By Maddie Smith
Now I know many here have thought that when finding a place such as Kandi’s. But I’m being a bit more specific – I’m not the only one for whom dressing isn’t an everyday occurrence and needs to be planned into definite times and places. Reading your profiles and stories I can see the similarities.
For me it is actually turning into ‘dressing season’. By that I mean I have to wait until it’s cool enough to be able to leave arms and legs shaved and then covered up after. That’s a bit hard to do when in shorts and a tee, it’s 30C, and also needing to perform in public.
Fortunately in this hemisphere our warm months coincide with busy season, Christmas and the major holiday times, meaning full dressing opportunities would be few anyway in my circumstances. That said, I work from home, have a fully supportive partner and a BFF that knows about Maddie so there is nothing stopping me dressing most days if I wanted to.
But I can’t. The idea of slapping on a skirt and a pair of heels with hairy legs and a beard has no appeal. I need to see and feel Maddie, so I’d much rather wait and do it properly. Which is not to say I don’t dress at all; I may wear heels for half a day because it’s good to get used to them and learn to walk better, or if a Shein order arrives I just have to do a quick test, so it’s wig and heels and a makeup app to see how it will look. Then I can plan ideas and accessories until the opportunity should arise to do it properly. Planning is half the fun! But you know that already …
I’m thinking dressing season should be starting sometime just after Easter. I’m looking forward to it as my BFF has yet to meet Maddie in person, only by lots of photos and discussions, so that will be the first big moment this year. Next will, hopefully, be the first outing, with the 3 of us going to the museum or something similar. That will be big.
Which brings me, the long way as usual, to my topic. I am in awe of you girls and the looks you get. I have so much more to learn and develop. Whether it’s the woman walking past me in the mall, or the photos posted by a talented cross dresser, I’m looking and questioning what they may have used as a foundation or shapewear or forms or a whole lot of other things.
Leading into ‘dressing season’ I’m reviewing every part of how I go about it, and I have lots of questions for a number of you here, typically about makeup, but not exclusively.
But rather than send emails or post questions, I thought it might be fun and productive to turn the questions into a series of articles as I do my review. I’d love to know how you all go about your transformation so I can get ideas and be better at what I do. So, this can be completely interactive. Not only can be, it had better be!
I have no sponsors or assistance in this field (wish I did) so any brands I mention are just because I’ve tried it or someone has suggested it to me from their success. And let’s be honest, many brands are about brand recognition, rather than being a better product. None more so than with makeup, something my very talented makeup professional had no problem telling me, and she worked with a major manufacturer! She pointed out some of the department store brands that were equally as good as the top end products she used. Can’t beat honesty …
It was makeup that set me off on this tangent but that’s not the place to start I’ve decided. We should start at the bottom (literally in this case) and work our way outwards.
Which brings me to Item 1, shapewear and more specifically gaffs.
Back in my 20s I had an older girlfriend for a time. We did an amazing campervan dive trip in Aus which was a lot of fun. Of course, we could keep ourselves amused between dives by ‘relaxing’ in the campervan. I will resist all puns at this point. During one of those relaxing afternoons I remember saying to her “it’s not that big”, to which she said “it’s not that small’. I had nothing to compare it to, no online porn then of course, so I happily took the compliment.
What I did know though was that I was a grower, not a shower. As a teen that is a negative, and probably why I played sports that didn’t necessitate sharing a shower stall with 20 other guys. Now, however, being a grower is a huge advantage (pun intended this time).
Over the last couple of years I’ve tried all the ways I’ve read about to create that perfect forward view, except for commercially available gaffs. I’ve tried the socks and pantyhose trick (works better than I expected) and tried multiple pairs of tight briefs, tights over them, all after tucking and every combination I could think of. The best result, to date, had been using a pair I found on AliExpress. You’ve probably all seen them, the ones that form the camel toe in the front. And for me they worked pretty well. But I still wasn’t happy.
Recently I found a company in the US called Koala Swim. Sounds Australian I know. They have a massive range of ‘restraining equipment’ of all kinds. But everything I saw and read made it appear to be worth a shot to see if it was the ultimate solution. Mind you it was expensive – after currency conversion and freight almost twice the US$ cost. With so many options to choose from on their site I emailed the company for advice. After two weeks I gave up waiting for a response. So I picked what I thought might work and ordered it, although they almost lost the sale after not making contact.
Trying it, when it arrived, I thought I’d made a big mistake. I might be a grower but nothing stayed in place. That was until I realized that it needed to be worn much lower and the centre strap pulled very tight. That worked and looked good.
So, is it the answer? I think so, but there’s still more work to do. Fitted correctly the item creates ‘lips’ which seem to help hold everything in place even better. A couple of wearings doesn’t a ‘dressing season’ make, but I’m pretty sure as I get better with fitting it my satisfaction level will increase. When I get it right I may have to find someone to remove the clips and permanently stitch the straps to length. Not there yet though. There are so many options on the manufacturer’s site that I may not have chosen the best option, although this one certainly works.
So that’s step one done, and I’m now using a lot less restraining material than I have used in the past. It still needs something over the top though and that will be either tights or a new model of shorts I’ve ordered, which will hold the hip pads. My current pad holder is too long.
But let’s make that part two. I’d love to hear what you all use by way of gaff or other alternatives.