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Shopping Bag

Tips for shopping for lingerie as a Transgender woman



Written by - Bluebella
Buying lingerie online can be a confusing experience. As a Transgender woman, and all Transfeminine, Gender non-conforming, Gender Non-Binary people presenting as female, there is more to consider than just finding a set of lingerie you like the look of.

It can be daunting to shop for lingerie and depending on how far along you are in your transition, and how comfortable you are with going into a store and being fitted, shopping online is often the easiest option.

Bluebella aims to be as inclusive as possible and is proud to have many customers within this community. The wonderful customer care team often receive questions about fitting lingerie as a Trans woman, and so they reached out to see if we could help with some tips.

Start with finding your size:

The first place to start is to work out your size. There is currently no standard sizing available for this community, and so there will be some trial and error involved, and perhaps some returning of the wrong sizes until you find what works for you.

There are many bra size calculators online, and Bluebella has one here

Steps

    1. Grab a tape measure

    1. Firstly, measure the fullest part of your bust by making sure the tape measure is flat and horizontal against your back. This is the over-bust measurement

    1. Measure around your back, just underneath the bust, making sure the tape lies flat against the skin but not too tight. This is the under-bust measurement

  1. Compare the two measurements using this chart below. For example, if your under-bust measurement measured 34 inches and your over-bust measured 36 inches, there is a different of 2 inches, which means your bra size is 34B.
Bra cup

Bra cup size chart


Bra cup

Bra underband


Whilst this is a great place to start as it gives you an indication of size, there are other things to consider.

Your anatomy is very possibly different to that of a cis woman. Trans women tend to have wider ribcages and less softness in the chest and around the upper torso, and so you may be more comfortable in a larger band size than you measure as.

Don’t worry, bra extenders are available online to extend the size of the bra band if you find the bra you want isn’t available in your size, so this could be an option that works for you.

Things to look for that will make your lingerie wearing experience a better one:

    • Look for styles with a wider gore (that’s the bit in the middle between the cups). Trans women often have a wider set ribcage and so a bra with more space at the centre front will be more comfortable.

    • Bras with longer and fully adjustable straps will work better for you, as they will accommodate your height and torso length better.

    • Bras with a larger band size may only be available in larger cup sizes as most brands tend to assume this is a plus size customer. You may have to use inserts to fill the cup and give you the desired overall shape.

    • Wearing a garment with wider straps will give the illusion of a smaller frame, as the straps will be more proportional in most cases than skinny straps.

    • Wired or unwired? Wires may be uncomfortable as they are often not wide enough set, so an unwired bra or bralette could be the most comfortable option. Wearing wired bras after chest surgery could be uncomfortable, so be careful not to wear anything that causes you any discomfort.

    • If you are looking for a bodysuit, you may have difficulties finding something that accommodates your torso length, so again, look for styles with fully extendable straps to add length to the garment.

    • High waist knickers and shapewear often work well as underwear.

    • Styles made from a more rigid mesh work well for support.

  • Always try to buy breathable fabrics if you can as these will be more comfortable than any other.

We hope these tips help you to make the experience of buying lingerie online an easier one. We have tried to cover the basics, and the questions most often asked, but appreciate there are many more that you may have. Once the lockdown is over, and if you are comfortable going into stores to be fitted, then do so, this will be the best way of getting your true size and fit, and the more Trans women and Transfeminine people that request fittings the more likely stores are to provide the service.

The most important thing is that you are comfortable and not wearing anything that causes you any discomfort or pain, and of course that you look and feel amazing in your new lingerie.

Written for Bluebella by Bok Goodall and Winn Austin. Founders of My Size CIC, https://mysize.org.uk creating the first global sizing standard for Transgender women.
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