Buy Clothing with Care

Maybe there should be a list of instructions given to every new trans women:

  • Yes, that skirt/dress is too short (that goes double if they had to tackle you to tell you)
  • No, blue is not a good hair color at your age
  • Blush should not look like a giant pink spot!

But importantly about clothing:

  • At first buy little – you don’t know what you’re really going to grow to like. Women’s clothing is much more varied then men’s and you have to add on that once that early phase of wanting to be a peppermint stick is over, wearing bright red lipstick and a pencil skirt, you may move on to butch lesbian attire with a baggy men’s flannel shirt.
  • Do Not Buy things that don’t fit. You will be uncomfortable. You will not look good. You will have to replace them. It will be money wasted. Along with this go find someone to help you measure your size. Oh do I wish I had done that. However, at least make an honest assessment in the fitting room. Well fitting clothing should:
    • Not emphasize your pooch or other bulgy areas. If it does, next!
    • It should not have parts stretched in weird ways that distort it
    • It should fit nicely where you have parts that you’d like people to see – you know what I mean, right?
  • Understand that we have a big problem with clothing. We vary from having no hips to normal hips and similarly on the waist. However, the tendency is obviously more toward the no hip end versus cis-women. This means you need to be really careful with pants and skirts that they will fit well but not just fall down. Look for belt loops, elastic sections (even though WNTW would be scandalized!) or other solutions.
  • Make sure you sit down in the clothing to check the comfort
  • Make double sure you cross your legs in dresses and skirts to make sure you aren’t going to show off things you don’t want to be showing off.
  • There are stores that specialize in women with bigger bodies. They sell clothing that starts at size 14 and specifically try to have in stylish clothing. Lane Bryant isn’t a curse word. There are women’s sections in department stores. Unless you really are small you should figure that you may need these.

Shoes: Unless you’re young and lightweight, resist the temptation to by platform heels or any heel above 2″ at the start. See how you cope. Personally I also found ballerina flats cute as pie and uncomfortable as hell. Mail order from Zappos and Amazon, but also direct from shoe companies like Clarks who will have styles in sizes that aren’t being carried – usually as a slightly higher cost.

However, as with the clothing, try to buy some basics and grow it out. I recommend block heels or wedges for the office for anything with a heel. Relatively comfortable shoes for the office are fine too, you don’t have to torture yourself.

Consider doing now what I only just got done and have someone do your colors. I knew a lot of what came out, but there were a few surprises. More than one or two items to toss there as well.





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