Compression Shorts FTM
When we consider trans men or non-binary people, we often get stuck on the importance of chest binders and how chest binding is essential to gender expression in these types of transitions. Something that is usually generally overlooked, though, is trans guys’ hips and how this part of the body can also cause dysphoria.
Some people might find that a particular style of shirt or specific patterns on fabric can help with. They might even find that swapping out a pair of jeans for chinos pants can make a massive difference for some trans people.
However, there is a real need for some FTM guys to make their hips look more petite and one way that they can achieve some results in this area is to wear compression shorts. Wearing compression shorts makes the shape of the lower body smoother and makes areas like the hips look smaller.
Essentially compression shorts do for your hips what chest binding does for your chest. They function in much the same way as chest binders and are work under your everyday clothes where they cannot be seen. Compression shorts specifically provide straighter contours in your lower body and flatten the hips and bum. The only obstacle is the hip bones themselves which cannot be flattened.
How to Choose a Compression Short Size
Before you start looking at how to measure your size, you should consider what type of compression short might be best for you. Having said that, we can confirm that there are not many different options, and information available is scarce.
The most significant difference seems to be the length of the legs. Compression shorts in the form of underwear is very scarce and usually not readily available unless by special order. Briefs are common and seem to be the most popular, whereas more extended versions are rare, but there is some availability.
The length of the legs would entirely be a personal preference and depend on individual body types or body shape. There is usually a clear line at the bottom of the leg pipe, which is often visible through your pants. If you already have thin legs, this is less of a problem, but if you are curvy, it will be more visible and might need adjusting throughout the day, which is the biggest complaint from most people who wear compression shorts regularly.
This problem can be remedied with baggy jeans, but this could also draw more attention to your hips, which is not what you want.
Once you have decided on a shape, you can consider the size that would fit you best. Most product reviews indicate some difficulty in finding the appropriate size. Even when using a tape measure, your actual body shape can impact your size unexpectedly. You would measure, using a measuring tape, your waist just above your hip bone, but there is no way to tell whether the product that fits that size will fit over your thighs and bum. Some people also report that they purchase the size that meets their measurement, but when the product arrives, it is either far too large in some areas or far too small.
The only advice that we can give here is to buy the size you require according to your measurements and the size chart provided on the website. If the product does not fit, there will be an exchange process, and you will have a better idea of which size will suit you best when you see the actual product in comparison to the size chart.
If you cannot find your exact measurements, you should go with the bigger one of the two because these shorts are very tight.
Casual vs. Formal Wear
When it comes to formal clothing, many trans guys and non-binary people struggle to find compression wear that suits this type of clothing. Or they question whether they should wear compression wear with formal clothing at all.
Whether you choose to wear your compression shorts or not will ultimately be up to you. Remember, however, that formal clothes hide your body type well in most cases. Wearing a blazer draws attention away from your hips completely and hides them well. Wearing a vest can also help to hide your chest, and baggy clothes are not necessary to achieve gender-neutral results with many styles of suits or blazers.
An added benefit of blazers is that they often give the impression of broader shoulders and can help you carry yourself with more confidence.
When choosing casual clothes, many FTM individuals opt for baggy shirts or end up choosing pants that are far too big for them in order to hide the parts of their body that they feel self-conscious about. While this might help a little bit, there are also negative effects of such choices.
Ill-fitting clothing often draws unwanted attention to your body. If you are wearing clothes like T-shirts, jeans, button-up shirts, or fabric pants that do not fit well, people will notice, and their attention will drift towards your clothing and your body more easily.
However, if your clothes are tight, it can draw your own attention to features that you do not like, and this will also have a negative effect that will ultimately not help you.
What you can do that might help is to look for T-shirts that are specifically designed for trans guys. They tend to fit differently and draw attention away from features such as your chest. There are a number of clothing brands that specialize in clothes for trans people. Anything from jeans to formal shirts is included in these ranges.
Caring For Your Binders
Binders can be quite expensive and usually need to be replaced once a year due to the nature of the product itself. Therefore, you would want to care for them properly to make sure that you do not need to replace them every few months.
How often you wash your binders will depend on the climate and how much you sweat overall, how often you wear the binder, and what kind of work you do. When you do wash the binder, make sure to wash it in cold water on a gentle cycle. Heat causes the elasticity of the product to degrade very quickly.
Do not wear your binders for more than eight hours at a time, take breaks when you can, and take days off during the week. Constrictive clothing can be bad for your health, but this behavior will also lengthen the shelf life of your binder.
Considerations for a Packer
One popular reason for wearing compression shorts regularly is that many of these clothing items come with packer pouches installed in the garment itself. These keep the packer in place and make it much easier to wear a packer securely and confidently.
There are some stores that sell trans underwear that also include pouches for your packer, but many people report that it does not feel as secure because underwear is not as tight. An excellent place to get an idea of what is out there is an online store.
You can go to an online store and look through available products. You will also be able to see reviews on the products. You will also notice that when you look at an information site, there are several links to sites where you can purchase these products. The people providing the links likely have tried the products themselves and will be able to give you first-hand information on how the products fit, how they look with jeans, where on your waist to measure, which brands are best, etc.
While each person has individual needs, it can be very helpful to get first-hand feedback on products. There are even some products designed for women that have been suggested for hip binding, by other trans people, on such websites. At the very least they could give you some ideas.
A Word of Caution About Binders
Many people who wear a binder feel that they need more compression when they have wider hips or a bigger chest size. It is important not to substitute a binder with additional binding. It is also important to consider investing in a specialized binder as opposed to trying to bind with things like bandages. Improper binding can be dangerous.
It can alternatively also be dangerous to wear a binder that does not fit properly. Also, be careful of wearing something that is too tight around your waist. This is a sensitive area, and too much constriction can cause serious health concerns. You ideally want to leave enough room for you to move and breathe comfortably.
While chest binders often have satisfactory results, most trans individuals report some disappointment with hip binders. When deciding to purchase a hip binder, it is important to manage your expectations of the garment. Your hip size largely depends on the bones themselves, and no binder can alter what your bones look like.
This type of binder has limited results because it can only compress excess fat in the area. If you are already skinny and your dysphoria is related to protruding hip bones, then this binder might not be what you are looking for.
Hormone treatments will also redistribute fat in this area over time, so if a hip binder brings you a lot of relief, you might need it less and less during the course of hormone treatment.
Make sure not to spend too much time in this binder as it can cause severe bruising on the bone surface and cause skin problems due to reduced blood flow. Both of these scenarios can result in painful long-term side effects, which can make it permanently impossible for you to wear a hip binder or packer underwear again.
Binders also pose a few issues that you might not realize are standard if you are just starting out of this journey. Firstly, you cannot adjust a hip binder the way you can with a chest binder. The fabric that is used by most brands is very smooth, and this causes pants to roll and slip down. A belt can help sometimes, but it does not always. You will likely have to pull up your pants a few times during the day if you are wearing a binder.
The style of pants that you choose to wear also makes a difference to the appearance of your hips, as we discussed earlier, and if you are on hormone treatment, you might find, after a year or two, that you don’t need a hip binder anymore.
Summary of Tips for Trans Men About Hip Binders
- Wearing it for too long or going too small is a definite no-go as it holds serious health risks.
- Shorter inseams have their own set of issues that are dependent on your body type.
- Few stores carry these in-store, so it is best to go straight to an online shop.
- Make sure to take rest days.
- Packer underwear is an alternative option, but if you still worry about security, find an online site and talk to other trans people who have first-hand experiences.
- When you are talking to someone, make sure that you understand them properly. Ask for an example to check your understanding.
- If you are using underwear for your packer, make sure that it fits securely, there are specialized underwear products available to accommodate a packer; these are your best option.
- While oversized clothes, especially shirts, can be tempting, remember that ill-fitting clothing draws attention to your body. Wear a shirt that fits and try to find shirts specially designed for the FTM body.