Navigating the complexities of female size charts is difficult enough for a genetic girl to find her size, but what chance do crossdressers have of ensuring best fit?
Many dressers buy items in the safety of their homes by ordering discreetly online, only to be unsatisfied about the fit later. The hassle of making countless return can be tiresome. Alternatively, you can go first hand to a department store or mall but, most people are very uncomfortable with shopping out in the open.
First of all, whether you shop online, in the street, or mall, bear in mind that the majority of businesses want you to be happy with your purchase because they want you as a repeat customer. It is not in their interest to frustrate you. Furthermore, it’s estimated that (depending on the time of the year) as much as 25% of transactions from major online ladies apparel stores are made by men – obviously at the higher end it is during holiday times and Valentines. There are no figures on what the breakdown is of buying for female partners and crossdresser’s buying for themselves, but we believe the latter share is considerable.
As with all things cross dressing a little bit of preparation and research will go a very long way. When shopping on a lady clothing site, make sure you have a measuring tape handy. Most sites always display the dimensions of their sizes for products. This will help you determine if you will fit in the garment properly.
There are also, many stores online that cater exclusively to crossdressers and transgender ladies. This is a great opportunity to purchase dresses, skirts and tops that were specifically made with a males body type in mind. This will be easier for the novice crossdresser to make informed choices from as long as the size charts provided are easy to understand. And for those wanting the variety and excitement of buying female clothing then just make sure you educate yourself on how your own measurements will translate into female sizes.
Wherever and whatever you choose to shop for, make sure you have your correct measurements at hand so, you are prepared when shopping. What you need to know:
When you measure, remember to wear any bodyshaping garments you intend to wear such as breast forms, cinchers, corsets, or padded pants. Measure your chest/bust area at the fullest part threading the tape measure around the chest area and under the arms. Remain relaxed and measure snuggly, but not too tight. Always measure the narrowest part of the waist, which is generally around the belly button. For hips measure approximately 7” below the waist measurement or where the widest part of the hips are.
Always, check the size charts for each item you purchase.
BEGINNERS: Unless you are lucky enough to be the ideal female shape to start with then we would always suggest shopping with a specialist vendor like GlamourBoutique.com who have live customer support to help you and they also make dresses, tops and skirts made to fit the male form. Most specialist suppliers serving the CD community will make garments in fabrics that stretch so that there is a good element of forgiveness in the measurements if, like many genetic girls you are a little conservative on sizeing.
TOP TIPS WHEN CLOTHES BUYING:
- Always measure yourself accurately as outlined above. Remember for Bust measure at the fullest part (wearing forms if you intend to). Measure the narrowest part of the waist usually around the tummy button and NOT where your low-rise jeans sit.
- Higher Waist/Empire Waist is very flattering for crossdressers particularly if like most you have a bit of a tummy to conceal.
- Stretch Materials are best when shopping. Try to stay away from 100% Cotton and 100% Polyester and instead choose a lycra or spandex mix. Usually between 2 and 4% is plenty.
- Dress Sizes vary a lot between manufacturers so always refer to the individual Size Chart for each item you look at.
- Sleeve Length should be appropriate to your needs and time of the year. If you are dark haired and shaving is not an option then look for fuller length sleeves. This may be another measurement you can add to the critical 3 of Bust, Waist and Hips.
- Relaxed or Stretch Waist garments is always preferred as we often see clients that although they are the correct Bust Size for a Dress they are a little fuller in the waist – if it stretches then it should accommodate you.
- Seamstress/Alterations. If you do buy female clothing try to find a seamstress to do alterations. Girls we know that use such a service find the finished garment is perfect which makes a big difference to the final look and your confidence.
Once you become confident in your sizeing then go shopping in the retail stores that have clothes that work for you. Many customers that visit us in NJ use Dress Barn who happen to have an excellent CD/TG customer service policy. These days, most ‘savvy’ retailers welcome your dollars and if you are a little afraid then call up in advance to ask what their policy is. You want to know will they welcome your business, are there experienced staff on hand that can help a CD and will you be able to try things on. We know of stores that welcome CD’s but they ask that you shop in quieter times so they can attend to you and many can make provision for changing facilities too.
The same applies if you choose to shop online. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and reveal you are a CD – again most savvy online stores these days are qualified to help you and if you pick up any negative attitude then simply don’t shop there – that’s there loss and not yours.
Know your own measurements and carefully compare with individual garment size charts to check where you fit. If in any doubt ask a customer service person so you don’t make an expensive mistake and try to be brave and tell the expert it’s for you – it’ll mean they can give much more accurate information if they understand who the end-user is. Remember, your hard earned greenbacks are as good as anyone’s and the smart retailers understand the considerable purchasing power of the CD/TG community. Good Luck!