I Get By With a Little Help From My Forms

My most recent photo shoot had a couple of dresses that I had to look DEEP into my closet to find. I have been meaning to wear this particular one for years and years but for some reason or another just never followed through with it. I would plan a day out en femme and sometimes I would end up getting a NEW dress and wanted to wear that one instead or the weather wasn’t going to cooperate and I would need to wear something else.

But I suppose those were just excuses. The reason I didn’t wear it was because I didn’t feel cute in it. I found the dress on Amazon and thought it looked pretty and it fit like a dream but I just felt a little… frumpy? Like it didn’t fall right? Because of this I just didn’t feel a lot of affection towards it.

So, what changed?
My body didn’t, the dress didn’t, all I needed was to add my forms and a corset.

A dress can FIT, but it doesn’t mean it fits in the right places. Sometimes a pretty dress doesn’t compliment you.

Femme clothes are, for the most part, designed for the cis gender female body. This means a bust and hips. My body is pretty rectangular and sometimes the most gorgeous gown fits like a pillowcase.

I packed this dress into my suitcase for the shoot and honestly? I just hoped for the best. The shoot started and as the afternoon progressed the outfits I brought were worn, photographed, and then (carelessly) tossed back into my suitcase.

There was time left for one more outfit, and this dress was the last one left. I shrugged and changed.

This was the first time I had worn the dress with my breast forms and corset. My body was completely different compared to the other times I tried on the dress.

It fell where it should. The dress fit the body it was designed for. I had the body (courtesy of my corset and forms) that it was designed for.

I am not saying that you need a certain figure or $400 breast forms to look cute in a dress. This is a reminder that clothes sometimes need a little help.

Love, Hannah

Review: Lara Underbust Corset

If you’ve spent more than a minute on my website you will likely realize a few things:

-I heart clothes

-I overthink

-I overthink about clothes

I tend to associate a lot of memories, meanings, and emotions with a particular piece of clothes. Well, femme clothes. I have a lot of neckties that I absolutely have no idea where they came from. On the other hand I have an incredibly beautiful floor length ball gown which fit perfectly before I lost weight that I will never ever get rid of because it was one of the first dresses my wife bought for me.

I am enamored with certain items because of their beauty, even if they aren’t, well, practical. My six inch rose gold platform stilettos? I’ve worn them like twice but my goodness they are magnificent and will forever have a permanent spot in my closet.

Lingerie is a perfect example of pragmatism versus beauty. Tights are more practical than thigh high stockings held by a garter belt, but I chose stockings almost every time.

For years a corset was a perfect example of something that was visually stunning but not something I felt could be worn for long periods of time. But that was because I was wearing them wrong and I didn’t have a proper corset. My introduction to proper corsetry started with my Dita Black Satin Corset from Glamorous Corset.

It’s a stunning piece of lingerie and my goodness did I learn quickly that it required proper training as well as commitment. I had never heard of seasoning a corset before but I learned. Corsetry requires an insane amount of dedication and at first it was kind of intimidating but I quickly realized the benefits of following through.

While preparing for a photo shoot over a year ago I decided to wear my corset which I rarely did for long periods of time. This would be the first time I would wear it for more than several hours and it would be the first time I would wear it outside of my home when I would be getting in and out of a car, going up and down stairs, and doing a lot of walking. Again, it was intimidating and there was a learning curve but it didn’t take long to see the benefits of a proper corset and the results of the hours I put in seasoning it.

Since then I have worn my corset every time I present en femme. Yes, it’s a stunning corset but its equaled by the practical benefits of it. A perfect balance.

I was thrilled when I was contacted by Glamorous Corset asking if I would like to review their Lara Black Cotton Corset with Hip Ties corset. Yes please!

A corset takes dedication and it also requires accuracy. Measurements are absolutely key.

I sent in my measurements and within a few days I received a black velvet bag with the Lara corset in it.

Although I’ve been wearing my first corset for a while and I am very much used to it, I was still taken aback by the beauty of it not only in terms of appearance but also in construction and design of it. I love small, subtle attention to clothes, whether it is a small fabric rose on the front of a pair of panties, and in this case of the Lara I was drawn to the side ties of it. This is a steel boned corset which helps create a more defined (curvier) figure and helps with my posture. I couldn’t slouch if I wanted to.

My second impression? Yes this is beautiful but I have a certain affinity for my current corset and I couldn’t imagine wearing the new one in place of it. This thinking would change.

I spent about a week seasoning it and was quickly reminded that although I am used to A corset it doesn’t mean I am used to ALL corsets. When seasoning one you should wear it for about an hour at first and over time wear it a little longer as you progressively adjust the lacing. A quick reminder if what you’re wearing hurts (be it a gaff or a corset) you’re wearing it wrong. I wear my current corset for up to 14 hours at a time and I naively thought this new one wasn’t going to be as much of a learning curve as it was.

After thirty minutes or so I was very much aware of what I was wearing. It was a relief to take it off however over the next few days as it adjusted to my body it became more and more comfortable and by the end of the week I was wearing it for up to ten hours (in boy mode).

This was one of the items I wore for my most recent photo shoot and although one of my first thoughts was that I would continue to wear my Dita corset I realized that my Lara would now be my go-to corset.

Photo shoots can require a lot of creative movement and posing. This could be reclining or balancing on one stiletto. The Lara moved with me and complimented my figure with every gesture. The seasoning and expert design of it paid off.

I was a LITTLE concerned about stealthing (essentially subtly wearing a corset in public) but this wasn’t an issue as shown in the photo below.

This is a stunning corset. It marries beauty and practicality. It demands commitment. And isn’t that what this side of us is all about?

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!


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

Corset Seasoning

The other day I started to season a corset.

Seasoning a corset is, in a sense, breaking it in. However, it’s not so much as getting your body to adapt to it, but more the other way around. There’s a lot of ways you can wear a corset and they can help giving your body curves or shaping your hips, torso, waist, or everything.

I wear my corset every time I am en femme and have done so for almost two years. I love how it gives me curves but they can take some getting used to. The corset I normally wear fits perfectly and I can wear it for a long time and not feel the slightest bit of discomfort. I think the longest I have worn it is fourteen hours. I wrap it around my body, pull the cords tight, wrap them around my waist, tie it, and then get dressed.

This new corset is from Glamorous Corset who also made my first one. I loosened the laces, put it on, and felt it tighten around my body as I pulled the cords. I stood up straighter as I did this as a good corset is usually steel boned and naturally improves your posture. Once it was tied I got dressed (in boy mode) and went about my day.

When you season a corset and you aren’t used to wearing one, you should wear it for about an hour at first, and then gradually wear it a little longer each day. Like a gaff, you will notice and feel that you are wearing it, but if you feel pain or are uncomfortable, you are wearing it wrong and should readjust.

Some of us feel that suffering for femininity comes with the territory or that beauty is pain, whether it’s the quick discomfort from waxing your eyebrow or your stiletto not being the right size. I mean, I get it. BUT you don’t want to mess with a corset as it can cause breathing problems. Sure, you may look amazing but you won’t look so amazing if you pass out.

Since I am used to wearing a corset I (somewhat arrogantly) decided to wear it for most of the day. I have a photo shoot in a few days and I wanted to get used to this new corset before then. After about a half hour I started to feel… well, not discomfort but I was more aware I was wearing it than I normally am. If you’ve never worn a corset it is a similar feeling to wearing a bra. Yes, you KNOW you are wearing one, you can FEEL it, but sometimes the underwire starts poking you or the clasps in the back begin to dig into your skin a little.

This was a bit of a surprise as I am used to wearing one, but was quickly reminded that each corset is different and there is a reason for the seasoning.

When I am en femme (and therefor wearing my corset) I am doing a lot of things. Walking, driving, going up and down stairs, and a million other things. My corset doesn’t hinder me at all. But this is from properly seasoning it and cinching it the correct way for my body… which is exactly how a corset is supposed to work.

For the first day of seasoning this new corset, I spent the day at my desk doing work things. Meetings, phone calls, all that jazz. I noticed I wasn’t slouching as much so that was a plus. But the bigger plus was how quickly I was getting used to it. I’ll continue to season it over the next few days.

A full review will be coming shortly, but I am already impressed by the quality of this corset.

One more thought.

When I was growing up I was, and still am, fascinated by lingerie. I loved the options, to be honest. You could choose to simply wear tights or you could choose to thigh high seamed stockings with a Cuban heel along with a lacy garter belt. You could wear a simple bra and cotton panties or you could slip on a beautiful satin bustier with a matching panty.

But a corset was the ultimate piece of clothing.

A corset could give you support, hold up your stockings, give you a shapelier figure, and just look incredibly sexy.

My first impression of a corset, before I wore a quality one, was that they were, by and large, impractical. If someone wore one it was usually for sexy time and only for a little bit.

My thinking changed when I received my first proper corset. Yes, it is a very sexy part of my lingerie drawer, but over time I realized how practical and how essential it was to me. If worn correctly (and I stress that it must be worn correctly) it can be as comfortable as anything else in your closet.

Love, Hannah

A Perfect Balance

I have always been fascinated and enamored with corsets. Sexy, beautiful, elaborate, little details… I’ve owned a few in my life but it wasn’t until I started to wear a proper one from Glamorous Corset.

I didn’t really understand or appreciate the difference a quality, real corset can make. How much work it takes to get used to a proper one, and the correct way to wear one. It requires discipline and patience. As I seasoned my corset I realized that as sexy as corsets are, they are also versatile. A perfect balance of beauty and practicality.

When I worked up the courage to do a lingerie shoot, I knew I had to wear my corset. I feel these shots capture beauty, power, and vulnerability.

I do hope you like them.

Love, Hannah

The Power of Pink

I was looking at my Flickr account the other day and I saw that this photo was one of my top pictures on my Showcase, which, I assume, is based of off view, likes, and comments.

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I love this photo.  My makeup was done by friend Corrie Dubay and it was from a photo shoot in January 2019 with my friend and photographer Shannonlee.  My legs looks amazing and it’s a cute outfit.  More pictures of this outfit can be seen here.

I love this photo.  I hate this photo.

And this is all going to sound very shallow and I own that.  I also know that my feelings and thoughts are very hypocritical to my core belief: that beauty and femininity has no guidelines, no rules.  There is no such thing as passing, it is impossible to be too “male” to be a girl.

But I’m only human.  I have my insecurities and I get depressed sometimes when I am en femme or see a certain photo.  For every glamorous picture I post, there are five similar shots that are just… ugh and will never be posted.  And that is not Shannonlee’s fault.  I’m the model, it’s my body, my face, my everything.

If you look at anything long or hard enough, you’ll start to notice little things you missed before.  Furthermore, it’s not healthy or recommended to over-analyze or to be super critical of pictures, or of anything, of our femme selves.

But here I am.

So, what do I hate about this picture?  Glad you asked.

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Let’s look at my face.  No matter what direction I am looking or how my head is positioned, my face is my face.  Contouring can only do so much.  I have a pretty strong jawline and it’s not going to be different no matter which gender I am presenting as.  My face looks very male here.  Pointing my head down slightly can usually minimizes my jawline, but I clearly didn’t do that here.  Perhaps I should hire a modeling coach.  🙂

Same with my shoulders.  I look like a linebacker (which is a part of a football team but that’s literally all I know about linebackers).  The pose I am (trying to) rock here contributes to how my shoulders look of course as I am supporting my body with my arm, but my God, my frame is huge.  I am thankful black is a slimming color and de-emphasizes my shape but this picture makes me wish there was a darker color than black.

Next on my list of self-loathing (not really) is my shape itself.  I work hard to stay a size 12 but I have virtually no shape here.  No curves at all.  Thank God for my thigh pads from the Breast Form Store and for my Dita Corset from Glamorous Corset.  Pads, forms, and a corset does amazing things for my shape.  I wish I had these essential items for the shoot the above photo is from.

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Lastly, my hands.  There are many things one can do when it comes to changing the shape or appearance of our bodies.  We can contour our faces, we can wear black, we can wear hip/butt/thigh pads (and I do), we can avoid certain patterns on a dress… but I am very self-conscious about my hands.  I wear rings in an effort to lessen the manly appearance of them and I suppose I could paint my nails more often than I do, but I try not to draw attention to my hands in my shoots but this photo, due to my pose, make it hard to do that here.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I feel beautiful, I love how I look, I love this picture.  Everyday I get emails from girls like us who try so hard to be beautiful.  Their heart is aching so much as they yearn to be pretty.  I understand.   I relate.  I am very secure with how I look and who I am, but I have days just like anyone where the dysphoria is killing me and I just want to go back to presenting as male and hide under a rock forever.

As much as makeup, a pretty dress, and killer heels can make us feel feminine, they can also make us feel very… male.  As I move from one gender presentation to another, I can see signs of my male self peeking through the cracks of my femme self.  My eyeliner might look amazing, but I also see the bags under my eyes.  My lips might be the reddest shade in the world, but I also see my male jawline.

Makeup and clothes can only do so much.  It’s our attitude that must do the heavy lifting.  Our hearts must also work hand-in-hand with our clothes.  Yes, a pink dress makes me feel more femme than my suit, but if I am constantly nit-picking at every aspect of my face and body (and hands and…. everything else), the pinkest dress in the world is powerless.

And pink is NOT powerless.  And neither are you.  Block out the parts of your brain (and society) that tell you that you are not pretty.  That you are not beautiful.  That you are too male.  At the end of the day, there’s only so much we can do when it comes to our bodies.  Red nail polish is not going to suddenly give our hands the slim, tapered look we may wish for.  Accept it.  Own it.   Move on.  Focus on what you love about yourself.  I may have the manliest hands in the world, but my legs are to die for.

If t-girls had a team color, there’s no question it would be pink.  Pink is considered to be the most feminine hue of the spectrum.  Even “boy clothes” like a dress shirt is commonly looked at as femme.  I don’t support or agree with the genderization of anything, whether it is a color or something to wear, but pink is pretty aggressively feminine.  And thank God for that.

But pink is more than a color for me.  It’s a state of mind.  It’s an attitude.  I wish I knew how to eliminate dysphoria for good, but it’s not possible.  There’s always going to be days, photo shoots, makeovers, pictures… where I feel and look more masculine than I would like.  I acknowledge it, and fight it as best as I can.  It’s not always going to be a fight I win, but if I think pink, in attitude as well as what color I wear, I can hold my head high (even if my head has the squarest jawline in all of humanity) and love who I am.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

Stealthing

Fifteen years ago I identified as a crossdresser.  I still do, I suppose, but I prefer t-girl.  I think bi-gender might be a more fitting label, however all these titles fall under identifying as transgender, in my opinion.

Regardless, I went from strictly underdressing to, well, who I am today.  I still underdress, but as I started to add makeup and clothes that weren’t panties and lingerie, I wanted to look as good as I could in dresses and pencil skirts.  I never thought I would want to wear padding or shape enhancers, but I have been completely won over with my Jolie Thigh Pads from the Breast Form Store.  The look is amazing, and feeling my curvier shape is incredible.  I look more natural when I wear them, as seen in the photo below.

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I have worn corsets in the past and I have always loved how sexy they looked, but I wasn’t wearing them for the practical purpose of obtaining a more hourglass look or a trimmer waist.  That changed when I received my Dita Corset from Glamorous Corset a few months ago.  Pairing the corset with my thigh pads and breast forms achieves a shapelier look beyond anything I could have hoped for.

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Seasoning a corset takes time and dedication.  I got used to wearing it in male mode, but like underdressing, I was always conscious of it being visible under my clothes.  The lacy edging of my panties or my bra strap is one thing, but a corset is a little different.

Glamorous Corset is here to help with some tips for ‘stealthing’, basically how to wear a corset in public.  I thought this would be helpful for those of us who underdress in male mode.  It certainly was helpful to me.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

Hannah vs VS

Last November a CEO from Victoria’s Secret made some hurtful and ignorant comments about the transgender community.

Hearing these comments stung, especially in the year 2018, but it was disappointing because this was a brand I loved and a place where I felt welcomed when I shopped en femme.

I decided to take my lingerie shopping elsewhere and I am glad I did.  Since then, I have added bras and panties from Glamorous Corset, ThirdLove, HommeMystere, and Allure   to my lingerie drawer(s).  🙂

Victoria’s Secret has been experiencing some changes recently including hiring their first openly transgender model as well as the resignation of the CEO I referenced earlier.

The company received significant backlash and calls for boycotts when these comments were made and I had hoped that the CEO would be punished in some way for what was said.  I do not think that the comments and this resignation were connected in any way, unfortunately.

I am happy that a transphobic person no longer has a say in what a major brand does, and I am glad that they have hired a transgender model, but are these changes enough to win back my business?

Maya Angelou wrote “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time” and I think this is an appropriate quote in many instances.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t give someone a second chance or that one’s perspective and opinion can’t evolve, but I can’t quite get on board with shopping at Victoria’s Secret again.

For starters, there are many companies, particularly the brands I referred to above, who market to and design for our community.  ThirdLove specifically is very inclusive and HommeMystere designs the cutest panties for us.  I believe in supporting companies that are transinclusive and not giving my money to those who either just downright hate us or those that don’t see transgender women as women.

When a t-girl is ready to experience the world en femme, most of us will want to frequent places where we will be welcome.  I know I did, and I still do.  If we want more businesses to be accepting of us, then we need to financially support businesses that already support us.  I believe that this sends a message.  Of course, I am not so naive that I do not think me not shopping at Victoria’s Secret had any impact whatsoever on them, but spending my money with companies that do embrace us made an impact on them.

I’m glad whenever there is a leadership change or some progress made in any corporation that inches its way towards inclusivity, but I will continue to buy my lingerie from designers that support my values and embrace our community.

Love, Hannah