Ask Hannah!

I am a beginner crossdresser.  Please tell me how to chose my dresses.

Creating your wardrobe is one of the most fun and expensive things you’ll ever do.  It will be even more expensive if you don’t purchase clothing that is the right size.  It’s important that you know your measurements and understand that the size on the tag doesn’t mean very much as each designer and store can have a different meaning of what a size is.

So, how do you find your measurements?

Find a measuring tape (not the tool kit kind, the ribbon kind) and take your measurements for different parts of your body:
-Waist measured at your belly button
-Bust measured at nipple height with or without forms/padding
-Chest measurement taken just under pectoral muscle (2 to 3 inches below nipple)

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I have a section on my blog that goes into more detail about shopping and sizing.  Read that section here.

The internet makes it very convenient to purchase and ultimately return clothing if it doesn’t fit.   It’s important you refer to the size charts on the store’s site in order to choose the right items.  I found a really cute dress on Amazon recently, but I know from experience to look at the size chart.

Here’s a typical screenshot from Amazon:

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Under the price, you can choose the size you’d like, as well as view a size chart.  This is a standard Amazon size chart and is rarely relevant.

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I ignore this.  Usually on the left side of the screen, among the alternate views, you’ll see the manufacturer’s size chart and will vary from dress to dress.  This is usually more accurate.

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I also will scroll to the bottom of the page and read the customer questions and reviews to see other shopper’s opinions.  I normally wear a size 12 or a large (unless it’s stretchy, then I go down to a 10), but according to this chart I am a size XL.

Taking a few moments to do you research will save you time and money.

Happy shopping!

Love, Hannah

 

Ask Hannah!

Hey Hannah, 
How accepting is your family?   Are they accepting and you can be Hannah around them?   Or do they not want to see it.
Coming out as transgender can be challenging to our loved ones.  My family is accepting, supportive and are definitely advocates of the LGBTQ community.  However, regardless of how much of an ally you are, it can be difficult when someone you love comes out.
Identifying as transgender can add additional questions to our loved ones.  I’ve written before how being transgender can mean something different from individual to individual.  Some of us have transitioned, or want to transition, and for some of us it’s never crossed our mind.  Accepting a family member as transgender isn’t easy, but there is also the additional question of what it means to them and possibly what’s next for them.
My family knows they can go shopping or have a cup of coffee with Hannah whenever they’d like, but I don’t press anyone with this part of me.  I have also written previously about how I  think it’s important we try to be conscious of who we are to our loved ones and be gentle and considerate when we come out.
Of course, if we waited for everyone we know to be “ready” to meet us, we may never get to be ourselves.  I also am speaking as someone who does not want to live full-time, so it’s easier for me to accommodate my dual genders and the rest of my life.  I realize everyone’s needs and lives our different, and can only speak for myself.
Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I have been crossdressing for about 5 years, but I want to take it to the next level, going out in public dressed as a women.  I have been out as a women but only to gay bars or other places like that.  I wear a wig, padded bra, dress , nylons, high heel shoes, necklaces, and clip on earrings.  My problem is that I do not know how to apply makeup, so I need to meet other crossdressers to get some tips or do a makeover.  my question is, how do I meet other crossdressers?  Thank you for your time in answering this.

Hi!  Talking to other t-girls and crossdressers is certainly an option when it comes to makeup, however I have learned more about makeup by talking to makeup artists and having makeovers.

Facial shape and facial structures are wildly different from person to person.  Talking to a makeup artist will be beneficial as they are trained to contour, highlight and reduce certain facial features (if you want) and to help you do your own makeup.  No two people do their makeup the same way.  Learn what is right for you.   There are some tricks I learned from other t-girls, specifically when it comes to color correcting and beard cover but I learned so much more by meeting with makeup artists and being taught which makeup is right for my skin, tone and color.  My advice is to schedule a makeover and ask a lot of questions.  I have some suggestions where you can go on my blog.

As for meeting other girls, I would recommend creating a profile and chatting online at various forums, such as crossdresssers.com and urnotalone.  When I wanted to meet others like myself I started the MN T-Girls, so you may want to consider starting your own group.

Good luck, have fun, be safe!

Love, Hannah

 

Ask Hannah!

Dear Hannah,

I came out to my wonderful, selfless near saintly wife of 18 years. She knows what transgender is just not who it is. What I know is that she loves me and that will not change :):):)
It can be delicate for a while. Both of us just letting it digest. This can take overnight or it could take years (this would be a mutual denial) This is my greatest fear. The girl wants out and she wants to be acknowledged. To just go into a holding pattern would be worse then internalizing it.
Support groups? Books? Therapist? ( OK, I have one)
Any advice?

-Valerie

Coming out to anyone, especially your significant other is probably one of the hardest things we will ever do.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy and I’m glad you did it.  It’s always better for us to come out as opposed to being caught.  I get at least one email a week from a significant other of a crossdresser or t-girl who pour their hearts out because they caught their boyfriend, fiance or husband or discovered their wardrobe.  Many times it’s not about the clothes, it’s about the lying and not being honest with them.

I know it’s not easy, but I urge you all to please, please tell your significant other about this side of you before get married or live with each other.  I know it’ll be hard, but you owe it to them.

But I digress.

When you come out to someone, especially a significant other, it’s easy to let things get out of hand.  For many of us we have kept this part of ourselves secret for so long that it’s a relief to talk to someone about it.  It’s possible we’ve never talked about this to anyone else and soon our experiences, desires and secrets just pour out.  This can be very overwhelming.  The person you came out to is still processing this information and when you add more to it, it can be a lot to take in.  Take it slow.

When it comes to what’s next, well, that’s up to you.  What do you want to do?  What do you currently do?  Do you dress at all?  With my wife I did not go from coming out to dressing completely in a couple days.  It took time for both of us to adjust.  It started with her seeing panties in my dresser and her getting used to that.  Then sleeping in a nightgown and so on.  It was about four years after I came out before I was in a dress, makeup and a wig.  I didn’t always make the right decisions during this time and I got lost in the pink fog a lot, but my wife is an incredible person and she was always honest and direct with me with what she was thinking, feeling as well as what she was and wasn’t comfortable with.

Don’t be surprised if this is two steps forward and one step back for a while.  Don’t fight her if she asks you to not dress up for a few days…or weeks or around her.  If she sets limits or boundaries, respect and honor them.  You mention you have a therapist, perhaps you may consider a couples session where the two of you attend to discuss this part of you.  She may also need someone to talk to independent of you and I would recommend PFLAG, a wonderful organization that provides, among other things, support groups for our friends and families.

Good luck!

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

For background, I am a straight, closeted crossdresser. I identify as a “sissy” meaning I tend to prefer frilly, innocent outfits (think baby dolls and Alice in wonderland) … dressing is arousing for me … and I am not interested in really being female in public.

Here is where I could use some advice. I have three outfits but I always feel intimidated to put them on (they are a bit over the top in terms of frills and lace so not really public appropriate). And when I do, I put them on and don’t really know what to do with myself. I’ll curtsy a few times in the mirror and then put everything away.  I think about dressing a lot but I don’t understand why I only allow myself a few minutes to feel pretty and then pack “Ashleigh” away. Do you have any advice as to why I might feel this way or ways to explore my dressing in more fulfilling ways?

Thanks!

Ashleigh

I like to think that the term ‘transgender’ covers a lot of different forms of gender identity.  Someone explained to me that the term covers any form of identification that is outside of the normal cultural norms that are associated with the gender that is assigned to someone at birth.  So, by that definition I believe transgender can cover everything from drag to transitioning.

As a lifelong crossdresser/t-girl, the world of sissy dressing is not new to me, although it’s not something I’ve ever explored.  However, I think part of us feel that there is a bit of a shift in personality as we go from one gender to another.  I certainly don’t feel that there is a lot of overlap in both of my lives/genders.  As I get ready and do my makeup, I definitely feel myself…crossing over.  It’s a strange feeling and not easy to explain, but I think many of us can relate.

I used to feel a bit of a blend between both sides of me, regardless of which gender I am presenting as.  But over the last few years, I feel the separation of my two sides are more defined than ever.  As Hannah, I almost completely withdraw from my male life.  I don’t do the things I would normally do as a male.  The same is true when I am in male mode.  When I am out running errands, I won’t drop by Sephora for eyeliner.  I’ll wait until Hannah is out.  It feels a little odd to me to do things as one gender for the other.

I think you need to let yourself slip into your other self.  You need to mentally shift into your other gender.  It’s easy to feel a little self-conscience as you dress and when you first see yourself in the mirror.  But let go of your male side and enjoy you are.

You may also consider exploring your female side in other ways.  You obviously love frilly dresses, but perhaps considering wearing clothes that are less “dress up” and more casual.  I think for some (not all) that dress up as a sissy do it as a fetish or a sexual thrill and for many of us, that’s where our gender exploration began.  It’s certainly where I began.  But I evolved, I tried other clothes that were less fetish-y and more appropriate for a night out or an afternoon at the mall.  Perhaps if you dressed in a way that would allow you to blend in, you may feel more comfortable leaving the house.

The clothes you wear can have a direct impact on how you feel.  I have a beautiful floor length ballgown that I absolutely love but I feel a little silly when I where it my living room.   I feel much more comfortable in a casual dress.  And killer heels.

I hope that helps!

Love, Hannah

 

Ask Hannah!

Maybe more of an observation than a question. Since only a small few of us t-girls can truly pass I think it’s imperative to then master the finer things to near perfection. I think it’s more thrilling to be in public with your hair and makeup on point and your clothes and accessories to be age and environment appropriate causing a stranger or passer by to either not notice or simply nod with appreciation for looking good and “playing” the part.

Now you are much more public and accomplished than I’ll ever be, so I’d love for you to share your point of view.

Thank you.

I’ve written a little about what I call ‘the myth of passing’ and the older I get and the more I dress, the more I stand by it.  I don’t think passing is something that is realistic for any of us.  I think if I waited until I thought I passed I’d still be sitting in my car in my garage.  Of course, I would have missed out on so many amazing experiences that I’ve had.  I sometimes wonder what I missed in all those years before I was confident enough to go out.

Look at this picture.  Do I “pass”?

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414It doesn’t matter.  I love you all, but it really doesn’t matter to me if you think I pass or not.  I look at the picture and I see ME.  I remember the day it was taken.  It was a Saturday in July, I spent the day at the Mall of America wearing my new dress.  I found an amazing new outfit, spent too much on makeup and bought a pair of black heels.

Looking in the mirror, I know my shoulders are broader than most cis-women, I know my hands are larger, too.  But that doesn’t mean women, trans or cis have to have hands of a certain size.  I’ve seen women basketball players that are taller than me in my stilettos.  And I have tall stilettos.

What got me out of my room, my house, my car, my garage all those years ago was a complete and unshakeable confidence in myself and the undying desire to experience the world in a way I always wanted.  I wanted to feel the wind through my long hair, to hear the click of my heels in the mall, I wanted to see my lipstick on the lid of a Starbucks cup.  I did it and I’ve never looked back.

I love looking my best.  I know I am likely the most overdressed person in the room, the store or the entire mall.  You’re right, it is a thrill to be out with the perfect necklace and accessories and heels to match my dress.

People stare, people take a second look, people say wonderful things, people smile sincerely, people compliment…and that’s all okay.  Even the smirkers.  People look at me as if they’re seeing a transperson for the first time…because there is a good chance they are.  I know I am representing the transcommunity and I want to look my best for us.

It’s okay if people think you’re trans.  And really, you’ll never, EVER know what people think of you unless you ask them.

I never see what I do as “playing the part”.  I simply am who I am.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

You’ve been doing this for a long time and clearly it looks like you’ve become quite confident, but my question to you is, over time has your crossdressing become less exciting or thrilling or fun? Have you come to a point where you’ve committed to going out as Hannah and then you get bummed or stressed because of having made a commitment to be Hannah?

It’s my firm belief that one is always a crossdresser.  We do what we do because it is who we are.  No matter how many times we purge, or promise ourselves…or others that we will never do it again, we almost always do.  Because of this, I think that crossdressing will always be exciting and fun to us.  It’s who we are, but there’s a reason we keep coming back to this.

But I understand your question.  I always want to feel that going out as Hannah is special and fun.  One way I help make that happen is by really limiting how often I dress and go out.  I go out about twice a month which is often enough to satisfy me, but not enough to take away the fun of it.  Limiting the times I dress and go out helps keeps my wife from feeling overwhelmed by who I am, too.  My wife is wonderful and accepting of my femme side, but a large contributor to her acceptance is that I don’t overwhelm her with it and I’ve found a good balance with both sides of who I am.

Love, Hannah