Here's some more in-depth, straightforward instructions for achieving a male silhouette.
- Underworks binder (I can only give reviews on the 980, 983, and 997)
- Packer (link is to the best on the market, get a mini. No really, get a mini)
- Mens cotton briefs in your size, or other male type underwear with a y-front—these are important, because they will not only be helping your binder stay down, but also the pouch of the briefs will be used to hold your packer.
- ¾"/2cm size binderclips (2 of these)
- Baby powder (do not substitute cornstarch)
First, the three binders I have used and their pros and cons. Note that I am 5'10" and 147lbs, with a long torso and a bra size of 32-34DDD/F. However, I also live with a guy who uses binders, who is built like a tank and has a tum, and will be including the things he's said about the binders as well.
- Longline—goes down to your hips, thereby making your silhouette unbroken and disguising the feminine widening of the hips. Longline is also best if you have a long torso or if your tits start low on your chest/are pendulous. Bear says longline also helps his trousers fit better and more comfortably. Note that the longline binders from underworks have a tuck in the back centre of the collar and flare a bit on the bottom, for a better fit.
- Pull-over—pulls on like a shirt, this can be a struggle and require assistance until you figure out a system. It is possible to get into one by yourself, but takes practise. However, the upside is that the front is smooth and the binder doesn't need an extra layer to cover up the hook-front that the 980 and 990 have.
- Overall, I rate this a good binder if you don't mind the struggle of pulling it on. I'm claustrophobic so I wouldn't recommend this if you are at all worried about panicking about getting stuck (you will get stuck a few times). Bear gets these on easier than I do, but he has a wider ribcage and narrower shoulders than I.
The 980 (also the 990 to some extent)
- Longline—see above.
- Hook-front—I love the hook-front. It shrugs on like a vest and has bra-type hooks all the way down, in two rows for adjusting. Hook it from the top down. This is easy to get on by yourself, and allows for quick stripping down should you need to get out of it for an emergency (like sex, or an asthma attack, or needing a shower right now). The disadvantage is that hook-front needing at least one extra layer to smooth it out. Since I wear suits and usually need the warmth of a t-shirt under my button-up shirt, I don't find this a problem.
- Overall, this is the binder I use and will use; this is also the binder Bear favours. I'm planning on trying the 990 because it comes in xs, but that's the only reason I would stop using the 980. I would highly recommend using the 990 if you have asthma or think that you might at any point start panicking about the feeling of compression, though.
- Shortline—This was my first binder, and it works great for people with smaller tits, or if you need to bare midriff. It did not work for me, though. My tits are big, low-set, and peeped out the bottom of the binder (which stopped an inch or so above the bottom of my ribcage—as I said, long torso). Bear says he wouldn't recommend this for 'plus sizes with anything bigger than an A cup', and cites 'poppin' out the bottom' as well.
- Pullover—see above. Because of the shortness, it won't give you a slim silhouette, however it will allow more flexibility in your torso, and of course allow for baring the midriff. This might also be a good choice for people who can't stand the feeling of compression, or who have moderate or severe asthma issues.
- Overall, I wouldn't recommend this binder unless you haven't got a lot of tits, hips, or fat on you.
Getting dressed using a longline binder
- Apply baby powder all over your torso, but especially under your tits. Powder your packer as well.
- Carefully tuck your packer through the front part of the underwear. What you want to do, here, is make sure the packer isn't directly touching your skin, because that will chafe and cause a rash. Using a packing strap is another solution, but I always find having an extra layer of elastic waistband to be cumbersome. You can safety-pin the pouch closed if you're concerned about the packer falling out, but don't do that right now.
- Put the underwear on, and adjust the packer. Put the base of the phallus over where your clitoris is, or maybe a teeny bit higher—but not much. Yes, it should be that low. This is when you can pin the underwear closed along the outside slit if you want.
- Grab your binder, get your head and arms in it/shrug it on, but don't pull it all the way down yet (hook front: hook the first 3-4 hooks). You need to adjust your tits. Coax them down and to the sides as much as you can without hurting yourself, gradually pulling/hooking the binder down over them. Once it's all the way down, hold the front edge and wiggle a bit, arch your back, make sure you're adjusted in the binder so that it isn't making you hunch over. You may need to reach up under the binder and re-adjust your tits a couple times before you're done.
- You probably want to go and pee at this point.
- Okay here's where the binder clips come in: Pulling the bottom edge of your binder over your underwear, line up the side seam of the binder with the side-seam of the underwear, and clip just in front of it on each side. You can also slide the clip forward to make sure it won't dig in. You wanna be comfortable after all. Clipping will help the binder not roll up, and eliminates worrying about tugging it down all the time. Believe me, this is worth the peace of mind.
- Shortline binders use the same steps but forego the binder clips.
Okay so I'm dressed, now I can't fucking move. What is happen.
This is normal. Practise moving in this. Sit, stand, walk. Remember not to hitch your packer higher, even if it would be comfortable. Adjust your walk instead. Voilá, guy-walk. Your feet will be farther apart, you'll find that more comfortable, and that will eliminate the hip-swing that reads as 'lady'. Honestly, getting a packer is way easier than trying to figure out 'what makes a masculine walk'.
You will breathe differently, you will sit differently, you will stand differently, you will eat differently, you will walk differently, you will go to the bathroom differently. It's just the same as if you were wearing a corset.
Bathroom tips: You're going to have to unclip yourself every time you go, and that gives you a chance to re-adjust everything, which you will probably get the urge to do. Your tits will try and move back up and toward the centre over time, and you want to keep pulling them back outwards and downwards. Remember the packer, just take it down carefully. It will be protected by a layer of fabric so don't worry too much, but you may want to either not let it touch the floor or try and 'hide' it in your trousers. This is coming from someone who is terrified of getting 'found out' in the men's room though, so ymmv.
Ugh I'm hot: Yes, yes you are. You will be sweaty, and hot, because binders are 100% elastic and non-breathable, that's why they're mesh and have a mesh back. When you get undressed, rinse your binder in cool water by hand, then wash it by hand with some plain non-lotion soap in a bowl or container of cool water. Rinse again and hang dry (do not wring). Take out your packer and gently wash it with soap and water like you would wash your skin (do not use a scrub or washcloth, do not do not), pat it dry with a paper towel (not a cloth towel, it'll get lint all over it), and let it air dry, then powder it and put it in your drawer. A simple lintfree cloth bag will work too. I just keep mine on top of my t-shirts in my underwear drawer, but I wear mine every day.