Trans Lifeline Library:

Gender Affirming Shopping

Bras and Binders

Gender Affirming Shopping

General Shopping Tips


Bras and Binders


If you’re not comfortable having someone else help size you for a bra, you can visit this link from Real Simple to learn how to measure yourself accurately and how to adjust between band and cup sizes to find the best fit–there’s a whole math element that goes into bra shopping, so don’t be afraid to try different sizes, cuts, levels of support, and more until you find something that works for you.

You may also have some luck with your bra-shopping experience if you call local boutiques to ask if they’re willing to help you find your size, and what their policy is regarding transgender customers. This particular type of fitting can feel like a more vulnerable experience than shopping for any other clothing item, and it’s good to make sure that you have support and know what to expect.

Investing in a mesh laundry bag for delicate items or a special laundry bra bag will extend the life of your bra by keeping the straps from getting tangled around other garments or snapping, wires from being bent and pushed through material, etc.. Washing bras on delicate cycles will help extend their lifetime and protect the fabric, especially if there are decorative accents. Hang-drying or putting in the dryer on low/no heat air-fluff is a good way to finish.

When sizing for binders, if you are not confident doing it yourself or have someone trusted to help you make sure it’s accurate, you can usually ask a trusted bra-fitter to help you get measurements. Again, call ahead to ask if that’s a service they’d be on board with–anecdotally speaking, JCPenney and Target have been helpful to transmasc folks in the past.

A properly sized binder will give you a comfortable level of compression without impacting your ability to breathe regularly.

GC2B’s sizing/measuring guide is on their website, and they also have a fair return/exchange policy for the first 30 days if it isn’t quite right–just make sure that when you try it on for the first time, that you’re freshly showered and dry, since they won’t accept returns with deodorant marks or signs of excessive use/stretching.

When purchasing binders, it’s essential that you do not intentionally go down an extra size–not only will you not be able to easily get it on, it can cause extra compression on your ribs and lungs, making breathing difficult and possibly causing health problems that may impact your ability to get top surgery later.

It’s recommended to go a size up in binders if you want to get one specifically for swimming or working out to compensate for the level of activity and the way water/sweat affects the compression garments.

When it’s time to wash your binder, the traditional advice is to hand wash and hang dry after. You can also toss it in a mesh laundry bag designed for delicate garments (usually just a couple of dollars at Walmart), wash it on cold with other laundry, and then let it hang dry or go through the dryer on air fluff/low for a little bit. The main things to avoid will be vigorous laundry cycles that can stretch out the compression fabric, as well as heat that will cause the compression fabric to shrink too much.


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