Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Shopped ‘Til She Dropped

I never get tired of shopping for women’s clothing. Browsing through the racks and finding a half-dozen outfits to take to the changing room is just as much fun today as it was when I would browse through my mother’s closet and find outfits to try on in front of her full-length mirror.

Just writing about shopping motivates me to take a day off to go shopping. After all I do need something new to wear when I attend the upcoming trans conferences (as if I don’t already have a half-dozen dresses hanging in my closet that still have their price tags attached).

Someday my tombstone will read, “Shopped ‘Til She Dropped.”


“How can someone who is transgender shop for clothes in the women's clothing department/stores?” is a question that Quora readers took stabs at answering. The readers’ responses offered some good advice (read it here), but I wanted to add some of my own advice.

👩 If a store associate is available when going to the changing room to try on your finds, play dumb and ask where the changing rooms are located. I do this whenever possible for insurance purposes; if somebody complains about a dude in the lady’s dressing room, the dude can say that’s where the store associate told me to go.

👩 Take as many outfits as possible to try on when you go to the changing room. Some stores limit the number you can take in, some don’t, but in any case, go for the max in order to minimize the number of times you have to strip off your street clothes.

👩 Shop at smaller women’s clothing stores rather than big department stores. You won’t get a lot of hands-on assistance in large department stores, however, you usually will get assistance in smaller women’s clothing stores. For example, when you are ready to try on your finds, an associate may “start” a dressing room for you (your very own queendom) and sometimes they will even put a sign on the door reserving that room for you with your femme name emblazoned on the sign. If something is the wrong size, the associate will fetch another size to try on saving you the trouble of getting back into your street clothes to do the fetching yourself. Savvy associates will size you up and recommend clothing for you to try on (the polka dot dress I wore on this Christmas card was an associate’s recommendation; she even suggested accessorizing with red heels and a red bag, which I did).

👩 Speaking of street clothes, wear an outfit that you can strip off and put back on easily. I own a sweater dress that has a full-length zipper in front, which is perfect for quick undressing/dressing. Jumpsuits also work well.

👩 The associates want to sell, so if they compliment you on what you try on, take the compliment with a grain of salt. If you go shopping with a friend, your friend’s compliments may not be any more valuable than the store associate’s because your friend may not want to hurt your feelings. So here is a way I get an independent appraisal of what I am trying on… I step out of the dressing room on the pretense of viewing myself in the full-length mirrors usually hung throughout the store. My goal is for another customer to see me while I am doing this. If they gush over what I am wearing, it is a bingo! Whenever I have done this, other customers always check me out while I am checking me out and if they like what they see, they let me know.

👩 For a quick self-appraisal, take a selfie or have an associate take your photo. The difference between what you “see” in a mirror and what you “see” in a photo is surprising ― trust the photo, not the mirror. (Remember to turn off the flash if you take a selfie in the dressing room; you don't want to be accused of being a pervert taking photos of other customers.)

Shopping for women’s clothing is almost as much fun as wearing women’s clothing! So go girls and have some fun.

Source: Intermix
Wearing Rag & Bone blouse and Alexis skirt.

Brendan Jordan
Brendan Jordan


  1. I don't do this often, but here's what's worked for me. a) Shop in a big department store that has both male and female clothes. b) And has a system of hand-baskets (In the UK this would be Debenhams, also John Lewis's). Grab the female item(s) you are interested in, and them move to the male department, and add a couple of male garments on top. Use the male changing rooms to try on all garments. Simples!

  2. I do lots of thrift store shopping and minimal purchasing of new items (except online). I do wish to try buying new from department stores and hope to use the fitting rooms!

  3. I've done both of the above. Kohl's (US) have black bags for shoppers and change rooms that are not staffed. Put your female stuff in one of the bags, go into the male changing rooms, and try on your femme stuff. Kohl's also often has items on discount too.

    Thrift stores also usually don't have staff at the changing rooms, and often the changing rooms are unisex.

    I have found that Macy's often have multiple changing rooms. Some are off by themselves. Macy's never has enough staff so you can find something, slip into the isolated changing room, and try stuff on (done this at two different Macy's, including one in downtown Chicago).

    I never tire telling this story. You can be upfront and ask the staff. I was planning a makeover at Sephora and wanted to try things on at the Nordstrom in the same mall. I went as a guy and asked the SA if that was OK. She checked with her boss and said it was fine. I got her contact details. She ended up pulling about 15 dresses for me for my day out and although she wasn't working, handed me off to another SA (sales angel) who was equally fabulous. They love having me come in, because I'm a customer who doesn't complain and they feel good about helping me. I also leave the dressing room, and sometimes talk with the real GG's. One mom was trying on a dress for her daughter's New Year's Eve wedding, and had on a beautiful gold dress. I told the mom she looked great, as did one of my fav SA's. The next time I was in, I asked what dress the mom bought, and my fav SA said she bought a different one than the one we recommended. I told the SA I wanted to try on the black and gold dress, and the SA took maybe my best picture ever while dressed (didn't buy the dress though).

    I got lucky, but I have to imagine there are other SAs out there who are willing to be as kind and friendly to CDs as my sales angels have been.

  4. P.S. to my previous post. Congratulations on your ten year anniversary. Reading stories like you present in your blog has made me more courageous in getting out and about.