When you're dressing at home in the closet, its all about how you feel. BUT, when yo decide to step out, you have to also consider how you look.
Like anything you decide to pursue in life, there are basic essentials required to do it well. If you're going to go horseback riding, for exmaple, you'd be wise to have a pair of jeans, boots, a hat and perhaps some riding gloves.
If you're going to go out cross-dressed, there are essentials for that as well, but the list is extensive.
The following list was put together to itentify the items you will need, various places to purchase them, and how to pull it all together. Moreover, this list should be treated as a starter list, upon which you can then add items to that base as you expand your wardrobe. It was put together with three things in mind; price, need, and versatility.
Bras. Start with a simple white bra, and if you have the budget your second should be black,a nd then colors if you like thereafter. Whether you buy budget or top shelf, PLEASE coordinate top and bottom. Budget shops -- like Conway in NYC (on 34th Street just east of 8th Ave.) will have bras for as little as $8. K-mart, H&M, Penny's and Sears are other budget options nationawide. Although Victoria Secrets, Fredericks of Hollywood are known brands, they and other online stores have a wide vriety of lingerie and end-of-season and warehouse clearance sales, so do a little research. WHAT TYPE OF BRA YOU ASK? For starters get a full cup, or if you have breast tissue and intend to wear low-cut tops, try a Demi-bra. Check sizing here.
Panties. If you're going to dress like a lady, PLEASE don't wear men's uderwear: wait till you can get the proper attire. The cut and style is subjective, from bikinis to full cut. As mentioned above, many of the online shops -- especially Victorias Secret and Pink -- offer warehouse and end-of-season sales; 2-for-1 sales are common; a girl needs more than one pair!
Pantyhose. Legs or Sheer Elegance or any of the many brands will do. Make sure to BUY THE RIGHT SIZE. But two of each, first in in Nude, then Black, White and suntan or any other color you like. And always carry an extra pair in your handbag.
2. Shapers and Padding. Unless you're unusually thin, most cross-dressers are going to need to pull in the wait using a waist shaper, and some padding to expand the hips and buttocks for a feminine curve; otherwise you'll just look like a man in a dress. There are a lot of options here. I would suggest a waist cincher, because they're much less than the cost of a corset, easier to move in, and will pull you in just fine. For padding, the easiest solution is a prepadded panty. Alternatively you can create your own by buying a peice of foam rubber from a supplier and shaping it yourself. You'll want to cute either four piece (one for each buttock cheek, and one for each hip), or, check out the two piece pads that the drag queens use (one on each side from waist line down the thigh, with each peice having extra that folds behind the buttock. For prepadded panties, cinchers and other items, check out Classic Curves and The Fantasy Girl. For corsets try Girdlebound.
3. Hair. Some of you may be blessed with natual hair that you can have styled, but most of you will require a hairpeice. A full wig is the simplest solution, as it is easy on and off and already cut into a style. You can get wigs online at many places, or check out a local wigshop: the owners of wigshops I have always found to be very accepting and happy to assist you. Hair peieces are another option for those that have hair that is too short to be styled in a female style. The easiest option is a fall; it clips to the top of the head, and you use a hair band to hide the line where it is attached (it would look similar to the looks of the 1960s -- think That Girl). Check out Wishire Wigs online, or any local wig shops near you).
4. Breast Forms. They come in foam, silicone, and many shapes and sizes. The Breastform Store is an industry leader and longtime tras-community supporter (I reccoment them highly), and has silicone forms starting at $99. But if you can't afford that, the budget alternative is to buy some birdseed, load up two small plastic bags, and insert them into the bra.
5. Tape. I can't stress enough the improtance of two-sided adhesive tape. You'll use it with your wigs, holding breast forms in place -- which is nice in warm weather to be able to enjoy going bra-less in the right top or dress. You can get two-sided tape at The Breastform Store or any local wig store.
6. Perfume. Yes it will cost you $10 or so if you buy inexpensive, but beleive me, when you're all dolled up you want to smell nice. In any city check your local pharmacy chain, perfume store, online shops like Perfumaria or Strawberry.
7. Make-up. here is a list of the basic items you will need: (a) foundation (b) loose power (c) pressed powder (d) loose powder brush (e) beard cover (f) lip-stick (g) lip liner (h) blush [and large blush brush] (i) mascara (j) eye liner [pencil is easier to use] (k) eye shadow (l) tweezer (m) baby oil, and (n) wipe pads (o) Q-tips. NOTES: Start with a low-priced namebrand (Max Factor tends to be a little heavier and cover betters than Mayballine for foundation, baby oil is used to remove makeup), and in time you can try different brands to see which works best for your skin. Read assorted tips here.
Clothes and Accessories
Before you race off and buy the first thing that sets your heart a flutter, stop, think. If you're working with a limited budget, you have to get the best use out of whatever you buy through building a wardrobe that ca be mixed and matched. So when you see a pair of shoes that you would die for, STOP! -- ask yourself "what types of outfits can I wear these with? Will they work with a simple black dress, a skirt, jeans?
A starting wardrobe should have at least (a) one dressy dress, (b) one pair of casual slacks (c) two tops; one casual and one dressy (d) one handbag, (e) one pair of heels and one pair of casual flats or short heels (f) one sweater (or coat depending on the season and location), and (g) one silk scarf.
So you'll need to think about choosing those items, both in coordinating colors and styles. If the slacks are jeans, then any color shoes will work, but the the tops will have to coordinate to the shoes: i.e. black shoes, jeans, burgandy top with black accents, yellow top etc. But remember that the handbag and shoes also have to coordinate.
8. Fashion magazine. Before you shopping and buy ANYTHING fashion related, spend the $5 and take the time to see what is in fashion. When you see a look you like, its much easier to then go shopping with that look in mind to find an inexpensive copy. But if you're not prepared, and haven't thought through a buying plan for your wardrobe, you'll end up spending more money, have a less workable wardrobe, and the outfits may look very disjointed. A few minutes of your time will provide great payback.
9. Handbag. Girls don't carry things in their pockets: if they even have pockets. A purse is not only practical, its also a fashion statement. If you're buying inexpensive, then simple is best.: stay away from fake gold. Every city will be differet, but if you're a bargin hunter you'll find a reasonably good bag from $20-$50. The Salvation Army in most large cities, at times, can be a good source. Keep in mind what color outfits you'll tend to wear, and buy a handbag that will coordinate with multiple colors. For casual, cordovan, black and mutli-clored brown (like a Fendi knock-off) will provide you with lots of use.
10. Dressy Dress. I'm a New Yorker, so I tend to lean towards that "little black dress." It's simple, its elegant, it can be worn semi-casual, or dressed up with jewelry and accessories. If you're buying for spring and can wear open-toed shoes, then you're first dress could be more color-vibrant, and the shoes then can double with jeans and skirts. Again, check the fashion magazines for ideas -- and think clothes-shoes-handbag-accessories (like belts, hats, scarfs). Check out women's fashion made for a man's body here.
11. Accessories. Any girl worth her salt knows that any outfit can be a hit or a miss with the right or wrong accessories. If your initial wardrobe is going to be low-key [so that it can be worn different ways] then a beautiful silk scarf can add a new dimension to any outfit. It can dress up jeans and a T-shirt, or draped over a dress. And even if it's one tennis bracelet, one great ring, or a watch, a girl needs a piece (or more) of jewelry -- in addition to her earrings.
12. Shoes. Again, it depends on the time of year, but black is always a smart versitile first purchase. If the weather is warm, then consider open-toed heels that can be worn with jeans but also a pretty sun dress. Just remember that when buying shoes, dresses and handbags, you have to constntly be thinking about how they will coordinate togeher, and how they can be mixed and matched with a simple change of accessory. Le Dame makes women's shoes for men's feet.