Home / ‘We’re Done Hiding’: A First Lingerie Line for Transgender Women
Bare Necessities

If the images above seem completely ordinary to you, then Chrysalis Lingerie has done its job.

The first collection from this new NYC label represents something of a breakthrough in alternative fashions: the perfectly-named Chrysalis is the first lingerie line designed for, and by, transgender women.

For the estimated one million American adults who identify as transgender, this is no small milestone.

“A lot of women have been waiting a long time for something like this,” Chrysalis co-founder Cy Lauz told Lingerie Talk.

“Speaking from personal experience, I found no products that specifically cater to transgender women. There are some things for cross-dressers and drag queens, but they’re all sexually exploitative.

“I wanted a product that actually celebrated who we are, something that made us feel beautiful but is also practical.”

Now, for the curious, let’s get to the big question: What exactly distinguishes lingerie for the TG market?

Chrysalis will launch this spring with a basics collection of bra-and-panty ensembles in five colors. The power-mesh panty is designed to create a seamless look by using a special panel that “tucks us in,” Cy said, while the bra comes with hidden pockets that hold full-cup inserts to create the appearance of a natural bustline.

The result is a product line versatile enough to work with different body shapes and still achieve traditionally feminine lines. (The models used in Chrysalis‘ promotional photos are all TG women.)

The brand is also planning a couture collection that will use its technical innovations in teddies, shapewear, lingerie and even swimwear.

Various studies estimate up to 6% of the adult population identifies as transgender — people who experience some degree of dysphoria related to their birth gender, and who frequently choose to live as a member of the opposite sex. About two-thirds are male-to-female transgenders, which is the audience that Chrysalis was designed for.

Only a small percentage of transgender women are pursuing sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy that can help them develop natural female curves. As a result, finding appropriate undergarments can be a challenge, and shopping for underwear in women’s stores also presents obvious difficulties.

Chrysalis answers a lot of problems and questions for transgender women regarding their underwear,” Cy said. “It gives them peace of mind. You don’t have to think about it anymore.”

Chrysalis Lingerie is the brainchild of Cy, an interior designer and fashion stylist, and partner Simone Tobias, the creative director of a menswear brand. The company got its first public exposure last fall when it was featured in the Style Network documentary, ‘Born Male, Living Female‘.

For its founders, though, Chrysalis is about a lot more than fashion: it’s about the politics of acceptance for a misunderstood and maligned community.

Chrysalis wants to change how transgender people are viewed,” Cy said. “We want to make people look at transgender people as human beings.

“We’re done hiding. We’re done keeping quiet. We are a very diverse community, we do exist, and we have explicit needs.”

Although 16 U.S. states have enacted non-discrimination laws that specifically protect transgender people, the TG community still faces widespread discrimination, marginalization and even violence. It is also one of most widely misunderstood groups in society, burdened by stereotypes of flamboyant drag queens and viewed as a kind of sexual deviance. Gender identity disorder is still listed as a mental illness in psychiatric reference texts.

“One of the the things that’s definite in our lives is your gender,” Cy said. “When something blurs that line, I can see how other people would feel threatened by that. It shakes your reality.

“We don’t want to paint a picture of what a transgender woman is supposed to look like,” she added, “but we do want to change how the outside community relates to us.

“We all have one common denominator — we’re all still human beings. And we want to be acknowledged for who and what we are.”

A chrysalis, the cocoon stage in the life cycle of a butterfly, is the perfect symbol for what Chrysalis Lingerie is trying to achieve, she said.

“A chrysalis is also a metaphor of transformation,” she said. “But in order to transition, you need to create a space where you are safe and loved.”

Because their first collection has a traditional, minimalist look that wouldn’t be out of place on the shelves of Armani or even DKNY, Chrysalis risks being accused of trying to make the TG community appear more “normal” as a way of conforming to societal expectations.

The company knows this, and is highly sensitive to the complex politics of identity in the LGBT world, Cy said. Chrysalis isn’t pushing a one-size-fits-all vision of TG life, although it is staying away from explicit fashions that can reinforce stereotypes and further marginalize transgender women.

“I feel there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s really sexually explicit in nature,” she said. “We’re just trying to balance the market.”

And the timing is right for something like Chrysalis, she added. While news events like this weekend’s decision by the Miss Universe Canada pageant to bar a TG competitor still get the most attention, public acceptance of gender-variant people is also growing. Portrayals of TG characters in TV and films is becoming more common, and in 2010 the Obama administration appointed TG activist Amanda Simpson as an advisor to the Commerce Department.

“The whole world is embracing the fact that humanity comes in different forms,” Cy said. “Life is so vast and so glorious there has to be more than two ways of living your life.”

Watch for the first collection from Chrysalis Lingerie to appear on the company website soon. Products will be for sale online and, hopefully, through progressive retail boutiques.

Posted in Lingerie News

31 Responses to “‘We’re Done Hiding’: A First Lingerie Line for Transgender Women”

  1. Treacle says:

    I just shared this with a transgender friend of mine. Thanks for the sneak peek!

  2. Amanda says:

    I had seen the promotions for this last year and was very excited about it. I didn’t hear anything more and was concerned that the company wasn’t going to launch. I am very happy to learn that this line will be hitting the market soon. I can’t wait!!!

  3. Noƫlle Anthony says:

    Fabulous. Thank you for this write-up – it’s heartening to see that there are resources like this out there for us.

  4. Moi says:

    Great idea, I’m looking forward to seeing this stuff.

  5. Francine Merry says:

    Will they be available in the UK?

  6. Felix says:

    Fantastic! My fiancee will be so pleased to see these items and no doubt I will be buying her a few treats from Chrysalis! :-) X

  7. Sara says:

    This is fabulous……so many girls are too shy to actually walk into a store and buy undergarments….this will fix that problem!!!…..thank you so much!!!!now ill have another place to buy things other than Kohls and Victoria Secret….lol

  8. Tricia Black says:

    Thank you for writing this.. the ensembles are so cute and tastefuly done too! It is about time something like this has been done and in this manner! I’m very pleased they even include my favorite color purple. :) Much Luv&Respect.

  9. Allison Taylor says:

    Finally somewhere for us to find the right bras and panties etc .I am so happy to see this and will let all of my TG friends know about it :)

  10. Bonnie Cavanaugh says:

    all i can say is its about time… and thank you

  11. Michelle says:

    There is no such word as transgendered. Please do not use it. Please change the word in your article. It should be transgender. Not transgendered.

  12. Brina says:

    Great idea.
    Down-to-Earth pricing, please! : )

  13. Wendy Summers says:

    A fantastic concept and the article was totally awesome. My only concern is that it didn’t mention if this new line will be designed for better fit. I live fulltime as female and have no hesitations about going into a store and shopping for what I want. However, finding a bra that actually fits properly is still difficult. The breasts of a biological female are usually closer together than those of a transwoman.
    Therefore, when the cup size is correct, the band length is too tight. If the band length is correct, the cups are too big. And often the sholder straps are not quite long enough, causing the bra to tend to ride up.

  14. Charlotte Deneice Windham says:

    I am a transgender woman,and I love that we have transgender lingerie for us special ladies,and beauty queens that should be in all ladies pageants. Love Charlotte Deneice Windham in Mississippi

  15. Mary says:

    When are [they] going to be up and running? Love this site and showed it to my 14 yo transgender daughter. As a parent, I really appreciate the class that your site is already showing. Can’t wait to see more.

  16. Fernanda says:

    I love the idea, can`t wait till it launch up, i am a one step of transitioning, and this keeps me motivated, i am from Mexico, and yeah, i`ll try my best to bring this brand to my country too!! We as human beings need this kind of companys, because people are so close-minded, and only TV or fashion, can change a little bit the way they see us, so i hope this works well, i don`t care if is it going to be an expensive lingerie, i worth it :D , kisses and hugs, to all my TS an TG comunity… Fernanda

  17. Hendrikus says:

    Great initiative, I’m from the Netherlands.
    And my work is in a male inviroment, and regulary Male collegues are starting up conversations about transgender LADYS.
    I think its good, it gives me the opportunity to serious correct them if they
    Start talking funny about trangender ladys, like guy meet’s nice lady in a bar….. you know!

    Yes I admit that I’m well atracted to trangender Ladys and my thought is So what!
    If you Love somone I don’t see a problem at all.
    Only wish for me is that I new this 24 years ago when I started a relation
    With my pressent wife, can’t leave her I treid but that would destroy her life still so much in love with me!

    I bed on it that there are huge amount of men with the same problem.
    Ok maybe all of this is off topic here but I hope this will help some of you shy ladys. I’m glad you,ll exist!

    Kind regarts Hendrik2801

  18. Carol tommie says:

    Hello no matter where I shop. I am glad to be a woman ! It’s the best !!!:)

  19. Alyssa says:

    Ughhh, I cannot deal with how AMAZING this is, I can’t believe it’s taken this long but finally! Transgender people deserve respect, just as everyone else. I am so excited for everyone who can finally get a step closer to feeling comfortable in their own skin, as all should.

  20. Sena says:

    Ohh god yes bras designed for wider rib cages

    I have been waiting for this for so long ;~;

  21. Rebecca Kling says:

    This is a great write-up, and (as a trans woman myself) really awesome to hear.

    That said, I’m curious where you got that “[an] estimated 30,000 American adults who identify as transgender.” A quick Google search shows this off by an order of magnitude or more. There aren’t good, solid numbers on a lot of LGBT issues and demographics, let along trans folks, but a quick Google search shows estimates ranging from 900,000 to over five million (PDF warning). Not a huge deal, but – if possible – it’d be awesome to either share where you got that number or to correct it. Thanks!

    • RIchard says:

      Thanks Rebecca. You raise a very good point.

      I’m not sure where I got that number during my research; I suspect it’s a bungled reference to the oft-quoted number of 1-in-30,000 :-). In any case, it’s wrong and I’ll repair the article.

      Although it’s difficult to come up with an accurate number for the TGTS population, I’ll use the 1,000,000 (U.S.) estimate which is now more commonly referenced by researchers.

  22. Iain says:

    Finally, at long last, stuff that will fit properly. I wish Cy and the team every success. Now we just need some brave souls in the shoe market to follow suit :-)

  23. Shaun-Adrian Chofla says:

    I am a gay ally and so happy to see that this is available for my sisters! Thank you!

  24. Selena Martinez says:

    I love parents like yourself. Your daughter is blessed to have you as am I to have my mom. Sending love. Selena

  25. Selena Martinez says:

    I am so happy about this. I am a transwoman, a mom and nursing student, no hesitation at all to shop anywhere but finally quality feminine undergarments for us. You have me for a customer for sure. Love is louder than exclusion

  26. Raquel Valle-Riestra says:

    Thank you so much for creating this beautiful line. Now I know what I’m getting my daughter for her 22nd birthday in May!

    You ROCK!
    Raquel

  27. C says:

    I know it’s ‘just underwear’ but things like this mean the world to me.

  28. Leda Ferreira says:

    I hope that this line of lingerie is launched in Brazil soon! :)

  29. zoey says:

    I was so excited to read this and thought my prayers had been answered but when I went to the site I seen that for one thing the selection is really small and not very pretty at all and secondly the panties are 85 bucks a pop that’s crazy I should at least get two pairs for that price. So my hopes were raised and then smashed back the ground because this is nothing new this the same crap every trans specific clothing line dose gives you nothing choose from and makes the prices outrages :/ maybe one day we can have nice panties and bras like others girls but not today

  30. Emily Grey says:

    Thank you so much. It’s so wonderful to have beautiful things for all girls!

Leave a Comment