Beauty and Art

This past weekend the MN T-Girls visited the Minneapolis Institute of Art for a lovely afternoon of coffee, girl talk, and of course, art!

I love art and as much fun as it is to get lost in a mall, there’s something so peaceful about wandering around a giant, beautiful building and stopping and admiring whatever catches your eye. I love doing this alone and I love doing this with friends.

It was a lovely, quiet afternoon… a nice little reprieve from the stresses of the world.

Love, Hannah

Let’s Talk About Money

Crossdressing takes time, patience, and money.

And Lord knows I have invested a LOT into who I am. It costs a LOT to look like how I look. I like to think (perhaps naively so) that HE and SHE look very different from each other. If Hannah is going out on Saturday morning, HE looks into the mirror on Friday night and wonders just how in the world THIS is going to work.

At the end of the week HE has worked close to fifty hours, has had a lot of meetings, and hasn’t gotten enough rest or enough coffee. His face is tired, he has bags under his eyes, he needs a shave.

And by what is seemingly magic, HE is replaced by HER the next morning.

But there was no fairy godmother involved, just a really good foundation and expensive clothes which made it happen.

When I get asked how to crossdress, or how to present en femme, I try to be realistic about how much time and patience *this* can take. This information is usually easier to process and accept than when we start looking into the financial aspect of it.

A bra costs HOW much?

Lipstick is HOW much?

I spent $18 on stockings and one snagged after only an hour?

This $190 wig looked cute online but I HATE it

These things can be jarring, especially when we aren’t accustomed to shopping for these items.

And for me, there’s a LOT of items. This can consist of a pair of clip-on earrings that I bought on Amazon for $15 or a hundred dollar dress. And then there’s everything in-between. And everything UNDER the dress.

So, let’s break it down.

Well, BEFORE we break it down, I want to stress that none of this is necessary to be feminine. You don’t NEED to do ANY of this to be who you are. You don’t need to get a second job if to afford to be a girl or to crossdress. You are a girl if you identify as one, you don’t need to have a specific figure or body size or body parts or to wear certain clothes. A girl can be tall or wear a size 14 heel. A girl doesn’t have to wear a dress to be feminine. You are crossdressing with a pair of panties that cost a couple of dollars.

This breakdown is what I have invested (financially and over time) in how I look, how I dress, how I present.

Here we go!

I am not an accountant so my math is probably a little off but this outfit, this look, this… EVERYTHING cost about ten thousand dollars.

Well, not really.

What’s not reflected in this is the amount I have invested in clothes that didn’t fit, the hours on the Stairmaster to tone my legs, wigs I purchased but weren’t right for me, the makeup lessons I’ve paid for, and other things over the last ten years.

If you were to see me on Friday night compared to Hannah on a Saturday morning, I don’t feel you would think that HE has the potential to look like HER. HE is not gifted with a feminine frame, clear skin, or a (somewhat) hourglass figure. He is in his mid-forties, he is tired. It’s true that HE is the foundation that Hannah is built on, but what he has and what he is, well, it’s not enough. My corset gets tightly cinched, my face gets an expensive makeover, silicone breast forms are tucked into a bra, pads on my hips, the right wig on my head, and clothes that are (hopefully) flattering.

HE is not pretty. But HE invested a LOT of money into looking how Hannah looks.

And my God, I know I invest a lot of money into all of this, but to see it… ah, itemized like this is a little eye-opening.

But this is reality. I mean, it doesn’t HAVE to be. None of this is really necessary for someone to be a girl or to a crossdress. The point of this post is to address a question I am often asked: “How do I look like you?”

Again the answer is time, patience, and money.

Listen.

No matter how much money I invest and how patient I am as time passes, I will never look like the beautiful t-girls that I admire. I look like ME. You won’t look like me, either. You will look like YOU. And you are beautiful.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I read your article on corsets and was wondering how to go about purchasing one. Not sure if I want a corset or a waist cincher.

Like a lot of clothes and heels that we shop for, we need to purchase what FITS, not what we WANT to fit. I would love to be a size 8 stiletto but no matter what it’s 11.5 for me.

Corsets are very much the same. Of all the items you can add to your closet, corsets are the trickiest. This is where measurements are key. I might be a size 12 in a dress and a size 8 in a skirt, but this means absolutely nothing when it comes to a corset or a waist cincher. Yes, I might WANT a 24 inch waist and a corset will help with reducing my waist size, but I don’t think there’s a corset on the planet that could do reduce my waist that much without damaging my organs. Corsets are not to be be messed with.

Get your measuring tape out and order accordingly. Glamorous Corset has a very helpful guide when it comes to how and what to measure for with different body types.

I have two corsets from Glamorous Corset and before I ordered each one I took my measurements and then contacted them with my sizes and asked for a recommendation. I disclosed I was a transgirl and had a “boy” body. They suggested a style and a size after seasoning them both corsets are a perfect fit and I can’t imagine presenting en femme without them.

It does take a little work to find the right size and style, but remember, *this* side of us takes time, patience, and money. Spending twenty dollars on a skirt that may or may not fit is one thing. A quality corset is a little more of an investment. You can likely return a dress that doesn’t fit, but probably not a corset.

Have fun!

Love, Hannah

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


Let’s Talk About Catfishing

Like many terms in our little world, such as “passing”, “being read” and “clocking”, catfishing means something other than what you’d think it would.

‘Catfishing’, or ‘fishing’, is used a lot more broadly than it used to. According to Urban Dictionary, it’s defined as the phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time).

But for a while it was used to describe a t-girl who really, ah, enjoyed “tricking” cisgender heterosexual men into them thinking they were a cisgender girl. Usually the reveal occurred during an intimate moment, if you know what I mean.

I’ve always hated this. And here’s why!

First of all, there’s no such thing as what a girl should look like, whether she is transgender or cisgender. Girls can be tall or have a penis or need to shave their face. Catfishing typically involves a t-girl looking SO FEMININE that men are duped into thinking that she is a cisgender girl. Look, I understand and can relate to wanting to dress and present as feminine as someone possibly can. I attempt this with every outfit I wear and with every makeover I get. But I do what I do and wear what I wear because this is how I want to look and how I want to dress. I don’t think any of us needs to meet certain standards to be feminine, to be a girl, to be pretty.

Secondly, intentionally deceiving people is not a good look for the trans community. Some haters like to think that transwomen are trying to deceive men into thinking they are cisgender. And to be fair, that’s kind of what catfishing is. But I don’t think most transwomen are trying to deceive anyone.

This is also potentially very dangerous for someone to do. When we come out to someone we never really know how they will react. Someone learning that the cute girl they are in bed with has a penis could turn violent. There are too many stories of men getting angry when they learn that they are talking with a transwoman when they believed they were speaking with a cisgender girl. In situations like this it’s not uncommon for someone to use the “gay panic defense”. Citing Wikipedia, this is when a defendant claims to have acted in a state of violent, temporary insanity, committing assault or murder, because of unwanted same-sex sexual advances, typically from men. A defendant may allege to have found the same-sex sexual advances so offensive or frightening that they were provoked into reacting, were acting in self-defense, were of diminished capacity, or were temporarily insane, and that this circumstance is exculpatory or mitigating.

Again, I absolutely understand and can relate to wanting to look as femme as possible. But how I present is 1000000% about ME. I don’t dress for anyone else. I don’t dress to pass or to blend in. I don’t care if anyone “knows” I am transgender and it’s not a compliment if someone thinks that I am cisgender.

Finally, catfishing has an element of competition to it as well. Some t-girls and crossdressers who catfish sometimes gloat about how successful they are in tricking men and can criticize others for not looking “fishy” enough. Can we stop doing this? Can we stop competing with each other? Can we stop bringing others down?

We’re all in this together. We always have been, and we will always need to be, now more than ever.

Stay safe, stay pretty, support each other.

Love, Hannah

Truth or Dare

Crossdressing is sometimes portrayed as a challenge.

No, this isn’t about the challenge of trying to find the right foundation to cover up our stupid facial hair, this is about the… crossdressing DARES that we see online from time to time.

Do you know what I’m talking about? They seem to be mostly aimed at the “crossdressing is a kink” crossdresser (not that there is anything wrong with that).

These challenges are usually broken down into steps with the first “challenge” being something rather small and progressively becoming more advanced and tend to push people out of their comfort zone.

Not that this is a bad thing. This is EXACTLY what building up the courage to go out en femme requires. Baby steps. If they are thoughtful and well written, they can be immensely helpful when it comes to providing… ah, step-by-step guidance as to what you do first, what comes next, and so on.

These challenges almost always concentrating on what I call the practical side of crossdressing, such as focusing on clothes and heels and makeup. Which can be important! I think they are! However, they usually skip over the emotional and psychological aspects that crossdressing and presenting en femme usually requires.

What I mean is that it’s easy to find a wig, but often the wrong wig can trigger dysphoria. There are countless dresses that will fit us, but if we don’t like how we look in them it can be hard to feel that yes, we CAN be, and that we ARE beautiful. We can follow along with a makeup tutorial on Youtube, but if the products used aren’t right for our face shape or skin type we probably won’t look like the supermodel that we were expecting.

These disappointments can trigger a lot of negative feelings and frustrations and hopelessness.

In a lot of ways the practical sides to crossdressing are a zillion times easier than the psychological parts. Essentially a dress can fit, the heels can be comfortable, but if we don’t FEEL cute, if we FEEL we look “too male”, the clothes don’t matter at all.

Does that make sense? I hope so because I don’t know how to explain it differently.

Sometimes the challenges are a “point system” where you award yourself points for the different tasks you complete. Once the points are added up you can find out how much of a sissy you are, or whatever. Again, these tend to be mostly kinky in nature with wearing panties is worth one point but dressing up in teeny-tiny schoolgirl skirt while having anonymous sex with a stranger in the backseat of his 1993 Honda is worth ten points or something.

It’s sometimes jarring at how quickly the sexual nature of these challenges can escalate. The first challenge is tiny and innocent, but then all of a sudden you are getting dared to put on a frilly pink French Maid dress and having a gangbang at a truck stop.

I tended to score very low on these. And I have nooooo problem with that.

Like other things out there, these lists can be fun but also play up the sexual aspect of crossdressing. Again, there’s not anything wrong with that. But many of us dress how we do for so many reasons and kinkiness isn’t even relevant. There’s the fantasy aspect of this for some of us but for some this isn’t our truth.

From time to time I think about writing my own version of something like this, but I think the “challenges” would be, well, not fun. It’s easy to dare someone to buy a cute bra, it’s another thing to actually do it. Buying a bra is not as easy as it sounds, even if you’ve been wearing one for years. Cup size and band size are too be considered, and there are different bras for different outfits and different bodies and different, well, GOALS, I suppose.

But I suppose this is how ANYTHING is. Telling someone how to change a tire SOUNDS easy but, well, it’s NOT. Everything is easier said than done.

I am also hesitant to write something like along the lines of “instructions” because we all have different goals when it comes to this side of us. When someone asks me “how do I crossdress?”, I struggle with how to respond because, well, crossdressing could be as simple as painting your nails or as time-consuming and expensive as hair removal, breast forms, thigh pads, a $90 makeover, an expensive wig, and a killer dress with matching heels. It’s kind of up to you.

And! Step-by-step doesn’t always work for each of us. Our journeys are not linear or identical to everyone else (which is a tiny reminder that we shouldn’t measure our progress or self-worth in comparison to anyone).

I know I often sound like a wet blanket when it comes to crossdressing. I focus a lot on the reality of this side of us which can be a buzzkill. But please know that I absolutely understand that expressing our femme identity or wearing what we want (for any reason) is important AND I think it is really super fun. Yes, it’s a lot of physical work to shave and wiggle into a dress and cinch my corset and strut all day in stilettos, but it’s SO MUCH FUN. I love it. I love every minute of spending the day en femme. I love getting ready. I love shopping for clothes and wearing new panties for the first time. The magic is always there.

I suppose these challenges and the idea of awarding points is similar to thinking about what we SHOULD be, what we SHOULD look like, and so on. It’s easy to look at a list like these and feel that we are not femme or brave enough if we’ve only done half of the “challenges” and the rest feels intimidating.

Sometimes these “challenges” include something along the lines of “tricking” a guy at a bar that you are a “real” girl. UGH. So many things are wrong with that. There’s no such thing as a “real” girl. I KNOW that this is referring to “fooling” someone that they are a cis gender girl but girls are girls, trans or not. And! you don’t need validation from some loser drinking beer at some stupid bar. A guy being attracted to me isn’t a victory, in my opinion. It’s not the compliment that we are led to believe.

Listen. This side of us is super fun and amazing but it’s also some of the most difficult parts of our lives, especially on the emotional side of who we are. We don’t need to make it any harder by measuring our progress and what we do or what we wear against some silly list or by comparing ourselves with anyone else.

And yes, like changing a tire, this is easier said than done. Sometimes I feel cute but then I feel absolutely monstrous in comparison when I see photos of Heidi Phox or Farrah Moan.

On the flip side I do feel like a supermodel when I look at a recent photo of myself and compare it to a picture from a few years ago.

But maybe that’s the point?? Maybe we need to focus on our own personal growth and be happy with any progress we make, no matter how small or how long it takes.

Love, Hannah

Spangla Lingerie!

I love lingerie and I have a special place in my heart and in my closet for lingerie that is designed for girls who have bodies like mine.

Mind you, this is not limited to consideration for my genitalia but also for bras and camis that are perfect for a wider chest, and broader shoulders, as well as panties with wider leg openings.

Although my closet is overflowing with pretty clothes and shoes “designed for women” and “designed for men” (if you want to oversimplify things) and I wear whatever I wish, I still love finding designers that make lingerie for people like myself.

Some of my favorite lingerie comes from XdressHomme MystereMootGlamour BoutiqueZheThe Breast Form Store, and En Femme.

I love these options for a few reasons, but one reason that stands out is how designers like these “normalize” lingerie for all genders. I remember discovering Xdress (known as Apres Noir at the time) and was struck by how exciting it was to find panties for my body. But they were an outlier, or at least I thought so at the time. “Lingerie for men” was a brand new thing (as far as I knew). However, with the growing options (which is a reflection of a growing demand and sloooow acceptance) it’s easy to daydream that maybe, JUST MAYBE, crossdressing isn’t as taboo as the world thinks it is. Maybe in a thousand years it will be common to find cute pink panties in the “men’s” section of a store.

I mean, a girl can dream.

I came across another designer that makes really cute lingerie for crossdressers and girls like me called Spangla. Spangla designs bras, panties, camis, and other pretty pieces of lingerie for people with the same type of body that I have.

I especially am drawn to the garter belts as they have wide suspenders. A small detail but I love attention to subtly. I also heart very feminine panties and goodness they have a lot of options.

My credit card is weeping as I look through their website because I want to buy SO. MANY. THINGS. There’s a lot I like here but unfortunately like a lot of designers that make panties for girls like us and like a lot of independent businesses, the prices are a little higher than “panties for girls”. This is not a criticism by any means. I totally get it. A giant corporation can afford to manufacture clothes in bulk, someone hand sewing a fabric rose on a pretty pink thong is going to be pricier. I am happy to financially support designers that support girls like me.

In summary, yay for more lingerie options for us!

Love, Hannah

Another Self-Indulgent Photo Shoot

I’ve heard that a need is a really strong want.

And I think there’s a lot of truth to that. For example, two weeks ago I realized I needed a photo shoot. But in a less dramatic and in a more realistic perspective, I didn’t NEED one. I did WANT one, though.

I am seasoning a new corset from Glamorous Corset and I COULD have limited my review to just words, but as I said this was very much a self-indulgent shoot.

Of course, it would be boring to only take photos of a corset over the two hours Shannonlee and I had the studio, so I jumped into my closet to see what else would be fun.

Aannnnd to be honest? I am kind of running out of outfits that I haven’t already worn for previous shoots. As I selected the dresses for the shoot, I was struck by how well I remembered when and why I bought the dresses in the first place. Every one of these dresses has a story. I’ll share these exciting origin stories over the next few weeks as I post the photos from the shoot. So, stay tuned, I guess.

In the meantime, here are some very low-quality iPhone pictures we took of the outfits I wore yesterday. It was a fun shoot and I am looking forward to sharing the photos with you!

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

Wife and I been together for 10 years. She has always known I have dressed. Recently I brought up that I would like to take things further and start wearing norm day clothes, a wig and makeup. My wife says she wants to grow with me but is very reserved. How can I talk to her and make her more comfortable with expressing how she feels too?

Patience.

Understand that while you may want to go a zillions miles per hour and dive right into dresses and eyeliner and wigs and stilettos, she will likely need and want to take this very, very, very slowly. And gradually.

Let her take the lead, if you will.

Encourage her to seek support, whether it is with counseling for herself or for the pair of you.

Be prepared to hear things you don’t want to hear. Be receptive of what she tells you. There may be times where she needs a break from seeing you en femme.

Marriage is something we work for every single day. Gender identity is… it’s enormous. The two together is going to take a lot of communication and effort. There are a lot of aspects and nuances to this that would take a long, long post to cover and even that would be the tip of the iceberg. I’ve written a lot, and I mean A LOT about marriage and gender identity and have discussed everything from sex to boundaries to making mistakes. If you want my perspective on this, please spend some time reading about marriage and crossdressing here.

Love, Hannah

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

Endlessly Daydreaming

When I became aware of this side of myself, it felt like the possibilities were endless.

I’ve wanted to, and have been wearing “girl clothes” for as long as I can remember. At one point shoes were just shoes… until I saw a high heel and something just… clicked. I saw women wearing dresses and I thought they were pretty and again, something awoke inside me when I realized that I also wanted to wear the pretty dress.

Suddenly clothes became interesting. It was like… eating nothing but saltine crackers for years and then discovering that there was SO MANY other things to eat that taste amazing.

I raided the closets that belonged to my mom and my sisters and continued to be enthralled with options beyond SHIRT and PANTS and SHOES. Girls wore skirts and dresses and bodysuits and camis and cardigans… the list ran on and on.

When I had my first apartment and could actually purchase my own clothes, I started to buy mostly lingerie. Of course I would quickly purge but the cycle would continue. Just as I was drawn to the vast variety of clothing options that girls had, I had always been mesmerized by the unlimited array of lingerie.

Panties could be sexy or cute or comfortable. There were panties for date night or just for everyday. They could be as simple as pink cotton or as elaborate as you could dream. I could wear a bra, or a bustier, a basque, or a corset, and these choices all had their own options. I could wear stockings or thigh highs or pantyhose or tights.

When I started to create a proper wardrobe about ten years ago, this feeling of unlimited potential and possibilities returned. I could have a dress perfect for a black-tie cocktail party or a dress for running errands on a summer day. I could wear a cute top and a pencil skirt and look like I worked in an office. I bought dresses perfect for Sunday brunch or for Saturday night at the club.

So. Many. Options.

Until the options start to… well, run out. After years of feeling there were unlimited choices I realized I had that maybe, just maybe I had enough little black dresses and the like. My wardrobe wasn’t lacking for anything, whether it as a vinyl French Maid dress, a glittery floor-length gown, or a dominatrix outfit.

I mean, I STILL don’t have a princess dress but you know what I mean.

Whenever I have plans to go out en femme or when I schedule a photo shoot I dream about what I will wear. This takes a little more time to decide than it used to, however. I’ll plan outfits for a shoot and think of a dress and then realize that I’ve already wore it, or something like it, at a previous shoot.

On the other hand, it is a blessing to have an outfit for almost any occasion that I can think of. It’s like finding the perfect words to say in any situation. And yes, I realize that this is all very shallow and this isn’t a problem in the slightest.

But this is a glimpse into my mind (and closet, I suppose).

Because of the “been there, done that, worn that” mentality, it has become more… hm, thrilling and rare than ever to fall in love with a new look, a new style, a new outfit. It’s like finding a book your favorite author wrote that you didn’t know existed.

For the most recent MN T-Girls event I needed to buy an appropriate (but still cute) outfit for the planned yoga class. I’ve worn heels and dresses and skirts for very MN T-Girl event since the group started, but you can’t do yoga in stilettos and a bodycon dress.

Well, I bet I COULD, now that I think about it.

But whether we are doing yoga or anything else, our events are an opportunity (or an excuse, I suppose) to add a new outfit to my closet. I went shopping and soon there was a sports bra and pink leggings in my dresser.

I wear leggings when I work from home in boy mode, but these leggings would be for Hannah, not him, so it still counts as a new piece of clothing, lol.

On the day of the class, I didn’t know how I would feel being en femme but not wearing a dress or heels. I associate so much of my femininity with how I am dressed but now I would be en femme but not in a skirt or stilettos.

Before the classes started, I changed out of my blouse, cardigan, bra, corset, tights, skirt, and heels and put on my sports bra, forms, tank top, and pink leggings.

I was… so happy that I still felt femme and that I looked sort of cute.

On a side note I just want to give thanks to whoever invented the gaff. A MUST for doing yoga (or anything) in leggings (or really, anything else).

And on another side note, my goodness do sports bras do the job.

Oh, one more side note. While wearing my sports bra and moving, stretching, and the like I realized just how… real my breast forms feel. Thank you Breast Form Store.

After yoga I was tempted to stay in my leggings (because I felt cuter than I expected I would) but for… reasons I changed back into the outfit I was wearing before the class.

I was a little giddy as I drove home. Yoga didn’t relax me but that had everything to do with ME and not a reflection of our yoga instructor (who was fabulous) but my feeling had more to do with being relieved that even though I hadn’t worn a little black dress and heels I still could feel cute in such a casual look. I was also feeling happy about adding a new style to my wardrobe. I have outfits for work, the club, dining, errands, and now for exercise.

It prompted me to daydream once again what other possibilities were out there.

(Of course, I will always be a stiletto and a “no-pants” girl but I still had fun.)

Love, Hannah