Ask Hannah!

This is probably a silly question because I’m sure it has been asked many times, but for some reason I’ve been unable to find the answers. So do forgive, please, if this topic is painfully obvious! As a T-girl, my physical proportions make shopping for clothing difficult. I have dude dimensions. Especially, my hips are only slightly larger than my waist, so if I’m shopping online, it’s really just a flip of the coin whether I should purchase based on my waist measurement or my hips measurement. (My shoulders and arms, I’ve decided, are just fine: the girls at the gym are proud of the muscles they’ve worked so hard for, so I’ve decided I’ll just continue to be proud of mine, too.) Do you have any tips on this waist-to-hip proportion dilemma? Thanks in advance, very much! 🙂

Let me get this out of the way now and state that there is no “right” way to look feminine.  There is no standard one must meet in order to have a “feminine” shape.  Remember, there is no such thing as “passing”.  However, there ways to have a curvier shape.

Buying dresses is a fun and often times a humbling experience.  When I purchase “male” clothes (please note I don’t think there are such a thing as “male” clothes or “female” clothes, they’re just clothes), I purchase shirts that fit my shoulders and pants that are long enough and are the proper waist size.  It’s pretty straightforward.  Dresses are a different story.  I have dresses that fit perfectly around my hips and waist, but don’t fit my shoulders and chest as I am wider on top than my middle.  And of course every dressmaker has different sizing standards, as well.  When shopping, you need to know your measurements, and yes, sometimes it is a flip of the coin when it comes to deciding to order based off of hips or waist measurements.

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I wrote a little about how to take your measurements here.

There are a few things you can do to have a curvier shape.  You could always wear a waist cincher.   I often wear this one from Xdress.  I also wear a petticoat under certain dresses.  It gives me a really cute and girly appearance and it also gives the impression of hips.

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Some girls will also wear hip padding as well.  I have never really tried that, but some girls love it.

Like most aspects of crossdressing, this is something you learn by doing.  Find what works for you!

Love, Hannah

 

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Shopping with Skepticism

A friend of mine forwarded an email to email from Lane Bryant announcing their new Pride-themed collection.

It’s a wonderful thing to see a company announce their support for the transcommunity (and the GLBTQIA community as a whole).  It’s a risky thing as it can create backlash and boycotts of the business itself, such as when Target updated their bathroom policy to emphasize their customers should use the restroom that coincides with one’s gender identity, so I really appreciate when an organization takes a stand.  I’m also happy to see that Lane Bryant will be donating a share of their profits to GLSEN, an organization whose mission is to create safe and affirming schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

While I appreciate a business declaring their support, I also am a little cautious about how sincere they are.  In full disclosure, I totally love Target and I love seeing the Pride displays they put up each year, but I also know that they donate to politicians who do not support our community so you’ll have to forgive if I am a little skeptical of major corporations when they make a stand.

I get many emails from other t-girls who are simply looking for somewhere to shop.  We want to go to stores that welcome our community where we can shop and ask for help without judgment.  I’m glad some companies do specifically target our community, but I hope it’s because they sincerely support us and want to help us, and not just seeing us a way to boost their profits.  Although I meet such announcements with some trepidation, I ultimately think this is a step in right direction.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

En Femme Style

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I never thought there would be so many options when it comes to businesses that cater specifically to our community.  I’ve been aware of Glamour Boutique for a while and I even did some modeling for them.   There’s also Suddenly Femme, Xdress and HommeMystere.

I recently learned of another option for us.  En Femme Style offers specially designed and engineered to express the feminine form and appeal.  They sell shoes that go up to size 15, clothing, jewelry, wigs and more.

I recommend checking them out!

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

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

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

So, how do you find your measurements?

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

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

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

Here’s a typical screenshot from Amazon:

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

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

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

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

Happy shopping!

Love, Hannah

 

Long Tall T-Girls

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We have all experienced challenges with shopping at one point in our lives.  Whether it was selecting accessories that best complimented a dress, putting an outfit together, determining our correct size(s) or simply working up the courage to set a foot (high-heeled or otherwise) into a store.

I cannot tell you how much money I’ve spent over the course of my life in purchasing the wrong size of something.  Working up the courage to talk to a salesperson in a store has changed my life, not only in expanding my wardrobe but also in overall change in my confidence.  In my experience salesclerks have been extraordinary helpful and have gone out of their way to help.

However, I have to say I have never had an experience like the shopping experience I had yesterday.  Last night the MN T-Girls had our monthly outing and we were treated to a private shopping event by the wonderful staff at Long Tall Sally in the Mall of America.  Long Tall Sally is a clothing boutique that carries clothes designed for women 5’8” and taller (up to size 20) and sells shoes that range from 10 – 15.  Basically, it’s a haven for girls like myself.

Shopping can be an intimidating event as we’ve all needed to work up our courage to simply start building a wardrobe but also in navigating a new world of sizing.  However Wanda, Cindy and Kiersten couldn’t have been more amazing.  The event started after the store closed to regular shoppers and for the next two hours they helped us find clothes, put outfits together and helping a few of us buy their very first pair of heels.

The event was a success on so many levels  There were about 15 of us and we all had an amazing time shopping, talking, trying on clothes and meeting new friends.  I fell in love with two dresses, one of which is perfect for Saturday night, the other perfect for Sunday morning.  I will let you decide which is which.

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I really want to thank the members of the MN T-Girls who come to shop and have fun, and I really want to extend my thanks and appreciation to Long Tall Sally and their incredible staff.  It was such an amazing night and the staff provided incomparable service and an unforgettable experience.

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Love, Hannah

Hannah’s Adventures in Mall of Americaland

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In my male life, I tend to be a bit of a workaholic.  Even on my days off, I plan projects and errands and things that I need to accomplish.  I have a hard time relaxing.  One of my favorite things about having two genders is that Hannah is very different than my male life.  I had quite a few errands planned for yesterday but it was a beautiful morning and I felt like being as beautiful as the day.

I woke up, picked out one of my favorite floral dresses and nude heels and left my house in search of adventure.  I ended up at the Mall of America.  I think for many of us in Minnesota we look visiting this mall as a challenge.  It’s huge, has a ton on people and can be intimidating.  I’ve been to the mall as Hannah before and was excited to return.

I arrived at the mall before most stores had opened and enjoyed listening to the click of my heels on the floor as I wandered around having a coffee.  I caught the eye of other shoppers and I did what I always do when someone looks at me, I smiled at them.  And more often than not, they smiled back.

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A smile can disarm, a smile can put someone at ease and smiling back when someone smiles at us is a reflex.   There was one lady in particular who just…stared at me and I just kept smiling.  I thought about what she would tell her friends later.

“I saw one of those…transgendered people at the mall.”

“What happened?”

“She…smiled at me”.

Yes, we are pretty scary.

As I strolled through the mall, I heard someone say “oh, will you look at the model!”  I turned and saw a couple sitting on a bench waiting for a store to open.  I sat down with them and had a wonderful conversation with them.  They were a retired couple from Norway who were in town to meet their daughter who was flying into Minneapolis from Alaska.  We had about a 20 minute chat and my heart grew with happiness.

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I stopped in a lot of stores and tried on dresses looking for a new outfit.  I also took advantage of all the giant mirrors.

I had so much fun.  After my recent post I was inspired to try on a few gowns as well.  Look at this dress, could you imagine wearing it at ball?

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I had a wonderful adventure at the mall.  I look at my time as Hannah truly as adventures.  I never know what will happen.  Maybe I will find the perfect dress or talk to a retired pastor from Norway.  What I do know is that people are generally very kind and they might look at you as they have never seen a transperson before…and it’s possible they haven’t.

It’s impossible and a waste of time trying to determine what people are thinking when they see you.  Regardless of what they think, it can’t affect you.  How you think about yourself is the only thing that matters.  If someone does stare at me, I like to imagine they are thinking “wow, she’s tall” or “what a beautiful dress!” and “how does she walk in those heels?”.

People will stare, but mostly they just smile back.

Love, Hannah

A Visit to Midwest Makeup

9Last month the MN T-Girls visited Midwest Makeup in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis.  Owned by the fabulous Corrie, she not only runs an amazing store, she also does male to female transformations as part of her Femme Makeovers service.

I was fortunate to get a makeover by her when I visited her store and wanted to share my experience.  I’ve had a lot of makeovers over the last few years but I have to say I was blown away by Corrie and her techniques.  I’ve been using color correcting  to cover up my beard line, but the foundation and concealing technique she used was amazing.

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What I loved about the makeover was watching her work.  Most of the makeovers I’ve had I faced the artist and didn’t see my face until my makeover was completed, but with Corrie I was in front of a mirror the entire time and was able to see her work.  I was able to see my face transform into someone beautiful and it was amazing.

Corrie is set up to do makeovers not only in her store but also in a private room should you so wish.  Corrie understands that many of us have a need for privacy and she is more than able to accommodate.

After the makeover, I did some shopping and purchased the concealer and eyeliner she used for my makeover.  I also picked up some custom made lip gloss for my wife.

I had an amazing afternoon and I cannot recommend Corrie and her store enough.  I know you’ll have an amazing time.

Love, Hannah