You’d Be A Lot Cuter If You…

…smiled more.

Since I live the majority of my life presenting as a boy most of my experiences with the world are a reflection of that presentation.

In male mode, I am aware of when I say something the person I am speaking to not only listens to what I am saying but they are also considering that a masculine presenting person is saying it to them. If I am describing something to a feminine presenting person I choose my words very carefully so she hopefully doesn’t feel I am manspaining it to them.

Another example. A female colleague can compliment another colleague on her cute dress and if I were to say the exact same words as she used, it may very well come off as, well, creepy.

When I am tempted to compliment a girl on her makeup or her outfit, I am doing it from the perspective of Hannah, even if I am in male mode. As a t-girl, I absolutely appreciate and admire amazing lipstick shades BUT in male mode the girl I am speaking to doesn’t know about my other gender identity. For all she knows I am just a creep staring too long at her winged eyeliner.

I don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable around me… in either of my gender presentations. In male mode I know I can come off as looking unfriendly and intimidating. I am over six feet tall and I look strong. If I haven’t slept well or haven’t shaven in a few days I come off as a little scary looking. When I am out walking my dog (also rather large) and I see a young woman out for a run I am well aware she has looked at both of us and likely registered us a potential threat to her.

And for understandable reasons. I don’t take this personally and the reality is that every woman I know is always aware of where they are and who is nearby. The last thing I would ever do is intentionally harm someone and I regret that I LOOK like a threat. I work for a college and almost every female student I work with asks about campus security and campus safety. Not a single guy asks about this.

Another thing I’ve learned is never, ever tell a woman to smile. That realization came hand-in-hand with learning that presenting as a cis male there are things I should never say to a woman.

And I know there are a lot of guys who defend their comments as compliments or insisting they would be flattered if a girl said they looked handsome. I mean, that’s great that’s how YOU would feel and you might think it’s a double standard but still, keep your thoughts to yourself.

When I am en femme I experience the world through a different set of heavily eyelinered eyes. I am hyper aware of my surroundings and who is in the room or in the store. I look for potential threats.

Interactions on social media are also different. I get a lot of guys hitting on me through comments and emails and messages. This is not humble bragging, mind you. I am not necessarily flattered by this. Most of these comments are… ah, very specific and almost all of them cross a line with me. There’s a difference between “you look really beautiful” and “I would love to be naked with you and caress your face as I gently kiss your lips”.

Ick.

The smile thing? I totally get it when girls get annoyed when a man tells them to smile. I post (a LOT of) photos and I am not always smiling in them. It’s not a surprise when someone messages me about a specific picture and telling me that it would be a better photo if I smiled. I mean for one, don’t tell me what to do, lol.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I looked over the pictures from my most recent photo shoot. I don’t smile in every photo because I am trying to look… seductive? Or trying to convey a certain emotion?

I love this photo and I think it would hit different if I was smiling.

Sometimes the outfit vibes differently with a certain facial expression.

Sometimes I choose a resting facial expression to leave one’s interpretation of what I am thinking or feeling up to someone else. It’s not uncommon in lingerie photos.

I like all three of these photos a lot. And I think they would be very different if I was smiley in them.

But the last photo shoot taught me that yes, some photos look really good with a more neutral expression but almost every one of those pictures are completely entwined with what I am wearing. Lingerie, leather… outfits that convey domination or seduction tend to work without a smile but a pretty floral bodycon dress or a gown? Mmmm… not so much.

Look at these two photos.

Hate the photo on the left. HAAAAAATE it. And if I wasn’t using this photo to prove a point it would never see the light of day. My shoulders looked hunched for one, but the neutral expression just doesn’t work with this dress. The dress is cute, it’s flirty… I love wearing it. My facial expression, my body language should reflect that… similar to how my facial expression and body language reflects leather or lingerie.

I post a LOT of photos and the reality is that I upload just a fraction of what is taken and what I have saved on my hard drive. There are some really great pictures in terms of lighting, composition, outfits… but the picture is spoiled by my face. Er, facial expression.

I am not saying that all the men who tell me that I would look cuter if I smiled are correct. It’s not that simple. What I am realizing is that like a color of a dress or the style of an outfit some things, including facial expressions, work for some girls and not so much for others. Very, very, VERY few pictures (in a relative sense) where I am not smiling WORK compared to photos where I am expressing how happy I really am when I am wearing a cute dress and feeling like a supermodel for a few hours.

Love, Hannah

Hellbent on Poly/Lycra

I THINK it’s Judas Priest that has a song called ‘Hellbent on Leather’ but I am too lazy and disinterested to Google it to find out.

I heart leather but I also love anything tight and shiny and leatherish. This can include latex and vegan leather and, like this sexy number from En Femme, a blend of polyester and lycra.

It sounds so… unsexy to describe a dress like this with the word ‘polyester’ but it is what it is, lol.

This is the final outfit I am posting from my most recent photo shoot… just in time for the NEXT one this Saturday.

I hope you like this dress and these photos!

Love, Hannah

You Make Me Want To Wear Dresses

Oh hi!

Listen to this song.

Life is about LEARNING and gaining new perspectives often from other people’s experiences. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes… or in our case, strut through the mall in someone else’s five inch black patent stilettos.

When I was younger I attended Catholic school and there was a uniform and yes, it was the plaid jumper and skirt for the girls. For boys? Well, what else are boys “allowed” to wear? PANTS.

To be fair, no one is prohibited (in the legal sense… at least not as of this writing) to wear what they choose. I heart skirts but I don’t wear them in male mode.

My sisters HATED wearing the skirt. Most of the girls in my class did as well. When the weather became colder they were allowed to wear pants and most of the girls did so as soon as they could.

I mean, I don’t blame them. It gets cold in Minnesota and I know from experience how chilly and tricky it can be walking in heels on an icy sidewalk in January.

But oh, it’s worth it.

Weather and temperature aside, I couldn’t understand why most of the girls I knew jumped at the chance to not wear a skirt when I wanted to wear one so so so badly.

(Of course, I tried on my sisters’ uniform when I had the chance and it was EVERYTHING I had dreamed of. But I digress.)

Growing up I was good friends with a girl who had a huge impact on THIS side of my life. She was the one who first told me what crossdressing was. I didn’t know there was a word for people like myself. It is no exaggeration to say that no word in any language has had the same impact on who I was, who I am, and who I will always be than the word CROSSDRESSER.

The second thing she said that had a huge effect on my perspective on femme clothes was a few months before we, along with most of our class, were scheduled to start college.

We were discussing music and I had brought up the aforementioned song. I had heard it on the radio recently and I had speculated on what it meant.

Do you remember those days? The moment you realized that not everything was literal? That songs and creative works often had subtle meanings? Metaphors, symbolism… they were everywhere and it was fun to interpret what the artist or novelist or musician was actually saying… when it was different that than the words they were using.

My friend glared at me as if I was the most clueless person on the planet. You know that look. Like, only a boy could be THIS stupid. She patiently and kindly explained that the character in the song must really like someone if she wanted to wear dresses for them.

I was like… so?

Again, she patiently explained that most girls HATE wearing dresses. Dresses, skirts, every heel that I longed to wear were not things most girls liked wearing. Essentially, her perspective was that the character in the song was willing to tolerate wearing a dress for the person she was crushing on.

My mind was blown.

I had NO idea that so many girls hated wearing dresses and skirts. Over the years I heard this same thing. Of course, some girls heart skirts and stilettos but the majority of them? Not so much.

Please don’t misunderstand me. This is not meant to throw shade at girls who choose not to wear dresses or other items that WE want to. Everyone should have the freedom (in a societal sense) to wear what they choose. A girl can wear whatever she damn well pleases. After all, they fought for this right.

As my relationships with cis women matured over time, I had new glimpses into the reality of their lives (particularly their wardrobes). Most girls I lived with, be it a roommate or a girlfriend or my wife, took off their bra as soon as they could. They couldn’t wait to change out of their skirt into comfy clothes. Most girls hated bridesmaid dresses even though I couldn’t get enough of mine.

Teenage me wasn’t able to comprehend that. But grown up me? Yes, I get it. I can even relate. As much as I love my corset and how it makes me look, there is a certain feeling of comfort when I unhook and uncinch it. I have Very Cute heels and Very Sexy stilettos… but my feet do feel better when I slip (or unfasten) them off.

When I am en femme I am always in heels and a dress (except for a few outfits I modeled for En Femme or when I took that yoga class). It’s inconceivable for me think of Hannah in slacks.

But being en femme is a treat for me. It’s fun to dress cute. It’s a wonderful break from my boy life and my boy clothes. I know myself well enough that if I were to transition I would wear dresses or skirts every day… for a while. I have lazy days in male mode and I know I would have lazy days en femme. I know there would be days I would opt for leggings and a t-shirt and minimal makeup.

Time and experiences (both my own and listened to) have shaped my perspective on many things, especially clothes.

But I still dance to this song.

Love, Hannah

The Best Ten Dollars!

I had a little time to kill between my makeover and my last photo shoot so guess what I did? I went SHOPPING.

There a couple of thrift stores somewhere in-betweenish of where I had my makeup done and the photo studio and sometimes I get lucky and sometimes I don’t.

I had my outfits packed for the shoot and I seem to be running out of dresses in my wardrobe that I like enough to wear for photos but there was one dress that I selected that I wasn’t sure would fit right. It was a bodycon dress that I found at another thrift store (I be thriftin’) and it was meant to be tight (God knows that’s what I look for in a dress) aaaand it fit fairly well.

The problem was that it was a larger size than what I normally wear. Prior to COVID I was consistently a size 12. When lockdowns kicked in I wasn’t able to hit the gym. Like, at all. I started to gain a little weight (I be snackin’) and it was… well, frustrating to see some of my favorite outfits didn’t fit the way they used to.

As things reopened I was able to go back to working out but had a hard time getting back into a daily routine. I was able to maintain my weight but wasn’t losing what I had gained.

In June I worked hard to get back into the mindset of going to the gym every morning no matter how tired I was. It wasn’t easy (and still isn’t) but with hard work, both physical and mental, I was able to lose every pound I gained and got back to my normal size.

Yay me!

Anyway, as I was killing time I started to doubt that the aforementioned dress wouldn’t look quite right. It was a perfect excuse (not that I needed one) to find something new. I saw another bodycon dress and it checked all my boxes. It was my size, it was short, it was cute. AND! It was ten dollars.

It was a STEAL.

BUT! I hemmed and hawed. I took it off the rack… I put it back. I wandered around the store and took it off the rack AGAIN and once more, returned it. And this cycle repeated itself.

It’s not that I’m cheap but sometimes I feel conflicted about buying something that I might only wear once… especially if that one time is just for a photo shoot.

Eventually I (spoiler alert) bought it.

It was the last dress I wore for the shoot and I absolutely fell in love with it. It fit like a dream and I loved how I looked in it. It felt like a reward for all the hard work I put in at the gym, the early morning workouts, and passing up desserts.

Written out like this, it sounds so easy. It’s not. Losing weight is never easy. What works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. If you decide to make changes to your life, whether it is diet or physical activity, please consult your physician first.

I hope you like this dress. I love it. Best ten dollars I’ll ever spend.

Love, Hannah

Men in Skirts

It used to be that whenever I saw an article about cis men wearing clothes that society views as exclusively for women I would become optimistic about the de-genderization of clothes. Men wearing skirts? Heck yeah! Men painting their nails? Heck yeah!

I don’t want to be cynical but I don’t feel the same optimism that I used to. I don’t necessarily think that when a celebrity wears a skirt or a dress that it means that the world will collectively think it’s acceptable for any cis male (basically non-famous cis-males) to wear the same outfit.

When Brad Pitt or whomever wears a skirt I think most people chalk it up to as celebrities being celebrities or trying to draw attention to themselves or shock people. “Celebrities are weird” is a pretty common response.

A movie star wearing a skirt to a film premier is one thing. Your coworker wearing a skirt to the office is another. Your buddy wearing a skirt to the bar to watch football is also another.

It miiiiight be, well, not normal for an actor to wear a skirt, but perhaps it will become less uncommon in the future. However, I think there’s a long, long road ahead until it becomes “acceptable” for a dude to wear the same skirt.

Love, Hannah

Dancing Barefoot

She is benediction
She is addicted to thee
She is the root connection
She is connecting with he

Here I go and I don’t know why
I fell so ceaselessly
Could it be he’s taking over me

I’m dancing barefoot
Heading for a spin
Some strange music draws me in
Makes me come on like some heroine

She is sublimation
She is the essence of thee
She is concentrating on he
Chosen by she

Here I go and I don’t know why
I spin so ceaselessly
Could it be he’s taking over me

I’m dancing barefoot
Heading for a spin
Some strange music draws me in
Makes me come on like some heroine

She is re-creation
She, intoxicated by Thee
She has the slow sensation that
He is levitating with she

Here I go and I don’t know why
I spin so ceaselessly
Till I lose my sense of gravity

I’m dancing barefoot
Heading for a spin
Some strange music draws me in
Makes me come on like some heroine

Oh God, I fell for You

The plot of our life sweats in the dark like a face
The mystery of childbirth, of childhood itself
Grave visitations
What is it that calls to us?

Why must we pray screaming?
Why must not death be redefined?
We shut our eyes, we stretch out our arms
And whirl on a pane of glass

An affixation, a fix on anything
The line of life, the limb of a tree
The hands of he and the promise that she
Is blessed among women

Oh God, I fell for You
Oh God, I fell for You
Oh God, I fell for You

-Patti Smith

God knows I heart heels but when I wore this gown for my most recent photo shoot I couldn’t resist dancing and twirling in my bare feet.

I found this amazing gown on Queenly and I wrote a little about it previously but I just received the pictures from my last shoot and I am so excited to start sharing them.

I hope you like them!

Love, Hannah

Too Cute Two Piece

Last year I strutted out of my comfort zone (and honestly? The more I do this, the more I love it) and reviewed and modeled a swimsuit for En Femme.

I hit another milestone recently when I modeled a new suit, also from En Femme. This time? A twopiece.

When I opened the package I was… well, excited and a little intimidated. Which was kind of silly as I’ve modeled and reviewed lingerie before and a swimsuit is similar in what it reveals, but a swimsuit is meant to be worn in public. And a two-piece is meant to, well, reveal more than a tank suit.

But like most things that scare me when it comes to clothes, I wore it anyway.

When I think of femme clothes I have to consider how they will fit my body. If a top has a plunging neckline, I have to think about how it will look when it comes to wearing breast forms. If a skirt is tight I have to think about tucking and which gaff I will wear.

Simply put, a bikini designed for a cis girl body won’t flatter me.

However, like everything else I’ve ever worn for En Femme, this suit fit perfectly. The measurements were spot on, there is enough stretch where needed, and it compliments my body and proportions.

The top fits like a typical sports bra but is made of a Lycra/Nylon blend. The fabric creates a subtle shine and draws attention to the suit. And! The top has pockets for breast forms. The suit can also be worn without forms but it doesn’t look baggy without them. I was a little concerned if my forms were tooooo big for the suit and would show off more cleavage than I would like but this wasn’t an issue at all. I mean, I like showing a little skin but I don’t like a top or a neckline that reveals my forms.

The bottoms also fit very nicely. The back is wide enough for my, well, bottom and the gusset is wide enough for my body parts. No gaff is needed with this suit has it has built-in compression. Worn properly, it will create a nice, smooth front. No matter how much I moved everything remained in place.

A similar product to the bottoms is the Carmen Liu White Lace Classy Thong, also by En Femme. Both of these items are not QUITE a gaff but will flatten and smooth your front.

Sizing with En Femme is rarely an issue and I will advise you take their recommendation to heart and know your measurements and select the appropriate size. The suit is available in black or pink but obvs I HAD to have the pink.

New clothes can lead to new adventures. Wearing beautiful gowns make me want to attend a glamourous event. This suit is pushing me to the beach… a place I never thought I would be comfortable to go to. I felt beautiful and confident.

Thank you En Femme for designing clothes for my body and for this sexy and practical suit.

Love, Hannah

New En Femme Blog!

My new blog for En Femme has been posted!

I hope you like it!

Love, Hannah

The latest from Hannah McKnight, our resident fashionista, is now in the Learning Center! Hannah’s last installment of “Building a Better Wardrobe” is now available where she talks shoes and jewelry. Read the first part of Hannah’s series or read all of Hannah’s advice in the Learning Center.  Read it Now>>

Bless this Mess and Bless this Dress, and this Dress and this Dress and…

So! We are moving. Don’t worry, I am, and will always be a MN T-Girl but it’s time for a new house.

Life is stressful enough as it is especially now but adding preparing an entire building to look presentable to sell and trying to find a buyer and transition everything we own into a new building just adds to the AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH of everything.

Selling and buying a home has a zillion little things to do from fixing things and finding a realtor and the mortgage stuff of course but there’s also the PACKING. And for a t-girl that hearts clothes, this takes on a ginormous challenge.

Annnnd a little heartbreaking, maybe? I love opening my closet and seeing all my pretty clothes, the same clothes that I had been dreaming of for my entire life but they, along with everything else I own, had to be packed and moved into storage for a few weeks.

Last night I reluctantly opened my closet and got to work. And I knew this, you knew this, my wife knew this, but goodness I have a lot of clothes and a lot of shoes.

It took about an hour to do this and I think I could have done this quicker had I not stopped to look at almost every dress and remember the first time I wore it or what I wore it to. I don’t think of myself as a sentimental person but perhaps I am.

Of course I kept a few things unpacked such as my lingerie, outfits for next week’s photo shoot, and a few other items, but for the most part everything is boxed up.

As I took my dresses and skirts and tops and bodysuits off their hangers, I felt an enormous amount of gratitude. I feel blessed to have the life, the wife that I have. I feel fortunate that I overcame anything and everything that held me back from accepting and embracing who I am.

It’s easy to look around our home and feel overwhelmed by the mess that moving and home repairs came bring. But it’s important to take a moment to reflect on how fortunate someone can be to even own a home, own a dress, to have a life they love.

Love, Hannah

Saying OMG, YES to the Dress

This side of us can overlap into fantasy territory. Not necessarily sexual territory and it’s not uncommon for a girl like us to be a fantasy for someone else, but the fantasy is often daydreaming about THE dress or where we would wear an amazing outfit.

The degrees that this daydreaming can span can be extreme. We think about what outfit we would wear to simply having a cup of a coffee but we also daydream about what we would wear to a gala.

My adventures (if you can call them that) are the everyday kind. Shopping, having coffee, things like that. Don’t get me wrong, there is magic in the day to day, but this girl fantasizes about ballgowns and black tie parties.

I have dresses for “just in case” situations. I used to go to nightclubs and such but I don’t anymore. BUT if I ever did I have THE perfect dress for such an evening. I can’t imagine the oft daydreamed gala but I still look for THE DRESS that I would wear to such an occasion. I had such a gown but after I lost a significant amount of weight it no longer fit.

I look for ballgowns whenever I visit a second-hand boutique but I rarely find one that fits or that is within my budget. I mean, YES, I could find such a dress if I was willing to spend hundreds of dollars but even I can’t justify spending that much money for something that may never leave my closet.

I look on eBay but I don’t have much luck there either.

So, you can imagine how excited I was when I discovered Queenly. Queenly is a marketplace where you can find amazing dresses for those faaaaancy events we’ve been fantasizing about, whether it’s a wedding reception or staying in on a Saturday. I mean, many of us have dressed to kill just to stay in and binge watch a show. I have.

I spent toooo much time on Queenly looking at everything from bridesmaid dresses to prom dresses to cocktail dresses which is ironic considering I will likely never be a bridesmaid, go to prom, or drink again.

Although I doubt I will ever have a chance to wear a dress like this to an appropriately fancy party I can wear such a gown to a photo shoot. Queenly also regularly hires transgender models for their website so there’s another daydream that I have.

Every once in a while my hubris gets the best of me and I think I have what it takes to do more modeling. Queenly, like other designers, partners with Slay Models which, according to their website, is the premier management company representing transgender fashion talent. We see trans individuals as beautiful. Our strong commitment to developing them as successful models is not about quantifying the model’s gender, it is about their passion and commitment to being the best possible models they can be.

When I heard about Slay I thought maybe I should assemble a portfolio and submit to to them… but then I saw their current models and I was immediately humbled.

Each of these models are wearing dresses found on Queenly, by the way.

After spending a few days on Queenly I found quite a few dresses that fit my budget and really caught my eye. I eagerly wait for the giant box to be delivered.

And! Not only does Queenly have a zillion dresses they also have excellent customer service. I made a mistake with my order and they responded right away and fixed my silly error.

I don’t know about you but prom and wedding season makes me long for beautiful gowns and fancy events. I don’t think I will ever be asked to prom but perhaps I can organize my own black tie event. If I do, I will soon have THE dress for it.

Love, Hannah