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"The Gift of Gender Joy" text with nonbinary person smiling

Nov 17, 2023

How to gift apparel to the non binary person in your life

Finnegan Shepard Founder of Both&

So, you know and love someone who is non binary. Maybe it’s a friend, or a child, or a partner. Regardless, when it comes time to getting them gifts, you (rightfully) have some hesitations. You want to give them something special, that they will love, but you also aren’t entirely certain of what they would want, what would fit them, and if something would trigger dysphoria, which you of course want to avoid.

In this guide, we are going to give you some simple tips and recommendations so that you are empowered to give gifts that will spark gender joy for the people you love.

 

Fit for non binary people

One of the most common misconceptions that cisgender people have when it comes to clothing and gender queer identities is that the decision tree is the same for non binary and trans people as it is for cisgender people.

If you are cisgender and are shopping for clothing (either online, or in person), the experience usually goes something like this:

  1. You enter the space, and choose the category or side of the store (mens, womens) that refers to you.

  2. Certain styles call to you, so you click on them/go over to them and inspect them. Is it a color you like? How does the fabric feel?

  3. You find your size, and either order it or take it to the dressing room to try on.

  4. The end.


If you don’t identify with the binary, your experience shopping is very different. It looks more like this:

  1. You enter the space, and aren’t sure which category or side to go to, and feel awkward in both.

  2. You peruse, trying to sleuth out something that you like. Unfortunately, you don’t get to prioritize style, because you are aware that 99% of the clothes you see won’t fit you the way you want them to, so you’ve trained yourself to hunt for fit first.

  3. Maybe you are in the men’s section and you find a t shirt that looks quite boxy and not too long, which makes you hopeful. You grab a M, L, and Xl (because you never know what size will fit), and head to the dressing room.

  4. In the end, the M is the right length, but it’s a bit tight around your hips, the large is too long and wide in the shoulders, but it doesn’t trigger dysphoria at your hips, and you are swimming in the Xl. You decide the L is better than nothing, so you check out, feeling more isolated and dejected than ever.


So what’s going on here?

The issue is that because fit has already been established as a ‘baseline’ for cisgender consumers, they have the luxury of then thinking about style. We as trans or nonbinary customers often don’t have that luxury. For us, the number one goal is to find clothing that we can feel comfortable in, and then from there, we can start to personalize and build out our style.

So, this leads us to our top recommendation if you are trying to buy apparel for a non binary loved one: prioritise fit. Everyone’s taste varies and continues evolving. But having some core clothing that feels good, looks good, and aligns with your gender identity is a game changer.

 

Brands that focus on non binary fit

For the purposes of this article, we want to clarify that we are focusing specifically on fit for AFAB, masc presenting people. While non binary, unisex, androgynous, and agender often get mixed together in the world of fashion, the core point we were making above is that body shape matters. It doesn’t define gender or gender presentation, but it does define the proportions of your body and therefore the fit patterns of clothing that will feel good.

So with that in mind, we are going to introduce you to three brands that have different takes on addressing fit for AFAB, non binary people.


Kirrin Finch

Kirrin Finch is a ‘menswear inspired’ brand that makes high end formalwear, suits, shirts, and slacks for masc of center individuals. They have been around for about a decade, and have a loyal following of enthusiasts who praise the quality of their fabrics and fits. Please note that this brand leans more in the direction of butch or androgygnous presentation.

Wildfang

Wildfang, similar to Kirrin Finch, focused on clothes made for AFAB people with ‘masc’ elements or style woven in. Their belief is to embrace masc, femme, and everything in between in their clothing. Again, this brand leans more towards gender queer and lesbian culture.

Both&

Both& started out focusing specifically on fit for trans men, and has since expanded and developed a loyal following amongst AFAB masc presenting people of all different gender identities. They are laser focused on perfecting masculine fit in high quality, stylish basics, and have collected thousands of data points to build a new fit and sizing system. Many of their customers cite that upon finding Both&, they had no idea it was possible to wear clothing that actually fit the way they wanted it to.

 

Where to start?

The reality is, everyone’s gender journey is different, and there’s no one size fits all solution to purchasing the perfect apparel gift for your loved one. However, as we have stated in a number of different ways throughout this article, our top recommendation is to start with fit. While it may seem simple/boring, as a trans or non binary person it is a truly revolutionary experience to put on a shirt or a pair of pants and have it fit your body exactly the way you want it to, to be able to look in the mirror and see your true self reflected back at you.

If you want to give the gift of fit but don’t know which garment to give, then you can always start with a gift card, or try Both&’s redeemable ‘kit’ options, that come in a lovely card and give you something physical to gift, while still allowing your loved one to do the selecting thesmelves.

Both& has three of these redeemable card options, starting with a t shirt, going up to a t shirt and pants, and finally, the luxury kit option of any t shirt, any pair of pants, and either a hoody or sweater to complete the outfit.

Gift a shirt
Gift a shirt and pants
Gift a shirt, pants, and layer