Ask Hannah!

I enjoy your site and frequent it fairly regularly, but I keep wondering why you keep doing all these photo shoots. Do you pay for these yourself, with maybe some being covered by some of the companies you review? If you pay for them yourself, what purpose do they serve? Is it just to have photos for your blog posts?


This is an excellent question.


One reason I do photo shoots is to take pictures for products I am reviewing.  It’s one thing to talk about how amazing breast forms are or how cute a dress is, it’s another to show something off.  I believe it also lends some credibility to whatever it is I am writing about, too.  Usually when I do a photo shoot it is because I was sent something to review and if I am going to do all the work to plan a shoot for one outfit or product, I may as well take other photos too.  Some shoots are paid by the company I am modeling for, and some I pay for.

Of course, not every shoot is for a product review.  Some shoots are to mark a milestone, in a way.  Last year I did a shoot that featured a couple of outfits that I never thought I’d be brave enough to wear… but I got over it.  I had always wanted to wear dresses with halter and/or thin straps but I was afraid that my shoulders were too masculine to pull them off.  My body didn’t change, it was still the same as it always was, but what shifted was my thinking and I stopped caring about how my shoulders looked.  I did the shoot to symbolize my, uh, getting over it. 

I did another shoot in May of this year that I jokingly referred to a “Because I’m Alive” shoot.  I was feeling a mix of gratitude and joy and elation from simply being happy with life and bought some super cute dresses to wear.

 
I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that some shoots are done for sheer vanity.  I like how I look, I love looking at photos of myself in a cute dress and an amazing makeover.  I also try to keep my website fresh with recent photos and regular shoots are a good way to do that.


I do shoots for a variety of reasons, and they are a lot of work.  But I wouldn’t do them if they weren’t fun, either.  It’s a lot of fun to work with my friend and photographer and to shoot in places she picks.  Whether we’re shooting in downtown Minneapolis or at a park or in a cool hotel, she has a good eye for interesting and fun locations.  She’s also great at getting the right angle and pose and lighting so getting the photos back is also a lot of fun and validating.  I want to look cute, I want to look feminine and seeing photos that capture this side of me makes me incredibly happy.

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!

Ask Hannah!

Sometime ago you reviewed some silicone thigh pads and you really liked them. Some time has passed since then and maybe you could update us on your experience with them?  They look great when you’re standing, but what are they like in the rest of your daily life, e.g. sitting, walking, crouching, picking up something off the floor, lying down on your back or on your stomach or on your side?  Have you ever slept with them? Or ride a bicycle with them?


I still wear them, and I still heart them.  They give me a figure that I want, but one I don’t have.

Like most things related to crossdressing, there is a bit of a learning curve but they really didn’t take long for me to get used to them.  I wore them in boy mode under femme jeans for the first few days and I was delighted by how well they stayed on and never moved around.  There is an adhesive that comes with them but I don’t use it as they stay in place just fine.  They move with me, although it takes a LITTLE time for them to stay in the same place. 

When I first put them on for the day they move around a tiny bit but it doesn’t take long for them to stay secured and move effortlessly with them.  Your body temperature and your skin’s heat help keep them in place.  When I wear them, I will be wearing either tights (which helps them stay in place since they rest on my thigh and the side of my stomach) or stockings and my corset.  The corset helps keep the top of the pads in place and the stockings keep the bottom of the pads where they belong.  They move with me, whether I am sitting or getting in or out of a car, kneeling down, going up and down stairs, or laying down.  Honestly I forget I have them on (until I see a mirror or my shadow and it’s like va-va-voom).  Compare the two pictures below. The first is with thigh pads, the second is without. HUGE difference.

The only… well, I hate to call it a downside, but something to remember that since they change your shape (which is what I want), they do, well, change your shape.  I will try on a dress in boy mode and it’ll fit fine, but when I start getting ready and wear my thigh pads and breast forms I have different measurements and the dress doesn’t fit properly.  Since I’ve gotten my thigh pads I’ve learned to take my measurements with my thigh pads on.  

They are versatile, beautifully made, and essential.  I have never ridden a bike with them but I’m sure I could.

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!

Time, Money, and Patience

If I have a philosophy, it’s “crossdressing takes time, money, and patience”.


This side of us takes time because we learn over time.  We get better at makeup the more often we put makeup on.  None of us are born with a steady hand and are able to do a perfect cat-eye every time we wear eyeliner.  Time is also essential when it comes to embracing this side of us.  I fully believe we are born this way, even if this side of us doesn’t “wake up” until later in life.  I was always this way but when I was very young and I saw the mannequins at JC Penney wearing beautiful lingerie… well, something just clicked.  Like a butterfly pushing its way out of a cocoon.  It took time to acknowledge this side of me, to accept it wasn’t a phase, and to embrace who I was.  Each stage took time, it took a long time to get to where I am today.


Crossdressing or presenting en femme isn’t cheap, at least it isn’t for me.  Sure, I can put panties or a nightgown on and I am crossdressing.  It’s about as inexpensive as crossdressing gets.  But being en femme is another story altogether.  Before I even get dressed or put on makeup, I am wearing my breast forms, thigh pads, and corset.  All of these things give me the figure I want when I am en femme and these things are not cheap.  For me, they’re worth the cost as I look at them as an investment and I see the return on my investment every time I am dressed up.  It sounds silly but when I see a curvy figure in my shadow I get a little thrill.  Clothes aren’t cheap, makeup isn’t cheap.  I had a makeup lesson a few years ago which wasn’t free but again, it was an investment.  Photo shoots, which I acknowledge are not something every t-girl does, take a lot of work and money from booking the studio, getting outfits, paying my photographer, and a professional makeover.  We learn a lot when we build our wardrobe and buy makeup.  If we don’t know how to find our measurements we likely will waste a lot of money on clothes that don’t fit.  You (for the most part) get what you pay for when it comes to makeup.  Sure, foundation from Walgreens might be 5-6 dollars, but that won’t work when it comes to what I need foundation to do.  I need my foundation to mix well with color correcting and to cover my facial hair and to act as a good base for more foundation for contouring.  The foundation I need runs about $40.  


And finally, patience.  This is the hardest part for me.  It was very disheartening to see how I looked the first time I did my own makeup.  The first time I wore a wig.  I expected to be totally transformed but I looked like the boy me in bad makeup and a cheap wig.  I mean, that’s not unfair to say.  The wig was cheap (there’s the money part again), and my makeup was rushed (oh, and here’s the time thing again).  I expected to look AMAZING the first time I did my own makeup but I was… well, I didn’t look amazing.  It was a little discouraging and I COULD have given up on all of this (I mean, not really, I can’t quit being trans no more than I can quit being tall or being right-handed) but I tried again the next weekend after my wife showed me a little more technique when it came to my foundation and reading more about color correcting.  I looked a little better, at at least, a little less terrible.  Patience was also key when it came to wearing a proper corset.  Corsets require seasoning (essentially breaking them in) and the first time I wore my current corset I thought I would DIE after a half hour.  It was painful and I couldn’t see how on earth I could get used to it.  But I kept at it followed the instructions and took my training seriously.  These days I can wear my corset for ten hours without even noticing it.  Thank god I invested my time and was patient with it.


I got to thinking about all of this a couple weeks ago when I was getting dressed.  In the early days my wife and I would have a girls night on Saturdays and I would get dolled up.  It took about thirty minutes to get dressed and do my makeup.  These days it takes that same amount of time to just put on my corset, stockings, pads, and forms.  Being en femme takes more prep work and planning than it used to.  For example, for the longest time I wore nylons or tights and I could wear a short dress or skirt without thinking about it.  These days I prefer stockings held up by garters attached to my corset.  A short skirt can show my garters and stocking tops and I don’t want to do that.  I mean, it’s kind of sexy to do that (if that’s the effect I am going for) but it’s not appropriate for a day at the mall.  So my outfit is planned around my corset, in a way but usually my outfits are built around the heels I am wearing that day, and my heels are planned on what I am doing.  If there’s a lot of walking or standing I’ll wear certain heels compared to my six inch platform stilettos.  Once I have my heels chosen then my outfit comes next.  My makeup is usually done to watch my outfit, not only in terms of colors and shades, but also in terms of, well, intensity and drama.  If I am wearing a bright flowery dress than my makeup is more colorful and cute.  Leather or a little black dress?  Vamp me up.


I have come a long way, even in the last five years, and it’s all due to these three things.  I get asked a lot about how does one crossdress and yes, I can be bitchy and tell them to wear panties or lipstick and ta-da, you’re crossdressing.  But that’s not helpful.  Crossdressing requires a wardrobe of course, no matter how big or small it is.  I mean, you can’t crossdress without SOMETHING, but once you start thinking about this other than about clothes, you need to know that this is a side of yourself that you need to invest your time in, spend your money on, and be kind to yourself while you are being patient.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

My problem is that the caps in wigs aren’t deep enough for men, they don’t stay on. I need to find a way to keep a wig on to the point that if I had my hair pulled it would really be hard for it to be taken off or fall. 

Like almost everything else we want to wear, wigs come in different sizes.  Before shopping for a wig, measure your crown (basically the top of your head) so you know what size you are.  Some wigs are adjustable, most have an elastic band so there is a little stretch.  Wigs can be pricey (remember, crossdressing takes time, patience, and money) so it’s important that you do your research before you buy.  Reading descriptions and online reviews (if possible) are pretty helpful.  


There are ways to secure your wig including clips and even glue.  Depending on what method you use it may not withstand getting pulled hard, of course.  I have found online tutorials and YouTube videos on drag to be especially helpful when it comes to wearing wigs.  As most drag queens perform it’s pretty essential that their fabulous hair stays in place so some of the tricks they use are very helpful for everyday wear.

Related reading

Wigs

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!

Moot Lingerie Review

Although I don’t shop at Victoria’s Secret anymore, I still have a lot of panties from them that I wear.  The quality is, well, fine, I suppose.  Although they are cute I don’t expect tooooo much out of panties that are sometimes 10 pairs for $30 or whatever.  When I compare them to panties and lingerie I get from say, Allure, then the difference in quality becomes more noticeable.  There’s also a quality difference between a $50 corset and my Glamorous Corset.  Before I owned my current corset I thought they were, well, overrated.  I didn’t see the (practical) benefit from wearing one.  And yes, as sexy as they are, there is a practical side to a corset.  But my corset from Glamorous Corset?  Oh my goodness.  Quality and sexiness.

My point is that, for the most part, you get what you pay for when it comes to lingerie (and makeup).  Although my purse would prefer I purchase a $5 pair of panties from Target, my body appreciates the panties that I spent $30 on.  Again, crossdressing takes patience, time, and money.  I feel that there is a benefit in investing in this side of me.  

When I first heard about Moot, I fell in love with their designs.  Moot is a newish lingerie designer for crossdressers and girls like us.  Their designs not only fit someone like us, but their designs are, in my opinion, what I want in my lingerie and panty drawer… what I mean is their lingerie is super cute and super feminine.  I loved their designs but I was taken aback by the price.  Moot isn’t Victoria’s Secret when it comes to price. 

To their credit, Moot acknowledges that.  They pride themselves on quality and after being sent some items to review, I have to say that they’re right.  Moot lingerie is super cute, and the quality is on another level.

Each item is handmade in England using materials that are ethically sourced.  I know this doesn’t matter to everyone but, well, it matters to me.  As I get older I make more of an effort to shop local, buy from independent businesses, and eat at non-chain restaurants.  Moot aligns with my values perfectly.  

But the lingerie… how is it?  The quality is the first thing I noticed.  The panties I was sent to review didn’t feel or look cheap. They felt luxurious.  A perfect combination of lace and mesh and small details.  One pair (The Quentin) is sexy and comfortable (which is what I want from lingerie). 

The front holds my feminine flaw perfectly and the cut open detail in the back is alluring and flirty. 

My favorite pair is the Floral Brief.  This is transparent lace and the back is, well, tiny, but it fits like a dream.  Both panties are welcome additions to my lingerie drawer(s).  I suppose at this point I need a lingerie closet.

Moot isn’t cheap, and they pride themselves on not being cheap. Their pride is well deserved and the quality is truly second to none.  Moot is what I want to find when it comes to my lingerie… ethically sourced, handmade, feminine, comfortable, and sexy.


Thank you to Moot for providing these panties.  I heart them.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

What do you wear when underdressed? Thigh highs, stockings and garters?
Worried about bra lines and such?
How do you get out of your house dressed in daytime?
Do you go out in only panties and dress — no bra, hose etc?

Have you ever felt threatened while dressed?

I always wear panties, sometimes a bra or matching cami.  I almost always choose stockings and garters when I am en femme.


Yes, which is why I usually won’t wear a bra in boy mode if I need to leave the house.


I dress to the nines, apply my makeup, step into my heels and strut out the door.


I always wear a bra and stockings or tights.


Not really?  Sometimes I get mean looks but thankfully I have never felt endangered when I am out.

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!

Barbecue Cuties

This weekend was the monthly MN T-Girls event and we celebrated(?) the incredibly hot weather with a backyard barbecue at our friend Marcia’s house. Everyone brought something to share and we spent the evening chatting and snacking and glowing (boys sweat, girls glow).

It was a fun although hot evening and it was a lovely way to spend a summer night.

Love, Hannah

Enchanting

There are words that I love to use when it comes to this side of me. I love to wear a leather dress and look smoldering. I love wearing a cute dress and looking flirty. I love a little black dress and looking like a bombshell.

But this dress? I would love to be described as enchanting. There’s something so… amazing about a dress like this and imagining being the center of attention at a (very) formal event. A dress that makes people wonder who she is.

This was the last dress I wore for my most recent photo shoot. I wanted to create the feel of a very fancy event and a hotel in downtown Minneapolis was the perfect place to play in. I hope you like these photos!

Love, Hannah