Sizing Accuracy: Your experiences?

December 9, 2010

Here’s an open question to the readers: what have your experiences been with the sizing of binders?

Someone asked me how accurate the sizing chart for Underworks binders actually was. Since I’ve never bought a binder from them, I couldn’t really answer, but it’s a really important question when you think about it.

So, of the binders you’ve bought, how have the manufacturer’s measurement guidelines worked for you? This reader is looking for specific details on Underworks, but feel free to comment on other manufacturers.

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48 Responses to “Sizing Accuracy: Your experiences?”

  1. Makyui Says:

    My measurements fell on the small end of the Large, for the 997, so that’s what I got.

    Unfortunately, it’s also my first binder ever, so I’m not sure if its snugness is normal or if I got a size too small. It’s definitely snug and kind of a struggle to get into, but it’s not a horrible experience, either. I’m just glad I didn’t get a medium.

  2. Brent Says:

    Generally, people say to buy one size up@ first, depending on whether you fall on the small or large size of their numbers. I was on the border of xsmall and small, the small fit very well – the xs was I almost couldn’t get into. Recently, however, they upped their fit by about half a size. Their numbers are the same, but I now wear xs, though it’s a bit tight.

    If you have trouble getting the binder over your shoulders, stretch it over you hips first a couple times then try over your shoulders again. If you have that much dificulty though, go for the size up: it’s easier, safer, and binds about the same.

  3. D Says:

    I’m a 34DD and ordered a medium 997. It fits, but is a tad big to bind as well as I’d like. I just ordered a large loveboat and it’s also a tad big. It’s also a TON more comfy than the underworks. The ‘order up if you’re a c or d’ is not a good idea, in my experience.


  4. I’ve been living full male for almost two years now and using Underworks as my preferred compression. The thing with them is they are built for CISmen, so finding something that fits and creates a realistic silhouette is difficult–especially since so many trans*guys want to be perfectly, absolutely flat, I’ve noticed, which just is not how guys are built unless they are complete rails.

    What I do is go off my waist measurement rather then my chest measurement. I’ve got a pretty stout rib cage, but my waist/loin area (the distance between the bottom of my ribs and the top of my hips) is pretty squat. It doesn’t compact much from my rib cage. This puts me into their XS size, which gives me a pretty reliable silhouette. I can actually wear my XS with one of my Small ones over it and be completely comfortable for up to 16 to 18 hours in a day–but I’m used to long term binding these days.

    As it is, I started out with Smalls, and still own several of those just to wear around the house. I do NOT bind with my Smalls because they just don’t give me the silhouette I’m looking for–hell, my girlfriend gets a better silhouette in my Smalls than I do, and she has a 40D rack. If it’s the first Underworks, or any binder, you’re buying, I recommend going for chest size around the largest part of the chest, and going for the size that corresponds with that. Start off wearing it for short periods, getting used to the binder. After a couple months/a year+ of that, venture into a different brand or size. Our bodies are constantly changing and adapting–and these are vests/shirts that are meant to change the weight/fat distribution of the torso, so of course your body will change a little as you wear your favorite binder!

  5. Jake Says:

    I was on the border between medium and large, so i went for medium, and think i could have gone even smaller. I have the small now, but i’ve also lost quite a bit of wait. I get confused though, all the guys i know complain about having difficulty getting them on, and the bruising, i don’t have any of these problems, and i feel my chest is more visible, it makes me think that i should be binding tighter

  6. Jasper Says:

    Underworks seems pretty accurate. I got a medium and it fit my 34 B chest pretty well, but it doesn’t bind well once it looses it’s shape. I don’t know whether to get another one in small next time.

  7. Ganymede Says:

    T-Kingdom’s size guide seems a little off to me. I was Medium for height/weight but just fell into Large for chest circumference (I’m 34B), so I got a Large (since they advise first-timers to go larger rather than smaller).

    It’s definitely too big. I have quite a slim build so it actually sticks out where it ends above my stomach instead of sitting/clinging against my body. I’m going to exchange it for a Medium.

    I think the problem is T-Kingdom’s designed for Asian builds, so the sizing guide assumes that if you have a large chest you must be quite large all over (i.e. the measurement’s mostly chest, not mostly breast!)…

  8. lupe Says:

    Hello Ive been having trouble understanding about the measurements like how people have to it and I want to get one but I dont want to get one to small or to big can someone please help me and I see people putting 36dd or 36a or something smiliar to that what does that mean and someone please respond to my question because I want to get one tomarrow and my measurements said to different things I mean whats the first and next to last step if responded im really thankful and really appreciated

    • dysperdis Says:

      A 36DD would mean a band size of 36 inches (the length around your rib cage), while the DD refers to the cup size. In this case, the measurement around the widest part of the chest is likely about 40 inches (~4 inches longer than the band size). A 36A would be similar, but the measurement around the widest point would be less than 1 inch longer than the ribcage measurement, Your best bet would be to take your measurement in inches or cm, then convert them if necessary.

  9. JayZero Says:

    I thought I’d just leave a copy of a reply I had from an Underworks sales rep when I emailed awhile ago, asking about their sizing.

    “All garments that have high collars like t-shirts or muscles shirts like the 974 are going to be slightly bigger as they do not offer the flexibility of stepping into the garment as the 997 does.”

    • dysperdis Says:

      Wow, that’s really good to know. I’ve never even thought about that, but it makes sense. I wouldn’t be surprised if other manufacturers have similar discrepancies between binder styles for the same reason.

  10. d Says:

    does anyone “here” have a peecock brand binder? i realize that underworks has some die-hard fans, but i somehow imagine that the velcro on the peecock’s (3) mid lengths (as compared to the underworks tri-top) would afford one more control over severity of compression – on a day-to-day basis. also, i wonder if the peecock mids might roll up a little less, atleast near abouts the velcro..? i’m around 5’1″ & kind of concerned about the length of these “mid lengths” – as i assume the models are taller than 5’1″. any advice or information would be *much* appreciated. thanks

    • Adrian Michael Says:

      I don’t have a peecock brand Velcro, but I do have a t-kingdom brand with Velcro. I wouldn’t recommend any with a hook and loop patch closure (that’s all Velcro is). After a while the hooks bend and loops break and it doesn’t close properly. And the Velcro tend to slip if you move wrong because the closure is under your arm. Good luck if you go with one of those. Everyone I’ve spoken to who has a Velcro closure (no matter the brand) has the same problem. The velcro slips and likes to cut into the skin under your arm.

      • dysperdis Says:

        I too have a t-kingdom binder with velcro fastening on the side, and while I don’t have that particular problem with mine (I used to, but then it stretched a bit and I found a technique for putting it on that worked for me, and losing ~30lbs probably helped too…) I do find that if you unfasten the velcro too fast, you’ll scratch the hell out of your chest. So, moral being, exact chest measurements matter with side velcro (also: velcro can be bloody painful).

        Actually, I’m considering replacing everything that *isn’t* the velcro’d part on that binder with better materials now that I have a sewing machine (and then the next project– the quest to make the perfect binder. If I find something that works, I’ll share my plans and how to adapt ’em.) If you’re any good at sewing or have someone you trust who is, it may even be worth it to buy a size up and personalize it to your shape.

      • Shon Says:

        A peacock was the first and only binder ive bought. It binds great. If you get the right size it won’t roll up. Its easy to put on and you can adjust it for comfort. They last about a year if your wearing all the time. Its a great binder at the price. I have never had problems with the velcro closer. You have to wash it properly. I would recommend it every time. But NEVER buy the STP. Its a great concept but the quality sucks. I had one for less than 2 months with no sex and it tour underneath the shaft. Hope this helps.

    • Shon Says:

      A peacock was the first and only binder ive bought. It binds great. If you get the right size it won’t roll up. Its easy to put on and you can adjust it for comfort. They last about a year if your wearing all the time. Its a great binder at the price. But NEVER buy the STP. Its a great concept but the quality sucks. I had one for less than 2 months with no sex and it tour underneath the shaft. Hope this helps.

  11. unfortunatelyendowed Says:

    As a 36G/GG I’m pretty much doomed aren’t I?

    • Hans Says:

      I’m about a 32G I read about people struggling with B and C cups and think the same thing… I’d gladly swap to a C!
      Have you had any luck since this post??

  12. Whispershout Says:

    I’m wanting to bind but without intent to transition, I don’t want to destroy my breast tissue. Work, however, would be a lot easier if I didn’t have a cleavage to catch molten metal in. That, and I’ve bound on occasion with Ace and I feel a lot more confident in myself, more assured. However, like I said, I do enjoy my woman’s body and identify as a queer woman, so I’d like to not damage my breasts beyond repair.
    That being said, what should I be looking for in a binder? I have been looking at Love Boat, T-Kingdom and Underworks. Any advice would be appreciated, thank you πŸ˜€

  13. Ari Says:

    hey, I have a very thin waist and a rather large chest. I’ve tried binding (not with an actual binder) and it seems to only CREATE cleavage… Would a binder help with this or would I still have the problem of it all just being pushed up?

    • Em Says:

      Ari, I used to have the same problem when I was binding with Ace Bandages. It wasn’t very comfortable at /all/, and if you are able to get an actual binder I recommend it. Binding with bandages is painful and if it’s not done correctly can seriously hurt the wearer.
      This might not be your problem while binding, but it was pointed out to me that one of the main things to make sure you take care of while binding with the bandage method is to not bind your breasts together like a bra would move them. When a cisgendered woman buys a bra, it’s generally to make them more noticeable. A bra lifts breasts up and pushes them together, creating cleavage. What you’re trying to achieve is exactly the opposite, so while binding next time try and push your breasts down and apart while wrapping. I tried it as opposed to how I had been doing before, and it made a huge difference. Like I said, I don’t know if this is the method you were using or if this will help at all, but here’s hoping!

  14. Devon Says:

    Honestly when it comes to binders I don’t think that there is a way to say whether or not the sizing is “accurate”. I’m a very short and stocky dude and I’ve only ordered Underworks products so far due to price and ease of return.

    When I ordered my first binder I ordered
    The tank style from the Underworks FtM section. I quickly learned that their sizing for FAAB folks did not accommodate the width of my shoulders (and that was pre t!). Since I have ordered the muscle shirt style (ummm I think the 974 maybe?). I fall right between a XXL and a XL. When I was first learning to bind I wore the heck out of the XXL but it was ill fitting – waaaay too long and a little too big. But a good training binder πŸ˜‰ . Eventually I switched to the XL and the length is much better even if it is a little snug. To mitigate that I throw it in the dryer to screw up its elasticity a little bit. If you’re tight on finances don’t do that though because I buy new binders like every 8 – 12 weeks because they have been “mistreated” (ie I throw them in the dryer lol).

    Anyhow what was my point… Oh yea, that it’s a lot of trial and error at first. I must have returned 4 binders before I found one that worked for me not just in size but also style. You’ll totally figure it out. πŸ™‚


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  17. RK Says:

    I have a very small chest, and every binder i get is too big, even xs..can anyone help me? I really need a binder!

    • Devon Says:

      I can’t vouch for them myself (being a bigger dude) but I’ve read a lot of reviews that say T Kingdom or Les Love Boats binders are better for smaller guys. Perhaps something with Velcro so it’s more adjustable?

  18. Kit Says:

    I have a 36 b/c chest, pretty full, and own the following: Underworks TriTop, 983 M, and Concealer 974 M. I added a two inch or so elastic to the bottom of the tri-top, but am thinking about removing it and replacing with something long enough to tuck into pants. It’s the most effective binder, and fits pretty well, especially when I weigh in at closer to 145 lbs, instead of 150. I would like it to have higher coverage in the front chest, and under the arms, and broader strap at shoulder. I like the 974 because it has great coverage, but is a little heavy with the spandex layer over the compression layer, and a little long. I am not tall–5’6″ and short waisted. I would love just the compression layer in the same shape. Which brings me to the Tranz*Forms Bind Rite sleeveless Powernet, also in a M. It’s my fave so far, but still a little long, and desire for more coverage across shoulders, upper chest. But all the seams are covered or taped, so no rubbing from edges. And it supports the community. I also like the tan-ish color, which works under both light and dark stuff. My others are white or black, not so helpful under the “wrong” color, which inevitably happens when I need to wear a black shirt to work and only have a white binder. I also have 2 GC2 Gynecomastia Compression Undershirts. They are lycra tanks. I have a S and an XS, and the XS is better. They have less compression than the others I have mentioned, but work well under a woven shirt with pockets, or possibly doubled up. If you aren’t as big as I am—like a 36 a/b, perhaps, I think they would work great, and aren’t too expensive, and come in multi-packs even cheaper. I wear them a lot in the winter, but find them sweatier than the others, which ventilate and wick better.


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  21. faetouched Says:

    From Underworks, I attempted a medium (which pretty much everything else fits me as) with the tri-top, but it didn’t really flatten out like I wanted, so I got a small and it worked a lot better, though it was very uncomfortable under my arms and on the shoulders. I snipped a little bit into the shoulder and underarm edging to take the pressure off, and that helped a lot.

    For reference, I’m about 5’2″, weigh roughly 135 pounds, have a stockier build and am about a large b cup to a small c.

  22. Kit Says:

    A little update…my Tranzforms Bind Rite Med is actually a little roomy in the chest–a small would likely be better. I also recently got an Underworks 988 (chest but no middle compression) at a friend’s recommendation–this one in a Small (I wear a 36 B/C, fairly generous!) It does more of what I need, and less of what I don’t and is wicked comfy. That said, I put in another order for two, one white, one black. Went to put the white one on one steamy summer morning, and it ripped along the seam where the netting comes into the sideseam. Bummer! I emailed Underworks with the order number, and got an email back today that they are sending me out another shirt, as well as a return envelope for the one that ripped. Excellent customer service!

    –Kit


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  24. Kayden Strandberg Says:

    It’s not very accurate they run small my measurement is 34 and a medium is 34 – 36 I have a lot of trouble getting it on and off now I know why they say not to buy them a size smaller because if I did I wouldn’t even be able to get it on

    • Kit Says:

      Which model did you buy? I think the construction of most of the shirts makes them hard to get on/off–ones with fastenings (zippers, Velcro, hooks) are likely easier, but come with different issues. I step into the harder to get on ones, and wriggle them up. It’s uncomfortably like how my mom used to put on the old fashioned girdles (made of the same materials, I might add!). No small sense of irony there, for me!

  25. Kyle Says:

    I really was on the border between 2XL and 3XL so I got the 2XL as my first binder figuring if i got it too big, it wouldn’t serve its purpose. My binder fits very snug and i sort of struggled to get into it at first, but I’m just really glad I didn’t get the 3XL.

  26. Nil Says:

    I’m a 34D, measurements 36, 34, 35, and I got the ultimate binder tank, I think it used to be called the double front compression shirt, size small. It fits moderately well, a little bit of problems with the neckline and it chafes slightly against my hips on occasion (I would go for a shorter style personally, just because it’s a fairly long style and I wasn’t anticipating that). As expected, it’s fairly snug, but not uncomfortably so, but I do have some problems with the shoulder straps digging in a little and the back bunching up uncomfortably. I’d go off their sizing chart, honestly, no bigger or smaller. The best way to get it on and off (Going for a lot of the more finicky binders I have) is to put it inside out, step into it neckhole side down, pull that up to the hips and then pull it up and put your arms through the armholes.

  27. Will Says:

    I have two tri-tops from Underworks, one I bought in early August and one I bought in November. My old one was wearing/stretching out however, I’m convinced that they changed their sizing when they changed their site. Both of my tri-tops are L; my waist measurement was 38 and my chest measurement was 42. I had tried a double front compression vest before that one, but I was in between sizes and got the larger one and I felt like it didn’t bind as well. My first tri-top fit perfectly and I was thrilled and thought if I got another one that was exactly the same except for the color it would be just as good of a fit. While my old one has stretched out a lot, I never remember it being painful to get on. My new one leaves red marks under my armpits and I’ve nearly dislocated my shoulder trying to get it on a couple times. I laid my binders on top of each other and found that the new tri-top was about 1-2cm smaller on each side, which is probably because my old is stretched out, but it is also about 3-4 cm higher around the armpits. I don’t think my old one could’ve possibly stretched out that much and I never remember it feeling as though it was slicing my armpits open.
    I just bought another tri-top in XL so hopefully it won’t be painful, though I am worried about it not binding enough. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever find a binder that binds me as flat as I’d like to be – none of them seem to work very well for larger bodies/chests. I’m 5’4″, have a large bone structure, tend to carry more weight, and my chest is a 38C. Sure, the binder gets me flatter than a sports bra, but not by much. I have to wear baggier shirts or layer, though it still looks like I have an A cup.
    All of this is to say that they fit differently on everyone based on your body shape, frame, proportions, etc. but in general, yes, they do seem to run pretty true to size. If you’re on the cusp and are bigger, go a size up, but if you’re a small guy, go a size down.

  28. izi Says:

    Hey guys

  29. izi Says:

    Hey guys, was looking for some advice. I have an odd size, small waist big boobs, 30ff uk size. What size binder would be best do you think?


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  31. Matty Says:

    I’ve scoured the internet for hours looking for a binder, anyone know one that runs to H cup?

  32. Ashton Says:

    I ordered the 988 in XS, I exspected it to be snug. I was fine with that though because I wanted it to bind really well.

    When I got measured I was 31″ around the nipple which the sizing chart said that’s all you measure. That gave me the delimma for XS(28-31) or S(32-??). I ended up getting the XS, when it came in I slid it on with very little effort and once it was on I noticed it was to big…
    Obviously they don’t have a smaller size but so I’m stuck with it but even by still being to big it does still bind, I’m not that flat with it on but with a shirt I’m like completely flat so it does it’s job and is super comfortable.

    I recommend if you are getting a Underworks binder measure around the nipple then under your boobs and take the average of those two.

  33. carrie Says:

    whats the sizing difference between the underworks 997 and 988


  34. Not good.

    The size chart takes your chest into account; but not your booty or belly – so as a large person I’m stuck with a medium binder that I drunkenly ordered. Needless to say, I can’t get in it. And I blew all my spare cash on it so can’t get a new one. I can’t give it away too, because I popped some surgical stitches on me while wearing the binder and well… It looks like a piece from a horror movie set now.

    Next time I’m having my binder custom-made. I’m gonna talk to a tailor or something. Never ordering anything on the Internet again.


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