How do I order a binder?
First, pick a style! Are you here for the scales? Do you like rainbow prints? Maybe your style tends toward bright solid colors that pop from under a shirt collar. Or maybe you’re here for a binder that matches your skin tone and looks invisible from a distance.
Once you’ve picked out your style and chosen a color or print from the available options, consider your length. Pricing tiers consist of short (12″-16″), mid-length (17″-22″, +$5), and long (23″-30″, +$25). All lengths are vertical from shoulder to hem, when laid flat.
Now it’s time to take your measurements. You’ll find a measurement guide in each listing. Take all measurements as directed and enter them where indicated! Note that if your preferred binder length won’t cover your stomach or hips, you can just enter ‘0’ for the Hip and/or Stomach measurements.
Scroll down a little bit and you’ll see customization options: right now, we can offer zippers, racerback cuts, and hoods on any garment. Pick out what you want; prices will be added automatically as you select your add-ons.
Finally, you’ll see a handful of free and low-cost customizations around the arms, neck, straps, and specific fit. We recommend passing these by on your first round. Try out our original fit, and if you find something about it doesn’t work for your body, use these options to adjust! Remember that each order comes with one free re-fit if you need it.
Can you tell me more about the cut and fit customizations?
We are happy to widen or narrow the straps, raise or lower the armholes and neckline, taper in the waist, or provide a relaxed fit. Many customers find the relaxed fit helpful for long days, high activity, swimming, and times of reduced lung capacity.
Low Arms, High Arms, Low Neck, and High Neck all alter the standard cut by 1″. Wide Straps and Narrow Straps vary with size; our narrowest possible strap is 1¼” wide.
For folks with a 6″ or greater difference between Chest and Underchest measurements, we automatically add a stiff insert (a strong, two-way stretch band of flat woven elastic) to the front of the binder. This is excluded for relaxed fits. Upon request, we can exclude this; include it for smaller chest sizes; or widen or narrow the stiff insert by up to 2″.
If you’re not sure what you need, we recommend you try our standard fit first!
Will you make something in my size?
Yes. Everything in our store is made-to-measure, with no size limit.
We offer flat pricing across all sizes.
What’s the difference between your binders and your sports bras?
It’s all in the construction and sizing! Both our binders and sports bras start off with the same strong power mesh base, but from there they diverge to create two different garments for two very different purposes.
Do you have any giveaway programs?
Yes! We are currently partnering with Out In The Open to give away free, custom-sized binders to rural QTBIPOC folks in need – if that’s you, sign up here! You can also sign up for our newsletter to get announcements about giveaways and regular sales. Finally, we recommend checking out Point of Pride and your local LGBT resource group; we donate to various groups across the country.
Where’s your custom prints / glitter binders / space / scales?
They’re coming! We are re-opening orders in phases to make sure we can handle production without getting too slowed down. Watch for more products in April, May, and June of 2021!
The binder I want is sold out!
That’ll happen! Because our studio is covid-safe, our production capacity is really limited, and it doesn’t take much for us to get overwhelmed. We will restock on the first day of each month. Sign up for our newsletter, check the front page, or follow us on social media, and we’ll let you know when things are back in stock!
I have a question you haven’t answered here!
I sent a message, and you haven’t answered.
We strive to respond to all inquiries within the week. In order to provide the best quality service possible, we make it a policy to limit our correspondence to our business hours, Monday – Friday, 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!
Current Wait Time & Shipping Info
How long will my order take to be made?
Each Shapeshifters garment is made to measure in our Vermont studio. Under normal working conditions, our order turnaround time is 4-5 weeks.
Under pandemic conditions, this time fluctuates wildly depending on circumstances very firmly out of our control. If it’s been more than six weeks and you haven’t heard anything, feel free to email us for an update – we may be trying to get in touch with you about your order.
How long will my order take to ship?
Shipping time is dependent on your location! We are shipping from New England in the USA; you will receive an emailed tracking number when we ship your order out.
Note also that we are in the USA, and our postal system is limping along after a brush with extinction last year. We deeply appreciate your patience and understanding.
If you’re a US citizen and agree that we should have fixed the post by now, we invite you to send a cutting email or place a crisp phone call to any of these crusty old white men in charge.
I need to change my order before it’s shipped!
Can I pick up my order if I’m local?
Yes! We offer no-contact pickup at our studio in Brattleboro on Fridays. Choose “Local Pickup” at checkout; we’ll email you the details.
How is your packaging marked?
We value your privacy and safety highly. All of our garments are shipped in unmarked, recyclable mailers from Brattleboro, Vermont. They have our return address on the outside, but no company name. If you are outside of the United States, the customs form will list the contents as “Clothing.”
Do you ship internationally?
Yes. We ship to everywhere the United States will allow us to ship. Shipping cost is automatically calculated at checkout. Note that we do not and cannot cover import fees or tariffs.
International customers please also note that we take measurements in inches.
In particular, we highly recommend customers in the United Kingdom check your current VAT regulations, as your post office will charge you at pickup. We cannot cover any customs fees.
Can you use the word “gift” or change the price on my customs form?
While we understand that import charges can get expensive, we cannot falsify our customs form. Doing so would run the risk of becoming flagged for package inspection, holding up shipping times, and even having our shipments refused entirely, making us unable to serve our international customers at all.
The Making Of
Where are these made, and by whom, and why?
Each and every Shapeshifters garment is hand-made by our team in our small studio space in scenic Brattleboro, Vermont. By keeping our operation small we can ensure quality, an unlimited size range, and a wide array of individual adjustments and customizations.
Because all of our customers have their own needs and tastes, and because no body is the same, every Shapeshifters binder and sports bra is made for its individual customer. Each one is a unique garment created to our customers’ specifications and no two are alike.
What fabrics do you use, and where do they come from?
The inner layers of our garments are a strong but soft power mesh, an 85/15 lycra/nylon blend which we are proud to source domestically from within New England. The outer layer of non-mesh garments, accessories, and dress skirts is typically a 70/30 lycra/nylon blend of four-way stretch spandex. This is usually either sourced from deadstock fabrics based in New York City, or custom-printed in North Carolina.
What are you doing to mitigate your environmental impact?
I’m so glad you asked! Our base fabrics are sourced from a mill in Rhode Island; our outer fabrics are either from New York or North Carolina. Because we prioritize environmental impact, labor ethics, and supply chain accountability, we do not source fabrics overseas, and we try to find sources as close to us as possible.
Our product packaging is 100% recycled poly mailers, recyclable with plastic bags. We pack using EcoEnclose products, and highly recommend them!
Our small fabric scraps go to a local pickup bin for an international charity, which puts them through a fabric shredder to make mattress stuffing. We give our larger scraps away to our local circus college, theatrical efforts, and other crafters; when there’s a buildup, we ship grab bags of large scraps to crafters and makers all over the world. We also make our own accessories!
If we make a mistake in manufacturing, or need to replace your garment with a larger one during the re-fitting process, we keep the non-fitting garment, launder it, and stock it for event and rack sales. If we don’t sell it off the rack, we’ll donate it to an LGBT center, shelter, student group, or binder redistribution group like Point of Pride.
Our office paper comes from a local paper mill, and we do not shop at Amazon for any supplies or furniture. If we can’t freecycle, we buy used, or employ local craftspeople to make what we need.
We’re fortunate to live in a small Vermont town that has both recycling and compost pickup! We share a dumpster with our neighbors, and the majority of our landfill trash is un-recyclable packaging from inbound shipments.
As we all make our way into the mid-21st century, we at Shapeshifters firmly believe waste reduction is an extremely high priority for our continued collective survival. To that end, we’re dedicated to working with suppliers to develop more environmentally-friendly materials, refining our production process to reduce fabric waste, and keeping our various supply chains as local as possible. If you have suggestions or ideas, please let us know!
What are you doing to keep folks safe during the pandemic?
All shifts in the Shapeshifters sewing studio are now staggered; no two people occupy the same space at the same time, unless they’re already quarantining together. HEPA air filters are changed regularly. Every worker has their own set of tools; all tools and all surfaces are sanitized at the end of each shift.
All employees have unlimited paid time off for as long as we can sustain it.
Thank you, always, for your patience and your support as we navigate this world with as much care as we can muster.
Wear & Care
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.
How do I wash these?
Always wash cold, either hand-wash or delicate machine cycle. Hang to dry.
Can I swim in these?
Note that we recommend garments in the Swimsuitable tag! Avoid mesh and lace. (Mesh can be transparent; lace can snag.)
Like any swimsuit, a binder will last much longer if it is rinsed thoroughly after each swim. Please bear in mind that regular swimming in chlorine pools can fade the color from metallic prints more quickly than regular wear.
Finally, as with every exercise, your capability to do it while binding depends heavily on your own physical abilities. Listen to your body, take it slow at first. If you have concerns about getting out of breath, we encourage you to select a relaxed fit.
How warm do these get?
Mesh garments have only mesh layers: three in the front and two in the back. These are light and breezy, easily our most breathable option.
All other garments have a solid color or a print on the outside of the binding mesh. There is still a mesh layer next to your skin that keeps the sweat from sticking close, but they should be washed frequently when it’s hot. Shiny prints like Scales and Sparkles, in general, will be warmer than non-reflective fabrics like Rainbows and Space.
I’d like to give away my binder to someone who needs one.
Cool! That’s really awesome of you. If you drop us a note and send it back, we’ll give it away via our Youtube channel (where we can best show it off!)
We also recommend reaching out to your local LGBT center, a local homeless shelter (especially one for LGBT youth, if you have one in your area!), a student group, or Point of Pride. Any of these organizations would love to get your binder to someone who needs it.