One of the common mistakes about crossdressing that I made when I was young was thinking that I had to find someone to help me buy clothes and do my makeup. It is indeed easier if you know someone, but there’s still a lot you can do on your own when you’re just starting out. I definitely waited longer than I should have, but frankly I was just scared and lacked confidence in pretty much everything. At the same time, though, growing up in the 70s it really was a different world before the internet came along. I never even knowingly met another CD until well into my thirties! Now there are so many opportunities to talk to people online, and maybe even meet some of them. And there are tons of free makeup videos on YouTube. One of my regrets is that I never dressed seriously in my twenties. OMG, I would kill to have been taking pictures at that age! But it just wasn’t in the cards. I was so confused and moody when I was young, just kind of drifting through life. Looking back I wasted a lot of time and missed a lot of opportunities. So in a way this blog post is written to that confused kid all those years ago and what I wish I’d done back when I was getting out of high school.
Of course I don’t want to come off like the old fart dispensing wisdom, BUT if I were to give any advice to those starting out it would be not to wait, but to start playing around with makeup and getting some outfits together even if you have to do it on your own. It doesn’t have to be fancy. In fact simple is better when you’re just starting out. I wrote a little thing on dressing tips several years ago here (which probably needs to be updated), but knowing what I know now here’s the simplified version of what I’d do:
To start out I’d shave my legs and my whole body, or as much as I could get away with. Of course I didn’t have much body hair back then so it wouldn’t be a big deal. Then I’d get some inexpensive makeup from Target or the dollar store to practice with while watching YouTube videos. Then I’d slowly acquire some simple outfits, starting out with tight-fitting shapewear and pantyhose – Legg’s pantyhose has a nice sheen and are pretty inexpensive. For a bra I’d probably just stuff it with panties or birdseed in used pantyhose legs till I had the money for breast forms (I was broke back then). And finally I’d look for some cute outfits again at Target or the thrift store or on Ebay, maybe even something like leggings with a houndstooth pattern, for example, or tight skinny jeans, which can be a sexy casual look if you can pull it off. And of course I’d also get a wig or two on Ebay, definitely with bangs, or from discount wig stores online.
None of this has to be very expensive. The main thing that’s required is to just sit down and practice with the makeup and the clothes until you start to put together a “look” for yourself. And then the next step is to eventually work up the courage to go out dressed, maybe to a munch if you’re in a decent-sized city, or going to clubs with friends, or just going out alone if you have to (and trying to be safe). If I’d had the sense to do all this when I was young I would have been on top of the world and not even known it. But like I say, I didn’t have a clue back then and didn’t know where to start. In any case, that’s my take on what I should have done all those years ago – it seems really obvious to me now! If you’re closer to my age and grew up before the internet, let me know what your experiences were like starting out and at what age you became more active with dressing. I hope this maybe helps someone out there a little bit…Hugs, Sandra
photos by Delilah Knotty