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"I don't mind living in a man's world as long as I can be a woman in it."
— Marilyn Monroe
Are you really nervous about going out to eat en femme? Know you're not alone, this is an important right of Transgender passage, and all "new women" have these normal concerns. I often see very well groomed Transgender women who have spent endless hours on perfecting their makeup and clothing, revert back to their male conditioned habits, when the food arrives. Etiquette is an extremely important aspect of being a lady, so next time-- think about how you're being perceived by others before you begin chowing down while you're beautifully dressed. Here are some helpful dinning tips to consider before your next luncheon or dinner.
I kind of knew it all along. But I never found the right words to say it in a such simple way. We can spend as much money as we want on surgeries, hair, cosmetics, clothes and accessories, but all that cannot take us all the way to true femininity. These things might make us look and feel feminine, but they are not the whole story as the world sees it.
Because femininity is a lot more than the 'facade'. It includes who we are and how we express ourselves in everyday situations. It includes how we carry ourselves, how we move, how we communicate, and how we relate to others. Nothing in the world can 'buy' this for us. We've got to work on it by ourselves, or (better) with the help of a good instructor. Sure, this costs money, too! But not nearly as much as we typically spend on surgeries or hair removal. The downside: we have to do the hardest part of the work - no matter how good or expensive our 'femininity coach' might be.
Sensual Feminine Movement and voice are neglected too easily in the crossdressing transformation process. We take our pictures, and see a woman. What else do we want?
Well, real life is a little more complicated, because the photo camera is exchanged for real people's eyes and ears, along with their perception of what a woman is or should be.
Here is where the difference between being tolerated and being accepted comes to play. Sure, in the San Francisco Bay Area you will find more tolerance than anywhere else - and that's greatly appreciated. If that's the only thing important to you, you don't have much to worry about. But if you are like me, if you like the freedom to travel safely, if you don't want your gender status to be recognized immediately, then buckle up for a rough ride towards the land of true femininity.
I often hear excuses, like "I am too tall to pass", "I have too big of a frame size", "I don't have a butt", or "My hands are too large". Think twice: Genetic females come in all shapes and sizes, and nobody questions their femininity. I have seen countless women with those attributes, but usually they knew how to play them down. It's something you can learn, too! But it takes some effort. To get started, consider shifting your reading from Glamour magazine to books like "Flatter Your Figure" by Jan Larkey. Then ask a fashion or feminine image consultant for help. The book will help you understand her recommendations.
Now you can focus on the 'tough stuff' - moving and speaking like a woman. This is hard work, and it is somewhat difficult to evaluate yourself. Unless you really have a fine eye and ear for detail, you will need some kind of femininity or voice coach sooner or later. You can get your feet wet with books like "Creating a Feminine Carriage" by Elaine Sagant or "Get Dressed" - by Gina Lance, or even the videos like "Sensual Feminine Movemen" by Denaë Doyle.
Learning to speak like a woman is a lot like learning a foreign language (I learned two - English and French - and it helped!). You will need to practice with somebody who is qualified, honest and unbiased. That's where the consultants come in. They can teach you more systematically and efficiently, and have the experience to monitor your progress in detail. If you are tight on money, consider a combination of consulting and self-learning. Either way, you will have to practice. A lot...
And while we are talking about practicing: Learn to smile - even in difficult situations. It breaks the ice and opens the door to earn the sympathy and trust of others. It can be the magic bullet to get you out of an embarrassing situation. Haven't we all been there?
It's never too late to learn. However, you might have an easier transition, if you develop much of your femininity before you start living full time. This also gives you a more realistic outlook on what to expect in that new role. I have done it that way, and was overwhelmed with the acceptance and support I experienced, once I announced the change. I had gone through great lengths before I finally made the change - including two trips to Europe, to test the waters in my native culture. So far these efforts have paid off. I wish everyone a similar experience!
Transition is expensive. In my wardrobe consultations with a new Transgender woman, we establish how to begin buying on a basic backbone while incorporating the concept of "Capsule Dressing".
For example, buying one high quality skirt suit in a solid color and wearing the skirt several times per week. Pair them with less expensive blouses, sweaters or quality cotton T-shirts, from a discount store. Your next good purchase will be a classic dress that could be dressed up with pearls, or down with your classic pump. A black cocktail dress is another basic that you can wear for different occasions, from a dressy dinner to a formal play or opera. Go for a fitted classic line, simple but sophisticated. By using Capsule Dressing, and building your wardrobe on a basic style and color backbone, you will begin to see your wardrobe build and improve. Here are more tips for creating your wardrobe on a budget, emphasis being kept on classic pieces, not fad.
What Shoes are Best for the Transgender Woman for Business?
I suggest an open toe and heel pump in a low heel. A sling back is ideal for the wider foot. A pair of good quality boots for winter and rainy days. Sandals and tennis shoes for summer and Friday casual. Always be sure your shoes are darker than your purse, or outfit. Remember, it is best to keep your heel under 3 inches for business attire. Be sure your pump matches your bag as closely as possible. If you wear a belt, try to match it to your shoe. TG women generally need to wear a woman's WIDE or an open toe in a medium and Nordstrom's and PayLess Shoes carry size 10 and over and have several styles in WIDE.
Avoid Wearing Rhinestones, Pearls, Black Hosiery, or Any Shiny Fabric During the Day.
Keep your look casual- sophisticated, and add femininity with colorful scarf's, blouses, classic jewelry, and feminine accessories. Don't be afraid to add accessories, they can be a girls best friend. Try fun things; a wool pull over cap or beret for those rainy mornings, or add a matching cashmere scarf and gloves. Straw hat and bag for summer, or pretty clips for your hair. Look in magazines and at other women to get ideas, experiment with how comfortable you are with adding in accessories and changing your look. Also, experiment with different hairstyles, perhaps wearing a French Twist or perhaps pinning a flower behind your ear for evening, gives you another look.
Should You Buy Expensive Hosiery?
I have not found much difference between the two. Stock up on several pairs and always watch for a sale. Often a store such as Mervyn's will have a sale advertised so go early as the best colors fly out of the store; as women purchase 5-10 pair at sales. Also, stores such as K-Mart and Walgreens have some great pantyhose, so don't feel you have to pay more. Look for the tall sizes in hosiery as they generally fit the transgender woman's frame better. Wear a hosiery color that is as close to your natural skin tone as possible. Always wear darker hose after October and wear lighter hose (sandal foot toe) starting around Easter. Sheer hose run very easily, so I recommend you select hosiery that has some spandex; generally these hose are called mild to medium support. Total support (opaque) hose are ideal for the crossdresser that doesn't always have the opportunity to shave her legs.
Also, purchase a lingerie bag for your washing machine that zips up (Available at most retail stores in their lingerie department). Tossing your delicates in this lingerie bag helps to machine-wash your hosiery and bras without ruining them (use the delicate wash cycle). I also use my lingerie bag to wash good sweaters and other more expensive delicate items. I generally don't use the dryer for my better clothes. Purchase a small clothes line for your garage area and hang 75% of your better clothing, or of course have it dry-cleaned. I recently bought a new Maytag Washing Machine, as it does not have the center spin pole that twists clothing. Consider this the next time you need to purchase a new washer/dryer. Keeping your clothing clean is an important part of looking feminine. I recommend all my transgender women have a "beauty day" (Sat or Sun) when they wash, iron and sew their stained or torn items. And, every 2-3 weeks you're off to the nail salon to get your acrylic nails filled, and of course make time to color your hair and or eyebrows. Basically, stay ahead of the dressing game; and be prepared for the next week. Gosh, being a girl and looking good is hard work!
Twin sets (shells with a matching cardigan) are ideal for work and for cooler evenings. They also help cover larger upper arms and shoulders. Tunic (open slits on the sides) pantsuits are also ideal for the transgender woman. Add one good umbrella, winter coat, and raincoat with a zipper lining.
Need to hide a potbelly?
Jackets and sweater vest hide a barrel shape belly, just add a feminine blouse! Clothing that drapes is better than tight clothing that you tuck. Loose is best, always. Again, a tunic style top is ideal to hide a multitude of sin. Consider waistbands that have elastic and have the blouse or sweater always on the outside. Keep one solid color around the waist area.
What is the best length winter coat to buy? Three-quarter, or knee-length, to go with pants or skirts. Short winter coats generally do not look good with a dress or skirt. And, girls keep your winter coat clean, especially if it is black. Keep a lint brush in your closet.
What's the Best Coat Choice for Everyone?
A trench coat with zip-out lining or a wool knee length in one of your basic colors. Remember to buy your expensive items; such as your winter coat, boots, shoes and leather handbags/wallets, during the off-season in January. Shop stores such as Wilsons Leather for a 50% on your leather or better retail stores have an end of the year sale for these items.
High quality polyester travels well without wrinkling. Also add a few expensive fabrics, a silk blouse and some pretty cashmere sweaters, and wool gabardine suits. I love Jones of New York, Ann Taylor, and Liz Claiborne for great fabrics with lining for my business suits.
Ideally, the best time to buy is twice a year at the beginning of the season.
For transgender women a good alterations person is a must. Buy larger tops for your shoulders and longer arm length and have your pants and skirts taken in or purchase tops that do not have buttons or zippers. A good alterations person is a must-do expense. If you prefer to wear hip pads, please wear padding on the smaller size, over time these become annoying. I encourage my TS women to generally not wear a bra over a C cup, and to keep hip padding minimal, if any.
Does Dress Size Matter?
Yes. If you're a perfect size 10-12 woman, you can buy less expensive clothes and they won't pull on you. If you're larger and don't have a lot to spend, I suggest saving for one good outfit. Also, check for correct dress sizing.
Most transgender women will wear Misses or Womens clothing so always measure yourself and understand what category you wear, before ordering anything from a catalog. If you're able to try on clothing at a department store, you will be happier with your results. Perhaps take your SO or a genetic female with you, if you're uncomfortable in the dressing room.
How Do You Draw the Eye Up to Your Face and Away From Larger Shoulders and Hands?
Wear great earrings and necklaces drawing attention to your face. I always encourage my transgender women to not wear large rings or dark nail polish. Keep your nails manicured and have acrylic tips applied at your nail salon, to give your hands a more feminine look. A short to medium length is best, or an athletic length. For mature women, an oval nail shape is generally best, leaving the square tips for the younger women. If you feel your hands are too large, it is best to wear only one thin ring on each hand, or no rings at all. Again, the white French-tip acrylic nails applied at a nail salon are the absolute best effect for large hands.
What is the Best Jewelry Color to Buy?
I suggest buying pieces combining both gold and silver. This prevents you from having to buy all your pieces in both colors and this is an important tip to remember when you're buying your watch. When you're first beginning to purchase your jewelry buy simple pieces. Another tip I recommend for transgender women is to wear jewelry in three of your four jewelry zones. Your four zones for jewelry are: ears, neck, wrist, and fingers. Leave out the zone that you don't want to bring the most attention to. Wearing all four zones is too much jewelry for a transgender woman.
Organizing Your Closet For Transition
Before a new transgender woman purchases new clothing for her wardrobe, she should organize her closet and chest of drawers. How do you begin the process of knowing what clothing will work for transition? Get rid of the 50 percent of clothes that you don't wear and keep clothes you wear most of the time. A good rule is, if you haven't worn something in 3 years, there is a reason. Toss it out of your closet; you can't afford a cluttered closet on those busy mornings getting out of the house in your new femme role. (Donate clothing that is in good shape, to a woman's organization-not GoodWill.) Getting out dressed in femme is much harder than most new transgender women anticipate. Remember, time is the enemy. Running late and looking half put together can ruin the experience of transition, and I see this as one of biggest problems encountered by transgender women re-entering the work force. Here are a few tips I have learned from helping clients with their closets.
First, install a good light in your closet, and put a door mirror close by. Purchase extra shoe storage and plastic wardrobe boxes for folding your small items. Purchase good hangers and toss out all those wire hangers. Install hooks to hang necklaces, braclets, belts and purses. Buy a compartmentalized jewelry cabinet for fine jewelry. Use the special hangers designed for your skirts and pants. Keep scarves folded in plastic containers on a shelf for easy access or hang them with the outfits that match.
Next, determine if you prefer putting all your colors together, or putting pieces together, or assembling complete outfits including their accessories, on one hanger. This is very important for you new girls transitioning at work. Have separate drawers for your cotton T-shirts, workout clothes, undergarments, hose and socks. I recently bought a lingerie chest and I love it! They are tall with thin drawers and can easily fit in a corner of your closet or room. Always look for old chest of drawers at garage sales with large, deep drawers. You can always store chests in your closet or room for the clothing you fold.
Some women separate business, casual and evening clothes into different areas of your closet and others (including myself) separate clothing by sizes. In other words, your thin clothing and your fat clothing! Consider hanging your evening and cocktail gowns and expensive fabrics in a zippered garment bag in the back of your closet or in another closet in the house. Store dressy shoes, evening bags, and accessories together in plastic (clear) wardrobe boxes. Also, organize your vanity or makeup area with good lighting, mirrors and remember to give your bedroom a new splash of color with a new feminine bed spread and color coordinated throw pillows. Make it fun ladies; this is what you have always wanted, so go for it.
I recommend putting a clock nearby with a radio. And, give yourself enough time to get dressed. It is much more time consuming to pull yourself together as a woman. It takes time, energy, shopping, and it requires you to get up at least one hour earlier in the morning. By being organized, and having at least 5 outfits fully coordinated (like a uniform) you will find getting out of the house to be a more enjoyable experience - therefore helping you create success in your new femme role.
You have spent hours putting on your makeup, doing your hair, pulling and taping yourself into hip pads, panty hose, gaff, and hair. Now, you're ready to go out and enjoy yourself en femme decked out in your best outfit from head to toe. So, why are you getting those "guy-in-a-dress" second glances when you walk into a room or down the street? "It must be my voice," is the response I generally hear from a majority of my transgender clients.
A masculine voice can certainly give you away in an instant, but often you haven't said a word! What is giving you away in that first three-second impression? By far the most common factor is that despite all your best efforts to look feminine, you are still moving like a male! It's not your newest hair, makeup, or wardrobe that needs a makeover, but the way you walk and gesture, and how you coordinate your gestures with your new feminine voice. In this article, I will focus on creating feminine movement and body language. In my experience, I have found these are the two most important factors, in presenting a truly unique and authentic feminine persona. And, I have first hand experience with outside coaching, in how you're perceived by others; in short it is the quintessential factor in "not getting read".
There is a distinctly feminine way to move and hold yourself, and a distinctly male mode of being in the world. I explain to my clients that the secret to changing others' perception of your gender is to learn the technique I teach called "Balanced Movement," which has two parts: a conscious shift in how you carry your weight from your upper shoulders and arms to the pelvic and hip area, and then coordinated head, face, hand, and body movement. Balanced Movement is the secret to feminine poise, and having natural feminine poise and gestures is essential to presenting an authentic feminine image.
From my experience in coaching hundreds of serious transgender women (many going through their one-year real life test) I have found that poise, like voice, requires the most practice and training to learn well. Yes, you can spend a fortune having others sell you clothes, and pay to have your makeup and hair done, and even have plastic surgery, but only you can put in the time and practice required to change your voice and body language and successfully blend them together into an authentic feminine presentation. And, while voice is very important, an authentic feminine poise can offset much, if not all, of your masculine voice. Once your feminine poise has been achieved, the clothes and makeup will provide the finishing touch of looking and truly feeling beautiful.
What Factors Are Important To Developing Feminine Poise?
Feminine poise isn't just something all genetic women naturally posses. When I was in high school, I was a Wallflower, looking down, leaning forward, and walking as if I carried the weight of the world. With professional training and devoted practice, I overcame my unfeminine mannerisms and went on to model on television while still attending high school.
What I learned in high school about poise, and have been perfecting for many years as a professional consultant to fashion models and beauty pageant contestants, I can teach to you. With the proper training and practice, you too can begin to walk more gracefully, stand more regally and become more confident with each excursion into the public, knowing you will never again give off the impression of "guy in a dress."
Feminine gestures can send silent signals of desire, or communicate a complete lack of interest.
Are you new at going out as a woman and understanding the subtle signs of attraction or lack thereof? Before you launch yourself into the line of fire, take time to practice the basics of creating that first three-second impression that states Female and not "Guy In A Dress".
As a "Femininity Coach" for genetic women and now Transgendered women, I have created the most important signals a transgender woman must focus on and practice - to not give off those subtle male cues. I often hear, "Is it my voice"? Or, "perhaps my beard concealer isn't working". Being perceived as female is not as simple as paying to have makeup, wigs, and beautiful clothing, but instead requires time, practice, and a new awareness of not falling back into moving, gesturing and speaking as a male.
First, let's remember that when it comes to the silent signs of sexual attraction, we are no different than the animal kingdom - which communicates their interest in mating, by using certain body signals. Often, with females it boils down to the message, "I am submissive, harmless and more approachable". For the new transgender woman, you may be wondering 'what are these secret signals genetic women know how to use?' Welcome in to the circle of knowing and using age old flirting techniques of confident women - and now this secret potion lies within your reach also! I have made a list of my top eight body language cues, which I teach my transgender women to be perceived as a female especially during flirtation. Let's start at the top and work down.
Tilted Head and Lifted Shoulders
Women tend to have more animated head and shoulder movement, while men are socialized to hold their head and shoulders very linear. When a female is flirting, two of the most easily detected signs of attraction are (1) tilting her head slightly forward while looking up at someone from under the eyebrows and (2) smiling while lifting and rolling her shoulders. These motions indicate that a woman is softer, more compliant and interested in dating!
Pointed Toe and Knee Movement
While standing, a feminine woman keeps weigh back only on one foot, allowing the free front foot to be pointed so she can tilt and move her toe. Next time you're out, lift the heel of the pointed toe and allow the knee to rotate in an inward "swaying" movement and see if those new heels will suggest definite interest. This technique also creates a more "shrinking" effect, which is a less threatening profile.
Wrist Forward, Cupped Hands
When speaking, woman use softer, more flowing hand movements. Specifically, take note of whether the palms are facing upward, while gesturing and resting on a table. Practice, using slow, fluid flowing hands with a broken wrist, as if you were moving your hands under water. Keeping your wrist forward, using flowing hands, and cupping your fingers, are all gestures, which are psychologically friendlier.
SSSS- Curve. Everything Starts With S!
S-CURVE - There is a distinctly feminine way to move and hold yourself. Simply put, truly feminine women have learned to stand, sit and move their bodies in curves - mostly S curves, while men generally stand, sit and walk very linear - they stay in a box, such as the letter "I". A truly feminine woman pulls her weight up by lifting her torso and bust - while twisting at the waist. Lift and twist. Lifting your weight prevents weight from dropping down into your feet, especially when wearing heels!
Men walk twice as fast as most women, especially in heels. Make an effort to slow your stride down. Regardless of how nervous you are, slow everything down. There is no weight dropping down into your feet, especially when your heels are over two inches!
To appear more sensual and feminine, try taking half the size step you generally take.You will find walking in heels will require balance. By taking shorter steps, you will avoid tripping and you will appear more feminine and poised.
Men have spaces - open space between their arms and body, and between their knees and feet. Men stand linear on the floor with their weight evenly distributed on both feet. Ideally, a feminine woman (and we know all women today are not always feminine) will generally close up the spaces between their arms and torso, between their knees and their feet. The smaller size capsule you have, the smaller space you will take up. By walking and standing in less space, you appear shorter, smaller, and more feminine.
Swinging your arms from your shoulder (as men do) may be a behavior that is giving you away. Let your arms rest gently down the side of your legs allowing for a natural delicate arm swing from your elbows. You should practice keeping your elbows turned inward and slightly bent and touching your torso. Men generally have longer arms than women, so bending your elbows; will give the appearance of shorter and smaller arms.