We Asked Bergdorf, Barney’s, and Saks About Fitting Room Access for Transgender People So You Didn’t Have to

We cold called sales associates at seven fancy department in stores to see if they could ensure access to transgender people who needed to try on designer womenswear.
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We cold called sales associates at seven fancy department in stores to see if they could ensure access to transgender people who needed to try on designer womenswear.
Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks offer very different transgender shopping experiences. 

Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks offer very different transgender shopping experiences. 

It’s holiday season and everyone’s out shopping in maniacal pursuit of expensive-looking dirt cheap sweaters for their family. But we still need to pick out clothes for all the dressy occasions in our lives.

You may remember we asked high street stores about their fitting room access for transgender people. Most stores were prepared for every customer, but Zara and Victoria’s Secret weren’t as familiar with being accommodating. This time, we cold called sales associates at seven fancy department in stores in New York, West Virginia, Rhode Island, and Texas to see if they could ensure access to transgender people who needed to try on designer womenswear. At Saks, they had “several very good male clients in Chanel.”

But because we were cold calling with questions about how trans-inclusive their operations were, our questions did unfortunately trip some people up, so we were sure to be specific. The sales representative in Dolce & Gabbana at Bergdorf Goodman hadn’t heard of the term “transgender people,” but she said that it wouldn’t be an issue for a transgender woman to try on clothes.

Here’s what they said:

1. Nordstrom in Austin Texas (Womenswear)
What’s your fitting policy in terms of access for transgender people?

It’s whatever makes people feel comfortable so if they feel more comfortable up in the women’s room, there’s no problem with that at all. I can’t speak on behalf of the other customers, but as a company we’re not one to discriminate so there shouldn’t be any problem.

2. Neiman Marcus in McLean, Virginia (Womenswear)
What’s your fitting policy in terms of access for transgender people?

I don’t even know. I wouldn’t be able to give you the policy, I personally haven’t seen it so i couldn’t answer that, but you could always speak to a manager. [Hold..] Oh we have special areas if they want privacy, and we can set that up so there wouldn’t be any issues.

3. Barney’s (Womenswear)
What’s your fitting policy in terms of access for transgender people?

Anybody can use any fitting room.

Do transgender people change in the women’s fitting area?

People do that, absolutely. I mean if anybody needs any kind of privacy we can find a different room, it’s up to the client. We’ve had some customers who like privacy. We can find a different fitting room that’s not part of the bank. Some people are fine with it [being in the less private bank.] It depends on the customer.

4. Bergdorf Goodman (Dolce & Gabbana)
What’s your fitting policy in terms of access for transgender people?

What?

Transgender.

What is that? “transgender people?”

Someone who is born biologically with male characteristics, but identifies as a woman and is transitioning into a woman.

Yeah, sure.


Can they use the women’s fitting area to try on women’s clothing?

Yeah. Um yeah it’s not a problem.

Does it happen?

It’s not common, but if it happens, it’s not a big deal. Hold on hold on hold on

…(back to operator)

5. Bloomingdale’s
What’s your fitting policy in terms of access for transgender people?
Sales Associate:

[Pause] Oh, I think you would follow the traditional policy. I really don’t really know. I think a manager, I’m going to transfer you to a manager.

Manager:

We can accommodate anyone, there’s no problem at all.

6. Bloomingdale’s (Outlet in Rhode Island)
What’s your fitting policy in terms of access for transgender people?

Honestly we have no policy. Anybody can come in and use our fitting room anytime they would like to.

Has a transgender woman who is still transitioning used your rooms?

We’ve had that many times yes. It’s all in the same area, we have seven fitting rooms that close, but they all have their own separate doors so it’s unisex changing.

7. Saks Fifth Avenue (Chanel Ladies Designer Department)
What’s your fitting policy in terms of access for transgender people?

Our fitting rooms are open to anyone. The women’s fitting room is by the Chanel stockroom, so it doesn’t matter if it’s a male of female who was a man needs to change.

Does it ever happen?

Yes of course, a lot we have several very good male clients in Chanel.

Reprinted with permission from Styleite. Check out similar stories from Styliete: 

What’s the Fitting Room Policy for Transgender Women at H&M, Zara, and Urban Outfitters?
Barneys Recruits 17 Transgender Models For Spring Ad Campaign
Transgender Model Geena Rocero on the Gender Acceptance Paradox, and How Fashion Still Gets it Wrong