Dear Friends,

With the rise of online shopping, many of us would be relieved to no longer have to subject ourselves to the “in-person purchase.” But nothing can really replace assessing the size, fit, colors, fabrics, and contours in person before splurging hard-earned money. Finding an item you love and making sure the fit is correct is part of making sure we will present our best, most feminine, selves. The “in-person purchase” is an art form on its own.

I would encourage more members of our crossdresser community to shop in person to normalize the practice and reduce the stigma. We are paying customers, purchasing garments/makeup/etc for ourselves. It is not illegal. We are doing nothing wrong, and we are just like everyone else shopping. There appears to be a double standard when shopping for items of the opposite gender – women can casually purchase garments designed for men without fear, but there is stigma associated with men buying clothing for women.  It seems understood that women purchasing male clothing would be intended for a significant other, son or friend. The same concept should apply when we could be purchasing garments and accessories for our significant other, daughter, etc. Keep that in mind as we might naturally assume everyone else knows we are buying it for our (glamorous) selves. This assumption may be entirely false.

A step-by-step guide

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  1. Scout out the shop
    Especially for first time purchasers, make a round or two outside the location to familiarize yourself with the shop.  Make mental notes where the objects of purchase are, if the sales assistants are attentive, etc. Are there other sections (food, furniture, etc)? If so, going in to pretend to view those other items could help build confidence being within the shop.
  2. Going in
    Walk into the shop. Yes, it’s that simple.  Walk in confidently. Just like everyone else.  You are a normal customer, and you belong there.  Remember you’re a paying customer and there are no signs which say “No cross-dressers”
  3. Making the purchase
    Here is where the path splits, one can use one or all of the following:
  4. 1) Ask for help.
    Ask a sales assistant for help (if they have not already approached you).  Share with them your needs (lingerie size, type of makeup, etc). Being prepared helps as they can only help us if we know what we want. This is the crucial part: 99% of the time they will assume we are purchasing for our significant other. They will speak sentences such as: “What is her favorite color?” and “her size”?  I have had less than a handful of bad experiences and in these cases, they didn’t speak to me directly. They just giggled or made comments to their co-workers. If they had any concerns about the intended recipient, they would have addressed it head-on.
    2) Get a basket.
    Begin with filling it with “other” stuff first (literally anything), then approach the section where the objects of purchase are.  Shop away, then politely put the “other” items back before heading to the cashier. If it makes you more confident, buy them anyway. The cashier would assume you are making the purchases for someone else.
    3) Use your phone.
    Pretend to be texting someone as you enter the shop, as if they are asking you to make a purchase for them.  Continue to “check” and “reply” every now and then. Have a reference photo of what you want to buy on your phone so when the sales assistant approaches you, you are able use the picture to help them assist you with the purchase. Once, a sales assistant laid out the garment (lace panties) and said “you can take a photo to check with her (my significant other).”
  5. Make your payment.
    Head to the cashier and make your payment. A card is always the fastest, easiest payment method. If it helps, bring along a larger bag so you don’t have to carry the bag with the shop’s name around the mall. After purchasing some lingerie, a sales lady once kindly pointed out that the bag did not have a “bra” written on it.

The first-time purchase is always daunting. I’ve frozen, walked in and out, and been giggled at.
I survived and you will too.

I confidently walk in and make my purchases now, its a mental barrier we have created for ourselves. We are the ones whom need to set ourselves free

You can always message me directly for any advice, support or more tips.

Glamorously and confidently,
The Bluest Belladonna


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Catharine Connall
1 month ago

Thank you for this. I only remember a couple looks from sales clerks but most of the time, they just scan it.It’s just another purchase among the however many they do in a day. I am always in male mode too. Sometimes I will get non-feminine things at the same time, sometimes not. I also like to use the self check-out where one is available. Go ahead and shop in person ladies, a couple odd looks won’t kill you and most stores will happily take your money.

Kaitlyn Pari
1 month ago

I love this article as it is so true. I’ve been very bold in the past and pushed through my own struggles or fear of going into a store. I initially went in as drab to Macy’s and had such a blast. Yes there were a few stares and snickers but I persisted and eventually asked for help. That was over 18 months ago and now I go in drag and love the attention they give me. I love going to WHBM now and they are so helpful. I specifically love their dressing rooms and their multi big mirrors. Belladonna… Read more »

Carla Roberts
1 month ago

I so agree with the subject of this post. have been shopping in-person for many years, and enfemme for almost 20 years. In all that time, I have only a few occasions of being looked at with a wonder for why I would be shopping for items that don’t necessarily match my gender presentation. More often than not, comments have ranged from, “Oh that’s cute, I wish it would look good on me” to “Some who gets that should be very happy with it”. Only once, in that time, have I had a comment to indicate I was looking in… Read more »

Active Member
27 days ago

I so agree, shopping in person is the way to go. I am not much of a shopper, but I do enjoy shopping en femme. I have never had an issue. and the only two things I have had happen was once being asked to use the men’s dressing room (though I have used the lady’s many, many times), and once being asked to come back later when the store was less busy. This was at VS, and it was Christmas so the line for the dressing rooms was quite long. At other VS’s I have just stood in the… Read more »

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