Trans Lifeline Library:

Gender Affirming Shopping

Explore this guide for help on gendered sizing and more!

Andreas Praefcke, National Art Library, Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Gender Affirming Shopping

First things first: there are a lot of “rules” about clothing and gender. For example, did you know that traditionally, men’s shirts have the buttons on the right side and women’s shirts have them on the left? However, one of the joys of being trans is deciding which of these gender “rules” we want to follow, and which ones aren’t for us. Transitioning does not mean you need to get rid of clothing that you love and feel good in, just because of the department you bought them from originally. These items can transcend the binary and just be your clothes. You may also want to set some favorite pieces aside for storage rather than get rid of them. It’s better to hold onto them for a few years than spend the rest of your life wishing you hadn’t gotten rid of that sweater.

That being said, we use the common department store categories in this guide, but we believe that anyone can shop in whichever departments they want to, regardless of the labels attached to those clothes.

General Shopping Tips


Size Conversion/Measuring Tips

Look at a brand’s sizing charts online before you shop, especially if you’re uncomfortable using dressing rooms. This enables you to more accurately and efficiently grab what you’re looking for.

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Women’s/Juniors Dept

When shopping for women’s clothes, it helps to know that junior sizes use odd numbers, and adult sizes use even numbers on their size tags…

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Girls/Boys Dept

Generally, kid’s clothes are cut in a more unisex way, with the main differences usually pertaining to styles, patterns, and colors. For this reason, parents may have an easier time when it comes to shopping for younger trans kids.

Vanity Sizing

Learn about vanity sizing, a practice that is designed to either make you feel better or worse when shopping, depending on the brand’s values and image.

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Men’s/Guys Dept

Learn about how men’s pants and belts are sized.

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Bras and Binders

Learn how to measure yourself accurately for both bra and binder shopping.

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Free/Frugal/Low Cost


Free Gender Affirming Items

Check these resources to request free gender affirming items.

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Budget Shopping Tips

Check these tips for building your gender affirming wardrobe.

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General Shopping/Misc


Good Shopping Advice

Gleam a few more tips and Reddit resources to check out.

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Trans Retailers

Check this guide to retailers who sell gender affirming prosthetics and products (many of whom are trans themselves).

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