Nothing Ever Seems to Fit

clothes returned

Yesterday my latest package of mail-order clothing arrived. After arriving home from a long day at work, I quickly got out of my man-clothes and tried everything on. One garment at a time, my disappointment grew as I discovered nothing fit me. My lovely wife, on the other hand, ended up with a new elegant yet sexy little black dress and attractive bell sleeve top. She looks mighty fine in them, too, I must say. Finding female clothing items in my style and in my size often seems like a cruel exercise in futility.

Of the four items ordered, two have ended up in my wife’s already bursting closet, and two were shipped back to the online retailer. As for me, the one who desperately needs flattering tops that fit well and hide my not so feminine shoulders and arms – I get to pay more shipping fees and end up with nothing for my troubles.

It’s always a gamble buying clothes online… or at least it has been for me. I have yet to order a single item of clothing that actually fits. My upper-body is the problem area. Tops never seem to fit my broad shoulders and they’re always too short… or end up being too big all around, depending on size ordered.

I’m pretty choosy when it comes to clothing style. There are only a few general styles that I really enjoy – both on myself and to see other women wearing. Unfortunately, with the ever changing fashions each season, my preferred (generally form-fitting) clothing styles are not always in style and therefore not available in local women’s clothing stores. Even when things are purchased from local stores, they often don’t fit when I get home and try them on.

If you’re thinking my shoulders and arms don’t seem disproportionately large (for a lady) in my photos, that is because I’ve taken steps to minimize their appearance – both in the way I pose for photos and also the lighting utilized. In person, I look a little more like Gabrielle the pro-wrestler… at least in the few tops I currently have that fit semi-decently. Sleeveless tops fit best, but they also expose my well toned, somewhat muscular arms – not very flattering for a lady and nothing I’d be comfortable wearing outside the house.

My wife and I have been trying to find styles that are form-fitting, and yet would also minimize the appearance of my shoulders and arms. In our searches, we’ve come across some attractive clothing items in styles we both like, but nothing ever seems to fit. Sweaters are the exception, but it’s summertime and rather warm outside in my area.

There are several locally owned, less mainstream stores that I haven’t looked into yet. Because they’re not big chain stores, the clothes are more expensive and their return policy a bit more strict. Even so, perhaps I’ll have better luck in one of them.

It’s not easy being a crossdresser. I know I limit myself in the styles that I want to wear vs. what is available, but I can’t help it. I like what I like. My style may not always be in vogue, but it’s always my style.

16 thoughts on “Nothing Ever Seems to Fit”

  1. Ola Gabrielle. I get your points and disappointments. Its a problem I run into as well. A couple of tips follow.

    1. Make sure you are buying the right shapes and silhouettes. This will lower your return rate. I recommend you get a tape measure out, visit and take note of their recommendations.
    2. Stay away from really structured, tailored garments. Go with knits, knits and knits. Bling up the waistline and wrists to draw attention from the muscular top.
    3. If you are buying tailored dresses and suits, get to know a seamstress. If the top fits, the skirt will want a little tuck in. And for you, likely will want to be shortened too.
    4. Try shopping online at American Apparel next time. I think they have a lot of dresses that fit your style.

    Off course, shopping en femme and trying things on in the shops has advantages (and built in fun and adventure…)

    Happy dressing …. Petra

    1. Thanks for the helpful advice, Petra! :) I was hoping to get a few tips and pointers from some who has a figured out (much better than I). I have yet to go shopping en femme and do want to, but part of the problem is I don’t really have anything that works well in public yet (properly minimizing my man-shoulders) – a little catch 22 in that regard. lol

      I’ll get this worked out, and your points are much appreciated! Thanks again. :)

  2. Shopping en femme may be easier, but if you’ve not got an outfit ready yet, there are other ways.

    Some fashion stores will stock both male and female clothes. Go on a quiet day and put the female items at the bottom of your basket. Drop a pair of trousers over the top and head to the changing room. :)

    1. Look at you, Lynn – coming up with a great possible solution to the shopping in drab and discretely trying on the femme items. I’m not sure that would work well in the department stores – their male and female clothing items are stored in very separate departments, so it might raise an eye or two with the security cams watching, BUT in a smaller store where there is not such a divide, it just might do the trick. Thanks. :)

  3. Are you tall? Over 5’10”? Then try a Tall Girls Shop if there is one in your area. Just wander in during a quiet time (just after opening is good), find the manager, smile (that’s important), say you are a crossdresser (the first time is the hardest) and ask would it be OK if you tried on a few things?

    Then actually try something on, and maybe buy something to cement the relationship. I’ve never had a bad response – believe me, these ladies have seen it all.

    This works in other stores, too, especially smaller shops where there isn’t a big crowd of customers most of the time. Or large size shops like Lane Bryant. The worst that can happen is she says “I’m sorry, no [fill in excuse here]” in which case you go on to the next store.

    I’ve made a lot of purchases this way. Usually you will get a very liberal return policy, too. I’ve even gone back dressed once or twice just for their education and enjoyment. It’s a hoot!

    Best… Marlene

    1. Thanks, Marlene. Yes, I am kind of tall… well certainly tall for a female, but probably average guy height. I know about the “big and tall” shops for men, but never really knew they had them for women as well. That’s a good idea.

      I haven’t outed myself to any sales assistance yet, but I’ve been pondering the idea for some time now. Sooner or later, I’ll have to do just that to get good service. I’ve even been working on an optimal and tactful way out explaining who I am so as to minimize the potential of “[fill in excuse here]”.

      I appreciate the input, Marlene. Thanks again! :)

  4. I really hate it when I order clothes online, they arrive, and then are way too small for my body…That’s why I’ve started trying on things in the store, at least then when it doesn’t fit, I just put it right back on the rack :)!!! lol

    1. That’s definitely a smarter way to shop, Jessica. :) I’ve really got to find some local stores that carry the kind of things I like and find a cool sales assistant (or store owner) to build a good relationship with. I’m sure my wardrobe would get a lot fatter a lot quicker that way… and my bank account a lot thinner! lol

  5. What’s up with the sizing of womens clothes? I have a size 14 skirt that is too small and size 12 skirt that is way too big. If a skirt has an elastic waste, I buy a medium, cause I have found that a large will be too big. Sometimes even a medium is too big. As far as tops go, I agonize over whether I should buy a large or extra large. It seems like a crap shoot. And apparently a large in a Junior size is different than large Misses which is different than a large Womens! It is all very confusing. Obviously the best solution is to try things on, however it is very hard for me to try things on in the stores, since I have never gone out shopping as Nicole (at least not yet). I was saved from buying the wrong size skirt at Burlington Coat Factory by trying it on. It was easy there to grab a skirt and then walk over to the mens dept and grab a pair of jeans and hit the dressing room. Why does buying womens clothes have to be so diffcult?

    1. It can definitely be tricky, Nicole. Without the social stigma, it would be a whole lot easier for all of us to just try things on in the stores. My wife actually complains about many of the things you mentioned. I’m not sure how women do it in light of that. lol We’ve gotten in the habit of bringing a tape measure with us when we shop. I’ve got my measurements and we measure garments to see if they might be a good fit or not. My main trouble is I’m rather tall for a woman, and of course, have broad shoulders. Our system has been working out fairly well so far though. Fewer returns this way. :) Mail order is still mostly guess work, but at least we’re doing better in shopping centers.

  6. Gabrielle,
    When my friend told me for her wedding she DID NOT want me to wear a tuxedo, or boring suit. She wanted me to wear something unusual.

    Nothing I had could really be called formal, so I gave much thought to what I would wear. I decided upon one of those Chinese Gowns with the slits up both sides, and are rather snug fitting. I have always loved the look of those gowns. So knowing where to get one, I went out and bought one.

    My shoulders are rounded quite a bit, I think from years and years of hauling heavy back packs and lacking the frame to support them.

    Anyhow, this gives my shoulder line a less than “manly” look. Who cares. Well anyway, when I went to get the gown I still needed to get a larger one so that I would fit the shoulder area.

    I ended up heavily modifying the gown to fit my male build, a female could not get into this gown the way it is now.

    My point in all this is that I have found if I order up in size I always have the option to modify a garment to fit me, but this is not an option if you under size the garment.

    Before you say “but I have no sewing skills” let me tell you, neither did I. I learned very quickly. My first sewing repair was a pair of leggings that had seam fail in a very bad area, thankfully I had a long sweater on that covered the area. I ended up using those leggings to learn how to repair such a failure. It is actually quite easy.

    1. Thanks, Pythos, but I don’t have any sewing skills. :P heehee Seriously, I do have some very moderate sewing skills, thanks to 7th grade home economics. I’ve successfully mended many items over the years, but never ventured into full-out alterations.

      I’m not against learning how to make alterations in items purchased, and there are times when my wife and I look for things that might be a tad on the large side, rather than too small, because larger items can be taken in much easier than smaller items can be… uh… stretched out? lol In recent months, I’ve suffered from a severe time deficit and that kind of puts a damper on learning new skills, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that many female items, mainly tops, simply will not fit my body shape. I can either get things custom, tailor made, keep rolling the dice and hoping things will fit, find a t-friendly store and try things on before I buy, or dive into the art of clothing alterations.

      I’m glad you were able to take care of things with your own clothing items. It sounds like you’ve really gotten a good grip on the art of alterations. Hey – practice makes perfect, right? :)

  7. A tip that I learned a long time ago from an older family member is to hold the clothing item from your belly button to your spine. It will be the easiest way to know if it will fit in the waist area. With my husband I go with him since we wear the same size everything he can kind of see what its going to look like on him. And with measuring this way no one will notice what you are doing. If you want it to be a liitle loose go past your belly button and if tighter stay on the same side. Just a helpful hint from someone who has been buying womens clothing all my life.

  8. Allie here,

    i guess im lucky i actually took a couple of my twin sisters tops that she was going to get rid of LOL they fit me perfect due to her having a very large bust.

    seems strange considering im 5’11” barefoot. and shes 5′ 4″

    It happend like this. she had a bunch of stuff in a box, and was going to take it too goodwill so i told her i would do it for her as i was heading that way anyway (Which was true) but before i did i went through it and took what i liked :)

    -im actually quite jealus at times but can never say it, nor would i.’

  9. I absolutely love Burlington coat factory ! Great cloths , lingerie , shoes every thing at low prices , most of the cool shoe styles in my size end up on the clearence rack I’ve gotten doll house and guess shoes for for less than 10 bucks ! It’s my go to for every thing lingerie ( except corsets ). Here in New England usually in the same plaza with a Burlington or at least near by there is a store called rainbow. I highly recommend any crossdresser check this store out ! Great sexy styles again at rock bottom regular prices. The to make it even better like 1/2 the store is clearance racks $7. $5. $3. ! I mean wow!one time I got a skirt , a top , bra , thong, pumps a neck less earring and a belt for less than $25.00!
    For current styles ! And I shopped in like 20 different locations of this store both dressed and drab and every time the workers are nothing but helpfull and friendly I mean its obvious I am shopping for my self I try stuff on and every thing , Gabrella you should check if they have stores in your area !
    I find a lot of great cloths at good will and Salvation Army , I go when they first open I try every thing on and have never gotten even a look. Every once and I while if I am shopping dressed at a bigger dept store I ll get a over weight I attractive casher who , is jealous that I look 1000 time prettier than her and can’t resist ending the transaction by saying ” enjoy the rest of our day SIR” just to let me know I didn’t fool her. And really that is infrequent and dosnt really bother me anyway I get a lot more positive interaction than negative.
    One last bit advice I can offer from my experience would be , shop in an area were the GG’s dress In the style you like. I happen to love the way 20 something Latina girls dress so I shop where they shop and I always find some thing I like. Have I mentioned I love this site ? Xx Lexi

  10. Quick after thought. If you are on a tight budget, as I always am. Check dollar stores for make up items. While it is rare to find a great lipstick or the right tone of foundation here you can score the basics at a deal, like black eyeliner and black mascara or an eyelash curler. I’ve even scored some cute pairs of tights. Anyway saving a little here can free up money for the thinks you have to pay full price for at the drug store .xx Lexi

Comments are closed.