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a Birdie on a Wire

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So like many on this forum, I transitioned later in life.
And like many male-to-female transitioners, I’m finding it a challenge to figure out… (hm, how to put this?) the myriad of nuances that come with social norms that influence fashion for those who present as a woman.

I had a session with my therapist last night and we talked a little about this because I’m going to a business conference with my wife and am kinda low-key freaking about what to wear.

I mean... I just want to blend in. I don’t want to stand out or draw attention to myself but having been on HRT for 18mos and no surgeries I feel like I still have a long way to go before I get to that place… ugh. Bottom line is I just don’t really care for unwanted attention.

I’ll only be going to a reception/cocktail hour (this is an event the night before the conference starts) and a dinner hosted by a contracted vendor to the organization my wife works for.

Anyway, I was wondering how you have navigated the challenge of figuring out women’s fashion and what works best for you. Did you rely on a friend's input? Maybe watch videos? Trial and error?

What makes you feel confident?
How did you settle on your style of dress or is it still evolving?
Did your physical build and age influence it or did you just say, "screw it... I like this and I'm gonna wear it." ?
Maybe your occupation or hobbies?
 

Lexxi

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Before I say anything else I want to state that I am 100% definitely NOT any sort of fashion maven. I always dress for comfort and never fashion. My preferred way to dress in the winter is wearing a hoodie with leggings. But that's at home.

Since I don't pass, or should say that passing is a stretch usually, when I go out in public I'll either wear a hoodie with tight sweat pants (because they're very legging-esq), or a hoodie with women's jeans.

In the summer I'm always wearing women's shorts and normally a t-shirt or some form of women's shirt (v-cut stuff).

Okay with all that said when I do want to dress up a little more I'll normally get my ideas from magazines, websites, or....women's clothing catalogs. Since I'm bigger than most other women I get catalogs from a store called Woman Within. They have tons of plus size clothing and whoever dresses their models is certainly fashionable. Almost all of my women's clothing came from there.

If you do order from there though make sure you search for Woman Within coupons on the web because you can usually find coupons for something like 15%-25% off your total order, or perhaps free shipping. I've saved a ton of money since I do that before I place my orders.

I guess those catalogs are where I came up with my sense of fashion. A lot of times I'll see something some woman is wearing that I like and I'll try to find something similar from Woman Within.
 

OzGirl

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Birdie, cis women have fashion faux pas regularly, so don't put too much pressure on yourself! look at what other women are wearing to certain occasions and weather conditions, and generally that will give you a guide. I always like to blend in, so I tend to go a bit conservative, but also making a statement that I am female. As it is a work function for your wife, take her advice because she is who you need to please most!

I have Jury Duty next week and will wear grey pant and a black, but very feminine top, then the same pant with a different top the next day, but I am old and more conservative is more normal. So long as you don't shock anyone you will be fine!

Hugs,

Allie
 

Michelle_P

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As you mention, physical build and age have some impact on what one wears. The event also sets the overall tone. For a conference reception or dinner, daily businesswear is likely to be appropriate. That would be something like:

* blazer and women’s slacks, navy or gray, and simple top/blouse

* medium length skirt with blazer and top as above, with hose.

* flat or low (kitten) heel shoes, again in a dark color

* simple jewelry, a brooch and bangles or bracelet.

* minimal makeup

Business settings are focused on the business, not on individuals, and calling attention to oneself through wardrobe doesn’t work well.
 

Linde

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I live full time as a female for many years now, and my body has a pretty normal female phenotype. I go out several times every month, either with friends to dinner, or on a date with different men. I like to wear knee to calf long skirts, with a nice top over them, fitting for the occasion. Once in a while I wear a dress of similar length. I hardly wear pants/slacks at all, and only for casual situations.
Initially, some cis girlfriends went shopping with me, to teach me the ins and outs about female clothing.
You have to develop your very own style, to see what looks best on you. I do not wear a lot of jewelry, but I always wear a necklace, if some of my chest ist exposed, and I always wear fitting earrings.
When I go out with guys, my daughter Amber dolls up my hair a bit, to make me look as good as possible. I hardly use any makeup, just for the eyes and lipstick. My eyebrows are microbladed, and look good all the time.


Linde
 

Donica

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Hi Birdie (Wren?), I like to google current trends for age-appropriate casual and formal women's fashions. And not necessarily age appropriate, but close in age, give or take 10 years or so. If I can't match anything within my own wardrobe, well.... that's a great excuse to go shopping again :love:
 
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Shygirltobe

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Hi Birdie. That is a very valid and interesting question you just posted! First off congrats on already being out and also on HRT for 18 months now! Back to your reception/cocktail hour attire fashion question, I do understand the need to fit in, but I also understand your concern to still remain stylish/trendy too. I would like to consider myself to be a fashionista person, but I would like to emphasize I don't work in the fashion industry at all. I would first suggest that you ask your wife what the proper attire is for functions like this are. Being that this is an event contracted by your wife's organization she works for that means she must have some sort of previous experience at these functions.

Even if she hasn't been to one of these conferences I'm sure she has been invited to other formal events before. I would suggest that you go with the fashion basics of wearing a conservative knee-length skirt & blouse/top, or a cocktail dress that also still goes down your knees of course. Pair either outfit with black, or a very dark shade of pantyhose too. Never wear cream, or lighter colored pantyhose as those colors tend to stick out more and that is what you do not want. As for colors stick with black, or darker shades/hues the better! Black/dark hues goes with anything.

In regards to other non-wardrobe accessories & hair, also keep these as conservative as possible too. Although that doesn't mean you can't be stylish and bold when it comes to accessorizing and coordinating your look though. I hope all of these suggestions will help you out.
 

Linde

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It also depends on what kind of person you are. I am rather tall, close to 6', and a bit to the slim side, with natural boobs (36 DD), and with my own long, blonde hair. I can afford to be dressed a bit more risky than a shorter, a bit plumper person, who wears a wig and breast forms.. But I really don't. I have two black dresses, one with short, and one with long sleeves that are about knee long. I wear either of those, with a nice, decorative shawl over my shoulders, to add a bit of color. My daughter doctors up my hair to match the occasion. I wear more formal looking black shoes with a bit of a heel (because of my size, I cannot wear high heels). Dressed like this, I fit into any formal setting.


Linde
 

KathyLauren

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My sense of fashion is influenced by my late mother and by my wife. I won’t wear anything androgynous. It has to look like it came from the Ladies department.

Skirts are out of season right now, but I like to wear them in summer. I don’t wear anything above the knee - age-appropriate. With Covid, I have been dressing a bit more upscale than I normally would. I’ll wear a skirt and nice top for grocery shopping, just because it’s an excuse to look nice.

This time of year, I’ll wear slacks and a colourful top or sweater.

My goal is to be perceived at first glance as a woman. There are enough other first-glance hints that I might be trans, such as my height and shoulders, which I can’t do anything about that I want to do what I can to influence that first impression. That means dressing like other women my age dress in any situation. I avoid dressing flamboyantly, but I like to add a little bit of colour or sparkle, like my mother used to. In fact, I have some of her jewelry, and wear it from time to time.
 

evenolderandcreakier

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I basically have two outfits, one for winter and one for summer. My summer outfit is shorts and a tank top. My winter outfit is sweatpants and a hoodie. In winter, I wear a man's coat and man's hat because men's outerwear is warmer and I live in a cold state. I don't wear bras or makeup or jewelry. In short, I dress for comfort and everything is cotton.
 

Confused

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Hi Wren, you will look great in almost anything you wear, but your wife will understand the culture of her organization the best. I would ask her.

Hugs,
Mike
 

a Birdie on a Wire

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Thanks for your responses everyone. Great ideas. Thank you.
One thing that stood out was when @Linde said, "my body has a pretty normal female phenotype."

Yeah... see. That's the thing. Mine does not.

Maybe it's body dysmorphia but from my perspective... I ain't built like no lady.
Shoulders are kinda broad. Legs short and stubby. Torso longer in proportion to my legs. And I have not been able to lose weight to cycle fat into a female pattern. I'm still rather straight so female phenotype is not here yet and am not sure it will ever get there.

As a result I feel like I have to be overly girly in my clothing choice and mannerisms as well as drag out some of those old crossdressing techniques of cinching, pulling, pushing, padding and using as much scaffolding under my clothes to get things looking close to a female phenotype as I can.

I guess we'll see.
I'll take pics and post a couple on my profile posts in the coming weeks.

Thanks all.
Wren

p.s. oh... Allie ( @OzGirl ) Birdie... Wren... either is fine. Y'all started calling me Birdie here and I never corrected anyone. I kinda like it. It's like a nickname of sorts. Muah!

p.s.s. Hey Mike! ( @Confused ) *wave wave wave*
long time no hear. Hope you're doing well.
 

Linde

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Thanks for your responses everyone. Great ideas. Thank you.
One thing that stood out was when @Linde said, "my body has a pretty normal female phenotype."

Yeah... see. That's the thing. Mine does not.
You have to take into consideration that my body developed mostly female after puberty. I never masculinized. I had a different deck of cards from you. But one can do a lot with proper clothing, and some cosmetic tricks. It is just a bit more work and effort required.

Linde
 

TonyaJanelle

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As a result I feel like I have to be overly girly in my clothing choice and mannerisms as well as drag out some of those old crossdressing techniques of cinching, pulling, pushing, padding and using as much scaffolding under my clothes to get things looking close to a female phenotype as I can.
Plenty of cis women use these techniques also, so don't get too down about that. In time you'll need less of them.
Many women dress to highlight a good feature they feel they have or cover one they don't like (see above).

For your event, go with the advice of @Michelle_P above.

In general, dress however you like, what makes you feel good, confident, etc. Don't worry about "age appropriate". Stole this from @Lexxi
FB_IMG_1642682841290.jpg
 

Linde

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In general, dress however you like, what makes you feel good, confident, etc. Don't worry about "age appropriate". Stole this from @Lexxi
I do not agree with this! I have pretty decent looking legs, but it would look stupid, if I would run around with a mini skirt like very young women do. I dress very much with it, and very modern, but I still keep my clothing in the boundaries of older women styles. One does not have to dress like ones own Grandmother, but I never wer skirts that are shorter than a hand width over the knie (most of my cis girlfriends dress similar). One can look with it but not look like a teenager or a young 20's something.
Here is a pretty OK guide to find the style that is modern, but still age appropriate


Linde
 

TonyaJanelle

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There is situational appropriateness of course and plenty of things I don't wear that I don't have the body for, some of which is age related. Otherwise, why shouldn't I, or anyone else, wear what they want?
 

Linde

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There is situational appropriateness of course and plenty of things I don't wear that I don't have the body for, some of which is age related. Otherwise, why shouldn't I, or anyone else, wear what they want?
My goal is to blend in, to be seen as another older woman, among other older women. If I would wear clothing that makes me stand out (we wear a bit more risky stuff here in the warm climate, than I can see up north), and draws attention to me, I will not be able to blend in, and simply be another older woman.
I live as cis person life in a cis world. I have zero contact to other intersex or trans gender people.

Linde
 

Lexxi

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I'm definitely not a follower. I was always taught to march to the beat of my own drum. My parents taught me to be more of a leader than a follower. Things smell much better when you're in the lead. hahaha

So I never really care what anyone else thinks about how I'm dressed. When I dress for comfort...which is always...I don't have to worry about being in some setting where I'm totally uncomfortable, physically speaking.

Now with that said I wouldn't go to a black dress affair wearing a hoodie. Because even though I don't care what others think...I'm not going to do something that's so distractive that I would offend someone else.

By the way I kinda think I have some really nice looking legs so when I go to the gym I'm wearing some fairly short shorts. They don't show any of my bits and pieces...but they do show off my nice looking legs.
 
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