Given the interest in this topic, here’s the expanded blog post summarizing all my binding experiences, complete with pictures and giveaways!
Just note that binding results are highly dependent not only on breast size but on body shape as well, so keep that in mind when you read this.
Super Tight One-Size-Too-Small
This was my first method. It was unconsciously my way of binding before I knew binding was a real thing. My brand of choice was Underworks. I often had several pairs – for everyday, for working out, for special days, etc. The tighter ones simply pressed more into the ribcage, and didn’t necessarily flatten any better. It’s best to look for ones that are tight around the chest area, where you want the most compression, but be careful it doesn’t get too tight on the elastic.
Also, I once tried on the famous Frog Bra. I was in Palo Alto and saw the Title 9 shop right there, and needless to say my curiosity won the game so I walked in and tried it on. I held in my hand a cardboard type fabric which I had lots of trouble putting on, and once I managed to get one in a size that would fit over me it was swimming on my chest. That is, too huge to hold anything in place. However, I’ve heard this recommended more for D+ sizers, so I may have been too small for it. Regardless, for the price, get a real binder.
The Ace was my very first attempt at binding. I secretly bought it and put it on, and when my girlfriend came home she noticed within 10 minutes (which made me happy, because it meant it was doing something). However, I bought the wrong bandage, the one that is extremely sticky and has extra compression.
Not much later I bought the regular Ace bandage. It worked better than nothing, but it was a total disaster in terms of keeping it in place. I tried it with a sports bra on top, or underneath, or a shirt underneath, and on top, and it didn’t work for more than like two hours. But it was a start.
These are cheapest real binders out there, so it’s nice to have the option to experiment first. I bought the full length compression shirt, what I guess is the averagest one. I wore it on and off for a year (more off than on). It was tight in the wrong places, namely belly and hips, and got hot and sticky really fast, and was just way too tight. When I did wear it I used a dri-fit tight tank top underneath because the binder was too rough on my skin, which only added to the many layers in unfortunate 90 degree hot summer weather.
The Custom 997
Right when I was going to trash it I decided, what the hell, I might as well see if it fits like this. So I cut off the last fourth, doubled it over up to the arm openings and stitched it together. After wearing it a few times it was stretchy enough to fit into it normally. The fabric had softened a little too. And it flattened pretty damn well. It was tighter than you’d like anything underneath your shirt to be, but I wore it everyday for most of the day (like 10-12 hrs) with no problems. Although I did take it off as soon as I got home, didn’t wear it for super extended periods of time like long plane rides, and I did not exercise in it either (suck it up and wear a sports bra, tough). Because of the fabric of this (it’s more like a nylon type than cloth) I would have taken it out for a swim, but alas it didn’t occur to me and I didn’t want to ruin it with saltwater. But you can probably do it safely, as it seems to be water resistant and fast drying.
The Tri Top
I found the full length binding experience to be excrutiatingly uncomfortable, so much so that I preferred not to bind. Afterwards I also purchase the Tri Top, which looks like a half length one, but it’s not. It’s 3/4 length, so too short to double over but long enough that it bulked up and popped out under the chest area, was visible under the shirt, and was just uncomfortable. I’m not sure what the experience is with larger people, but I’ve read it can work very well. Overall I’d recommend it just for the price, but don’t be afraid to cut it up to suit your needs.
I got a velcro half length binder. My mother called it a straight jacket from the medieval times – you know, the kind ladies used to wear for the purpose of flattening their bust but were known to be terribly constricting (my how times have changed). It was basically a huge elastic band across the chest. Uncomfortable. Not Effective. The picture was deceiving, so I’d guess other binders from that store would be similar. Plus it was expensive. However, there are many other models, and it’s possible I just got the wrong one.
This is my number one choice by far. I only discovered them towards the very end, but they offered great customer service and have a huge selection. I got two half length binders, both very different in style.
Sports PullOver Juya Binder
The first one was a half length sports pullover, and was unbelievably comfortable (and soft, I couldn’t stop touching the cloth). For its softness and flimsiness it was surprisingly more effective than a sports bra, unbelievably so – who knows how they manage to get all that compression in there. The reason I stopped wearing it was that it was too loose in some places and had the opposite problem of a sports bra where it would ride up due to lack of an elastic band around the bottom. It might’ve not been a right fit for my body type, as the width was the correct size. It was so comfortable I could’ve slept in it – didn’t feel a thing.
Esha Velcro Half Length Binder
The second one I got became my everyday one. It was a half length binder with side velcro – special super silent side velcro. Again, super comfortable, super soft, and the velcro made it adjustable, although by the end I needed it tighter than what the velcro allowed. I am very sensitive on my skin, so when the velcro was not adjusted just right it touched my skin and I did have to adjust it. But I do the same with shirt tags, so it might just be me. Normally you couldn’t see it through a shirt, and although I believe the Underworks one did better binding job my girlfriend told me otherwise. She even took pictures to prove it – I just wasn’t feeling any tightness so I couldn’t believe it was working.
If you haven’t already guessed it, this shop would be my number one choice for ordering a binder.
Sharing and Caring
Because I’ve very fortunately had the Most Magical Top Surgery, I no longer need these, so I’m giving them away. If there are no takers I’ll donate them. I can provide detailed measurements, but just so you get an idea, I’m 5’0 [1.52m] tall, a bit more than slender build, and was a 34-B, so smallish but definitely not x-small (not like the models in those binder stores). If you are interested, leave a comment with your name and email (or email me your email) and I’ll see what I can do to send it over.
Got your own experiences? Don’t be shy – share!