Love for ThirdLove

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A few weeks ago, I posted about the hurtful comments from an executive with Victoria’s Secret.  Equally disappointing was how they handled the backlash.  Because of this, I resolved not to shop there anymore.  I think it’s important we support trans-inclusive businesses, or at the very least, avoid giving our money to an organization that seemingly tolerates anti-trans attitudes.

Many of you wrote asking for alternatives to Victoria’s Secret.  I heard about ThirdLove during this controversy as they wrote an open letter to the company condemning their comments.  Any company that sticks up for our community is absolutely worth checking out.

I visited their site and was struck by not only the selection of their lingerie but also by the inclusiveness of their models.  Their dedication to providing options for everyone was impressive and they offer Fit Finder, an online tool to help all women find their perfect size.

Even more impressive is their customer service.  I dropped them an email and within a half hour I received a response from Brooke.  I ordered a few different panties (the Cotton Thong, Lace Back Cheeky and the Lace High Brief) and I was thrilled when they arrived.

I am happy to say that each option was a perfect fit.  High quality and beautiful.  I loved what I bought but the Lace High Brief is my absolute favorite panty in my lingerie drawer.  Super cute and fits like a dream.

If you’re looking for a new place to get lingerie, I absolutely recommend ThirdLove.

Love, Hannah

 

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Victoria’s Secret Shame

This may come as a surprise to you, but I love to shop.

Shopping can be intimidating for those in our community.  It’s impossible to predict what our experiences will be like.  Will the cashier stare at me?  Will the customers make whispered remarks to other shoppers?  Will the sales clerk be helpful?  Are those heels available in my size?

I support trans-friendly and trans-positive businesses and avoid those that are not.  Many companies will champion those in the LGBTQIA community.  For example, I shop at Target because of their policy towards our community.  Of course, everyone who works for an organization will have their own opinions even if the corporate culture and core beliefs encourage diversity and inclusion.  Just because their policy is to welcome us to the store and allows us to use the dressing room of our choice does not mean the cashier isn’t going to be rude to you.

I have always loved shopping at Victoria’s Secret.  I have always been treated very well and always had positive, friendly experiences with the staff…regardless of what gender I  presented as.

I was…disappointed, to say the least, when I saw recent comments by Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer and executive vice president of public relations, Ed Razek.

Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy.

Rightly so, there was immediate backlash including comments by Heidi Zak, the CEO of ThirdLove, a new lingerie company:

“How in 2018 can the CMO of any public company — let alone one that claims to be for women — make such shocking, derogatory statements?” she wrote. “You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women. … Your show may be a ‘fantasy’ but we live in reality. Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country.

“Haven’t we moved beyond outdated ideas of femininity and gender roles?” she added. “It’s time to stop telling women what makes them sexy — let us decide. We’re done with pretending certain sizes don’t exist or aren’t important enough to serve. And please stop insisting that inclusivity is a trend.”

There are also calls to boycott the brand by models and modeling agencies, including transgender model Leyna Bloom.

Of course, an apology came quickly after:

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I read apologies with a huge amount of skepticism.  I wonder about the sincerity of such comments as it’s easy for a company to say they’re sorry when a backlash is going to hurt their profits.  The damages has been done.

Normally I would simply stop shopping somewhere when the organization made comments like this, but as I said, I’ve always wonderful service at the stores themselves.  An apology without a change in behavior is worthless.  Was Victoria’s Secret going to do anything to win back the trust and the business of our community?  Should I trust them?  Was this an offhand comment by some insensitive corporate idiot?

I wasn’t sure.  So, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and asked them.

I submitted a comment via their website on November 20th.  I copied the message below:

Hello, my name is Hannah and I am a model, activist and blogger. I am also a transwoman. I’m sure you know where this is going. 🙂   When I started to present in public as a woman, one of the first places I visited was Victoria’s Secret. I waited years to buy your beautiful lingerie and clothes. Of course, I was nervous on my first visit, but on my first, and every visit I’ve made since, I have received nothing but excellent customer service. Whether it is a bra fitting or just friendly smiles at the register, I’ve always felt welcome at your stores.

My enthusiasm for your stores plummeted last week when I heard the disparaging comments of the transcommunity by your Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek. It was the first time anyone in your organization referred to a girl like differently compared to cis-gender women.

Transphobia hurts. It hurts even more when it comes from someone who represents a brand that I love, a brand that screams femininity. A brand that, until last week, made me feel welcomed and beautiful.

I have not been to your stores since. I want to, but I will not support an organization that says such hurtful opinions on my community.

Yes, he apologized, but anyone can apologize when faced with criticism. The apology is there but so is Mr. Razek and his opinions…which are possibly a representation of the culture in you organization.

Like I said, I want to shop at your store. I have more of your clothing and lingerie than any other brand, but all I can think of when I see my closet are what Mr. Razek said.

Beyond the apology, what else are you doing to win back the trust of customers like me?

Thank you for listening,

Hannah

I was curious to see what their response would be.  The automatic reply I received stated they strive to reply to comments within 8 hours.

After a few days of silence, I sent the comment again.

Still nothing.

Silence can speak volumes.  Inaction is a form of action.

Their decision to not to respond to my concerns show that they really have no interest in keeping me as a customer.  Any organization can tweet an apology, but it takes real work, fueled by a true commitment to a community, to earn that trust back.

Love, Hannah

 

A Celebration Five Years in the Making

Yesterday the MN T-Girls celebrated five years of fun, beauty and friendship!

We started our celebration by meeting at the Mall of America for a delicious dinner at New Cantina.  There were a total of eleven of us enjoying food, drink, and girl talk as we chatted about everything from politics affecting the transgender community to the best place to get a makeover.

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After dinner, we headed over to Long Tall Sally, a clothing store that carries clothing and shoes for tall girls for a private shopping event.  This was our second shopping event there.

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Last year I found an amazing dress and I was hoping to score another killer outfit.  I was not disappointed.

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Sadly last night will be our final shopping event there as the company has decided to close all their retail shops in the United States and will only sell items through their website.

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The wonderful staff helped us match tops to skirts, find dresses for every event from formal to casual, and most importantly, made us feel as if we were the most beautiful girls in the world.  They cheered us on when we tried on an outfit and were just as happy as we were when we found THE dress.  Building our confidence is the most important thing we can do and Wanda and her team did exactly that.

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It was an emotional night as we looked back on five years, made new friends, caught up with old ones, planned future events, and said goodbye to the incredible team at Long Tall Sally.

Thank you to Wanda and her team, the wait staff at New Cantina and to all the t-girls and their significant others who joined us for a truly special night.

Love, Hannah

 

Dressing Up and Dressing Down

Sometimes I wonder if it IS all about the clothes, the makeup, the heels.  But it’s not.  It’s about not feeling comfortable being tied to a specific gender for my entire life.  It’s about feeling comfortable as more than one gender presentation.  I feel just as confident in a suit as I do in a little black dress, but for different reasons.  I don’t want to transition because I like being able to choose my gender presentation whenever I feel like it.  As I get older, I also feel more hesitant to use phrases like “always” and “never” when it comes to my opinions about some things.

Of course, there are exceptions.  Like, should you wear open-toe heels with black stockings?  NEVER.

Oscar Wilde wrote “You can never be overdressed or over-educated.”  I agree.  I like to dress and look my best.  When I am out, I know that I am probably overdressed on some level to hit the mall.  But after days of shirts and ties, the sound of heels clicking on the floor in a department store is heaven.

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When I was younger I used to dream about certain clothes.  I would page through the Victoria’s Secret catalog and wonder what it would be like to wear a matching bra and panty.  I would see girls wearing formal gowns and I would picture myself in such a beautiful dress.  In my closet I am lucky to have everything from leather to sparkley.

There are still outfits on my wish list but let’s be honest, after a certain number of bodycon and little black dresses, it becomes harder to find a dress that becomes a must-have.

Lately I seem to be drawn to a more casual look.  I have tried this in the past, such as pairing a cute top with a cardigan for example, but as I look through my wardrobe I don’t have a lot of outfits that are perfect for a lazy day of going out for coffee and running errands.

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I don’t mind stopping by Starbucks or Target in four inch heels, but when I see girls wearing cute, comfy clothes I start to wonder if I could pull off the leggings/tank top/hoodie look.  I’ve been hesitant to try this in the past as I feel that layering gives me a “bulkier” look, especially my shoulders, than I would like.  I also think that if I am only going to dress up a couple times a month, do I really want to pass up a chance to wear that cute new dress?

 

Of course, expanding one’s style also feels expanding one’s wardrobe (which is exciting and also expensive).  I have an extensive collection of heels and a perfect dress to match each pair, but I have exactly zero pairs of shoes that would go with a more casual look.

I have a photo shoot next month and I am starting to pick my outfits for it.  I have a few new dresses that I am going to model for certain, but I might slip in something a little more causal as well.

Any suggestions for me?

What look do YOU want to try?

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

Ask Hannah!

Who carries the men’s blue lace shorts lingerie. Wish I could attach photo but they are a bit short and not as loose in the legs as the one on Xdress website, the black ones.

I really have no idea.  I am sure there are many blue lace shorts so I’m sorry that I can’t be more helpful.

If you think about it, this is really an amazing time for those who are non-gender conforming , crossdressers and anyone that loves to wear pretty undies.  You can shop for a variety of options at Xdress, Bodyaware, HommeMystere, Glamour Boutique and whatever else you find by googling “lingerie for men”.

I can’t speak for everyone, but lingerie was definitely my gateway to this wonderful world and ultimately to who I am today.

Love, Hannah

Every Body Fits

I received an email the other day from Alicia Lagan whose son came out to her as transgender two years ago.  As she watched her son start taking hormones and adapting to his new life, she noticed he had a hard time finding clothes that fit his changing body.

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Alicia and her business partner were moved to create a new company named ‘Every Body’, a clothing line for transgender teens in Los Angeles, but with plan to have stores internationally.  Their mission is to help make shopping easier for the transgender community, something I think we all would benefit from.  We all want to feel comfortable in what we’re wearing and to not be treated poorly while shopping.  Every Body is committed to tailoring clothes to fit kids the way that they would like by designing a specialized size chart.  Once opened, the store will be a one-stop-shop for everything, whether it is undergarments, necessary accessories, and other clothing that fit correctly so one can express themselves as the gender they identify as.

At this point they are raising money for their project.  If you’d like to learn more about Every Body and help a difference in the lives of our LGBTQ youth, please visit their site.

Love, Hannah

 

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