Are You a Cross-Dresser or a Fetish-Dresser

By Teri Lynn Richards

We hear so much today about what terms should be applied to the various styles of personal expression.  There are crossdressers, transvestites, fetish-dressers, drag queens, female impersonators, transsexuals (pre-op & post-op), etc.  So how do I decide – how do you decide which group we fit into?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think that the most common group is “crossdressers”, so let me discuss this group and see whether you fit into that group.

True crossdressers do their best to emulate the gender opposite their birth-gender.  If a male crossdresser, he is not satisfied to just throw on some female garments and run outside.  While a true crossdresser may not go all-out, when dressing at home, he would never think of going out in public, unless he looks as much as a woman as is possible for him, short of surgery.

To present a presentable/respectable feminine-image, I believe that one needs to get expert advice on what type of make-up looks best and how to apply it; what style of clothes and hair looks best; and, of course, some lessons/practice, on walking, talking and acting like a woman.

You can look like a model, but if you talk and walk like an Amazon ape, you aren’t going to fool anybody; nor are you going to get the respect of the public.

When I go out in public, I realize that I am not going to fool all of the people, all of the time.  I try my best to fool some, or most of the people, most of the time.

When women smile at me, I don’t always know whether they are smiling because they recognize that I’m a crossdresser, but they think that I look presentable/respectable as a woman, or whether they are just the friendly type and it’s a way of saying they like my outfit, etc.

When men smile at me, I generally take it as a compliment – that they think I’m a nice looking woman.  Men usually aren’t as observant as women.  Men look at boobs and by the time they focus on my face, I’ve passed them and, most likely, they didn’t recognize that I’m a crossdresser – just a woman they’re lusting after.

True crossdressers, when out in public, do not want to draw undue attention, they just want to go on their way, as all the other women around them.

So, why do I have a desire to dress as a woman?  I love to dress as a woman, because that is how I express my inner feelings.  Yes, I would love to be a woman, but not all crossdressers have that feeling.

Some crossdressers “dress” simply because they enjoy the temporary illusion of looking like a woman.  For some, crossdressing provides an escape from the daily-grind and allows them to relax and have a time of fun, instead of stress.

Being in a feminine-mode puts some crossdressers minds on a different plain,  For a moment, they can escape the macho expectations they normally have to live up to as men and the stress associated with those expectations.

I find that I don’t have a particular attraction to one item of feminine-apparel, over another.  I enjoy the entire process of transforming into a feminine-image, so each article – foundation-wear, lingerie, outer-garments, hair and make-up, are all important to me.

When “dressed”, I want to be able to look at myself and see a woman.  I want to look, on the outside, like I feel on the inside.  And after taking great pains to present my best feminine-image, I feel that I am finally a whole person – I feel like a woman, not just on the inside, but also on the outside.  I feel most comfortable in fem-mode, because when in fem-mode, I feel like the person I was meant to be.

Does dressing, as much as a woman as one can manage, mean that one is “passable” as a woman – that no one will be able to tell that one is a crossdresser?   No!  However, it does mean that the person dresses in such a manner as to present a respectable/acceptable feminine-image.

For me, “passing” as a woman, is not nearly as important as being accepted as a woman.  If someone realizes that I am a crossdresser and they still interact with me, as they would with a genetic woman, then I have succeeded in presenting a respectable/presentable feminine image to the public – an image which says to them that I want to emulate women, not mock them and that I truly enjoy looking feminine – looking like a woman.

When others look at me, I want them to see that I truly enjoy femininity, because that’s what is in my heart and soul.  I don’t “dress” to present the illusion of a woman; I “dress” reveal my inner feelings as a woman – to express my transgender-character.

What do I mean by a “respectable/acceptable feminine-image”?

When “dressed”, even though others may realize that you are a crossdresser, they will be left with the impression that you did your best to look like a woman.  That means that you dressed appropriately for your apparent age and that you blend in with other women.

A mini mini-skirt, sexy and revealing blouse, fish-net stockings and 6-inch heels, would be an example of not blending with other women at church, a baseball game or the supermarket.  Such attire should be reserved for a nightclub, private party, a night at home, or Halloween.

A good way to gage how well you blend, is to take notice of how people react to you when they pass you in the Mall. —  Let me add that when you are in public, people will check you out.  Women will check you out from quite a distance.  Men usually will look at you when they’re close enough to get a good look.

Just because you think that no one is looking at you, don’t be fooled.  When you do see a reaction, that facial expression is a result of the observer having formed an opinion about your appearance, probably from a distant perspective.  If they look at you and have no unusual facial-expression, most likely, they think that your appearance is “normal”.

If they grimace, as they pass you in the Mall, you likely didn’t make much of an effort to look presentable as a woman, as such a reaction can be interpreted as, “Are you kidding?  You’re dressed in feminine-garb, but you sure don’t look anything like a woman – more like a man-in-a-dress.  Are you sure you should be out in public?”

The best reaction is a smile.  A smile can mean: ‘I know you’re a crossdresser, but you present yourself well, as a woman.’  A smile could also mean nothing more than a friendly gesture – possibly without the knowledge that you’re a crossdresser – letting you know that they think your a nice/average woman.
fetish dresser-2Now, let me address one other category of crossdresser – the Fetish-dresser.
I find that fetish-dressers love to be noticed.  They usually don’t dress age-appropriate, nor do they attempt to blend with other women.

Fetish-dressers just enjoy wearing one or more feminine items – whatever gives them a sexual turn-on.  And often, they have one article on which they focus, such as lipstick, bras, heels, etc.  Usually, they are so obsessed with that article, they tend to over-display it – too much lipstick/over-sized lips; breasts too large for their stature, etc.

Too often, fetish-dressers get more of a thrill out of wearing certain garments, they don’t bother much with their make-up, hair, etc.  Most often, they haven’t bothered to get advice/lessons on how to walk, talk and act like a woman.

The main goal, for a fetish-dresser, is to get out in public and let other people see them.   They mostly don’t care about how the public reacts to them.  In fact, they seem to enjoy the shock & awe they create in others.  They want to be noticed.  They love the attention.

My advice to fetish-dressers is that they confine their fetish to their home, or private gatherings at a fellow fetish-dresser’s home.

Of course, Halloween is the one day on which they can go out and “flash” the public, as anything seems to go on that day – so next year, go and enjoy.

A plea to fetish-dressers –

When our daughter was in college, she had an unusual professor for one of her classes. This Prof. would sometimes wear a 1960’s Haight-Ashbury granny-dress, sometimes a dress or skirt; sometimes with red fingernails, sometimes with make-up added, sometimes with heels, etc., ——– but always with his beard and mustache.  OUCH!   Yes, you heard right!  This Prof. mix-dressed.   That is not true crossdressing.  His “dressing” may fall into the fetish-dresser category, but I have my doubts about that.

Most of the students thought this Prof. was a sicko – weird.  Can you blame them?

Well, the impression this Prof. left on his students was not good.

He did nothing to further the cause of true crossdressers.  He was a fetish-dresser, or whatever, but most students did not recognize/realize that.

To most of the students – probably all – he was a crossdresser; and to most, this was their first encounter with a “crossdresser”.  Unfortunately, I’m certain that most of his students subsequently will view all crossdressers as ‘weird’ – like their Prof.

Because of her experience with her Professor, when I told our daughter that I’m a crossdresser, she blew a cork.  After she explained what she encountered at college, I understood why.  I had to explain all of what I just mentioned above, before she would even let me explain why I crossdress.

Fortunately, I managed to maintain my close relationship with our daughter, although she still doesn’t want to see me dressed.  Likely, she’s afraid that she’ll see the image of her Prof. again.  I sure wished she would have seen me, or some other true crossdresser first, before her mind was seared with the wrong impression her Prof. gave her.

If you would like further information about crossdresser-types,  or crossdresssing; or to just let me know whether you agree or disagree, please fe-mail me at:  TeriLynn707@Yahoo.Com

Now go out and enjoy your feminine moments — or enjoy your fetishes in the privacy of your home.


5 thoughts on “Are You a Cross-Dresser or a Fetish-Dresser

  1. Hi teri:) I am what you could call a fetish dresser, albeit a mild one. I dress feminine from the waist down but masculine from the waist up. I dress like that every day and also go to work like that as an attorney.

    I have to tell you that one can mixdress with gusto. I cant attach pictures here but if you are interested I could send you a couple just for the sake of the argument.

    For example, I love tall boots and frequently wear otks and knee highs. For example, I’ll wear my Frye’s all leather otks with 2 1/2 inches block heels with skinny jeans tucked in the boots, a dress shirt and a suit’s jacket. Nothing less and nothing more. I know it looks good. I have big legs and glutes from working out so even with skinny jeans I dont look like a popsicle.

    Also, I always have a suit and men’s shoes handy if I need to meet with clients and even though I sometimes like to sport pantylines on the weekend, never at work. Finally, the reason I don’t wear womens tops is that I just dont think it looks good on the male body and also because I enjoy the masculine look on top (what the hell am I?!:P). I know I am a fetish dresser because the pleasure and tension I get from it is clearly sexual.

    You are right when you say that we don’t need others to partake with us. I couldn’t care less about other’s opinions. The only times I get embarassed about it is when I get moments where I would’ve preferred to just fit in.

    I guess my point is, I believe you can be a fetish dresser without being completely unhinged. Some of us remain aware of what can look good and what looks like a**. If I find I look stupid, I am not going outside. I don’t want to subject my entourage to grotesque images. No one wants to see me in a dress, especially since I am not into wigs, make up and the general female appearance pursuit. No one wants to see me in a cami.

    For some reason, I am not into ultra fetishistic stuff so that might help.

    What are your thoughts?

    Best regards:)

  2. I would fall into the category of a fetish dresser. I wear arran button to the neck cardigans. Some of my cardigans at ladies styles with the buttons on the left and a collar which buttons to a roll neck. They are mainly in dark colours and I wear them in public with a pair of jeans. What often puzzles me is that a woman can wear a jumper and a pair of jeans and no one looks twice. I haven’t had any criticism myself, however I have had a few knowing looks and smiles off women. Some of my cardies are unisex as well. So I guess I sit on the dividing line.

  3. A good article, very sweet. To me, dressing is an avenue to feeling feminine, which seems very right, beautiful and satisfying to me. As you said, “…I love to dress as a woman, because that is how I express my inner feelings. Yes, I would love to be a woman, but not all crossdressers have that feeling….” I agree with that fully.

    We all have our different degrees of implementing our transformation to the feminine, and mine is very low on the scale. For me, feminine attire is a trigger for feminine feelings, and it is not important for me to meticulously dress as a woman for those feelings to be very rich and complete.

    I often have the experience of being outwardly dressed as a man, but feeling so strongly like a sister, that women relate to me just as they would another woman. Even recalling last night’s dressing can be enough to evoke and carry those feelings so strongly that others no longer “believe their eyes”.

    I think that by your definition I’m not a “true crossdresser”, but when women forget I’m a guy, and treat me like “one of the girls”, my true feelings are being felt, no mater what I’m wearing 🙂

  4. Teri Lynn,

    Very nice article. I dress because I like to feel pretty. I like the illusion. It is fun. It relieves stress. It allows me to transport my mind away from the daily grind of my guy life into a more stress free mode. It is nice to be able to shelve the guy side for a while.

    At home I will often only be partially dressed. I will not go to the effort of applying too much makeup and may wear some of my clothing that just does not work well enough with my body style to see its way out the door. When I go out I do the best I can with what I have to work with. At my size, weight and age there is only so much that I can do.

    Because of the community and my fairly well known guy personna I tend to favor safe venues but when I go out I find that I am well received and accepted. I share your goal of creating an acceptable/respectful image.

    There are a few places that I have frequented where I am starting to become known. I love to get compliments on my dress, shoes, etc. Last week I was really touched when I wore a dark page boy bob style wig that I had not worn in years and I received several comments that were favorable.

    Thank you again for a well thought out article.

    Pat Scales

  5. sweet article i am a fetish dresser love tight short skirts and high heels and hose. Always clean shaven although i will never really look womanly. i enjoy what i do and fantasize about.

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