TikTok has become an online destination for all the need-to-know fashion tips, tricks, and hacks you weren't expecting. Depending on your For You page, you may already know about the now-famous Girlfriend Collective sports bra being touted as a binder alternative. My own TikTok algorithm has been serving me up lots of trans and non-binary folks that seemingly can't get enough of this surprising hack. Recommended by and for those with bigger breasts, for whom traditional binders may be uncomfortable, the Dylan Tank Bra seemed perfect for me. I'm a 38H, and, while it would be impossible for me to ever be completely flat, I was curious and excited to try a binder alternative that could be super compressive and actually pleasant to wear. I also decided to try another less-compressive sports bra from GC, the Mia High Neck, to see how it stacked up.
For those not familiar, Girlfriend Collective is an online destination for athleisure and loungewear that's equally beloved for its sustainability (all made from recycled water bottles) and size-inclusivity. (The brand currently carries sizes XXS-6XL.) While it's been an R29 editor go-to for years, the binder angle was completely new to me. According to their sizing chart, I'm supposed to be an XXL, but I've tried GC sports bras with that size and they were too loose. And since I wanted these as a binder, sizing down to XL made sense. That was ultimately the best decision for me and my breasts, although I do get a fair share of side boob.
“We’re beyond thrilled that people are finding a comfortable binder alternative in our compressive tops. We’re always striving to create pieces that serve a variety of body types and this has taught us so much about the needs of our Trans and Non-Binary community members," Girlfriend Collective's Chief Merchandising & Product Officer Justine Liu told R29.
It can be incredibly disheartening when your body doesn't match the vision you have of yourself. For trans and non-binary people, how others view us — and how we view ourselves — means everything. The main non-surgical solution for many AFAB (Assigned Female At Birth) people is to use binders to flatten their chest. But binders are often infamously uncomfortable, especially for larger-breasted folks. That's why sports bras are an amazing alternative, and why so many people were excited by the Dylan sports bra. Does it work? How did I feel? Keep on reading to find out.
Size Purchased: XL
My Rating: 5 out 5 stars
The viral sensation on trans and non-binary Tik Tok, the Dylan Tank Bra is what started it all. And for good reason: when I first tried it on (I ripped open the package as soon as I got it), I cried. I loved how I looked in the mirror. This is probably as flat as I can be without it being painful and hindering my breathing. I was in awe. I've never experienced anything like it before.
I wouldn't use this for two full days in a row, though. I've never used a binder so I can't compare it to that, but it definitely constricted me a little (although not enough for it to be unbearable or painful, just uncomfortable). I've had way worse and more uncomfortable experiences with sports bras that weren't meant to flatten me, and those I couldn't handle for more than an hour. I wore the Dylan tank bra, on the other hand, for a full workday at home and for a trip to Target, and I was more than fine.
[The popularity of the Dylan Bra] has taught us so much about the needs of our Trans and Non-binary community members.
JUSTINE LIU, Girlfriend Collective's Chief Merchandising & Product Officer
My Size: XL
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Mia High Neck Bra is another binder alternative from GC. This doesn't have as much flattening power as the Dylan Bra, but it's perfect for when you want a lighter option. I use it mainly for when I have a full and busy day, am walking around somewhere, or when I'm wearing loose-fitting t-shirts and tops. It's definitely more comfortable and less constricting compared to the Dylan, although you do get the occasional mono-boob and adjustments are required (only once or twice a day).
All in all, these are an amazing and comfortable alternative to binding. For the first time, my vision of myself aligned perfectly with what I saw in the mirror. I could not recommend these enough. If you've been curious about binding, try these. You won't regret it.
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