Home / Revamp: First Transgender Lingerie Line Heads Back To The Drawing Board
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Cy Lauz was sure she had thought of everything in the two years of planning that led to the launch this month of Chrysalis Lingerie, the first fashion lingerie line developed for transgender women.

But she wasn’t prepared for the haters.

After nearly a year of production delays — and a blizzard of advance media coverage — Chrysalis launched its online store on May 1, offering a small but unique ‘basics’ collection of undergarments designed to address the most common anatomical challenges faced by TG women.

It should have been a triumphal moment for Lauz and co-founder Simone Tobias, two TG women who self-financed the new label while working day jobs in marketing and fashion design in New York. Instead, the launch of Chrysalis plunged them instantly into the fractious politics of the transgender community and made the label a lightning rod in the debate over what — and who — defines a transgender woman.


“The launch was bittersweet,” Lauz (right) told Lingerie Talk. “The majority of our experience has been positive, but we were caught off guard by the hate in the trans community, especially from trans feminists.”

Critics on social media complained that the size range offered by Chrysalis was too limited to accommodate larger customers, that the products weren’t attractive and that they were too expensive. One commenter on the Chrysalis Facebook page called for a boycott of the young label, while another critic posted a lengthy YouTube video in which she ravaged the new line and said her TG friends were “heartbroken” with disappointment.

Even worse, Chrysalis was accused of ignoring the diversity of their community and promoting a stereotype of TG women as lithe, shapely beauties by selling only to smaller customers with ‘natural’ proportions and womanly figures. In short, being too feminine.

“In an effort to provide lingerie for the marginalized transgender community, Chrysalis has resorted to an attitude that does nothing to challenge traditional cisgender beauty standards,” wrote a blogger named Teagan on the lesbian culture site Autostraddle. “They have created a line of bras that fit trans women who mostly fit into our traditional model of ‘beautiful woman’.”

[Note: The term ‘cisgender’ is used to describe normative gender identity, referring to people whose biological gender at birth matches their gender identity and expression later in life.]

Chrysalis Basics Collection, T-String and Enhancers

For Lauz and Tobias, the critical pile-on was shocking and deflating. Especially since, as they write on their website, Chrysalis was started “to help change the dehumanizing stereotypes and biases we are subjected to as a group and community [and] symbolizes the diversity of our existence.”

“All these women took it so personally. It really disheartened me,” Lauz said. “Our whole lives (as TG women) are met with misunderstanding, so to turn around and attack people in your own community is hypocritical and really absurd.”

But Lauz and Tobias didn’t waste much time licking their wounds. Instead, they reached out to their customer base and have gone back to the drawing board to address the issues raised.

And they haven’t lost sight of the fact that most of the feedback has been supportive.

“We continue to receive orders from all over the world from our customers who love and support our brand and our mission. We continue to get daily emails even from people ‘outside’ of the trans community,” Lauz said.

“And as a brand we want to reach all corners of the world and address and try to resolve issues that effect transgender women, and to promote positive consumer education about our products.”

The Chrysalis basics collection currently includes two multi-functional garments, offered in five colors. For bottoms, they offer the truly unique T-string, a 4-in-1 garment that combines a thong with a high-waisted control top and a gaff (a rigid elastic panel which smooths out the front). Its bras are called enhancers, with pockets to accommodate a range of inserts for those women who want to increase their bust profile.

Lauz knows their size ranges — the enhancers go up to a 38D — won’t help some larger TG women with broad masculine physiques. But Chrysalis wasn’t trying to exclude anyone, she said.

“Some people took the intention of what we’ve done and turned it around to make it sound like we just cater to specific group,” she said. “They expected a larger variety of sizes and felt we ignored them. But we didn’t ignore you. It’s all we could do at the moment with our (financial) resources. Please allow us time to grow.”

Chrysalis is currently working on a relaunch of its debut line that will include more sizes and colors for its T-string and new bras with wider band sizes and smaller cup sizes. The revamped line will also included a new bikini-shape brief and some more inexpensive pieces.

The company has been running polls on its Facebook page and sends out questionnaires with all its sales orders to get customer feedback. Lauz and Tobias are also featured in two videos (above) on the Chrysalis FB page that offer a backstage look at the company and the story behind its revolutionary T-string.

They also decided to not to remove critical comments from their Facebook page in order to encourage discussion and debate.

“We’ve acknowledged the problems from the start and we’re taking it very seriously,” Lauz said. “We want people to know that we are a company that does care about them and wants to solve their problems. For us this is beyond commerce — it’s about trying to make TG women’s lives easier.”

And the public concerns about garment sizes, she noted, points to a bigger issue — how the fashion industry has ignored the needs of the growing TG marketplace.

“There is a great need for products beyond lingerie and undergarments for the trans community,” she said. “And Chrysalis is here to show the world of enterprise that investing in the trans community can be a lucrative and sound investment.”

Preview images of Chrysalis Couture Collection

Chrysalis originally planned to follow-up its basics line with a couture collection that promises to be more fashion-forward, more seductive and more expensive. That collection is still coming, Lauz said, but it’s been put on the backburner because “we want to make the demands of the trans community more of a priority.”

The expanded basics collection is expected to be available in the Chrysalis webshop in the fall.

In the meantime, Lauz and Tobias will also be busy building bridges and trying to promote positive messages within the TG community.

Chrysalis is at the beginning of our journey and we are excited to be a part of a growing industry where we have the opportunity to grow along with our customer base,” Lauz said.

“For us Chrysalis has been a true community effort where we encourage our customers to voice their needs and wants. Chrysalis was created to improve the lives of transgender women all over the world and we stand by our motto … ‘Made For You, By You‘.”

Posted in Lingerie News

10 Responses to “Revamp: First Transgender Lingerie Line Heads Back To The Drawing Board”

  1. Lisa Romo says:

    While some might see the response from the transgender womens community as a negative, I see it as a wonderful opportunity for Chrysalis to emerge as a very positive force in the community. There is clearly a demand for their products and Chrysalis looks like they have heard and are responding in a very professional and concerned manner. Who wouldn’t see the response from the transgender community as an opportunity to give the community exactly what they want? Clearly this community has been grossly underserved and now the path is clear on how to meet the need. Consider the alternative, Chrysalis debuts and nothing, no response, no demand, no passion. Here there is passion and responses that challenge Chrysalis to respond. I know it must be heart breaking to put your heart and soul into a project but it appears clear Chrysalis will respond and ultimately prosper with their target audience. I have every confidence this will be the case.

  2. Debby says:

    I am trans and I agree that some of the negative reactions were over the top. BUT(!!!) I among with many others was flabbergasted by the prices! $85 for a pair of panties? There is simply no way I could spend that amount in good conscience. That is $85 for 1 pair of panties!

    I do wish Chrysalis success and hope that they try to provide a greater range of sizes as many of my sisters have requested but I also hope that they can bring their price point down to somewhere in the range of reasonable.

  3. Savannah says:

    Referring to trans women who criticized the product (not to mention the anti-woman language that Chrysalis used to describe why their products weren’t for everybody) as “haters” is totally inappropriate. I only hope that wording is not a reflection of how Chrysalis itself describes trans women who might not have an enthusiastic response to their product/presentation.

    I see more problems for Chysalis down the road if this reflects their attitude towards our community.

    • admin says:

      To be clear, the word “haters” in this article was mine and was never used by Cy Lauz in my interview with her. In fact, I didn’t get the impression from my conversation with them that Chrysalis was “anti” anything. They seem to be trying sincerely to correct early miscommunications and to refine their products based on what people have told them. – Richard

    • Stevie says:

      I agree with Savannah. A complaint that the size range disregarded many, if not most, in the TG community should not be characterized as “hate.” I understand that an article of clothing produced by a start up in the US is going to be far more expensive than a mass produced article produced in Asia. But how much have I spent on dead ends that didn’t work?

    • Savannah says:

      Any language that divides women into categories of ‘natural’ vs. ‘unnatural’ (even implicitly) is anti-woman, whether that was the speaker’s intention or not.

    • e says:

      Savannah, I have a feeling you would find fault in just about anything. I, on the other hand, applaud the work that Chrysalis is doing. Our community is moving forward not because of the constant attacks from the feminist wing of the trans movement, but because of the tireless efforts of people who are going out there with a positive attitude and making change. I will wager that Chrysalis, with it’s publicity and boldness, has done more to further our struggle than anything the trans feminists have done. Anger, over the top PC labels, and just a general disregard for fellow human beings are the calling cards of trans feminists and many within the community are tired of it. Don’t you ever get tired of hearing yourself scream?

  4. Miki says:

    To be honest the needs are there and fairly easily met I.E. wider set cups on bras and smaller cups on bigger bands. Wider crotch panties not over the top on style just some minor modifications! I have been searching for bras on the net and have found scant few that are wider set breasts with some exceptions in over seas sites bras for women that have had augmentation. Personally I have been using mastectomy bras they do have wider set cups and smaller cups but lack normal bra looks! You would think it would be easy to ask the jobbers to set the cups wider and make the crotches wider there are minor differences between us and a genetic girl

  5. kyla says:

    I don’t know who this is or what happened but i sure the hell know i would never buy that bra or panties they both look like a joke to me.
    Why is the panties SUPER big in the front going half way up the body? and why is it a G-string in the back??? i don’t like G-strings at all.

  6. Red Durkin says:

    I’m sorry but, “you failed to consider the needs of broad chested, small breasted women in your sizing choices for your line of trans friendly lingerie” is not an out-of-left-field, uber feminist criticism. It’s JUST something that should have been anticipated. I’m not brimming over with sympathy here.

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