Downplaying Pantyhose and Fitting-In

Lisa1One of the most fascinating transitions in life that occurs in my opinion is watching a young girl transition into womanhood.   For me, it’s somewhat of a bittersweet process because when I was that age, I found myself on the outside looking in, but for the most part, it’s such a sweet experience to watch a young girl blossom into a beautiful woman.   Undoubtedly, the biggest mistake a young girl makes as she begins her transition into adulthood is wearing too much makeup.   As adults, we realize that girls in their early teens are actually prettier without makeup, but these young girls associate makeup with growing up, and so there’s little that we parents can do as we watch from the sidelines.

So how does this pertain to girls like us and our own attempted transition into womanhood later in life? For genetic girls, the transition begins when she dons her first bra and starts to wear the aforementioned makeup.  The bra of course is an under garment and must be covered by clothing, and so the first real form of outward expression that a young teen can use to announce to the world her womanhood is makeup.  For girls like you and me, we also tend to emphasize our transition into woman using an article of clothing we can wear outwardly and openly.

Lisa2From my own experience and from all of the emails I get from readers where they tell me about how they first started, the stories inevitably include sneaking a pair of pantyhose, borrowing panties from a sister, an infatuation with their mother’s slips, and in my case, all of the above.  🙂  Now, if we examine these three items, two of them are undergarments and must be hidden beneath clothing, but pantyhose are meant to be seen, so like the 12 year old girls who use makeup as their outward expression of womanhood, cross dressers inevitably use pantyhose as their means to show the world that “yes, we are entering womanhood too!” And to take the comparison one step further, cross dressers tend to overdo the prominence of pantyhose in their outfits the same way the 12 year-old girls overdo their makeup.

Pantyhose are a fashion faux pas these days, and so as we try to pass as crossdressers in public, we are at a difficult crossroads in that traditional pantyhose are no longer seen in the fashion world; yet, it’s just too difficult for girls like us to give up that one accessory that was an integral part of our journey to begin with.   It’s my belief that girls like me who are unable to live their lives as women 24/7 are still in a sort of teenage phase where we want to show the world that we are women because we wear pantyhose.  Up until recently, I couldn’t bear the thought of going out in public without my precious pantyhose; however, I was finally able to overcome that fear and produce some cute looks with bare legs as seen in the pics that I have scattered throughout this article.   Still, I understand just how difficult it is to dress and not wear pantyhose, and so in this article, I will provide tips on how to downplay pantyhose as part of the wardrobe and emphasize other parts of the outfit more fitting to a girl’s current environment.

1.  Dress appropriate to the occasion

If you are going to a bar that is friendly to crossdressers and t-girls, by all means wear a short skirt or dress, silky pantyhose, and 4″ heels because that is appropriate to the occasion.  If visiting Home Depot, however, wearing any of the three aforementioned items is a no-no if your intention is to pass as a woman.  I have never once been to a Home Depot and seen a woman wearing high heels, so just imagine what the other customers and workers would think if a rather tall-ish woman built like a linebacker was clicking around the concrete floors in heels.  If she was wearing pantyhose and a dress or skirt, that only adds to the emphasis that this person is out of place, and it would be nigh unto impossible to successfully pass in that kind of situation.

Lisa3I actually did visit a hardware store over the summer wearing a skirt, but it was a casual denim skirt paired with a sleeveless top, an outfit typical for a hot summer day as seen in the lead pic to this article.   And no, I did not wear pantyhose, but I still looked cute as a girl.   I estimate that I have about 30 days per year where I can dress as a woman and go out into public, and if I look back on the last three years of my crossdressing life, I’ve only worn a dress twice…once to attend the musical Wicked and once to a department store on a Sunday morning when I needed a new pair of pantyhose for church.   On both of those occasions, I felt it was the appropriate setting for a woman to be wearing a dress, but I don’t recall seeing anyone else wearing pantyhose at either the department store or to the theater.   The key is to adjust your outfit to what the other girls are wearing to increase one’s chances of passing in public.

2.  Dress appropriate to your age

I think many of us cross dressers struggle with this one because no one likes to admit that they’re getting older, and 99% of us didn’t start attempting to cross dress in public until later in life, and so we’re dying to know what it would have been like to spend our teenage years or even that next decade in our twenties as a girl.  As a result, we can’t help but to try on short skirts, high heels, and spaghetti strap tops that let our bra straps peek through.  I love short skirts and camisoles as much as the next girl and don’t get me started on bra straps, but I constantly have to ask myself…how many forty-somethings do you see wearing a camisole, short skirt, and god forbid pantyhose all in the same outfit?  The answer is never, and although I sometimes see women my age in the winter time wearing hosiery with wool shorts or wool skirts, it’s always opaque tights and never pantyhose.

Lisa4The one time that I did wear shiny, suntan pantyhose with an outfit that included a camisole was in the summer when I went to get my car inspected.  I chose a service station right next to a Gold’s Gym, and so along with my yellow strappy camisole, I wore black yoga pants, black ballet flats, and then suntan pantyhose beneath it all.  You could see that I was wearing nylons if you looked down at my ankles, but the emphasis on the outfit was a woman on her way to the gym who just happened to be wearing exercise tights.   If you are anxious to get out in public en femme (and who wouldn’t be?), I would recommend choosing a location along with a day of the week and time when you will make the attempt.  Visit the location once or twice before your journey and note what the other women your age are wearing and adjust your outfit appropriately to increase your chances of passing.   And if you happen to see another woman actually wearing nylons, don’t mimic her…mimic the majority.  😉

3.  Dress in Current Fashion Trends

The most thrilling comment that I receive from readers is that I look like the girl next door, and I believe I get these comments because I largely dress in fashions that you could find at an everyday store like Old Navy.  The fashion style is nothing classy, but it helps me to blend in with the female public when I’m out and about cross dressed.

Lisa5One summer I had some girl time on the 4th of July, and so I decided to attend a little league baseball game.   It was a typical hot summer day when most of the women would be wearing tops without sleeves, and so I went the extra mile by actually purchasing an Old Navy flag tank-top and pairing it with a short denim skirt that I wore to the game along with a pair of strappy sandals and of course no pantyhose.   I painted my toenails red for the occasion and fit in with the other girls just fine.   In my early years of experimental cross dressing, I would often visit parks wearing a dress or skirt along with pantyhose just for the experience, but I stayed in the shadows then.   Nowadays, I like to mingle with the other women my age, and so it’s most important that I dress the same as them.

4.  Wear a nude shade if you must wear pantyhose

Lisa6I consider myself a very traditional girl, and as such, I will wear pantyhose with my outfit at least 90 percent of the time I venture out into public, but since I’m usually wearing very casual clothing, I always choose a nude shade of nylons to de-emphasize the fact that I’m even wearing hosiery.   I love Barely There in the Hanes Silk Reflections line, and the nude shade in the L’eggs Silken Mist line is also a can’t miss.  Besides showing off my legs, I also like to wear pantyhose because it helps me greatly to create a smooth front, and that’s one of the main reasons that I rarely leave the house with bare legs, but I always try my best not to make pantyhose the most prominent feature of my outfit, especially when I’m dressed casually.

As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, and when passing in public en femme, do as the women do.  In the picture at right, I’m shopping for clothing in public dressed casually as a woman  at an Abercrombie & Fitch outlet, so the question is…am I wearing pantyhose with my outft?  The answer is “yes” because I’m a girl who doesn’t like to go out without wearing pantyhose, so when I do wear them, I try my best to make sure they aren’t going to draw the attention of anyone but me.  🙂

12 thoughts on “Downplaying Pantyhose and Fitting-In

  1. Hi Lisa,
    For starters, I love your website. So many hints for “girls” like us. I like where you say to dress for your age and occasion. Obviously, going to a fancy affair, where you where a gown or fancy dress, I love wearing shimmery pantyhose. Everyday use, I usually just wear standard control tops. BTW, the ones for fancy occasions are also shimmery, and I usually wear a padded control brief. I love it when I’m with real girls, which I am on occasion, and they say “I can’t wait to get out of these pantyhose and take off my bra” at end of day. We are just the opposite. Thanks for everything. With “hugs”. Patrice
    PS. I love your experiences with Heidi. Both of you are beautiful and stunning women.

  2. Great article. I don’t know whether the pantyhose or nylon has completely gone the way of the Gooney Bird but I for one will never let it out of my life. Most of the girls I talk to complain about how this pantyhose & nylons of being a requirement issue with them since they were young and therefore the current state of not having to fool with them puts them in seventh heaven. And I suppose that if I was in their situation I would probably have the same feelings. However, I use them with a sense of taste and it fits my surroundings, my age. I spend a great deal of time dressing appropriately for my age. Like some of the other writers I also have gone into Lowes, was in Home Depot, and did not garner any unusual attention. Of course I didn’t drag any sheets of 2 x 4 plywood around I went in for small specific items and made it a point to peruse the cabinet and kitchen sections of the aforementioned stores. It was a neat article.

  3. What a great article !!!!! I really agree with a lot of what you have to say. especially dress your age and dress for the occasion. If one takes a thought and goes to the Mall window shopping with their wife and you look around not every girl goes to the mall in 5 inch heels, tight skirts, and revealing tops (except for maybe a teenager trying to impress some guy).

    The trick going out in public IS to blend in and not draw attention to yourself and save the 5 inch “Ho-heels” for glamor shots, and DO NOT walk in public like you are walking down a runway at a fashion show … that’s advice from my wife

    Thanks for the great site !!!!!!

    Misty Mae

  4. Lisa,
    Terrific story, but I disagree with one comment. You indicated looking out of place in Home Depot or perhaps Lowes too while wearing high heels, and pantyhose. I kind of disagree. I have had to stop for an item at the Home Depot of Lowes. I was on my way home from work when I have stopped. Maybe I garnered attention, I don’t know and didn’t care. I was tired after a day at work and stopping was the last thing I wanted to do, but needed to stop. I don’t think I was stared at to be honest. Maybe it is different when the person isn’t a CD, but truly female.

  5. Lisa,
    It is a great article. I know how important wearing pantyhose is for you and me. In my case it is definitional but you are quite correct in pointing out that there are times when wearing pantyhose or other items that are “too femme” that your odds of passing or even blending in will decrease.
    You have worked hard at the ‘girl next door look’ and have done a great job of pulling it off.

    Your advice of dressing for your age, the occasion and the surroundings is good advise for all of us. Most women seem to know naturally what is age and occasion appropriate but even they need help from time to time.

    For several decades I worked in mid-town Manhattan. I was able to observe what working women and other women would wear on a day to day basis. I also had occasion to do quite a bit of business travel and would observe how women around the country would dress and would note the similarities and differences with NYC women. I agree that women wearing pantyhose has gone out of style but over the past year I have noticed more and more NYC women wearing pantyhose and, now that the weather has chilled a bit, tights. I want to think that the hosiery pendulum had reached the ‘no-hose’ limit and that the bare leg look may be on the decline.

    Thank you for taking the time to write such a nice article.


  6. I too enjoyed your article. Thinking about where your going, who your going to be around and planning your outfit accordingly is really smart. We do tend to overdress, or glam up our make-up. You can conceal and powder and forgo the mascara.
    I have a limited closet because I am usually in it! *giggle*
    So, if you don’t have that outfit for every occasion, you can still plan your occasions accordingly! Thanks for sharing!!!

  7. OMG! What a fantastic article! Lisa, you really hit the nail on the head – no pun intended on your hardware store trips lol. I just joined up with Sister house so I don’t have my profile set up yet, but I too dress to blend in, age appropriate and makeup appropriate too. Great and very well written article. Sisters, listen to what Lisa put to words here. It’s all very true and accurate. I’m not into pantyhose myself, but I sure like my thigh highs. They help with giving your legs that smooth hairless girly appearance and kind of evens out the skin tone, but sheer or dark appropriately are the way to go if you’re going to wear nylons. Tights to stay warm during the winter months are good too. Lastly, light on the makeup too. Lisa, I could have run into you at the inspection station and felt totally comfortable conversing with you as two ladies passing the time. Thanx for the article!

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