MTF passing tips
The first thing you have to do is decide what your goal is. Do you want to pass as a genetic female (GG), or do you just want to look good. If you want to pass as a GG then evaluate your physical assets as it were How tall are you? If you're much over 6' then things become difficult, there are not many women over 6'2". Are you a heavy build? (and I don't mean fat, just large framed and shouldered). That also makes things difficult. Other than those two limiting factors, most everything else can be either modified or disguised. If you fairly evaluate your physical status and find that it can reasonably be modified to look female then you have to start learning.
Walking and Movement
I personally find that along with Attitude, these are the make or break area for most T-girls. You must learn to at least not move like a man. The best thing is to learn how to walk and move a little slower and smoother. You have to practice the hip movement until you can do it on command, and maintain that all day long. Arm and hand movements also make a big difference. There are many websites, videos and books that can help with this.
Makeup can take a long time to master without help. Your best bet is to at least learn the basics from a GG friend. If that is not possible then start with some makeup books to get the bare minimum skills and experience. Then you are going to need help from an expert. There are the mainstream cosmetic outlets like MAC and Sophora that can be TG friendly. Then there are the services that are very specific to T-girls. My first makeover was at Florence's Fashions,58 Albion St Wakefield, MA. Others have been to Jamie Austin. There are various packages that may or may not include any instruction on how to duplicate the makeover at home. The advantage of the T-girl services is that they have experience with beard covers that the mainstream places would be less well versed in.
Unfortunately, most of us can't do much to pass with the hair that was gave us and that time has taken away. If YOU can, congratulations and go to a professional hairdresser, I can't help you. Wigs should be the title of this section instead of Hair. You can try inexpensive wigs to start with but as soon as possible, invest $100-200 in a moderately priced wig. I lean toward synthetics because I am not dependable enough to take care of a human hair wig. I think synthetic wigs will tolerate much more abuse (except for heat!) and so are a better choice for the beginner. My first wig was bought on-line for $100 and was ok. I did what I could without help. My second wig was $170 and I had some help styling it. Then I picked up some magazines about hair styles and got a little better. On a personal note: One of the most feminine feeling things I have done while dressing is playing with my hair in front of my dressing table mirror. It brings up so many visuals from my life and movies and pics I have seen. Relax and try it and see! My third wig is my current one and cost me $200. I went to a person who has sold, built and styled wigs for 40+ years. She spent several hours with me and I learned a few things and got a really nice wig for short money! Experts can help you get that soft, natural, female look to your hair on a day to day basis. You want it to look nice, but not perfect. Artificial hair is perfect, real hair never is! And try to make your hair vary from day to day. If it looks identical each day with each hair in the same place, it doesn't look real.
This is an area that you will have to make many decisions that depend on what your life and desires are. Of course one of the simpler, but also harder ones is diet and exercise. Just how much work can you or will you be willing to put in to lose weight and tone selected areas of your body. If you can get closer to an average female weight for your height and build then everything else is so much easier. Even 20 pounds can sometimes make a tremendous difference. Then comes body hair. The most important of course is the beard. First off, are you willing to put the time and expense into permanent hair removal? If not then you must work that much harder on your makeup to cover your shadow. It also limits the time you can spend without shaving and redoing your makeup. Many serious T-girls get electrolysis or laser to remove the hair. Both can take years and thousands of dollars but the feel and look of a truely smooth face cannot be underestimated. Then there is the body hair. It is the single greatest maintenance item for a T-girl. If you don't chose to have it removed with laser, than it can be very time consuming to shave, eppilate, wax, or nair away each week. Some MTF cannot shave the arms without undue questions in their male lives. You have to determine what you're comfortable with and also how much you can afford in time and/or expense. More minor body changes include peirced ears, tattos, and long fingernails.
After doing what you can with your own body, it is time for "accessories". The first is of course either a tight panty or a gaff. That, along with "tucking" everything under will give you the smooth appearance you will need for slacks and tight skirts. Then you need forms of some kind for your breasts. Many start out with birdseed in bags or foam or even water balloons but for the serious crossdresser silicone forms are the only way to go. You can buy inexpensive PALS for $20-30 or go all the way up to medical grade forms for $500-700. Generally for a little over $100 you can get a pair that will do fine. If you wear these in a pocket bra they will not slip out and be exposed. If you have any breast tissue of your own, you may find that you can use a pushup bra or other devices to push that tissue to the center for your own natural cleavage. Then there are your hips. If you have any, feel lucky. If not, then it's time for padding. You can buy various padded foundation garments or take some craft foam and cut your own. If you make your own be sure to make them longer. Most commercially available pads are too short to look natural. Look at a girl and you will see her hip padding extends down the top of her leg. This will make a huge difference in how skirts and jeans fit and look. Then we come to my favorite, waist cinchers! These are a little smaller than a full corset, but work essentially the same. For around $100 you should be able to get a simple waist cincher with steel boning and a steel busk in front. These are essential if you want some real reduction in the size of your waist. Most will reduce it by 2-4 inches, depending on your body. If you start slow, follow the care guidelines, and use common sense they need not be uncomfortable. I have worn one for as long as 13 hours with only minimal discomfort toward the end of the night. Couple the effects of a cincher with hip pads and good (but realistic sized) breast forms and you are on your way to showing a female shape that will help you pass.
OK, I don't want to step on anyones toes, but bad clothing choices are a sure way of getting "read" when you are out and about. Everyone has heard the phrase "age appropriate clothing". That doesn't mean that if you're over 40 you have to wear a sack like top and baggy jeans. What it does mean is that you can't wear a miniskirt and belly shirt to the mall when you are 50 and blend-in. You can be stylish, you can be flashy, but you must try to work within the real world. If a GG of your approximate age and appearance would not wear the outfit, then you shouldn't either. Pick clothing that flatter your figure and hide your shortcomings. Coordinate jewelry, belt, purse and shoes. Read some fashion mags for ideas. Observe what women are wearing in the area that you will be going to. If you are lucky enough to have some GG friends that support you, enlist their help. They've been doing this a whole lot longer than you have. Now if you're going out clubbing, going to a private function, or a special event like Halloween, then all bets are off! My main concern is for when T-girls are going out to mainstream venues during daylight hours. I always say "I dress to blend, not to be invisible!". You can look attractive, blend-in, but still have people notice you in a good way.
Confidence and Attitude
I will continue to add to this page but I must make some summing up statement.
The most important item, bar none, in passing is your confidence and mental attitude. You could get the best makeover in history and not pass in public because of your mental attitude and the way it shows in your posture, behavior, and body language. Your best chance to have a positive attitude is to have successful experiences in public as your femme self. That is best done with a guide. If you do not have a female friend or spouce that is willing to help then you need to find one of the social groups in your area to help. Around the greater Boston area there are many. I have personally gone out with GNO Boston and Sisters of Boston. The contact with and help of the other girls has helped immensely with my self confidence and presentation. Check out the list on the section. Support Groups
--Sally 17:15, 28 April 2007 (EDT)