Style Series Part 2: Find the Right Fit
How to find fit and flattering women’s fashions — without trying them on.
One of the biggest obstacles to crossdressing may just be where to find the dresses in question. For part-timers, that can be compounded by the embarrassing stares in the fitting room or smirks at the register. Avoid the hassle — and unintended outing — with these fitting room-free success tips. Even seasoned shoppers can learn some new tricks.
You will need:
- 60″ (or longer) measuring tape
- a way to record your measurements (If you’re not tech savvy, paper and pencil will do just fine)
- any brassiere, bodysuit, or other undergarments that you plan to wear beneath your clothing.
Before taking your measurements, be sure to put on whatever bra or bodysuit you plan to wear in order to enhance your female figure.
TIP: The bodysuits, like SPANX, that are made for women, often compress the waist (good), but also the hips (bad for guys). Make sure to buy the “high waist” styles that don’t compress the hips — they’ll keep your curves in all the right places.
Now that you’re suited up, it’s time to take your measurements! Stand in front of a mirror in good lighting and measure the following areas:
Bust: Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest point of your bust. This number is essential for dresses and blouses, as well as lingerie. Men’s shoulders tend to be wider than women’s, so when it comes to blouses, try to find garments with a Raglan-style design, which has no seams around the shoulder — this feature might help you select a smaller size.
Shoulder: Wrap the measuring tape around your shoulders, just below the curve of your shoulder joints. The tape measure should be about an inch below your clavicle bone. Although clothing sizes vary from designer to designer, many retailer Web sites have sizing guides that will include shoulder width.
Waist: Both waist and hip measurements are important when sizing for pants, skirts, and dresses. Stand up straight in front of the mirror and bend to one side, as if doing a side-arm stretch. The place where your body bends is your natural waist. Wrap the measuring tape around your waist. This is where high-waisted pants and bodysuits should sit.
Hip: Measure at the fullest point of your hips, usually a few inches above where your thighs meet your hips.
Inseam: You may already know your inseam from buying men’s pants, but women wear higher cuts, so it can’t hurt to measure again. With you feet shoulder-width apart, measure the distance from your crotch down to the floor. Keep in mind how you much space you want to leave for boot-cut styles and high heels.
Together, these measurements will help you find a flawless fit at any online store and, with the help of a sales associate, at your real-world retailer. I’m going to take a moment to plug MyShape.com, a shopping solution that both me and my partner enjoy. We both entered in an extensive list of measurements (including the ones listed above) and were assigned with unique body shapes (with narrow shoulders and broad hips, I’m an ‘A,’ while my husband-to-be is a flat and consistent ‘E’). The site suggests clothing based on our style preferences in sizes that are guaranteed to fit based on our measurements. The prices can get high, but I picked up a new blouse, sweater, and sun dress last month for under $150. It may be the new revolution is cross-gender shopping (you’ll have to try it and let me know).
Image Credit: Kamal H.