If you’ve been looking to bind, whether you’re transgender, non-binary, or a cosplayer, you’ve probably come across binders like these on Ebay, Amazon, or AliExpress. Usually they’re called E.V.A, SHO, Whatwears, or Ancient Fish King brands, all of which are apparently, interchangeable with each other. Ross is here to tell you that these chest binders are not much of a step up from ace bandages, which in case you hadn’t known already, are the worst thing you can do to bind your chest. So here’s the run down, from least bad to worst.
First off, the sellers are usually misinformed about why someone would use a chest binder is needed just from how they title them. Why would Lesbians want a chest binder (outside of cosplay?)? I don’t know, but most of these listings have lesbian in the name, suggesting that chest binders are for girls, not men or nonbinary. This right there should be a warning sign of a company that doesn’t know what they are doing.
The strapless binders’ model is wearing the wrong size for their chest. Their breast is popping out over the top of the binder, and I can personally say that with that binder, it is very, very, painful if you have a larger chest. After about 20 minutes, bruising and chaffing will occur, esspecially to those with larger chests or are heavier. In the worst case scenario, the breast will rip or pop as if it were cut with a knife.
Look at the materials used. These chest binders do not have any or enough stretchy material in them. Elastic or spandex is the best. On the ones that do have spandex, they don’t mention how much there is in the binder. This is an enormous, bright, flashing sign that the binder is NOT safe. Just how bad is it? Ace bandages likely have more elastic than these binders do, and the ace bandages can still kill you if they don’t maim you. A binder is supposed to stretch, be easily manipulated, and you must be able to take a full breath in them. I’ve bought and used two different types binders from Ebay not knowing any better, and I could barely take a breath at all. I did get larger and larger sizes, and with the same result. Putting it simply, their binders could be falling off of you because they are too big and still would not be safe.
Now I can’t show you in a picture about the next part, but what’s probably the worst about these binders is that their ‘binding’ material goes all the way around the binder. Your binder should NOT have this unless it is made to correct back posture. Sports bras can, but that is better for again, correcitng back posture. So not only will you be binding your chest, but you’ll be binding your ribs, back, and shoulders as well. This can warp them and damage the tissue.
So what does a good binder look like? I’m going to use the binder I’ve had the best experiance with as an example. The Ultimate Chest Binder Tank by underworks. I’ve bought two of these as I’ve needed them, I wore out my old one after a year and a half of use daily including at work.
So, straight off from the site, we know this seller is knowlageable about their target audiance. Chest binders are under the men’s section and you never see the word lesbian on any of them. The only thing marked for women under the chest binder section is a sports bra, put there because transgender men often use them for working out.
The infomation section on the binder isn’t just two or three lines, it’s a whole paragraph. What is this binder made of? Medical grade 70% nylon and 30% spandex knit. It says it right there and is readily available information, you don’t have to dig through the seller’s ads for cheap wholesale jewlery in the description to find it. The listing also tells us how much of each material is used, information you must have when buying a chest binder. My personal rule of thumb? If it’s under 20% spandex or elastic, it’s trash. Our listing also tells us how to put the binder on, rather than making you struggle to figure it out on your own. Size chart and customer reviews are readily availible on the listing and not buried under ads for other unrelated merchandise.
Also from looking at the binder’s pictures, the front and back of the binder is made differently; the front is thicker and non transparent while the back can bee seen through a bit and is thin in comparison. This is because the front of the binder is made to compress and bind the chest and the back of the binder is not. All the binding is in the front, support in the back.
Please, know the difference between an unsafe binder and a safe one. Save your money and avoid ones found on ebay. Can’t afford a binder still? There are programs for people who cannot buy one on their own or it is unsafe for them to buy one. One such I know of is the In a Bind program, they have fantastic service if a bit slow delivery time. Remember, this program is only for transgender men and nonbinary, cosplayers will have to go elsewhere or outright buy a binder.