It used to be that buying lingerie was always a complete shot in the dark. I would see something cute and have no idea if it would fit or not. But as I’ve said in the past, crossdressing takes time, money, and patience. As time passed I became smarter about my body and took my measurements.
I began to understandthe differences between a medium for cismen and a medium for ciswomen. I learned to buy lingerie for the size I was, not the size I thought I was (or wanted to be). I also became smarter about checking things like the gusset to make sure it was, well, wide enough to cover my, ah, feminine flaw.
I heart lingerie so much. It was the first femme clothing I was enthralled with all those years ago. Even today it’s a way I can be connected to my femme side when I am in male mode. Wearing a matching bra and panty (and garter belt and stockings!) under a suit is a wonderful way to get through a MAN DAY, if you follow.
Lingerie can be expensive and usually can’t be tried on (or returned) so it can usually be a risk to drop money on a cute set and praying that it fits. Luckily there are options for a girl like us. Google “lingerie for men” and you’ll find many options from Xdress, Homme Mystere, Moot, Glamour Boutique, The Breast Form Store, and En Femme.
All of these businesses sell lingerie for girls like us. Wider gussets, a larger selection of sizes, and bras that have pocket inserts for breast forms. Twenty year old me would have been blown away by the options we have now. I still am.
Some might say that lingerie designed to fit men misses the point. And yes, I can see that and to some degree I agree. But at the end of the day (actually, at the start of the day), I want panties that fit. There’s nothing really more frustrating or uncomfortable than, well, falling out of your panties as you go through your day. Most of the panties I wear are “for girls” but I have quite a bit of panties and lingerie made for girls (and boys) like us.
“Panties for men” tend to be more expensive, of course. When I shopped at Victoria’s Secret it was so easy to add to my panty drawer(s) with their 5 panties for $30 sales. Shopping at Xdress or any of the other designers I mentioned can be a bit of a sticker shock if you are used to shopping at the mall for panties. Bear in mind that these designers are very much catering to a niche market, are independent businesses, and don’t have the ability to compete with Victoria’s Secret in terms of volume or price point. I believe in supporting small businesses and I happily order (and wear) lingerie from independent designers. Another reason I like shopping with designers who make lingerie for girls like us is that, well, it’s super cute and super femme. The designers seem to know what I want not only in terms of practicality but also in terms of style and look. It’s easy to find panties from Homme Mystere with bows and lace on them.
What do you think? Do you care if you lingerie is designed for someone like us?
The unique… experience when it comes to having two gender identities is that one will (likely) have two gender presentations. The tricky thing is that both of my gender identities and presentations will forever be linked to each other. What I do for one gender affects the others. I shave Hannah’s legs, but that means the boy’s legs are shaved. Same with my eyebrows and anything else I do. I don’t do anything for Hannah that I do want done for the boy, if that makes sense. Regardless of the gender I am presenting as, I hate body hair so smooth legs (and anything else) is definitely okay.
I think I am going to have a hard time getting older. I don’t look *that* much different in my forties than I did when I was in my thirties. In my boy life I am aging, well, on pace. I have friends who seemingly went gray overnight (if they have hair at all). I didn’t start presenting completely en femme until about ten years ago. Hannah doesn’t look *that” much different these days than when she first strutted her way into the world. But I do think about the future. There will come a time when I can’t walk in stilettos anymore, or when a skirt that’s too short simply becomes, well, inappropriate. There may come a time when I wear a wig with a little gray in it, or have a style that’s a better look for someone older.
Of course, age is a number and I don’t HAVE to do anything or wear anything (or not wear anything) and if I can still pull off a leather dress in fifteen years, well, who’s going to stop me? I can’t stop aging. Today I can accept that, but in the future I may not be able to accept that as gracefully.
I suppose that’s why I try to do what I want now because I know this time of my life is short (or at least it will seem that way as I get older).
About six years ago I quit drinking and lost a lot of weight. LIke, a lot of weight. Even today it’s one of my biggest accomplishments. I looked great in a size 12 dress and since my gender presentations live in the same body, I looked (and felt) better in male mode. Everything was great.
And then COVID hit. Gyms were closed and things were/are stressful. I wasn’t working out as much and I let my diet slip a bit. Inevitably I gained weight. Some of the weight gain is muscle, however. I started to run outside since going to the gym wasn’t an option and I worked my legs more than I usually did. But the scale doesn’t lie.
And yes, like age, weight is, one some level, just a number. But the weight gain is noticeable. It takes a little more effort to zip up some dresses compared to before. My face is a little rounder.
I would be lying if I said this weight gain didn’t break my heart a little. I worked so hard to quit drinking and lose the weight in the first place, so seeing some of it return is really, really hard for me. I hate the scale, and I hate the mirror. I am frustrated with myself and I wish I had taken better care of myself. But I am trying to remain positive. If I lost it once, I can lose it again. Unfortunately I don’t have the “magic bullet” of quitting drinking like I did before. I don’t have ONE BIG dietary habit that I can cut out to help. It’s just going to take more working out and better eating. Basically the weight loss will be slooooower and harder. And likely more frustrating.
But I can do it. As I said earlier, what my body looks like impacts both of my gender identities and it sounds really shallow but looking great in a dress is motivation for me.
Anyway I got to thinking about this (well, I’ve been thinking about all this for a few months now) but I decided to write about this after seeing some shots from a photo shoot I did last week. I was asked to review some stockings (review going soon) so I scheduled a shoot with Shannonlee to take some pictures. When I am asked to review something other than a dress (such as heels, breastforms, or a wig) I select an outfit around that. These particular stockings were fishnets(!) and it takes a certain outfit and heels to really match the sexiness of them. I had been looking for an excuse to wear my new vegan leather dress from En Femme for a while and I thought the dress and fishnets would look *amazing* together. Paired with red patent stilettos from The Breast Form Store my look was fire, as the kids say.
And I think I pulled it off. But I have to admit I cringed a bit when I saw the preview pictures. Leather isn’t forgiving, especially vegan leather which has almost a latex vibe to it. I just look… bigger than I would like, than I am used to. My corset helps but goodness it’s working hard.
This post isn’t to gain encouragement or sympathy or kind comments. Honest. I think it’s easier for me to write about some feelings than talk about them. It’s easier to share some feelings with the internet than it is to bare one’s soul to one person. The point (if there is one) to this post (and my website) is to discuss things that are unique to girls like us. A lot of us have two gender identities and I think we can all relate to each other in terms of how we feel and what we think about. Age, body changes, weight… anything that affects our bodies impacts our gender presentations. In male mode, I shrug off the weight gain. But Hannah has a very hard time with it. My boy clothes still fit fine, but goodness my corset needs to be cinched TIGHT for certain dresses.
And it’s almost always because that’s how I feel like I look.
It takes an insane amount of courage (among other things) to go out into the real world en femme. To leave your home in full makeup and a cute dress takes an amount of bravery that is incomparable. If you’ve ever been out in the real world, then congratulations. I know how hard it was. If you aren’t there yet, then don’t be hard on yourself. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.
What I find difficult is leaving the house when I am still partially in male mode. At least when it comes to my face. If I am doing a photo shoot I will always book a makeup appointment for the day. On days like this I spend the morning getting my corset tightly cinched, my forms and pads in place, and getting dressed. I then leave the house and make my way to my appointment. I try to plan my morning so I don’t have to run any errands before my appointment, such as getting gas because I hate, hate, hate doing anything before my makeup is done. But sometimes it’s unavoidable. This past weekend I was on my way to my appointment when I had to use the ladies room. I didn’t think I could wait until I got to my appointment so I decided to run into a Starbucks.
I got there, parked, and sat in my car for a few minutes working up the courage to go in. At the time I thought looked cute (well, my outfit was cute) but my face was MALE. Like, full on MALE. I look SO MALE before I have my makeup done. Once my makeup is done and my face is contoured, my foundation is set, and my eyes have more drama than a soap opera I feel and look more femme. But before that my reflection shows a middle age man wearing a long black wig. It’s devastating, it’s heartbreaking, it’s… it’s a lot of things.
Please bear in mind that I don’t feel that way about my reflection when I am in boy mode. I don’t hate how I look in boy mode, not at all. But I don’t want to look like a boy when I am en femme. It takes a lot of courage for me to go anywhere public when I am en femme before a makeup appointment. But I had to. I put on a mask to hide half of my face and strutted into Starbucks. The strut was a lie, I didn’t feel like strutting but sometimes you have to fake confidence. I popped into the restroom, cringed at my reflection, and bought a bottled water on my way out.
And that was that.
I went to my appointment, got my face done and was feeling about 500% cuter. Now that my makeup was done I could properly assess how I looked. And I felt like a man in a dress. Or more accurately, a man in a skirt. I rarely wear skirts. When I am en femme I am almost always rocking (or trying to rock) a cute (or sexy) dress. I feel confident, I feel beautiful in a dress. But a blouse/skirt combination? I rarely feel cute. I felt the top I was wearing made me look too mannish. It wasn’t really cut in a flattering, feminine way despite the small ruffles adorning it. I felt like I was wearing a simple tank top, which is essentially what it was. In my head the outfit looked cute but on me? Ehhhh. Despite my stilettos, the skirt, fake eyelashes, my amazingly realistic breast forms, and my bright red lipstick, I felt like a man in a skirt.
Isn’t that funny (and heartbreaking)? My makeup, my heels, my skirt… almost none of that mattered compared to how I FELT. Shannonlee said I looked cute. I posted the outfit on Twitter to get some feedback and I had some nice comments. But none of that mattered. I didn’t feel cute and nothing would change that.
This feeling lingered with me for the entire day. No matter what I wore, no matter how cute or sexy or feminine my outfits were I couldn’t shake the feeling. People can be cruel to our community, but we can be cruel to ourselves.
Dysphoria is a real thing and it can hit us from out of nowhere. Most of the time I like how I look or at least my confidence is high enough to overpower any negative thought or comment but no one is immune to the seemingly out of the blue voice of not being cute enough.
So the question is what do we do when this happens? You kind of have to power through it. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. Just understand that these negative thoughts will happen and will always catch you off guard. Sometimes I can bounce back from these thoughts and feeling. When I changed from the aforementioned outfit into a super femme dress, well, I felt cuter, although the dysphoria was still lingering. Sometimes these thoughts can’t be shaken off when we are en femme. And that, well, that sucks. You look forward to getting dolled up and spending the day en femme and WHAM! Dysphoria. It’s like looking forward to a road trip and getting four flat tires. Or the heel of a stiletto snapping off in midstride.
It’s hard not to, but you really can’t let it dull your sparkle. If you can’t bounce back from this while you are en femme, it’s okay. Dysphoria doesn’t really MEAN anything. It doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful or your outfit isn’t cute. It’s just a small, cruel voice or a negative emotion that we are paying attention to when we shouldn’t. We can choose what or who we listen to, but I do know (I promise) that this is easier said than done. If these thoughts, this voice lingers for the day until you go back to male mode, don’t let it discourage you from your next time out en femme. More than likely you will feel cuter the next time. You can almost always chalk up dysphoria to just having an off day. I mean, we have bad days at work but we still show up the next day, right?
But I do get this is all easier in thought than it is in practice. I felt not-cute for most of the day, and that emotion stuck with me even after I went back into boy mode. Shannonlee sent over some test shots later that evening and the photos looked a zillion times better than dysphoria said they were. My thoughts weren’t really based on anything tangible or anything real. I was having an off morning, not every outfit looks cute on everyone.
I feel better about the day now than I ever did during the day itself. My confidence took a severe and lengthy beating that day. I was feeling frustrated by, well, everything that day until I realized (much later) that although the outfit probably wasn’t right for me, most of my negativity was all coming from dysphoria.
And like having bad day at work, we wake up the next morning and we tell ourselves that today will be better. And it almost always is.