This is purely from my own personal experiences and is completely my own opinions. I can not give professional advice, only recommendations.
Let's face it, binding sucks. But it is something most trans guys and non-binary will put up with.
For those that don't know, binding is the act of compressing your chest to give the impression of a ‘flat’, masculine chest.
Yes, it's as uncomfortable as it sounds.
Binding is of course completely up to personal choice, and it does not make you any less of a guy if you choose not to bind.
There are a few companies that sell chest binders, such as Underworks and gc2b. However binders can be pricey, most being around £30.
My personal recommendation is gc2b binders. They are made specifically for trans people, by trans people. I find them comfortable and love the materials they are made from. They look like a simple tank top, are high necked to avoid unwanted cleavage, and are machine washable!
I personally have had a bad experience with an Underworks binder, however there are multiple designs and other people really like them, so I'd do some research and choose which sounds the best for you.
I understand that some people may not be able to get a proper binder, be it due to money or not being out to family. Sadly a binder is the best way to achieve a masculine looking chest, and though there are alternatives out there many are not safe.
Never under any circumstances use Ace Bandages to bind your chest. They are meant for medical use, and are designed to get tighter as you move. This makes them extremely dangerous to use for binding. Each time you breath they will constrict your chest and they can cause serious damage to your ribs and lungs. They may seem like a cheap and easy option but they are simply not safe.
Safety over convenience.
There are some websites where you can get a binder for free if someone donates one, but these should only be used if you have no other way of getting one, and be warned: some of these websites should not be trusted.
If you order a binder and it hurts to wear it, you have probably bought a size too small. Binders are not supposed to hurt, and if they do there is something wrong. Always make sure you are buying the right size by measuring yourself before ordering.
When you first get a binder, only wear it for a short amount of time. Your body has to get used to the compression, otherwise you could hurt yourself. Even when you have fully broken in a binder, never wear it for more than 8 to 12 hours. Your body needs rest, and prolonged compression on your chest can cause breathing and back problems. You should also never sleep in a binder, because it will restrict your breathing.
I would not recommend binding for long journeys where you will be sitting still. It's not worth the discomfort.
Be warned: some binders will chafe, especially in hot weather. It's not pleasant and can cause skin irritation, especially under the arms. Also being sweaty while binding is not a comfortable feeling. I have a gc2b tank top binder. The compression only covers my chest, and the rest is like a spandex tank top. It sticks EVERYWHERE when I sweat. Choose your times to bind carefully, because sometimes it'll just be too uncomfortable.
Keep in mind that a binder will NOT make your chest completely flat. That simply isn't possible. However, a male chest is NOT completely flat naturally, so don't worry about it. I assure you, even if you feel like you still have an obvious ‘bump’ on your chest, no one will notice.
I hope this article answers any questions you have about binding.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.
X Eli out X