How to Survive Chest Binding in the Summer - 31 Must Try Tips

Binding in summer

Binding in summer header Chest binding in the summer is one of the most difficult things about binding. As the hot weather starts to arrive, friends start to get excited about the sunshine and being outdoors, but for some binding folk the rising temperature can be accompanied by a total sense of dread! The dysphoria is real and so is the sweating. 

But don't give up hope! We’ve asked our fabulous trans and non-binary community and crowd sourced some top ideas for chest binding in the summer so you can keep cool and enjoy the summer just like everybody else. All of these great ideas were suggested by our Instagram followers.

  1. Be safe - the number one rule of binding is to listen to your body. Wearing a binder for extended periods of time can constrict the ribs and affect your ability to breathe. It is not recommended to wear a binder for more than 8 hours at a time. However if you feel short of breath at any time you should take a break and check to make sure you're wearing the correct size binder. Binding safely is the most important thing when it comes to binding. 
  2. Emergency sports bra - If binding becomes too much, swap your binder for a high impact sports bra for a few hours. Check out this blog for tips on gender neutral sports bras. Man drinking water
  3. Drink lots of water - Binding + hot weather = sweat! Balance out the water you lose through sweating by drinking lots throughout the day. You could also have an electrolyte-replacing drink as well for maximum hydration. Bonus tip - if you want to deepen your voice, drink room temperature water, cold water can tighten the muscles in your throat.
  4. Baby Powder - you can apply baby powder to the area where your binder covers before putting it on to absorb sweat and moisture so you don't feel sticky and itchy.
  5. Apply anti-perspirant under your binder so you can reduce sweating.
  6. Midday cold shower - If its possible take a 20 minute cold shower in the middle of the day. You can clean the sweat off yourself and cool yourself down for the afternoon’s activities.
  7. Wash your binder - Yes an obvious point but its worth mentioning. Sweating more means your binder gets dirtier much faster. If you can afford another binder, summer is the time to get it, so you don't have to go without while your waiting for yours to dry. Spectrum Outfitters recommends washing your binder below 40 to make sure the elasticity is not reduced.
  8. Stretch - Important whenever you're binding but especially in the summer, longer days and busy weekends can mean you're binding for longer than you're supposed to. Take time to stretch and feel your body. Don't push yourself too hard. This video has some examples of chest binder stretches you could try.
  9. Baggy tops - popular all year round for many trans masculine/non-binary people for their figure hiding skills, baggy tops also have the added bonus of allowing airflow close to your skin, helping you to stay cooler and drier. Just make sure you’re wearing a breathable fabric. swimming on beach
  10. Make sure your binder is swim safe - When a binder gets wet it reduces the elasticity of the fabric which can mean that you could injure yourself or suffer from breathing issues. Our binders are made to adapt to the environment and move with your body (we actually use the same fabric as the 2012 olympic athlete uniforms designed by Stella McCartney). So they are swim safe. For more information you can check out our FAQs
  11. Can’t afford a swim safe binder? - swimming costumes have the added benefit of kind of pushing your chest down due to their elasticity. For smaller chested people, teaming it with a thick t-shirt can be enough to give a flat appearance, especially if you're in the water. 
  12. Denim (jean) jackets - Ok so yes denim is a thick material and its not very breathable, but it is very stiff. So if you're someone who uses layering to create a more masculine shape this can be achieved with just a sleeveless denim jacket over a vest.
  13. Muscle tanks - let your underarms breathe and hide the shape of your hips with a cool muscle tank, or make your own from one of your t-shirts. Support the trans community with one of these, a portion of the profits goes towards funding surgeries for trans people who need financial assistance. 
  14. Linen - A staple summer fabric. Linen is the OG of breathability and it doesn't stick to you when you get too hot. Plus a linen shirt looks classy as hell. You can also wear linen shorts or trousers to keep the rest of you wearing shirt and glasses
  15. Button down shirts - Short sleeved if possible! If you take one in a larger size with wide shoulders you can hide the shape of your chest pretty well without a binder and hopefully not feel too dysphoric.
  16. BE LOUD! - Loud prints like Hawaiian shirts or tie-dye confuse the eye. Its harder to distinguish the pattern of the fabric and the shape of the chest so you could ditch a couple of your usual layers.
  17. Layer - Ok so some layers aren't too bad. A loose tank top and a short sleeved open shirt can create a lot of room in the shoulder area to take the eyes away from your chest. Just make sure neither layer is too thick.
  18. Freeze - you can buy thin fridge cool packs or eye cooling masks or you can freeze hand warmers and slide them in under your binder.
  19. Button up shirts - Short sleeved of course. If you take a size larger and choose one with wide shoulders it can hide your chest quite well and you wont overheat too from the sky
  20. Move to Antartica - Ok so thats a bit drastic but we like the logic. How about skipping your usual hot summer holiday to Spain or Greece and visit somewhere cooler. Remember its winter in the southern hemisphere! If you're worried about travel you can check out the transgender holidays service from of Out of Office. They have a specialist team who take the stress out of travelling when trans/non-binary.
  21. Don’t bind and fly - Speaking of summer holidays, did you know you shouldn't wear your binder while you fly? The high altitude means your lungs and ribs expand and you could end up hurting yourself if you're wearing a binder which restricts this. If it helps, everyone looks like shit on a plane so relax!
  22. Don’t be scared to show a bit of your binder - most people have no idea what a binder is, so if they see a bit of something poking out they are just going to assume its a vest top or something else, and that is if they notice at all. 
  23. Make a statement - Be bold and show off your binder! The world needs to see more trans bodies, if you feel safe and confident to do so then why not flaunt it! Check out our red, blue and purple binders for a pop of colour.friends on cliff
  24. No one who matters cares - Ok so that sounds a bit negative, but what it means is, if someone cares about you, they wont mind at all that they can see your binder, and if they do mind, they don't really matter.
  25. Go nude - Ok but not really. Everyone is different and if you really are uncomfortable showing your binder you can opt for a nude binder. Check out our cream, honey and mocha binders that you can wear under whatever and be stealth, if thats your priority.
  26. Fans - Channel your inner JVN with a fabulous fan to keep you cool and look windswept and interesting. We love this cheeky fan from Firebox.
  27. Spray it - Use a spray bottle, one for perfume or watering the plants (not something which used to contain harsh chemicals) and spray yourself with water. Sometimes the simplest method is the most effective. Check out these water/misting bottles. 
  28. Big sports Jerseys - the cut of this type of shirt can help people hide their chest, and the colours can distract from that area, plus you can support your team at the same time.
  29. Be strategic with your plans - get out during the morning or the evening when it is cooler. Obviously this isn't possible every day but you could move Sundays BBQ to 6pm instead of games
  30. Don't do things you don't want to - Your friends want to go swimming at the lake but you don't feel comfortable showing that much skin or don't have a swim safe binder? Too hot to sunbathe in the park with your friends in your binder? That is completely fine. Don't feel obliged to do what you don't feel comfortable. If you want to stay inside where it is cool, you do you! Find it hard to say no? This article has some great tips for saying no to friends.
  31. Hang out with understanding people - Try to spend time with people who see you as you, it can help with dysphoria if you have to take your binder off when you're too hot. If you need more friends who get you, you could try local sports or swimming clubs which are specifically LGBTQIA+ inclusive

Got any more tips or tricks for the summer? Please comment them below and share your wisdom and help somebody else out.


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