Binding – For Aesthetic Purposes
There are multiple types of binding. Binding contracts, binding bondage, and just about anything else that is “the act of fastening, securing, uniting, or the like,” according to the dictionary. However, at this point in time, I will be sharing about the art of chest binding. This is an act usually performed to compress the chest area, namely breasts.
There are multiple uses for this, some of which are medical; though I am only going to touch on the importance of it in the area of cosplay and other types of ‘dress-up.’ In cosplay, binding is almost always done by females in order to appear male. This is done to better portray the original version of a character rather than ‘gender-bending’ that character.
Binding isn’t an exact art. There are multiple factors including “how much do you want to look like a guy,” “how large is your chest,” and “how attached are you to breathing.” The first and last questions are inversely proportionate: the tighter someone binds the more they look male, but the harder it is to breathe. The answer to the second question dictates just <i>how</i> one should bind and with what materials.
For those with smaller chests one simply needs an ACE bandage, a long one that will wrap around you at least three times; these are easily found in stores like Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Target in the injury/health/bandage sections. Smaller women have it a bit easier in this department, all that must be done is wrap the bandage as tightly as possible around the chest and fasten the bandage in place (I would suggest taking in a deep breath and holding it while you bind if you’re not sure how tight will be bearable).
For those with larger chests you will need an ACE bandage <i>and</i> a compression sports-bra or two. I suggest two, one in your size then the second for the size the first sports bra compresses you to. It will be painful, yes, but I can promise you the end result is worth it. After these first two compressions, bind like described above with the ACE bandage.
If you’re serious about binding and want something ‘easier’ to put on with ‘less hassle’, then you may want to look into chest compressors/binders. There are plenty available online of good quality for someone with any size chest. However, be warned they do get pricey.
Though cosplaying as a male is fun, I do not suggest this for everyone. Sometimes ‘gender-bend’ is the way to go and sometimes another, female, character is a just as viable option.
REMEMBER: If you are doing an open-chest binding NEVER bind with duct tape. It will ruin your skin, hurt like hell to take off, and more likely than not cause scars or wounds that very well might become infected. All in all, not a good idea. However, there is another way, sports tape. Like the kind athletes and physical therapists use. If you would like a tutorial on how to do this, I suggest this one I’ve found. It’s rather lovely and even has got a couple make up tricks in the second half to help you out! http://abessinier.deviantart.com/art/Cosplay-Tutorial-Binding-I-179918030
If you have any questions on this topic, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.