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"The Perfect Binder": The GC2B Reviewed

GC2B Transitional Apparel

GC2B Transitional Apparel

I’ll be honest: GC2B’s chest binder is not an especially glamorous piece of lingerie. But as my father likes to say, if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. That is, if you can make a product that makes a normally unpleasant experience manageable, everyone will want what you’re selling, glamorous or no.

GC2B, a company that advertises their product as "the perfect binder," may be in exactly that position: making the stressful act of chest binding as simple and painless as possible.

I've heard genderqueer people on Tumblr talking about GC2B for a while now. The story was that this small and unfussy company was supposedly making the best binders on the market: lightweight, durable, comfortable, and above all, binding. I decided to investigate.

When I got to the website, it was clear that the world had already heard about GC2B: they carried both blue and red binders, which I've never seen anywhere else, but both colors were out of stock with no estimated restock date. When I went to check out, the site also warned me to expect up to five days of processing prior to shipping, because the company's backlog of orders is so high.

From my confirmation e-mail, it sounds like GC2B is planning to expand to accommodate demand.

From my confirmation e-mail, it sounds like GC2B is planning to expand to accommodate demand.

The time frame wasn’t a problem for me, so I settled in to wait. Ultimately they kept to the schedule they'd laid out, which is impressive from a small business. Other reasons to be impressed: their binders are made in the USA, their company is owned by a genderqueer person, their sizes range from XXS to 5XL, and their most expensive binder is only $35. All this points toward an accessible product designed by someone who understands the market.

When I first pulled out the binder, it seemed less intensely compression-y than previous products I’d seen. The site offered a half shirt and a full shirt. Since I hate anything riding up, I got the half shirt, which looks basically like a crop top made of Spandex. I wasn’t sure how material that elastic could give me the compression I need, since I have a fairly robust 34C-D chest. But when I pulled it on, something magic happened.

GC2b selfie1

I feel so cool. All photos by Kat McNeal.

Binding options (including other commercial binders) I’ve tried in the past have often given me a very ugly flatboob, or there’s been some amount of spillage at the bottom of the binder that has to be hidden with big shirts.

The GC2B binder instead compressed everything inward and slightly upward, so that I ended up not with a flattened monoboob, but with a shape like pectorals. It’s hard for me not to gush here, and just yell “It made my boobs look like muscles! Buy it now!” I will say that I’m not sure how well the half binder would work for people with larger cup sizes. Some people online are saying that if you’re larger in the chest, you’d be better off getting the tank binder instead of the half.

I could see this convex shape becoming a problem for people with larger cup sizes...

I could see this convex shape (seen above) becoming a problem for people with larger cup sizes.

I was concerned about comfort as well. Binders I’ve tried in the past often compress my lungs more than my breasts, so I was curious to see how the GC2B would perform if I needed to breathe. So I stopped admiring my pecs, threw some clothes on and went for a walk in the snow. I could breathe.

The GC2B was less constricting than some sports bras I’ve worn. I think it’s the ridiculously elastic back that does the trick there. The binder didn’t ride up, either: not when I walked around, and only marginally when I did a few chin-ups as a test. Over the course of a day it eventually started to feel constricting, but that's fairly normal. (Safety note: do not wear a binder for more than eight hours.)

Back view: lots of room to stretch and move.

Back view: lots of room to stretch and move.

So far, I still haven't figured out how to effectively wash this binder. The card that came with my binder said that I should hand wash it and leave it to dry, but that if I decided to machine wash and dry, my binder would be "just fine." This is a little confusing, and honestly I'm now a little afraid to machine wash it, since people have reported the binders being "tighter" after machine washing. I would use caution in that respect, since a binder is, by most definitions, "too tight" already. Handwashing isn't hard, and it doesn't have to happen every day.

What I can’t describe adequately in a review is how good it felt to be able to look at myself and see the person I’ve been imagining. Without my breasts in the way, I can see how broad my shoulders are. Without that weird little bit of underboob escape that I’ve had in other binding garments, I don’t feel constantly insecure that someone is going to notice that I’m binding. I found myself interacting differently with people, trusting myself more, trusting that they’d see me the way I wanted to be seen.

The website emphasizes that they have tested many prototypes against many different bodies in order to create the “perfect binder.” While often I’d be inclined to mumble something about subjectivity and personal preference, right now, wearing a GC2B and presenting like my ideal self, it’s really hard to argue with success. The GC2B binder doesn’t exactly need my endorsement right now, but it certainly has it.

Have you tried a GC2B? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!