Anonymous asked: I have been thinking that I might want to experiment with binding, but I’m feeling really confused and new about it. I am a cislady and I dress fairly femme, and I’m not sure how reducing my books would affect the fit/look of my clothes. I also have ABSOLUTELY no idea where to start/how to go about it. And I don’t know how to respond to people asking me about it. basically I just feel really lost.
Can I just say that I <3 you? You summed up the human experience so beautifully in this question.
Fit of your clothes: If you are wearing cislady clothes, there may be some extra room in the chest area. Some lady clothes are built for larger racks, or meant to enhance the look of them knockers. For others, it doesn’t really matter what your blinkers look like, because it will just hang.
This top is totally cute and femme, and would look great on a variety of chest sizes.
Modcloth may as well have called it the “Look at my boobs dress.” Aside from the fact that part of it is see-through, you might be left with some unfilled cups.
I’ve become more comfortable with the idea of wearing lady tops once I started binding, because they now fit in a way I’m comfortable with. I’m less concerned with only buying shirts that hide my chest. I’m confident you will find things that look great if your current collection doesn’t work for you.
Brands and binding safety: I’ve tried a few different brands, and the Underworks Tri-top Chest Binder works the best for me. I’ve heard less awesome things about T-Kingdom, although one reader on Autostraddle wrote, “it was nice to have the velcro when i first started binding because it made it easy to put on and to adjust tightness while i was getting used to binding.” I also recently tried the Buckle Elastic Chest Breast Binder at sohoeva.com and it was kind of a joke. Did nothing for me.
Chestbinders.wordpress.com also has pages of comprehensive binder reviews.
Binders should feel a little too tight when you first try them, and then adjust over the next few days. But if you can’t breath it’s too tight! Ace bandages are dangerous, and you want to make sure to take your binder off at night to give those books some time to breath. If you live in an area where you can find a trans friendly health care provider, you should find one who you feel comfortable talking to about binding. Just google the name of your city + trans friendly health care provider. (You don’t have to be going through a transition to see these doctors. It is just the easiest wording to find what you are looking for on the web.)
Responding to people about it: Changing the subject, or “I don’t like talking about my undergarments,” seems good to me. But seriously you guise, you never have to say anything. People often think they have a right — especially with women and trans* folk — to talk about their bodies. As if your body is their’s to comment on and approve of. If you want to bind, that’s enough reason to bind. You need no other reason, and you never have to talk to anyone about it. If someone asks you where your headers went, you can tell that that’s an inappropriate question. Like, even if it’s your best friend.
People like to try to understand our gender choices, and their need to understand can make us feel like we shouldn’t do anything we can’t explain. Talking to people you trust is great, but people you trust will accept whatever explanation you want. “I’m binding because I want to,” should be all you have to say in order to get their support.
I’m really proud of you. Embarking on binding for the first time can be totally overwhelming, but just keep looking for ones that fit. Hopefully you have some queers in your community to talk to about it too. You’re gonna be great, kid!
As Qwear's Founding Editor, Sonny’s work centers around envisioning a future in which the clothing people wear does not dictate their chances of survival. Sonny was awarded 2015 dapperQ of the Year and was the first trans blogger to be sponsored by Topman. In March 2016, Sonny spoke at South by South West's first official queer fashion panel.