had breast surgery, people who suffer from gender dysphoria and anyone else who feels the need to flatten their chest. In short, a binder can be for everyone.

Choosing a binder

Choosing the right binder model can sometimes be difficult, but when you have found the right model the effect can be amazing. It can help to change your silhouette and thereby remove or reduce negative feelings such as gender dysphoria. There are three common types of binders that many people like:

Short binders:

Short binders reach approximately to the midriff, providing compression to the bust. A short binder is a good choice for people who mainly experience gender dysphoria about their chests. A short binder can also be nice in the summer or when exercising. The short binders that Trans-Missie offers are:

  • Short Binder
  • Gym Binder
  • Basic Swim Binder
  • Basic Binder Advanced
  • Basic Binder Zipper

A disadvantage of a short binder is that, if the binder is very tight around the waist, it can create an hourglass figure. In this case, a long binder may be a better choice.

Long binders: 

Long binders provide compression to the bust, stomach, and hips and extend below the hips. A long binder is a good choice for people who not only want to flatten their bust, but who also experience gender dysphoria due to, for example, their stomach or hips. The long binders that Trans-Missie offers are:

  • Shirt Binder
  • Singlet Binder Advanced
  • Binder Singlet Advanced

A disadvantage of a long binder is that it can roll up for people with wider hips. In that case, we recommend choosing a shorter model or having a binder tailor made.

Band binders:

The third type of binder is the band binder. This is a binder without shoulder straps, which only offers compression around the bust. Trans-Missie offers the following strap binders:

  • Binder Band Advanced
  • Budget Binder Band

A disadvantage of a band binder is that it can drop pretty quickly, which means you have to pull it up more often.

No closure, zipper, Velcro or hooks?

For everyday use, wearing a binder without closure is most comfortable. We therefore recommend choosing a binder without closure as an everyday binder. Binders with closures are mainly recommended for people with medical conditions that affect their breathing so that they can quickly remove the binder, or for people who have just had their top surgery.

If you still want to opt for a binder with closure, there are three commonly used variants: binders with a zipper, Velcro or a hook-eye closure. Binders with Velcro and hook-eye closures are specially designed for people who have just had a mastectomy or breast surgery. Our binders with Velcro or hook and eye closures are adjustable to size so that you can tighten or loosen the binder after surgery.

A binder with a zipper makes it easier to put on and take off the binder. This may be sensible for those with medical conditions that affect breathing so that the binder can be taken off as soon as possible in the event of shortness of breath.

Choose size

Choosing the size of your binder is essential. A binder that is too large will not flatten the chest enough, and a binder that is too small can pinch or become uncomfortable. You can measure your measurements to find out your size. You will need a tape measure, and possibly someone who can help you. To choose the right size you need the following measurements:

  • Bust size: measure around the chest, at the level of the nipples.
  • Underbust: Measure around the chest, just below the bust.
  • Waist: Measure around the waist, at the narrowest part of your torso.
  • Hip: Measure around the hips, at the widest part.
  • Shoulder Width: Measure from back of shoulder to head of shoulder. With this size it is useful if someone helps you.
  • Height: your total height

Below you can watch a video tutorial explaining sizing:

When you have measured all your measurements, you can see in which category you fall, so that you can choose the right size. Here are some points of interest:

  • Check out the type of breast you have. While every breast is different, they generally fall into two categories: soft or firm. Soft breasts are easier to hide and require a less strong material. Firm breasts need stronger material. This is not about size: a small chest can still be firm and vice versa
  • It is best to go by the size of the breasts. For example, if your waist just falls in a larger size, we recommend that you keep the size of your breasts. The waist is soft and can be slightly dimpled, unlike the ribcage
  • If you are very tall or very short, our binders may fit differently. Please contact us if you are not sure about the size.

Often people buy their first binder as tight as possible, because they want to reduce their bust as much as they can. This can be harmful to your health! Always measure your measurements and compare them with the size chart, which can be found on this page. If you are not sure about your size, you can always contact us. Below are two important points that could mean that your binder is too small:

  • You feel the binder chafing, pinching or cutting.
  • You have trouble breathing.

If you notice this, immediately take off your binder and choose a larger size.

How to put on a binder

Binders without zipper

Look at the binder: the side where the shoulders are cut deeper is the back. Roll up your binder outwards, this prevents the binder from curling up when you put it on. Pull the binder over your head, like a regular t-shirt. People with narrow hips can also put on their binder by stepping into it. To properly hide the breasts, you can push them down and towards your armpits, this will make them appear flatter.

Binders with zip, hook-eye closure or Velcro.

Wrap the binder around your waist. Close the closure on the inside of the top at the narrowest part of your waist on the outer eyelet. Put your arms through the armholes, closing the top as tight as you feel comfortable.

Band binders 

Wrap the binder around your waist. Close the hooks and eyes or the Velcro at the narrowest part of your waist. Turn the top with the closure to the correct position (front or back) and move the top up to the correct height around your chest. Model your breasts to get the flattest effect. We recommend pushing your chest diagonally to the side towards your armpit.

Binding safely

Binding can be effective but not without health risks. Consult a doctor if you are unsure whether binding is right for you. When you start wearing binders, we recommend that you build up the time you wear your binder. Wear the binder first for an hour, then two hours, and so on. This way your body can get used to wearing a binder. It's important never to wear your binder for more than eight hours at a time, and never to wear the binder while sleeping. At night, the lungs need space to move properly. Only if a medical expert tells you to bind longer (for example after top surgery) you can wear the binder longer. If you experience any pain or discomfort while wearing it, or if you have difficulty breathing, we recommend that you take off the binder as soon as possible. Also, do not wear two binders over each other, as this can accelerate the health risks presented below.

health risks

  • Impediment of breathing and movement. Give your body a chance to recover from wearing a binder.
  • Skin fungi and infections. A binder creates a warm and dark place where bacteria can flourish. See the 'maintenance' tab to read about cleaning your binder.
  • Other skin problems: scratching, itching, hypersensitivity, redness.
  • Pain in different places: ribs, back, shoulders, abdomen.
  • Muskoskeletal injuries.

Tips for secure binding

  • Give your body time to recover between wearing a binder. Do not wear the binder for more than 8 hours and do not wear a binder two days a week.
  • Do not wear two binders on top of each other.
  • Choose the right size binder
  • Do not use products that are not specifically designed for binding.
  • A binder can loosen over time, keep this in mind when purchasing a binder.

Maintenance

Keeping your binder clean can help prevent skin problems when binding. Maintaining a binder is quite simple. You can wash the binder by hand in lukewarm water, or in the washing machine on a cold program. Hot water can affect the elasticity of the fabric - wash it in water no hotter than 30 degrees celcius. Make sure you wash the binder with other garments of the same colors (dark on dark, white on white, etc.) Use the correct detergent for the binder, for example do not use white detergent for colored binders. This can affect the color of the binder. Never put the binder in the dryer! This can be tempting to shrink a stretched binder, but a dryer will affect the elasticity of the binder. Let the binder air dry.

Choosing a binder can be overwhelming, and we understand that sometimes you just want to talk to someone about it. Don't be afraid and send us a message and we can advise you!