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The Occasional Woman: Passing!

| Sep 4, 2017
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Yes, “passing” is today’s subject! I have spent several days canvassing my friends and relatives about this topic, and here are some nuggets of (I hope!) useful advice.

By “passing,” I am thinking specifically about dressing in a way that may be contrary to the expected style of one’s birth gender. There are two questions to consider, both of which deal with intent:

1. Is it your intent to PASS, to dress and behave in such a way that nobody will even suspect that this is NOT how you have ALWAYS looked? To blend in flawlessly?


2. Do you want to stand out, to represent as you FEEL you truly are?

I applaud both, and that’s the reason I write this column. Also, because Angela asked me to, and I always do what she tells me to do. My personal goal here is to help out more of the Type Ones, as the Type Twos usually just do exactly what they feel like doing, beards, back hair and all! And God bless ’em!

That being said, a bunch of us have weighed in on some of the most important tips for sporting believable femininity, and here they are.

Bad posture.

POSTURE: Organic, birth-women have a lower center of gravity than do the testicularly-equipped, so they move more from the hips than the shoulders. Watch both genders in runway shows — the women lead with the hips, while men tend to be shoulders-first. This does NOT mean you need to sashay out like hungry little Kate Moss, but emphasize the lower portion more than hulking it up with the upper abdomen. Straighten the shoulders proudly, and stand up straight, young lady! Breathe into the diaphragm, not the solar plexus.

SHOES: And walking in said shoes, especially HIGH HEELS. It takes a lot of PRACTICE, girls! My daughter was attempting to leave the house in her first pair of heels, and looked like a newborn deer in snowshoes, and my husband wasn’t having it. That lovely man taught her how to wear and walk in heels, and only when she was able to glide effortlessly was she allowed to leave the home. I advise ANY human who longs to stride beautifully in stilettos to PRACTICE at home first — hold on to banisters if you need to, or even a cane! The motion is not a galumphing throwing of the feet forward, but a slinky and SAFE glide. Nothing says “dude looks like a lady” as does staggering and clod-hopping in heels. [Editor’s Note: Shaky ankles are also unattractive. On anyone in heels.] Glide from the hips, head up and eyes carefully but discreetly scanning the territory for banana peels and lug nuts.

NICE LOOKIN’ HANDS: Even if you have generously-sized hands, please take great care of them. Moisturize like it’s going to save your life. I recommend Working Hands hand cream, it is very good at keeping roughness at bay and it sinks in fast. Remove hair, it ain’t pretty. And do spring for a swell manicure — pretty nails will go a long way to saying I’m a GIRL, dang it.

NEVER CHEW GUM WITH YOUR MOUTH OPEN: Okay, that goes for the entire human race. It’s just gross. And don’t roll it around and POP it, for the good of humanity.


DRESS AGE-APPROPRIATELY:  This is a MUST if you want to pass! Know your strengths, ladies. Unless you have legs like Angela’s or Kristyn’s, let’s keep that skirt closer to knee-length. It is more believable, lady-like and flattering to most over 35 ladies, and will usually garner fewer asides of “who does she think she is”? from passersby. Got a tiny waist? Belt it UP, girls! And please make sure your clothes fit — if they are too tight, or the waist rides waaaay up, seams gap and pucker, wear something else. Nobody wants to have their dress explode off of their body in an escape attempt.

HAIR AND EYEBROWS: Eyebrows — there should be two. Pluck ’em, get ’em waxed, have laser hair removal, but do what you must if you want to girl it up. I check mine every dang morning to ensure that they don’t exceed their artificial boundaries! Facial hair — same drill. We don’t want it, but it dreams of taking over — the struggle is real! If you are fortunate enough to have sufficient tresses  to eschew wigs, then you are indeed lucky.  If not I hope you can find and utilize a great wig shop, and really learn how to fit, wear and maintain good faux hair. Have the wigs maintained, so they don’t look like you are wearing a fuzzy badger on your head.

Again, this is primarily advice for those who wish to blend in with feminine style; if your aim to is screw the gender binary and stick it to the MAN, then by all means, you do YOU, people!

And no white shoes after Labor Day.

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Category: Impersonation, Style, Transgender Fashion

The Occasional Woman

About the Author ()

I am a native Californian who has been based in the Philadelphia area since 1984. My first CD fashion creation was a gold lamé dress for the now esteemed editor of this publication. Since then I have made tons of fabulous frocks and other fashion apparel for the crossdressing and transgender community. Contact me for custom clothing or alterations via email: Visit my Facebook page, @alterationsbylorraine

Comments (2)

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  1. carlaroberts carlaroberts says:

    Great article! Something I learned from other (genetic) women, is dressing appropriately for the situation. While there is tremdous diversity of style among women in any setting, for those of us bending the rules, it is even more important to fit in. Early on in my public outtings, I was often overdressed. Showing up in heels and a little black dress, when everyone else is in jeans or capris, can signal, “Hey look at me, I’m different”. Dressing down and being able to pull-off a casual look that says! “Hey, I’m just one of the girls” is what I have learned from a few accepting and caring genetic females?
    Because we didn’t grow up in a feminine social context, we are (usually) deprived of the direct or subtile hints and cues that most women get from their friends, or their Moms when they were younger and our learning curve is just a little steeper.
    Thanks for the advice and encouragement.


  2. Linda Jensen Linda Jensen says:

    Wow! What great advice. May I add my two bits? On posture I’d add when sitting it is also important to sit straight. I once arrived late to a Tri-Ess restaurant dinner in Atlanta. All the regulars were at the long table and looking very pretty EXCEPT they all sat there like retired linebackers instead of like sorority sisters. All, and I mean all, were slouched.That was a dead give-away that I had come to the right table.
    Dress age-appropriate AND body appropriate. Loose fitting blouses and dresses are better for the heavier girls. Same with the skinny girls with narrow hips: no need to accentuate the negative.

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