We thought we'd write a blog post about our recommendations for first chest binders (and binders in general for young people) because this is *by far* the most common question we get from people and parents of young folk looking for a first binder, as well as sharing tips for effective and safe chest binding.
There are so many binders out there, that choosing your first binder can be a bit overwhelming. For a first chest binder, particularly for young people whose bodies are still growing and changing, we always recommend the Underworks 943 Econo Chest Binder Short.* This binder is slightly thinner than the other binders we stock, but still gives excellent compression with the right fit. It comes in Black, Tan and White. Tan and White are great for wearing under school uniform and light coloured clothing.
The Underworks 943 Econo Chest Binder Short is by far our most popular binder at Sock Drawer Heroes and is an excellent binder, whether it's your first or your fifteenth binder. It is cotton-lined on the front chest panel, which prevents nip-chafing (trust us, it's a thing), but has the breathable mesh on the back, so it's cooler than other fully cotton-lined binders such as the Underworks Cotton Lined Power Chest Binder Short and Long, making it a winning option for binding in hot Aussie summers.
TJ wears the Underworks 943 Econo Chest Binder Short in Size Small (chest size 10E)
Getting the right fit
Getting the right fit is super important. Your binder needs to be tight in order to do its job, but not be so tight that it you feel short of breath - if you do, your binder is too tight, you need to go up a size. Sometimes we recommend to go up or down a size - check the notes beneath the size chart for each binder (as different styles have different size guides). If you need any help or advice, send us at an email with your chest measurement (measured around the chest across the nipples without clothing) and we can advise. Be aware if your body is still developing or changing (particularly for younger people) - don't squeeze into a binder that is too small.
Putting a binder on
Binders can be tricky to get on - it gets easier with practice, we promise! You can step into it or put it over your head. A handy tip is to fold the bottom half of the binder up before putting it over your head so that it doesn't bunch. This tip works for both half and full length binders.
Illustrations by @samuellukeart
Positioning for a flat bind
Once the binder is on, pull the binder over your body like a t-shirt, then lie on your bed and flatten your chest tissue towards the outside of your body (i.e. away from centre of your chest). We've found this to be the best positioning for a flat compression. If you've got different tips that work for you, let us know in the comments.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY - if you feel any pain, discomfort, dizziness or shortness of breath stop binding. Your binder is too tight.
Take a break if you need.
Try not to wear your binder for more than 8 hours a day (it's a good idea to slowly build up to a full day's wear while you get used to it).
Never sleep in your binder.
- Keep your binder clean, especially in warm weather.
You can find more info on all things binding in our Binder Resource.
* Our 'first binder' recommendation is our personal recommendation out of the binders that we stock at Sock Drawer Heroes. We are aware that there are lots of other binders out there that might make for a great first binder.