It goes without saying that binding can be an essential process for some of us - in battling dysphoria, in going about our day with more confidence, in bowling a perfect 300. Ok, ok, so maybe binding has nothing to do with bowling... Regardless, binding remains an important part of many of our lives. So without further ado, here is Transguy Supply’s comprehensive guide to binding:
FIRST AND FOREMOST: SAFETY TIPS
1. Do NOT use duct tape or sports bandages to bind.
It's next to impossible to get an Ace bandage the appropriate level of tightness for your body, and most people err on the side of too tight. What can this do to your body? Serious harm. Internal organ damage, broken or cracked ribs, and restrictive breathing - just to name a few. What's more, Ace bandages aren't designed to move with your body, which means more opportunities for injury and discomfort. Think you are the exception? You are not. If you bind with an Ace bandage, you will eventually hurt yourself.
If Ace bandages are out, that goes double for duct tape. Not only can it cause the same type of injury to your body as an Ace bandage, ripping duct tape off your skin can be incredibly painful. Duct tape was made to act as a barrier to moisture and air where it is applied. Left on the skin for a time, it will reduce oxygen to the area and can even kill cells by depriving them of moisture and air.
NOTE: Trust us. We know dysphoria is a beast. We know what it's like to not want to look in a mirror or face your day. But no matter what mental anguish your current body may be giving you, we implore you to not bind using either of these methods. YOU have a future and that body of your has places to go and things to do. Take care of the only body you have so the future you can be the guy or non-binary person you were meant to be.
2. Give your lungs a breather, (literally)
Long-term binding can cause lasting damage to your lungs, heart, and posture. Transguy Supply recommends that you bind no longer than 8-12 hours per day. We also recommend that you don’t bind while working out or sleeping. Binding while working out can cause shortness of breath.
3. Measure your chest and purchase the appropriately sized binder.
We’ve seen a lot of flimsy binders out there on the market that are honestly little more than glorified sports bras and aren't firm enough to flatten a pancake. However, all of the binders on Transguy Supply are quality binder and are designed for strong compression. There’s no need to buy a size smaller size to get some serious flattening. Grab a tape measure, and measure around the widest part of your chest (usually where your nipples are, but not always). With that measurement, use our size charts to find the right size for you. Each binder we offer has a size guide in the product description.
Is binding ever completely safe?
No. Our bodies weren't meant for this kind of serious, long-term compression. However, you can reduce the potentially harmful side effects (eg. back and shoulder pain, bruised ribs, etc.) of daily binding by following safety tips 1 and 2 and by purchasing the correct size.
CHOOSING A BINDER
Which brand is best for you?
Transguy Supply is targeting 2019 to roll out their custom binder line, but in the meantime, there are a lot of solid brands to choose from out there. Here are two popular brands and the rundown on which one work best for different guys.
This is the classic, most popular and most affordable brand of quality binding on the market. Made originally for cis men with gynecomastia, transguys discovered decades ago what these binders can do to help them create the appearance of a flat chest. Given its affordability (the least expensive model on the market is the Econo Crop Top Tank which comes in at $17.99 plus shipping), it's no surprise this is the brand most transguys opt for. Underworks binders are also known for their effective compression. However, in this case, the lower cost and more aggressive compression can also mean a sacrifice in comfort. Nearly everyone who has tried both Underworks and one of the more premium brands will report that Underworks is the less comfortable model. Guys generally site 3 different reasons for this:
1. Underworks binders compress more tightly than other brands.
2. The actual texture of the material the binder is made of can be rough and scratchy (though this will ease up after a few rounds in the wash).
3. The armhole of Underworks binders are smaller and can chafe your armpits. This one is especially true for guys with larger arms.
Underworks does have a handful of models that come with a soft inner lining that will drastically improve the texture, but they are also much pricier than the Econo models. Also, these softer models still come with tight armholes.
In light of all that, who is the Underworks binder best for?
1. Guys with smaller arms.
2. Guys who are budget conscious. Let's be real, transition gear can be very expensive. All in, even the less pricey merch can be a serious strain on a transguy who is strapped for cash. There are definitely other cheap binder options on the market. We've seen quite a few of these on Amazon lately. However, we've tested a lot of these models and the reality is, they are little more than glorified sports bras.
3. Guys who want a little extra compression. Please note there is a difference between discomfort and pain. If you are experiencing pain from your binder, you might have the wrong binder size or type.
If any of these guys sound like you, you can check out our quality Underworks chest binder selection here.
gc2b is easily the second most popular binder brand out there after Underworks and confidently resides in the number one spot for the higher end binder brands. Founded in 2014 by Marli Washington, a non-binary person of color, gc2b is a trans-owned and operated business. If you can shell out $33-$35 for a binder, nearly everyone who has one will tell you it's worth it. gc2b binders are made from softer, stretchier material that goes on easier than the Underworks binders.
Bigger guys will appreciate the wider armholes, but also sometimes report that they have to adjust their chest so that extra flesh doesn't poke out under their armpits.
Beware the Uni-Chest
If you purchased an Underworks binder, once you pull your binder over your head, you will need to adjust your chest to help create the appearance of two distinct pecs. You can do this by reaching under your binder and pulling, very slightly, each side of your chest towards your armpit. It may seem weird at first, but it’ll actually spread out the compressed area to give your chest an overall flatter look.
OTHER BINDING FAQ
Can I swim in my binder?
Yes! There's no reason not to take a little dip while binding. We don't recommend swimming laps, however. In fact, serious physical activity of all kinds should be avoided while binding.