Building a Better Wardrobe Part 3
The adage is "practice makes perfect" but I think I prefer "practice makes progress".I will never consistently flawlessly walk in four inch feels without a little wavering but compared to a few years ago my stilettos skills are impressive.
In my experience, the finishing touches are the trickiest. I love picking out an outfit for an occasion but it's the accessories that I struggle with. In previous articles in this little series I discussed clothes and what you may choose to wear under said clothes, but in this final piece I thought we should chat about the little and subtle touches that help me feel as feminine as possible.
To be clear, there are no rules or standards when it comes to presenting femme. This is one's personal choice and one's personal style. A hoodie and jeans and flip flops may be your go-to outfit for presenting femme and all I can say is you go girl. Besides, isn't that the fun part of all this?? The range of options is wonderful. I have felt feminine in a flirty wrap dress, I have felt like a princess in a floor length evening gown, I have felt cute in pink leggings and a sports bra in a yoga class.
So, let's chat about jewelry and shoes.
And because I love love love shoes, we will start there.
Like the outfits hanging in my closet, I have shoes for almost any event I could think of. I have a pair of pumps for going out to brunch, I have a pair of heels if I were a guest at a wedding, I have a pair of stilettos if I were a dominatrix. Sometimes I buy a pair of heels and I have no idea what I will wear them with or what I will wear them to, but I'll be ready when I find the perfect dress or I have the perfect excuse to wear them. Always be prepared, after all.
Do you NEED a pair of five inch black patent strappy stilettos? I mean, obviously yes but you don't. Like anything else, whether it's a dress or slacks, wear what you wish.
But if you want my perspective, read on.
Before you drop a hundred dollars on a pair of heels, get used to them first. If you are new to the world of high heels and femme footwear, get used to pumps and slides and flats.
Like finding your size in a dress, you'll soon learn that femme shoes have no rules or consistency when it comes to what will fit. Some shoes run large, some small. You'll find options for a wide or a narrow fit. Some shoes will be long enough but not wide enough. It's baffling and frustrating and it can be expensive if you don't know what you're doing.
Every foot, every heel is different. For me I wear an 11.5 or a 12 in femme shoes. But I can wear most size 11s if it's an 11 wide. But of course this isn't always the case.
Some designers think I am a size 14 in heels. Like selecting a skirt, trying on a pair of shoes first is recommended.
Where does one begin? I would suggest a few options:
A pair of simple black pumps. True, a one to two inch kitten heel is not as sexy as something more dramatic but there is also a practical need for this side of us. In most cases it's more comfortable to wear a smaller heel than a taller one if I am going to get strutting around town all day. It's also important to factor in where you are going. The same heels I would wear to a club are not necessarily the same heels I will wear to the grocery store. And black also goes with (almost) anything.
A pair of nude or beige heels. If I have an outfit picked out and I don't have a pair of heels that are practically begging to be worn with it, beige is my go-to option. This color goes well with lighter color dresses. A bright pink dress or a skirt with a flowery pattern looks really cute with this color. And yes! Beige is nowhere near as fun as bright pink but I am surprised at how often this color is perfect for an outfit.
A pair of black boots. Tons of options here. I have a pair of black patent thigh high stilettos that are OMG AMAZING but you don't have to go this extreme. I mean, I think everyone needs to wear something like this just once but I also acknowledge that these boots are the most impractical shoes in my closet.
A pair of booties or knee high boots look super cute when paired with a skirt, especially in the autumn.
Something fun! Yes, you may only wear that pair of pink neon heels a few times but my goodness you'll turn heads.
Something sexy... I suggest a pair of black spike heels... something strappy that looks AMAZING with fishnet stockings.
I feel obligated to suggest a pair of slides and flats or something a little more casual but I am forever a high heels girl. I'm not much help when it comes to practical shoes.
These are, in my opinion, where you should begin when it comes to shoes. Start with these and, if you choose to, keep going. I admit my shoes have gotten out of control but I love my black and white polka dot heels, I love my strappy red stilettos, I love my padlocked pumps. Like clothes or how you do your makeup, wear what you want.
Now, let's chat about Jewelry. I admit that I struggle when it comes to accessories. There are a lot of options and like choosing your heels, it will likely come down to where you are going and what you are wearing.
At first, I tended to overdo it when it came to jewelry but there's a sexiness in subtlety. Less is more is often the case. And like doing your makeup, you'll try different options, different combinations, and different colors. Some work, some... well, some take a little work. With all the different options out there it would take a long time to cover accessories so instead I'll share a few rules of thumb.
Almost all of my jewelry is either gold or silver. I pair bracelets, earrings, and necklaces together based on their color.I usually go with silver accessories for darker colors (such as a little black dress) and for really BOLD looks, such as leather or my parent red PVC dress. Gold is for softer looks... pastel colors, floral patterns on a dress...
Of course, I am not a slave to this. I have a pair of black stilettos with gold spikes along the t-strap (remember when I said to have a pair of SEXY heels? This is what I mean, lol). The black heels look perfect with a LBD but I'll break my own rule (not that there are rules) and go with gold jewelry (to match the heels) for that particular outfit.
Some colors look very pretty together... combinations that I didn't think would work but turquoise necklaces and bracelets look really cute with a yellow dress for some reason.
I love wearing rings, too. In male mode I wear my wedding band of course, but when I am en femme I will also wear a silver diamond engagement ring (it's as fake as can be but looks convincing at a glance) as well.
Earrings are the final part of my outfit. I do not have pierced ears so I assumed my choices would be pretty limited here but I am a little surprised at how many options I have. Like shoes, I recommend having a few different styles depending on your outfit and occasion. I have small studs, large sassy hoops, and sexy dangling ones.
I hope this series was helpful and gave you a little direction when it comes to getting started. Creating a femme wardrobe, creating your style is a wonderful but sometimes overwhelming experience. Have fun, don't take it too seriously, don't be afraid to try a new look.
Nice piece, Hannah, though I feel you might have spent a bit more time on jewelry. Those finishing touches are key. As a tall girl with a large chest, I try to follow the prime rule – ‘Less is More". My nails are always manicured and painted. With nude colors, lots of big bangles are fine. But in winter, when my manicure goes fire engine red, I tone it down. A single band or stone on one hand, along with a single bangle. Necklace is a single or strand and long to draw attention away from my broad shoulders. I got both ears pierced just as the pandemic started, so I’ve been adapting some of my old clip ons with new posts. If Im not going multi strand dangly, I like a big single stone like a large Mabe Pearl (costume of course – those things are pricey!). And yes it’s important to coordinate material – all silver or all gold. But dont forget the stone that is as feminine as it gets. Pearls. I like em all sizes. Big pearls for a choker, and medium sizes for longer. Single or multi strand you cant go wrong. And they are great for all occasions. If June Cleaver could wear em while cooking in the kitchen, so can we!
Thank you Hannah!!!♥️♥️♥️
For shoes, as for makeup, I think you shouldn’t skimp on quality “to learn” or “to find out what you like”.
Yes, don’t buy the most expensive stuff in large quantities, but do get decent quality.
Poor quality shoes can damage your feet and ankles, and even your knees. Similarly poor quality makeup can be very bad for your skin, causing rashes and other allergic reactions.
I bought some store brand foundation “to find my colour” as suggested by people, and had just that result. A bad skin rash that a week to get better despite only having had it on for half an hour or so.
And I’ve had shoes (a lot of shoes of all shapes) that caused me very bad pain, not because of heels (I even have it with flats) but especially poorly designed insoles and overall shape. Higher quality shoes tend to (but aren’t guaranteed to) be less at risk of that.
For me, I’m happy with my Pleaser Pink shoes. They fit my very wide feet quite well, making them well worth the price tag. Still didn’t buy multiple pairs at once. One pair, see they fit well, get used to walking in 3" heels, and then bought another pair of a different design.
Another great well written article by Hanna.
She is an amazing person – who definately knows everything about our cross dressing lifestyle and gives great advice from her personal experiences. Deborah.
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