No disrespect to Karisu-sama intended.
The current Binding Methods thread was made in 2002 and unfortunately many people new to the boards read only the first page or so and do not benefit from "advances" since then.
I made this thread in the interest of the SAFETY and HEALTH of all crossplayers choosing to bind.
TIP FOR ALL METHODS :
Remember, getting 100% "flat" is not actually your goal. It's about SHAPE, not size when it comes to a more masculine look. If you go somewhere that you can try on products, remember to try a shirt on over them, too.
Getting totally flat will actually make your rib-cage look smaller, and therefore more feminine. Sometimes, if your costume or attire permits, you may want to pad out your stomach area / sides where hips to ribs makes curves.
Proven Safe Binding Methods* :
*That safety of these methods relies much on buying the proper size. I cannot guarantee that they are foolproof, either, so please don't try to sue me.
1. Chest Binders from various companies.
As Karisu-sama in the original Binding thread mentions, these can be dyed to a flesh-tone. This works mainly for products with a high nylon content, as nylon dyes well. A highly polyester product would need to have a wig-dye sharpie method used.
a. Underworks. http://ftm.underworks.com/
Of all the brands I've seen, I rate this one the highest. There are no zippers that can fail or velcro that can lose its stickiness. It's simple - but sometimes simple is the best way to go.
The tri-top has been used by many on here to great results. I've seen A-DD completely disappear with it in person, and I've seen people on here with great results for even larger chests. The "Double Front Ultimate Chest Binder" has good reviews as well, but is known for rolling up since it's so long.
These are hands-down the best binders for those with larger or hard-to-bind chests.
Breasts can tend to be more "firm" or "flabby" - while a "flabby" B might be able to use a sports' bra, a firm one might not get the desired results that way.
*I have linked to this particular page because it gives the measuring system for people with female breasts.
The general consensus on here is, if you are right between sizes, err on the side of the larger size. Results may vary, so feel free to ask questions if you're not sure.
Before and after pictures => LINK
Provided by Sisshi :
If anyone would like to share theirs, I'll edit this post.
b. T-Kingdom. http://www.t-kingdom.com/
These binders seem to be best for those with smaller chests or those who don't require much pressure to bind.
If anyone owns these personally, I would love to link to before and after pictures - I haven't seen any of these whereas I've seen a fair number of underworks "before and after" pictures.
c. Love Boat Shop. http://www.lesloveboat.com/shop/index.php
If anyone knows anything about these, please write in. They appear to come in different colours, which could be useful.
2. Sports' Bra.
Your best bet for this is to go to the store and try a few on and see which one squishes in enough but also isn't uncomfortable. Look for the ones that are more "sportswear" than "underwear".
3. 3" or wider elastic from JoAnn's or other craft stores.
You can use safety pins for something temporary, or you can sew this and use those bra extender hooks and eyes to make a closure.
If you plan on re-using this, make sure to pre-wash them first. You'll need approximately 3x your chest (to be safe) - but this might be more or less depending on your exact body.
DO NOT WRAP TOO TIGHT.
DO NOT WRAP JUST "AROUND". You know, like winding yarn around a spool or something ? DON'T do that ! It's not worth it and it will take MUCH more pressure on your rib-cage than if you better distribute the pressure of the elastics.
You need to distribute pressure so it's pressing the breasts DOWN, not necessarily all pressing IN. To do this, you want to bind in an "X" or "K" pattern with the free ends spread out on your back. Since this is hard to visualise on words alone, please see the link below for pictures.
Here is a diagram I drew of how to do this
NEW Photograph of the above : LINK
OPEN SHIRT METHOD
This is a little different, since it operates on different principles than a full binder. It's pretty safe, but you need to be very careful - do a test beforehand and make sure your skin isn't too sensitive to the tape used (you don't want it peeling off or breaking out).
NEW link to a tutorial (hopefully this one doesn't *poof*) : LINK
It's better to use medical tape that's designed for skin, though, especially if you have sensitive skin. Make sure you read the package for removal instructions. I've heard that removing during a shower can help.
Please be aware that using tape CAN cause skin sloughing, rashes, irritation, and even scars.
NEVER use tape all the way around your chest. Doing so will restrict your rib-cage too much. For optimum comfort, try not to overlap the tape in the back - this will allow your rib-cage to expand horizontally in the most normal manner.
SIGNS YOUR BINDING IS TOO TIGHT :
Difficulty breathing (you should NEVER have trouble breathing while binding, EVER)
Sharp pains around your sternum or any other area
Some people notice that they feel "depressed" or "upset" before they realise there's pain - please be aware that this could be a symptom of binding being too tight.
If you ignore any of these signs, you can be in for hundred-fold pain after a long day of wearing that too-tight binding. You can cause serious damage that way, and even if it's not permanent, 8 hours of feeling like your chest is breaking isn't worth it.
Binding Proven to be Unsafe :
1. ACE bandages. These were not made for your chest. These were made to compress - like a boa-constrictor that gets tighter every breath you take.
Do not use these. Your health is worth at least the $3 it takes to buy and pre-wash those 3" wide elastics. Seriously.
2. Using non-stretch or barely-stretch fabric to make your own binder or to tie around yourself.
3. Using tape completely around your chest - see open shirt biding section above for details on how to do this safely.
Questionable Methods :
There are a lot of "makeshift" devices that can work for some people, such as girdles and lumbar-support devices. However, I'd think that it's better to invest in a $30 binder than to buy a $20 girdle that wasn't made to go over your ribs and lungs.
Use these with caution and stop if anything feels wrong. These are really a last resort and I wouldn't recommend buying one specifically for crossplaying - you're better served by any of the proven "safe" methods.
Open to revisions, additions, comments, et cetera.
Bonus : FTM Makeup link