Thursday, February 5, 2015

Buying Clothes

Trying on and buying clothes is one of the most frighting experiences for many transgender persons, especially in the early part of their transition. I hope that the information below helps to elevate this a bit.


Like many people when I first started shopping for myself I just bought what looked like the right size and left. I was scared to try things on. After a while I realized I was wasting money and time returning things that did not fit. The reality hit that for women, trying clothes on is just a fact of life... Not everything fits the same and you can't just trust that you wear a size 12 and that is that.

I also learned the hard way that what may seem the easiest choice, the thrift store, is often the most embarrassing... It didn't take too many visits to realize my best bet was to just head to the mall and buy some damn clothes that fit. I was surprised to find that this was easy to do and in most cases the people working at the stores didn't even bat an eyelash.

It is with this in mind that I have decided to complied a list of stores that have trans-friendly dressing room policies. I have contacted a great deal of popular stores and created a list below of the responses that indicated a solid trans-friendly dressing room policy. When I contacted them I asked the following question:

"I was wondering what, if any policy your company has for allowing transsexual and or transgender persons use the dressing rooms."

Note that employees at these stores may or may not know that these policies exist so you still may experience discrimination. In my experience if you are unsure simply ask if you can try something on. Even when told "no" or that I had to go to the men's dressing room I have never had anyone been flat out rude to me. Also, if possible, having a letter from your therapist saying you are diagnosed with GID helps as well.

Stores That Seem To Have Trans-Friendly Dressing Room Policies

  • American Eagle: "Our AE stores have fitting rooms that are shared by all customers and are not specific to any particular gender. Some stores are multi-level which may have fitting rooms on a women's floor or a men's floor but they are not assigned to that specific gender." -- I have never had a problem in American Eagle, even when presenting as man bringing female clothing into the dressing room. The same policy applies to their lingerie store Aerie.
  • Anthropologie: "We welcome anyone interested in trying on our apparel into our dressing rooms."
  • Gap: They have unisex dressing rooms and do not discriminate in any way. This same policy applies to Banana Republic, Old Navy and other Gap brand stores. I have never had a problem at any Gap brand store even when presenting as man bring female clothing into the dressing room.
  • Express: "We have no policy against anybody using our dressing rooms. We consider anybody and everybody a valued customer." -- Again, no problems at Express.
  • Macy's: I have never had a problem here... As far as I know they have a LGBT friendly dressing room policy in place.
  • Victoria's Secret: "If a male customer requests a fitting room at a busy time of day, or there are female customers in the area, we ask him to come back at a time when the shop is less busy. If there are one or two females in the fitting rooms, and it is a shop where there are additional fitting rooms free from female use, we will allow him to use a room free of female traffic." -- Not exactly the most trans friendly wording but I have never had a problem at Victoria's Secret. the did my bra sizing while presenting as a man!

I will be adding to this list as times goes by.

Shopping Online

For some people, shopping online is a great option. Especially for breast forms, gaffs, and padded briefs. There are literally thousands of options [insert shameless self promotion for my store] and the important thing to remember is that you should order from a store with reliable return policy. There is nothing worse than getting stuck with clothes you hate or that don't fit cause the return policy is convoluted. 

9 comments:

Sophie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaye Schmus said...

For the plus-size crowd, Torrid and Lane Bryant are pretty accepting. I've tried on clothes in both stores dressed either way, regardless of how busy the store was.

Katherine said...

Sophie, I completely agree, if you love a store and comfortable shopping there then by all means shop there. As I said in the post though not all stores are the same. I have had the worst (and most humiliating) experiences in thrift stores since I started my transition.

Love the clothes though!

Anonymous said...

thanks babe ! very helpful and reassuring !

Maya said...

Myself, I've never encountered any issues when asking to try on any girl clothes at forever21 (even bras)
However, I'm not sure wether I've just been lucky and encountered really understanding employees, or if this is actually store policy.
Either way, love that store and will always continue to shop there~

Anonymous said...

I've used the changing rooms at Catherine's, Lane Bryant, Dressbarn, Talbot's, Lord and Taylor, Nordstrom and many more without any problems. I even impressed the store manager with my fashion choices and was offered employment as a sales associate which I accepted. That was over 2 years ago and I am now the manager of not only that branch but another as well.

Anonymous said...

Rue 21 has been incredible
Very accepting and easy to deal with. As was marie claire.

Anonymous said...

Target also has trans friendly dressing rooms

Unknown said...

Chico's and Cato have been friendly to me. Some Versona stores are ok others are hesitant. Steinmart is ok with using the ladies if you are dressed as a lady otherwise you can take the ladies clothes you wish to try on across the store to the men's fitting room. I like to leave a skirt or two in there so the next guy is wtf