How quickly one runs out of hangers.
I figured I would do something a little more lighthearted. Clothes. In a previous blog, I spoke about the costs involved in transition. Those costs highlighted the costs for procedures and surgeries to help make ones body align with ones mind. I am not sure if I covered clothes. Ah yes, clothes.
Once I was committed to being Emma full time all the time, I started to purge my male wardrobe and replace with new clothes. Most women get to do this over an elongated space of time, but a transgender person has a more accelerated time frame. We do collect things over time, so there are those few pieces. Yet, we have to get all the accouterments and varieties of clothes. You learn to take advantage of bargains, sales, etc. A lot of transgender people often hit places like Savers or the Salvation Army stores, where deals can be had. Many turn to online sites to avoid human contact during that early transition period where you are concerned with passing. There is also the fear of being read as a man and trying to go into the women’s changing room. You learn to find the online places that have good return policies as most women trans or cis know, sizes are different from store to store.
I find when I go to Old Navy or Frugal Fannies, I wear a 2x. I think the same when I go to Target. Yet, when I go online, I find that this store I am a large (18/20) and that one a 2x and sometimes a 3x. When I wore men’s clothes, I knew exactly what size all the time no matter the store. Cindy would often comment about how fast I could shop. I would go in, pick my size and take it home. No dressing room needed. Everything always fit perfect. Now I have to try things on, unless I have bought from them in the past and know my sizes. I do have to say that with Roamans, the clothes have always fit. I had checked the size chart and it said I was Large (18/20). I think the only time something didn’t fit was when I bought my first pair of capris and they weren’t listed as 18/20, they were 18 or 20. I bought 18, bzzzt, wrong. Big butt. Fortunately, the next order was for 20 and they fit perfectly. I started ordering from Amazon in size 20 and found they were perfect also. Cindy loves me in skinny jeans.
Oh, I have to take a moment as I did mention Frugal Fannies. This is kind of a warehouse store in Norwood, I believe. I had been joking with Cindy, when we saw the commercial on TV, how she never took me there. So off we went. I was overwhelmed. This place was a warehouse with bright lighting and a gazillion clothes!!! Cindy helped me get started and pointed me to an area that was more my sizes. I did spot the jewelry section and swung by there and got some earrings and necklaces. Clothes though, their carts have a bar that you can hang your clothes on. I think the limit for the dressing room is sixteen items. I had about ten and headed there. Cindy stopped me and looked at my cart, then back to hers. She took some off her cart and put it on mine. She said if I wasn’t going to take sixteen, then she was going to use my capacity. We tried on our clothes and returned the ones that didn’t fit quite right or we didn’t like the look. In all, we really got some nice clothes at a great price. The only thing is that I saw aisle after aisle of shoes and boots, but a quick inspection showed that they were no where near my size. Of course, that is the same with most brick and mortar stores.
Shoes are my downfall. I am 6’2 and 226 pounds. Yes, I am way down from my cruising weight of 255 that I maintained for the past ten years. Anyway, being of large stature, enduring the teasing as a kid of being called Large Marge, I have big feet. The only place I can get shoes is online. I found Amazon, Payless, and Avenue all carry 13, though not a large selection. So trust me, when I find a pair I like, I will sometimes buy two just to ensure I have a pair. There are a few other places online, but some inch towards kinky boots or spiked heels. Um, I am 6’2, I don’t need to add to it. I might go with a one inch heel, after all, I used to wear cowboy boots for a while. The downside is that there isn’t a lot of variety at this size. So while I have clothes pretty much covered, shoes are still a sticking point. I do have to admit, I like the boots I got from Payless, so now have them in brown and black. I have some really nice ones from Avenue, but they are wide calf. I still have gotten a few positive comments on them though.
Probably one of the hardest things is wearing a bra. Unfortunately, just because you start taking hormones doesn’t mean that you wake up the next morning with fully formed breasts. Just like any teen girl, it takes time, years for most. Investing in a great fitting bra doesn’t work that well if you are still developing. Heck, there are many ciswomen who don’t have the right bra. I found a Groupon for sports bras. I bought a few and that seems to work for now. I do have some nice regular bras, but I still have some growing to do. The sports bras work fine for now and are comfortable.
So by taking advantage of sales at Roamans, Women Within, Old Navy, Target, and Avenue, I have been able to expand my wardrobe. I have had a few “girls” days like going shopping with Cindy or the time Neilie, Cindy and I went shopping. I really enjoyed it. Most of my shopping is done online. Yet, there is something about going somewhere and trying things on and getting feedback from others with you. I have found that the clothes I get from Roamans fit well and stand up. I have quite a few from Old Navy that I like also. I have yet to hit Lane Bryant or Chicos. Funds are tight as you pay for electrolysis and laser treatments, hormones, blood work, and doctor appointments. Yet, I have managed to amass a decent wardrobe. I tell you, I get why some women love shopping. It is always great to find that one piece of clothing that fits just right and looks good. It is even better if it is on sale!
Just sharing my journey,
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.