Store FAQ

My garment doesn’t fit, what do I do?

While we love getting a garment right on the first try, the trick to making a custom garment fit perfectly is having the client try it on to note where alterations need to be made. Unfortunately we can’t have every one of our customers come into our studio to try their garment on before taking it home, so instead we send it to you to try on and wear it around. If you find it doesn’t fit the way you like or need it to, contact us via our Contact Page with your order number and some details about what isn’t working. Our Co-owner and Head tailor, Eli, may ask you some further questions to clarify or help you identify what specifically needs altering, and will direct you to our private Alterations Form to fill out so that we have a clear and concise record of what alterations you need. Then just follow the directions on the form to return your garment to us.

As every product is customized and made-to-order, we do not issue refunds.

Ordering

How do I order a binder?

First, pick a style!

Once you’ve chosen, head into that listing, pick out a color or design, and consider length. With our two pricing tiers, binders up to 18″ are the base price, and everything over that up to 30″ adds an additional $15; you will have the chance to specify an inch measurement within these ranges. All lengths are vertical from shoulder to hem, when laid flat.

Now it’s time to take your measurements. You’ll find our Measurement Guide under Info in our main menu. Take all measurements as directed and note them down in the form on the listing.

At this point you can either decide to check out, or you can continue to the Add-ons section! Here you can fine tune your binder and purchase additional customizations.

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.

For folks with a 6” or greater difference between Chest and Under-chest measurements, we automatically add a stiff insert (a strong, two-way stretch band of elastic) to the front of the binder. This is excluded for relaxed fits and Front Zippers. 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.

Our binders are cut with a straight seam down each side and finished with a simple flat-serged hem at the bottom, and can be just short enough to cover your chest, long enough to cover your hips, or any length in between. When sized correctly for a binder, this creates a garment that flattens and smooths, giving you that flat profile you’re looking for.

Our sports bras are cut with a tapered-in side seam and finished with a folded-under hem that sits just under your chest. When sized correctly for a sports bra, this creates a garment that supports but doesn’t flatten your chest.

Do you do sales or giveaways?

We will run occasional sales to clear out discontinued fabrics, to tie into an event, or just because the season takes us. At least once a year we’ll also run an Off-the-Rack sale where we clear out some of the pre-made binders we collect over the year that were either remade for a customer or to use up some fabric that hasn’t sold. We also partner with Out In The Open, our local LGBTQ+ organization here in Brattleboro, Vermont, to provide free binders to rural LGBTQ+ folks in need via their Binder Giveaway.

Where did my favorite fabric go?

In order to focus on making a consistent quality product that we’re proud of, we’ve decided to limit the number of garments number of garments being sold each week, which unfortunately means not stocking all of our options at once. While our tried and true best sellers – Skin Tones, Mesh, and Solid Colors – will stay year-round, our other fabrics – Holographic, Scaley, Stripes, etc – will rotate out from month to month based on seasons, holidays, or just what we feel like having in stock at the time.

If there’s a fabric you’d like to purchase that you don’t see in stock, please feel free to Contact Us! We have a general schedule for the next six months for when certain fabrics will rotate back in stock, but if there’s enough interest, we may bring something back sooner.

The binder I want is sold out!

But only for now!

In an effort to focus on creating a consistent, high-quality product, we’ve decided to start limiting the number of orders we take from week to week. So you may have missed the chance to order your binder this week, but it will be back in stock Monday morning.

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 garment take to be made?

All of our garments are custom-made and made-to-order by four very talented tailors who each work on separate schedules to keep our employees and ourselves safe during the pandemic. Each garment is made in the order that it was purchased.

Custom Binders and Sports Bras take 2-3 weeks to make and ship.

For Binder Dresses and Custom Design Commissions, please see their respective listings for production times. If you have already commissioned a custom design, please refer to your invoice.

If you haven’t received a shipping notification within that time, please check the email you used to place your order and your spam folder in particular as it may have been caught there, or we may have been trying to contact you to clarify something about your order.

If you have no email from us, please feel free to contact us via our Contact Page OR if you have already been in contact with us about your order, please reply directly to that email chain.

How long will my order take to ship?

Shipping time is dependent on your location! We are shipping from Vermont in the USA; you will receive an emailed tracking number when we ship your order out.

Note also that the United States Postal Service 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!

Please contact us with your order number and the changes you need made, OR if you have already been in contact with us about your order, please reply directly to that email chain if you still have access to it. If you’re changing your shipping address, we will need your full new address, including zip code and preferred name on the package.
If you’re changing your measurements, we may not be able to accomodate this after your garment has been cut, so get those corrections in as soon as you can!

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?

Our base fabrics are sourced from a mill in Rhode Island; our outer fabrics are sourced domestically. 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. The exception to this is our source in Portland, Oregon, who supply us with recycled poly spandex for our solid black and solid white binders! The fibers are made from plastic bottles. It’s pretty neat.

Our product packaging is 100% recycled poly mailers, recyclable with plastic bags, and tissue paper and stickers both made with recycled and recyclable materials. 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 alterations process, we keep the non-fitting garment, launder it, and stock it for events and Off-the-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.

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 our campus dumpster, and the majority of our landfill trash is un-recyclable packaging from inbound shipments.

We at Shapeshifters firmly believe waste reduction is an extremely high priority for our continued collective survival. To that end, we’re dedicated to buying 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?

Shifts in the Shapeshifters sewing studio are now staggered so no two people are working in the studio together unless they’re either already quarantining together; or it’s specifically requested by the employee and all parties consent, which can be revoked at any time for any reason. HEPA air filters are changed regularly. Every worker has their own set of tools; all shared tools are sanitized as needed.

All employees have paid time off should they need 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?

Yes!

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, in general, will be warmer than non-reflective fabrics.

I’d like to give away my binder to someone who needs one.

Cool! That’s really awesome of you!

We 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.