Researchers estimate there are approximately 1.4 to 9.1 million people who identify as a transgender person — the identity of a person whose birth sex does not align with their gender identity — in the United States (Doan, 2016; Flores, Herman, Gates, & Brown, 2016). Despite this, there are no known statistics on the economic power of the transgender community because it is usually aggregated together with the lesbian, bisexual, gay, and queer consumer groups. Researchers estimate that the buying power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people within just the US is over $917 billion (“America’s LGBT 2015 Buying Power…,” 2016). Even though the transgender population is a small portion of the LGBTQ population, they represent a significant consumer group and therefore require specific scholastic research pertaining to consumer needs and wants.
Research on clothing and transgender communities typically focuses on political attributes and identity (e.g., Beemyn & Rankin, 2011; Factor & Rothblum, 2008; Gagné, Tweksbury, & McGaughey, 1997; Morgan & Stevens, 2009), with little empirical research that examines the physical requirements of clothing — specifically fit— among this population. Fit is defined as “the way a garment conforms to or differs from the body” (Workman & Lentz, 2000, p. 252). In order to adequately design, create, and procure clothing for transgender consumers, clothing professionals need to understand the specific needs and wants of this population. Due to the incongruence between one’s body and one’s gender identity, current clothing fit that is designed and manufactured for cisgender — the identity of a person whose birth sex aligns with their gender identity — populations may not be adequate for transgender people.