Most of us dress for the first time with clothing from relatives, a significant other, or wherever we can get a piece of clothing discretely for the first time. But there comes a time when both the need, for a completely personal wardrobe and the desire for one, arises.

You can purchase from the comfort of your home online and have it delivered.  Alternatively, you can go to a shop with a female friend to help with measurements and to help avoid any potential embarrassment at the counter if you are not ready yet to look at the face of the cashier and have your eyes say, “I will make this dress look even better on me than on the mannequin in the display.”  It takes a while to get there (and I am not there yet myself).

We are constantly afraid of judgment by other customers or the staff working at a store.  We also may be afraid of the very small risk of being seen by someone we are not ready to allow to know that part of us. Lucky for me, it has not happened yet. Luck, however, can only be on your side for so long. There comes a time when you have to start relying on your confidence. Remember that you are doing this for your own well being. Ideally, you should just not care about what others may or may not think about it as long as you are being respectful.

I have gathered enough confidence to go shopping without being too self-conscious about it, at least until a fated Friday some weeks ago. 

First, a little bit about myself. I had recently moved to New Zealand and the only clothes that I had with me in my luggage were men’s clothes. The few times I’ve gone to purchase female clothing, I haven’t had meaningful glances of disapproval nor any fingers pointed or anything of that sort. Though it has happened that the cashiers sometimes look slightly nervous when they finally realize that the clothes are for me. When shopping, I have always gone as a man and not as a woman.

So after arriving in New Zealand, I went shopping.  First I purchased some dresses from second-hand shops.  Then I went to a general store for some footwear; I bought a pair of size 10 ballet flats and a pair of size 11 heels. These are the first heels I have ever owned.  I also purchased a bra and panty set and some pantyhose.  

I do have the confidence to browse and purchase clothes, but not when children are around.  For instance, I really wanted to get some makeup but the aisle with makeup had a mother and her two daughters who were slightly under 10 years old, so I was not able to accomplish that part. I decided to finish my shopping for the day, so I headed to the register since I had already picked up the main items on my list. I was unlucky enough that the lady in front of me was having problems with her bank card being recognized by the system, and a small girl (about 7 years old) was barraging the cashier with non-stop questions. After some minutes waiting for the hassle with the previous customer to end, I was finally able to start passing my items through, then… it happened; that moment we all fear.

The little girl asked the cashier “Why is he buying girl’s clothes?”. 

What I had feared the most happened. I always felt anxious when imagining how would I feel whenever that time would come, hearing someone directly ask and question my actions that encourage the existence of Laura. I have always thought my world would come crashing down, or that I’d get red as a tomato, or that I would just bolt out of the store, but none of those things happened.

The cashier stood there, pale, staring at the child with a panicked face, then smiling at me nervously, and looking back at the little girl once again. I just gave the child a warm smile, her question was an honest one, and you can’t blame anyone for being curious, especially a child. The little girl then looked down at the floor, then up again and said to the cashier “I guess this is one of those ‘it’s none of yo’ situations”. The cashier relaxed a bit, I paid and left slightly nervous.

I survived the ordeal, it was not as bad as I thought it would be, but nonetheless, it still had repercussions. Next time I went to get some clothes, I went to a store where you could scan your own items…in another city.  In hindsight, I should not have done that.  I feel Laura took several steps back from what she had achieved so far.

It’s hard to get some confidence, and it’s easy to have the little confidence you have in yourself shaken. Sometimes you just have to push through, and if possible, deal with the aftermath’s internal turmoil better than I have.

Your friend,
Laura

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42 Comments
  1. Sahi saheli 1 year ago

    I don’t know why I am obsessed with the Vanessa law. But one thing for sure we find lot of comfort in reading our femme sisters who narrate their experiences assuring our similar species out there on this earth and we are not alone.
    Love
    Sahi

  2. Kim Paige 1 year ago

    I only shop in person, and have become confident enough with the sales staff that I don’t pretend to be shopping for anyone else – at the makeup store especially since skin tone and beard cover are important areas of discussion. At a Victoria’s Secret I even asked the sales woman to fit me for a bra! They were wonderful, very professional and a sale is a sale.

    That being said, I am less comfortable around customers with children; I’m not looking to put the parent in a situation where they have to explain an (unfortunately still) delicate topic. I think my response would be “…i’m buying this for someone special to me…” and leave it at that!
    Great article! Thanks!
    Kim

    • janedon 1 year ago

      A # of yrs ago–I decided I had nothing to be ashamed of & was doing nothing wrong–If others have a problem–It’s their problem not mine–Kids have asked me at stores why I’m buying “Girls” clothes ect–I just say I like it—Parents can accept it or not—Almost all parents have no problem with it—Being Different is Not being Evil-

  3. J. Yovann 1 year ago

    HI, Im Cindy i dress some times on my private times or when i alon at home, i used lingerine since 12 i love it, my mom dress me at age of 2 years old. I buy my clotes at the store or online i have a lot of underware they i use every day, my shoes , jeans, a lot of female affits. I have a family and she know whr i du but is ok she except me lika that. Im happy not 100% because i wish to go out on my dress and feel the woman i have on me.

  4. janedon 1 year ago

    a nephew of mine had the perfect answer for his (then) girlfriends 5 yr old boy when they dropped in unannounced & I was full dressed including makeup–he said—Adults love to play dressup to—I fixed everyone a snack–including cake for junior & it was no big deal–I did’nt change either-Now I don’t worry about being dressed–I answer questions honestly–
    I like to dress up– Jane London Ontario

  5. Gina Fuller 1 year ago

    Yes Melissa, I love buying bra’s. I usually find a store away from where I live and just ask for the model or brand I want. Once I wear a bra I am mentally a woman and I become so feminine. The bra was the first item I ever tried on and I have been wearing one for years.

  6. I’m probably a few years, possibly decades, older than you. I used to stress over what if they knew I was buying for me. A number of things conspired to make me change my mind. One was a cross-dresser who wanted to be noticed and after a tour through the largest mall in our area without anyone batting an eyelash, he went back to his car and stripped down to only his heels and a big floppy hat. Then carrying his large purse in front of him, tried it again. He got noticed and arrested.

    That encouraged me to go out dressed. Even then, I didn’t try on, for quite a while. But then one day I was in J C Penney’s and spotted an “All-in-one”. Up till then, I bought and didn’t try on and was too self-conscious take it back and exchange it. But this was a bit too expensive to take that chance. So I asked the saleslady if there was some place I could try it on. She showed me to the dressing room right there in that department.

    Then one summer we were on vacation in Billings MT and I happened to be in the mall there alone, dressed all male and stopped to admire the dresses in one of the open to the mall stores. The saleslady came over and asked if she could help me. I maintain the Devil made me do it, but I decided to see if I could blow her small town mind, being from the metropolis of Portland, OR…. I asked if I could try on a dress. To my surprise, she didn’t blink and helped me pick a dress and showed me to the dressing room. She came back to ask if it was the right size or if she could get me something else. I didn’t really like the dress, but it fit and she’d let me try it on so I bought it.

    After that, I decided that I would never again buy without trying on. I got really bold and started going to used clothing stores dressed male and asking to try on. I decided that if anyone took exception to me wanting to try on, I’d simply leave without comment and take my business elsewhere. In over two years of that, I was only refused once. It surprised me because it was my second time in that shop. The owner had no problem, but the salesclerk that day did. So, I never went back.

    I even stopped by Sears after work one day to pick up some tools. I was dressed in the company uniform. As was my habit, I took a stroll through the women’s department. I spotted a dress I really liked. I took it to the cash register and asked if there was someplace I could try it on. She pointed to the dressing rooms behind her. Sadly, it didn’t fit and they didn’t have it my size.

    These days, I dress en femme, go to the store of my choice, pick out three or four things I like, and just go to the dressing room and walk in like I belong. Even the places where they check how many things you take in, I’ve never been challenged.

  7. Lola 1 year ago

    My wife buy’s my bra’s good bless her.

  8. Joanna Knight 12 months ago

    I have gone to a store in my small town and bought woman things on more then one time and no one even said a thing to me about it or why I was! Most of my clothing I have gotten online! My bras and panties and pantyhose and tights I get in person and felt good doing so!
    I do wish I had someone whom I could go shopping with to see what they think may look good on me or even help me fine jeans that fit me and I would love to wear jeans! I just have not gotten any yet! I do love to wear dresses and skirts too! I even bought a one piece swimsuit for myself and I now have a bikini too ! I love being my feme self when ever I can be her!!
    Love and hugs ,
    Joanna

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