Ask The Binding Coach

Answers to your questions about healthy chest binding and trans health from Frances Reed, author of Healthy Chest Binding for Trans & Non-Binary People.

How do I safely make my chest look smaller?

Ask The Binding Coach: How do I safely make my chest look smaller?

Q: I often feel like my binder doesn’t really make my chest as small as I want it to be. My binder feels kind of like a sports bra but maybe a bit more. Is there a safe way to get my chest to look smaller that is not harmful?

A: Yes, the great thing about binding now is that there are so many options. Much like other clothing, styles fit some bodies better than others.

It can take some trial and error to find the binder that gives you the best look for your chest. There are a variety of binder styles out there with a range of compression. Binders that use a non-stretch panel across the front often create a flatter appearance because it distributes the tissue differently than elastic fabric. Kinetic tape binding moves the tissue towards your armpits and depending on the size and density of your chest tissue, can accentuate the flat surface in the center cleavage of the chest, giving the entire chest a smaller, flatter appearance.

Keep in mind that sometimes getting the right binder means adjusting our expectations of “flat” chest. For example, you may achieve a flatter overall look through more of a barrel-chested look than a board-flat look.

A common mistake is assuming that if you wear a smaller binder, you will appear flatter. This is an understandable assumption but wearing the correct size will actually allow the space for the chest tissue to be distributed more evenly and achieve the flattest chest silhouette.

Get help finding the right binder

If you want assistance evaluating which binder suits your particular needs, I offer 1:1 coaching where we can discuss your body type, measurements, lifestyle concerns, and more to identify binders on the market that will best meet your needs.

Headshot of Frances Reed, a white, non-binary person with a bright purple and blue mohawk. They are wearing glasses and a patterned blue and white shirt and smiling into the camera.

Frances Reed, The Binding Coach

About The Binding Coach

I’m Frances Reed (they/them). I’m the author of Healthy Chest Binding for Trans & Non-Binary People: A Practical Guide, and the creator of

I’ve been a licensed massage therapist since 2011, and I support people at all stages of gender transition. I’m here to answer your questions about binding, no matter how big, small, silly, or serious.

Frequent topics include healthy chest binding, finding or wearing a chest binder, self-massage for people who bind, self-care for trans folks, or other topics on trans health.

More Healthy Binding Resources

Buy The Book

Buy The Book

The book Healthy Chest Binding for Trans and Non-Binary People: A Practical Guide contains best practices for binding and 23 exercises that you can do on your own to reduce and prevent pain.

Binder Finder Tool

Find The Perfect Binder

Our Binder Finder search tool helps trans and non-binary people discover the ideal chest binder to fit their unique body and budget. Explore diverse styles, prioritize safety, and express your authentic self with this essential search tool.

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