Chest binding is the practice of using a garment, such as a binder, to flatten the chest and give the appearance of a more masculine or androgynous figure. Chest binding is often used by people who are transgender, non-binary or gender nonconforming as a way to align their physical appearance with their gender identity.
While chest binding can be a helpful and affirming option for some people, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and to take steps to minimize these risks.
It is important to remember that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to express one's gender identity and that everyone has the right to feel comfortable and confident in their own body.
There are a few different options for chest binding, including:
Binders: Binders are specially designed garments that are worn over the chest to flatten the appearance of the breasts. Binders can be made of a variety of materials, including spandex, nylon, and cotton. It is important to choose a binder that is the right size and fit, as a binder that is too tight can cause discomfort and difficulty breathing. Chest binders are designed to be worn for a limited amount of time and should not be worn for extended periods of time.
Bandages: Some people may use a bandage which is a long, stretchy band of fabric, to bind their chest. However, it is important to be aware that these bandages are not designed for this purpose and may not be as effective or comfortable as a binder. Using bandages can also increase the risk of injury, as it can be too tight or constricting.
Compression tops: Compression shirts, also known as compression tops or compression vests, are designed to provide support and compression to the chest and can be worn under clothing to give the appearance of a flatter chest. These shirts are typically made of stretchy, breathable fabric and may be more comfortable than other chest binding options. They can usually be worn for extended periods of time without the same health risks of a binder. At Outplay we offer a wide range of styles and cuts of compression tops in different levels so you can find the right size and fit for you to reach the look you're most comfortable with.
It is important to be aware that chest binding can be physically uncomfortable and can cause difficulty breathing, skin irritation, and discomfort. It is important to choose a properly fitting binding option and to take breaks from binding to allow the skin to rest. It is also important to avoid binding for extended periods of time and to seek medical attention if any problems or concerns arise. Never use products not made for contact with skin such as duck tape. This can lead to serious injury, skin irritations, and discomfort.
Are there risks to wearing a binder?
Short-term risks of chest binding may include discomfort, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, and discomfort. It is important to choose a properly fitting binder and to take breaks from binding to allow the skin to rest. It is also important to avoid binding for extended periods of time and to seek medical attention if any problems or concerns arise.
Long-term risks of chest binding may include rib fractures, changes in posture, and breathing problems. Chest binding can also interfere with the normal development of the chest, which may have long-term effects on physical health and appearance.
If you are considering chest binding or have any questions or concerns, it can be helpful to speak with a medical or mental health professional who is knowledgeable about transgender health.
If you're looking for a safer alternative to a binder that you can wear for extended periods of time and can be active in, take a look at the compression tops we have to offer at Outplay. And if you have any questions, just reach out, we're more than happy to help you find the right size, cut, or style for you.