When we were too young to obtain wigs, we used mop heads or scarves. We didn't require any makeup because we were twelve or under and looked more female than male anyway. Mother's or sister's shoes may have fit because our feet weren't fully grow. Also we were smaller in stature and girth, so dresses we sneaked out of the back of someone's closet would either fit or be large--much better than being two or three sizes too small. Those were the days.
Most of us have had plenty of experience at dressing. We all have our special little tricks, and during conversations with other transgendered, every once in a while I hear of something I haven't considered. So, I thought it might be interesting to go through the steps from the beginning for those who are having some difficulties. And for those of you who have some new or different ideas: write me, and I will share with others. I will get to the neck and face later, but will concentrate on the part below the face first.
Before the clothing, before the underwear, and before the padding: just skin and hair.
If you are showing your legs and not covering up with multiple stockings or tights, the hair should be removed either by shaving, chemicals, electrolysis, or laser. If the skin is not really nice looking, try using foundation on the legs after lotion. This can be some of your older foundation that has passed its safe shelf life of 3 to 6 months. Dermablend or a generic will give maximum coverage, but is harder to remove. A leg foundation is now available. Also, don't forget the toes and toenails. Cover nails with quick-dry clear polish, then a final coat of color. The clear undercoat will help prevent the colored polish leaving a stain on the nail. Hair should be removed from any part of the body that is exposed, including toes. Being able to wear open toed shoes opens a whole new world of shoe choices for the crossdresser.
Some companies make leg makeup. I have tried Sally Hansen's Airbrush Legs. If you try this get Light Glow, their other colors are too orange. Overspray is hard to clean up so follow directions and only spray in your hand. It will come off the leg after two or three scrubbings with a wash cloth. I think it looks great on the legs. Don't forget the feet.
Legs and legwork - for those who don't shave or have banged up legs, try beige or white tights. Wear one or two pairs depending upon the denier. Then one or two pairs of pantyhose should be worn over the tights for proper coloring.
Hips, buttock and privates
Pads can be purchased or made. They are usually necessary to create an hourglass figure, or at least add a bit to the hips to match the chest/breast. The latest thing I have seen in hip pads is silicone. I have heard they do not hold up well. Foam pads can be made easily from a 1-inch-thick piece of foam, obtainable at fabric stores. Just cut an oval 8 inches wide and 12 inches long. Taper one side of the pad out 1 1/2"all around to a very thin edge approx. 1/8-inch thick. Dimensions will vary depending upon your body size and how much additional hip you are trying to create. Similar smaller pads can be made for the derrière. I find placing them at a slight angle, from the hipbone angling down and back, creates a natural look.
Tuck - some degree of tucking for private parts is usually necessary for the transgendered male, unless the dress has a full skirt. A special piece of clothing called a gaff is made for this. Girdles also can work well and also helps to smooth any imperfections that the hip pads may cause. An additional triangular shaped pad can be used in the crotch area. This pad will come up over the lower part of the abdomen for a smooth look. This pad should also be tapered on the edges so lines do not appear on the abdomen. Pantyhose and tights also further smooth out the hip area.
Breast - a bra can be stuffed with anything. Foam, stockings, Kleenex, etc. Balloons filled with water lend a natural appearance, feel, and movement. A twelve-inch party balloon with 4 to 6 oz of water works well, and the likelihood of it breaking is minimal. Silicone breast forms are by far the nicest. The fit, feel and movement are as close to the real thing as you can get without implants. Silicone forms can be purchased for $100 and up per pair. They come in several different sizes, usually 1 to 10 or 14. Sizes vary by brand, so check the manufacturer's size chart. Give some thought to where they will be worn before spending the money and finding they're twice the size you want to appear in public. A size 3 or 4 in most brands is about equal to a 36 B, but be sure to check the manufacturer's chart so you know what you are getting.
Bra size is important for comfort and appearance. Measure around the chest, just under the arms, above the bust. This is your BAND OR BODY SIZE. If your measurement ends in a fraction or is an odd number, round up to the next even size. However, (and there are always howevers) if you are trying to create cleavage (see article on creating cleavage), stay at the closest even size. Example:38-3/4", go with a 38. A slightly tighter bra will help in creating cleavage. Stay away from low-cut, push-up, and demi-bras; they will not cover breast forms. I will omit the rules for determining cup size, because the rules apply to natural breast. If using silicone forms, go with the manufacturer's stated cup size. Go with personal preference when using other methods of bra stuffing. B is always safe, as it is the average size. Most clothing is designed to fit B or C sizes. The band of the bra (this is the elastic band around the bottom, not to be confused with band size) should be horizontal all around the body. If it goes up in the back or sags in the front, the bra is most likely too large. If the bra cuts into your sides and leaves lasting marks, it is most likely too small. Unfortunately as with all clothing, different manufacturers and different styles will change the fit.
The above is standard industry practices. Having said that, I have found that I fit best into 1 band size smaller than what should be my size. With enough tries, your standard size will be found.
Layer it with corsets, bras, garter belts, slips and panties
Corsets - although they can become uncomfortable when worn for several hours, corsets do help to tuck away the tummy and pull in the lower ribs a bit. Of course, the best bet is diet and exercise.
The above covers most of the basic foundation, but I will add a few less common items here, and will also make more entries in the future.
Longline, backless bras - a must for low-cut back or strapless dresses. JC Penney sells these at very reasonable prices. Buy one without lace so it won't show through the dress. Unfortunately they don't sell a beige one, so you have to choose black or white, or buy both.
Slips - once in a while they are useful in helping to cover up panty lines showing through thin dresses.
Garter belt - very sexy but totally outdated. If you tend to run your pantyhose, wearing stockings can save the day by having a spare in your purse in a Ziploc. Depending on the skirt, they can show through.
Panties - help to give a finished underneath look, but can create panty-lines on some dresses. Thong panties can help to shape the derriere with some outfits.
Slits and Gaffs
The Slit - With all the layers and pads, using the restroom can be quite a challenge. To simplify life, consider slitting the undergarments for easy access. A slit toward the back will keep the tuck and allow use of the restroom if sitting. Exclude slitting the panties, need something to keep it in place.
Let's put it all together. First a gaff if desired, then panties, then insert pads in the panties, top off with a girdle. If you are not going with natural legs, put on the tights and pantyhose. Corset is next if needed, if not, put on a bra or long line bra. Insert breast forms then a cleavage wedge. Pull the chest to achieve the desired cleavage. Top off with any additional desired undergarments (garter belt, slip panties). Final step, the dress or skirt and blouse.
A few words about outer garments
Darker colors give the illusion of being smaller. For those not removing hair from underarms, wear sleeves. Heavy hair on the forearms can be covered with long sleeves, or bleached and trimmed. Dress length should be age appropriate (Obviously I don't follow this one). Tops of nylons should not show; despite what one might feel, this is a real turn-off when seen out of the bedroom. High heels (3-5") look good if one's walk remains feminine. Check out my article on the Feminime walk.
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