Ask Hannah!

Hi there! So I’m planning a trip to Minnesota and plan to be out en femme during the trip – any suggestions on makeover places and shopping I could do that would be friendly?

I hope you have an amazing time!  I am happy to recommend a few places.  However, please take a look at something I wrote about looking for transfriendly places.

In terms of places that are unique to Minnesota, I really love getting my makeup done at Rita Ambourn in Saint Paul.  I have had a few makeovers there for photo shoots and have always loved the results.

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If you are looking for a makeover and photos, then you’ll have a wonderful time at La Femme Mystique.    I visited Ava last year and had an amazing time.

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As for shopping, you’ll be spoiled by the Mall of America.  You can also check out some other options here.  You can also see what the MN T-Girls have done on our monthly events.

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Have a wonderful trip!  I think you’ll have amazing time!

As always, be safe and have fun!

Love, Hannah

 

Ask Hannah!

I am hoping for some advice on taking my sister in law shopping for the first time. She recently transitioned and has asked for my help going shopping for more feminine clothing, not that I’m a fashionista by any means. I am so excited to bond with her in this way but I want to be as respectful as possible in what choices I offer as far as clothing and if there are any tips on making the experience as comfortable as possible for her too. If you have any guidance for me on styles that would be the most comfortable or flattering in these early stages of transition I would be forever grateful. She is a super tall, super skinny, gorgeous woman and I want to help her feel that way every day.
Thank you!

Building a wardrobe is one of the most fun, but overwhelming things we will ever do.  I have had to needed to shop for new clothes for male mode when I got a new job for example, but shopping for Hannah is a completely different, but much more fun (and expensive) experience.

When it comes to my wardrobe, I have clothes for every occasion.  Whether it is a sparkly dress for a holiday party or something casual for a day at the mall, I have an outfit (and shoes and accessories) to mach.

What I would recommend is to start by thinking about her goals.  Everyone needs clothes, but what is she looking for?  Professional attire for her job?  Comfy staples for running errands?  Start slow, start small, and then go from there.

Another goal to keep in mind is what style of clothes is she looking for.  Not only from a personal preference perspective (say that three times fast!) but from a physical one as well.  I am not very curvy but I like to create an illusion of hips.  My Jolie Thigh Pads from The Breast Form Store help a lot, but I also love what a cute peplum dress does for my figure.

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I like showing off my legs, so my dresses and skirts tend to be on the short side.  Granted, when you are over six feet tall a dress will usually be on the short side anyway.  I also like to avoid exposing my shoulders.  I have plenty of dresses that are sleeveless, but I usually don’t wear spaghetti straps.  Many of us have features we like to show off as well as features we like to downplay.

Truth be told, I know (and care) very little about fashion.  I wear what I like and what I think is cute.  Putting together a skirt and top combination is something I struggle with, but I find mannequins and Instagram quite helpful, to be honest.  This outfit is cute…

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… but everything I am wearing is exactly what a mannequin at H&M wore.  It looked cute on the mannequin and I thought I could pull it off.  Matching a strip top with a tan skirt was not something I thought would work, but seeing it on display won me over.

I look at the style category on Instagram for inspiration as well.  I saw a lot of girls wearing cute, pleated skirts and I had to have one.  The problem was knowing what top to pair with it.  I saw a lot of girls wearing a sleek black top with the skirt, so I thought a black bodysuit would be perfect.

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I think I was right.

I don’t try to keep up with trends or what’s in at the moment.  It would be exhausting to try to keep up.  Everyone should wear what they want to wear.

I would also recommend knowing your measurements.  Dress Barn and Forever 21 both have different ideas what a size 12 dress is, but if you know your measurements it will make shopping (especially shopping online) a million times easier.

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Knowing her goals and measurements are important, but the most important thing a t-girl needs, whether it is shopping or anything else, is something you have already given her: support.

You are a gem to help her, encourage her, and shop with her.  I would rather hit the mall with a supportive person than a fashion writer.  It’s obvious you are supportive and enthusiastic about helping her and right now (and always), she will need that more anything.

Have fun!

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

I’m wondering if you can share with me where girls like us hang out in the Twin Cities? Back in the day the Town House was good on Thursday nites & The Camp Bar on Sunday nights.

Many of us look for places where a member of our community can feel welcome and bars and nightclubs are a pretty common place to find that.  I think it’s important to support businesses that are inclusive and supportive for our community and to avoid businesses where we are not welcome.

For me personally I tend to frequent malls and museums and have never been much for the bar scene, but perhaps you’ll find something fun to do in Minneapolis/Saint Paul here.

I have gone to The Townhouse a few times, and it was the first place I went en femme.  Located in Saint Paul, The Townhouse was the Twin Cities’ oldest LGBTQ+ bar, but it was purchased in 2018 and has been renamed The Black Hart.  I have not been there since they have changed owners but they still feature drag shows and other events that The Townhouse was known for.  Despite the name and owner change, members of the MN T-Girls tell me they still frequent there.

Camp Bar is also in Saint Paul and has a theater which features cabaret style shows, music, and other types of performers.  From what I understand, Camp Bar used to be known as a LGBTQ+ bar, but their website doesn’t specifically indicate that.

I have gone to Lush a few times and I have always had fun there.  The MN T-Girls have gone here as a group several times for drag queen bingo and other events.  The food is good, too.

The Gay 90’s is also a popular place to go, but I haven’t been there in a very long time.

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

The other day I spotted a very stylish looking trans girl in my suburb (well, I’d be damn surprised if I’d mis”read” her). Tall, lovely mini dress, flatter heels than I’d have chosen (but, hey, nobody’s perfect!) and spot-on makeup.

I was so tempted to say hi, compliment them on their look, but decided not to, in part remembering what you’d written.

But I’m thinking about what I do if/when I see someone en femme, while I’m in guy mode? Do I say something, or (at most) smile in as friendly a way as possible (trying not to be at all creepy)?

I know when I’m out and dressed, my situational awareness radar goes through the roof, and I’m checking out everyone who may be checking me out. Sure, I do love to get compliments from girls, and even a smile is lovely.

I’m not so sure it it were from a guy, just because I’m so NOT interested. Even if it were just a “hi, you look great” or similar, would I be flattered, or pissed?

If they were obviously gay (I spend some time in a very trans/gay friendly area of my city occasionally, just because it feels safer)? Maybe that’s OK (just cos I’d see them as more non-threatening, not from any interest).

Smile from anyone? Yeah, I’d like that.

From my point of view, I think when we are out and about, we are grateful for all allies. On balance, if someone took the trouble to say something nice and supportive, I’d take it with very good grace. But also make it clear I wasn’t interested.

I think all t-girls will have a different perspective on this situation, but for me I do not believe you should ever clock a transperson.

“Clocking” is essentially acknowledging and addressing that someone is transgender.  Yes, I know I am trans, you know I am trans, and I know that you know that I am trans.  You don’t need to clock me.  I don’t want someone approaching me and using my gender identity or presentation as a conversation starter.

Let me expand on that.  It would make me incredibly uncomfortable if a man were to approach me and tell me I’m beautiful.  It’s happened before and it makes me feel very awkward.  I say thank you and I walk away, but there’s the feeling that they may follow me or continue to watch me.  I understand the comment may be sincere, I understand that they may be an ally, and who knows, perhaps they are also living a life between genders, but like you said my situational awareness is at its peak when I am en femme.  I know I stand out, but knowing someone is… noticing me, I guess, makes me feel very uncomfortable.  My uneasiness is also heightened knowing that there are men out there who fetishize a girl like us.

Again, yes, I know not all men, but I would prefer to go about my day and not know how anyone feels about me.  When I am in male mode and I see a girl like me, unless I am required to interact with her such as saying ‘excuse me’ as I pass by or something similar, I see no reason to acknowledge them solely based on their gender presentation.  A kind smile if eye contact is made is one thing, but I don’t think gender identity is an appropriate conversation starter, even if it is to compliment her heels.

Another woman, whether they are cis or trans, is a little different.  Women can relate to how much effort one can make when it comes to walking in heels, applying makeup, and picking out an outfit.  A girl telling me that she loves my dress or says that I’m beautiful means more.  I also think most girls know what it’s like to be a girl in the real world.  We are at the mall to shop, we dress for ourselves, and for most of us we would prefer not to have some guy approach us for any reason.

When I am out en femme and I see a girl like me, it’s a little different, but not much.  Again, I know I’m trans and so does everyone else, but I see little need to discuss my gender identity with a stranger.  A t-girl is generally hyper-aware of their surroundings and when we see another t-girl, an acknowledging smile that says “I see you” is all that is really needed.

And yes, I understand that each of us has a different perspective on this.  Some of us would love to have others come up to them at the mall with compliments and messages of support.  Personally I just want to go about my day.  If you see a t-girl and whether you are in male mode or en femme and you are not sure if you should say anything to her, it’s best to keep your thoughts, regardless of what they are, to yourself.

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

You are very beautiful, dressed en femme. Have you ever run into anyone you knew, and if so, did they recognize you? My guess is that they would not…but I am curious! I feel like even those who know me wouldn’t connect the dots. Have you had this happen to you at all?

Just once.

But I kind of let it happen.  I could have stepped away but I chose not to.

Being recognized was one of the biggest fears I had and it held me back from going out into the real world for too long.  But after years of stepping out, I realized no one really pays much attention to each other anyway.

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

How did you get comfortable enough to be public and how did you meet people who are accepting?  Should I keep it a secret from employers and is there some kind of protection against some sort of discrimination?

For a very long time I was scared to go out in public  Safety and being recognized were two concerns, but another was that I wasn’t able to “pass”.  But I had an epiphany one day and I realized that I am the only one who matters when it comes to how I feel about myself.  What do I care if someone else thinks I “pass” or that I am beautiful enough?  It led me to realize that there are no standards I must meet to be a girl and there is no such thing as passing.

As for meeting people who are accepting, starting the MN T-Girls was a big part of that.  You can also find support at a local PFLAG meeting.

As for coming out to anyone, be it a family member or an employer, it’s important to think it through.  You should consider why you want to come out to them and why you feel they need to know.  You can’t unring a bell, after all.

As for protection against discrimination… well, that could change very soon.  In some states someone can be fired for LGBTQ+, so check your state’s laws.  You also should look at the employer’s policy when it comes to inclusion.

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

Please please forgive me if this has been dealt with in your lovely blog and I have failed to find it, but the whole business of gaffing/tucking etc. What do you do, what do you advise?

There a few options a girl like us can explore.  One option is wearing pantyhose or nylons, especially a pair with a control top, to help flatten your…uh, area.  Control tops help with keeping your tummy a little flatter but can also be effective for other anatomical features.

You could tuck, which is essentially pulling your genitalia back between your legs and using a particular type of tape to keep everything in place.

Probably the most common method is wearing a gaff.  A gaff is a type of lingerie that helps tucks and flattens genitalia.  The Breast Form Store, Glamour Boutique, and En Femme all sell various gaffs.  I would also suggest looking at GI, a lingerie brand designed by a transwoman who designed products, including a gaff for our community.

I hope that helps!

Love, Hannah