By: Riley Fortier, M.Ed.
What are binders?
Binders are a compressive clothing garment worn to flatten someone’s chest/breasts for aesthetic purposes and/or gender presentation purposes. These are typically worn by people who have breasts who are trans or gender nonconforming, but anyone with breasts can wear them!
Why are binders important?
A lot of folks wear binders to experience less body dysmorphia, or to even have gender euphoria! Trans joy is important!
It is important that binders are sized correctly so as to not be too snug and affect someone’s breathing or condense someone’s ribs too much. There is a learning curve when it comes to wearing binders. If you have never worn a binder before, it is recommended that you wear it for short periods of time with breaks in between to get you and your body used to it. Then you would gradually increase the amount of time worn.
It is generally not recommended to wear a binder for more than 8 hours, and it is NOT recommended to wear a binder while sleeping/at night time because of breathing risks.
Since it’s summer and it’s been really hot outside, there are some other considerations when wearing a binder.
- Overheating/heat exhaustion is greatly increased when wearing a binder in warm weather.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water, stay in the shade when you can, and if you’re having trouble breathing or think you may have heat exhaustion, remove your binder.
- If you know you are going to be outside most of the day, consider wearing your binder for only part of the day and take breaks, or consider skipping it today for a snug sports bra instead. (I know, not ideal).
- Can you swim in a binder? Yes! It is just recommended that you size up one size to wear while swimming to be safe and comfortable.