FAQ and Return Policy
Return policy: We will be happy to alter or replace any binder within 45 days of its receipt. Due to the customized nature of our product, we do not issue refunds.
This is a very long FAQ! Please look through for the answer to your question before contacting us. Thank you!
I. Ordering Your Binder
How do I order?
Each binder is made-to-measure. When you order, please include your measurements in the Notes field at checkout! See our How To Take Measurements page for details, and note that our default binders have a 20" limit on length. If you'd like a special fabric, check out our Custom-Print Binders listing!
Oh, no! I forgot to put my measurements in the Notes!
No worries! Send them over to us via our Contact Page with the name you used on the order.
What kind of customizations could I get?
We will be happy to widen or narrow the straps, raise or lower the armholes, or set the straps closer to the neck or farther apart, upon request for no charge. We can also include a stiff insert for smaller chest sizes, exclude it, or widen or narrow the stiff insert by up to 2", also upon request for no charge. If you're not sure what you need, we recommend you try our standard fit first!
Many further alterations may be purchased via Add-Ons, including a racerback cut, increased length up to 32", zippers, and a lace overlay.
May I request a color or print you don't have listed?
Yes! We have access to a huge range of colors, and we love going fabric shopping. Much of what you see on the store is there because someone asked for it. Please contact us with your request!
What does your fabric feel like?
Pretty slick if it's shiny, pretty soft if it's not. The binding mesh is close-woven, a little less smooth than the outside. Please order samples to find out for sure! We find there's no better way to be 100% certain of texture and color before you place your order.
Do you sell strapless binders?
Because we are dedicated to designing and making binders that fit all sizes safely and securely, we do not offer strapless binders.
I have an idea for a cool cosplay binder you should make!
I have a question you haven't answered here!
Please contact us via our Contact Page!
Okay, I sent a message / replied to an automated email, and you haven't answered!
We strive to respond to all inquiries within 2-3 business days. In order to provide the best quality service possible, we make it a policy to limit our correspondence to the business hours of 9am-6pm EST. If your inquiry was sent outside of these hours, please be assured we will get to it in the order it was received.
Thank you so much for your patience!
II. Awaiting Your Order
How long will my order take to be made?
We currently have a 4-6 week wait time between order and shipping. Each binder is handmade to measure in our small studio, and some are hand-appliqued for further customization. We appreciate your patience as we work to shorten our wait times.
How long will my order take to ship?
Shipping time is dependent on your location! We are shipping from the northeastern USA, and you will receive an emailed tracking number when we ship your order out.
Do you ship internationally?
Yes! Shipping cost is automatically calculated at checkout. Note that we do not and cannot cover import fees or tariffs for any particular country - customers in the UK especially may wish to check appropriate VAT regulations before ordering.
How is your packaging marked?
All binders are shipped in unmarked white envelopes from Brattleboro, Vermont, without the company name on the outside. If you are outside of the United States, the customs form will list the contents as "Clothing."
I need to change something about my order!
No problem! Please contact us ASAP with your order number and the changes you need made, in as much detail as possible.
III. Receiving and Wearing Your Binder
How do I launder my Shapeshifters binder?
Always wash cold, either hand-wash or delicate machine cycle. Hang to dry.
Can I swim in these?
Paddle around in a swimming pool? Absolutely. Dip into a river? We've done it. Go rescue someone drowning in the ocean? Not advised. As with every exercise, this depends heavily on your physical abilities. Listen to your body, take it slow at first. If you are generally concerned about getting out of breath, we encourage you to order a slightly looser model. Also, much like any swimsuit, a binder will last much longer if it is rinsed thoroughly after each swim.
In addition, we recommend picking something from our Swim-Suitable category! These binders provide maximum opacity and do not snag on any passing object.
How warm do these get?
We have four levels of warmth (and sweatiness.) First, plain or nude mesh binders have only binding layers: three in the front, and one in the back. These are light and breezy, easily our most breathable option.
Second, layered mesh binders have a single thin layer of fashion mesh over the binding layers. They breathe well and are ideal for summertime.
Third, standard binders with a solid color or a print can get sweaty. There is still a mesh layer next to your skin that keeps the sweat from sticking close, but they need to be washed frequently.
Finally, reversible binders, with a solid color or a print on both sides of the binding mesh, will definitely get warm fast. Sweat will collect on the innermost solid layer and stick it to the skin. Not recommended for hot climates.
I'd like to give away my Shapeshifters binder to someone in need of one.
IV. About Shapeshifters
Who are you?
We are a rainbow-flavored couple located in southeastern Vermont, hand-making each and every product to measure in our own small fragrance-free studio. We've been doing this for three years, full-time for one and a half, and hope to keep at it for many more. One of us identifies as trans, and both of us wear our products full-time.
Do you make anything else?
Yes! We sell lightly-compressing sports bras over at Selkie's Closet. If you or someone you know is in the market for a comfortable, custom-sized bra that holds everything in place and looks awesome, please check it out!
Do you have social media?
I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
You're in luck! We just started one. Sign up here!
V. Chest Binders 101
What are these, anyway?
Chest binders are undergarments meant to flatten the chest. Many folks of many genders wear them for many reasons.
What are they made of?
The inner layers are medical-grade power net: strong but soft. The outer layer is a 70/30 lycra/nylon blend of printed spandex. If the difference between your bust and underbust measurement is greater than 5", your binder will also come with a strong, stiff insert across the front made out of 8" wide knit elastic.
Are they safe?
In general, yes. If it hurts when you put it on, then no, and you should take it off right away. We recommend not binding for longer than you have to - the conventional wisdom dictates an eight-hour maximum, but this number will vary widely from person to person. Also, it is never a good idea to wear your binder to bed.
In addition, many potential individual issues may hinder breathing and make binding variably unsafe, including but not limited to: asthma, scoliosis, chronic chest pain, fibromyalgia, and preexisting chest injuries or respiratory illnesses. We blog extensively about binding with various conditions, and making binders which are helpful for people with some of these conditions, under the tag Binding Safety. Please do peruse this link if you have any concerns!
Do they work?
Can't I just bind with Ace bandages?
For your sake, please don't. Ace bandages are designed to get tighter as the day wears on. They will slowly constrict around your chest like a very flat snake and eventually crack your ribs. Then you will not be able to bind at all without stabbing pains. If you persist in this course, you will eventually puncture a lung with a jagged end of rib. Please, please, do not do this. We know you saw it in that one zine / webcomic / comic book / music video. We have seen them all too. Each time, it made us cry a little and die inside. And that's why we make binders.
What about with duct tape?
No. It's inelastic, so breathing with it is even more likely to bruise or crack a rib. It's not designed for skin contact and will irritate the hell out of your skin. When something goes wrong and you're in severe pain, it will take far too long to peel off.
But Lady Gaga did it!
Briefly. And if she bruised a rib in the pursuit of pop art, well, she has better healthcare than most of us.
This one is more complicated, and we urge you to do your research if you're thinking of binding this way. Some people swear by it. Others report severe troubles. We at Shapeshifters suspect that the tight elastic in sports bra straps, edging, and underbust bands is not meant to actually compress your chest, and so the 'two tight sports bras, one worn backwards' method will probably have a similar effect as Ace bandaging, if milder and over a longer span of time. Meanwhile, the actual fabric of most sports bras tends to have a lot of give, so even if a single sports bra binds at first, it will probably wear out earlier than the nylon/spandex mesh we use.