January 15, 2012

Toys for Trans* Boys: Underworks 983 Binder

Thanks to Early2Bed I'm now able to purchase my Underworks binders locally here in Chicago. I personally wear the Triptop - or the 983 model - in an XS. I've also tried the 967 and 988 models but found them unappealing due to the length and having to tuck them into my pants.

Underworks 983 (Tritop) binder.

So, what's it made from?
The Underworks 983 is 70% nylon and 30% spandex. The front half of the binder is three layers while the back side is one layer. It's impeccably well-sewn together and generally lasts for up to 6-8 months of daily wearing before the material starts to tear.

What sizes does it come in?
This binder is available in a wide range of sizes. Here's the list:
XS (28-30")
Small (31-33")
Medium (34-36")
Large (37-40")
X-Large (41-44")
2XL (45-48")
3XL (49-52")

Some health risks to be aware of:
If you're like me and you bind almost daily you don't want to wear your binder for more than 8-10 hours a day. The longer you wear it the higher your risk of muscle fatigue and too much compression on your ribs. It's not really advisable to sleep in your binder or work out in your binder. Yes, I've done it - and I honestly don't recommend it. After nearly 10 years of almost daily binding I now suffer from muscle disconnection problems in my back and shoulders.

What's the packaging like?
The binder comes folded in a clear plastic, sealed bag. There's a sticker on the front telling you which style you've received. Not exactly discreet, fellas.

How do I clean it?
Throw it in the wash with everything else and lay it flat to dry. From my experience throwing it in the dryer wears out the materials quicker which means it'll get loose faster.

How the heck do I get this thing on?

Pull it over the head? Nope. Stuck.
Step into it and pull it up? Yup!
Then push the chest down and out.

The white is newer and fits tighter.

During the day I find that the hem tends to roll a bit and I do have to pull it down to re-adjust the fit but that's more of a minor annoyance than a major problem. I'm roughly 5'3" and 135lbs. In sports bras I wear an XS/S. Assuming I measured correctly that gives me a 33/33/32 bust and 35" waist.

What do you like and dislike about this binder?
I personally LOVE! this binder... with one exception. My major dislike point for this binder is the shoulder straps. No matter which color I get this binder in (available in black or white) the straps are too long for it to bind properly. I've had to modify every Tritop I've owned. I generally cut off between 1-2" of the strap using normal scissors and then sew the straps back together. After the modification my chest doesn't come near as close to popping out of the top of the binder. I also found that my chest appears flatter after the modification. Otherwise I give this binder a 9/10 for comfort. When layering my shirts you can't even tell that I'm wearing it! The other dislike I have for this binder is wearing it during the summer. It gets extremely hot when I'm out running errands in the city but this can't be avoided. Until something better comes around or gets my attention this is the binder I'll stick with.

Modified Tritop.


  1. Yay! The first review on your blog! ^-^ Great job, hun, and I love the comic! CUTE...

    Never having worn a binder or looked into it, this has definitely told me a lot. I never thought about it causing muscle fatigue and disconnection.

    And I feel your clothing modification pain. Since I'm so petite, most of my clothes have to go through the seam-ripper/sewing machine process. Being Asian-sized in America where size Small can be huge isn't fun.

    What are your measurements, and which size did you pick? Modeling photos are always good for clothing reviews, too.

    1. Ignore the "what size did you pick". I derped :p

    2. Thanks for the modeling photos tip - added them into the post! I don't actually know my measurements... but I wear an XS/S in sports bras.

    3. Looking good! As for measurements, I'd probably give the measurement of over the top of your bust, around your nipples, below, your waist, and your weight and height. People like to see as much info as they can about the reviewer, so they can compare it with themselves.