During Felix Johnson’s transition, his only source for transgender underwear was online shops. “I never went to an actual store,” Johnson says. “That could have helped me.”
At the time, no shops existed. No signs displayed inclusive advertisements for the types of garments Johnson needed to outwardly present the way he felt inside. Despite increased awareness of the transgender community, the group continues to be underrepresented, something Peregrine Honig, owner of Kansas City, Missouri’s All is Fair, hopes to change through underwear.
Honig also owns Birdies, a standard lingerie store. She consistently heard from customers, the trans community, and mothers of transitioning youth about the need for specialized undergarments. “It’s a matter of individuals being as comfortable in public as they are in private,” Honig says. “Being uncomfortable in your clothes is a human problem.”
All is Fair, which will open in January, is working to fix that problem. As the first boutique transgender lingerie store in the Midwest, All is Fair will serve both trans men and women and includes sizes for teens.
Honig worked with designers and Kansas City’s transgender community to create a line of high-quality and affordable garments, including binders, tuckers, and cinchers—all aimed at enhancing or reducing certain body parts. Developing the best product possible has been challenging, but important. “We all make a statement when we go out into the world with our clothes,” Honig says. “I want everyone to feel good.”
The goal is to create a haven where the transgender community feels comfortable. Besides customers, Honig thought about how employees and design would affect store dynamics.
She hired both trans and non-trans workers, all of whom have gone through extensive employee-sensitivity training. And because a frilly lingerie store interior wouldn’t suit the clientele, All is Fair emanates a clean and modern design.
“We had to ask, ‘How would a trans male feel in a lingerie store?’” Honig says.
Inclusion is one of the main tenets of All is Fair—something Johnson predicts will be a critical part of the store’s success. Going to an actual store to get help with things like binders—a garment that flattens the chest—would have been a great resource during his transition and a way to meet other people like him, he says.
Besides the added convenience, trans lingerie stores provide public awareness. “People don’t know much about transgender people, but if they see a store, they are reminded that they exist,” Johnson says. “If they see it more, it would motivate people to better understand the difference.”