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Body Shaping for Cross-dressers
I am just in the process of re-writing my body shaping guidelines. Please take a look at my latest ones:
What is an Hour Glass Figure ? This will help you understand the basic outline you should be trying to attain to get a feminine figure that is in balance (boobs and bum) and curvy.
How to get an Hour Glass Figure ? I am trying to put together a step by step guide to help you decide what size and shape you could be - and therefore what size bra / breast forms will suit you best (as well as how much padding and pinching in you might need). It is a bit complicated and a bit mathematical - but its just a first draft. I would welcome any comments.
I have written this section to provide a bit more information about how to achieve your "hour glass figure" through body shaping, the products that are available to help you, and the terminology used to describe these products.
The objective in body shaping is to create the feminine, hour glass figure you have been looking for. But where to start ?
You really need to take a good look at your current physique and actually measure your vital statistics. You will be amazed at how many of my customers haven't actually done this. The key measurements you will need are:
Your Under Bust: this is measured around your chest where your bra band would sit - typically about 3" below your nipples. Pull the tape snugly around your chest, not so it digs in but comfortably tight.
Your Feminine Waist: this is measured around your torso at its narrowest point - which is typically around where your belly button is. This is generally a bit higher than most men would measure their waist.
Your Feminine Hips: this is measured around the FULLEST part of your bottom, which is typically lower than where most men would measure their hips.
Getting a nice pair of boobs is relatively straight forward using breast forms. However, generally speaking the male torso is a bit more "straight-up-and-down" than the more curvier female silhouette, particularly around the waist / hip area. Getting curves in this area is a little more tricky - but good lingerie can really help. Perhaps the most difficult part is making sure everything looks in proportion.
Now you need to think about what size you would like to be Bust - Waist - Hips. There is not really any such thing as a "typical" hour glass figure - and to be honest women's figures have changed markedly over the years - the most important thing is to achieve a feminine shape.
So what are the characteristics of a feminine shape ? In my opinion the most important features are to have:
- a shape which is in overall proportion Bust - Waist - Hips.
- a nice rounded bust.
- a waist which is a few inches smaller than your underbust measurement (your chest size measured where the bottom of your bra will sit) AND a few inches smaller than your hips
- a chest that tapers smoothly from the bust to the waist
- round hips, that are a few inches larger than your waist
The start point has to be your current body and vital statistics, and you need a clear view of what you want to achieve, and what it is possible with the aid of body shaping lingerie. So:
- Take a good look at your current overall body shape
- Think hard about what shape you would like to be, remaining in proportion, and ensuring it is within the realms of body shaping lingerie:
- bras and breastforms can give you virtually any bust size you desire
- padded panties (if required) can add 2" to 4" to your hips
- corsets and other lingerie (see below) can reduce your waist size by 2" to 4" (and up to 6" in some cases)
Possibly the most important one is to keep yourself in proportion. There is always the temptation to "go large" in the bust area, but the fact of the matter is that if you go too large you start to limit what clothes will fit you, and what lingerie you can wear. If you are having difficulty finding lingerie and clothes (due to chest size), it is probably a good enough indicator that you are not achieving a feminine shape and are a little out of proportion.
The size of your bust will determine a lot about how you look, but it is just as important to pay attention to your hips and waist. The average female chest size is now 36D, and I would recommend a B cup if you want to look "demure", a D cup if you want to look nicely "curvy", or and E cup if you want to look "voluptuous". Personally I would not recommend going that much larger as you will start to struggle to find nice looking clothes and lingerie.
If you are unsure of the bust size you would like - take a look at my "Easy as 1-2-3" bra and breast form size calculator.
As with all women, there are generally there are two objectives in body shaping:
To increase the size of your vital statistics. This is most commonly desirable in the bust area, but is often also required in the hip/bum area - as women tend to have a greater difference between their waist and hip measurements than men do. The only real way to do this is with the addition of some form of prosthetic or padding.
To decrease the size of your vital statistics. This is most commonly required in the waist / hip area to accentuate your curves, but is also commonly used "all-over" to smooth out your silhouette into a more feminine, smaller size. There are a number of different ways of doing this with your lingerie, depending on the effect you want to create, and there are many different types of lingerie that are great at different things.
Looking at each of these in turn (please either scroll down the page, or click on the topic to jump to the relevant section):
- Choosing your bust size
- Increasing the Hips
- Accentuating the Waist
- Smoothing the body profile
This is the area in which you have the most choice. As I indicated earlier, remember to keep yourself in proportion (B cup = demure, D Cup = Curvy, and E Cup = voluptuous).
I have created a whole section (see the top menu bar "bra & breast form types") to describe the different types of bra and breast form, so I will not dwell on those subjects here. I have also created a "bra and breast form size calculator" (see the Easy as 1-2-3 tab on the left hand menu) to help you decide on the size you want to be.
Having decided on the size you need to get yourself some breast forms, and some lingerie to go with them. All bra manufacturers size and fit their bras slightly differently, and unfortunately so do breast form manufacturers. This makes getting the right combination of a breast form that will give you the right size, and a bra that fits perfectly quite difficult.
I take great care to ensure all of the breast forms and lingerie I sell are perfectly matched, and wont send anything out that I do not believe will look great, and fit you perfectly.
I seem to have managed to increase the size of my hips through my addiction to cake, and sponge pudding (however, Slimmer's World is starting to make inroads). The alternative is to use some form of "Padded Panties" or silicone hip pads.
You have to be careful to make sure you get the inches where you need them, with the right product. If you need rounder buttocks then I would always recommend going for a foam based product (as in all of the padded panties I sell). I don't really recommend using silicone pads on your buttocks as they feel really odd when you sit on them, and have a tendency to burst / crack.
The foam inserts will (depending on which one you choose) add between 2" and 4" to your hip measurement, depending on the number of pads included. These garments tend to be fairly "substantial" as they need to be highly elasticated to ensure the pads look smooth against your body. The better ones also have invisible seams - so they cannot be seen under clothing.
If you are looking to have rounder hip, then the silicone pads are a great option. They are self adhesive, meaning you can wear your own lingerie with them. If anyone bumps into you, or touches your clothing, they feel so realistic they will not know you are wearing padding.
Choose padded panties if you feel you need rounder buttocks and larger hips, rather than a smaller waist (or a bit of both) to keep you body in proportion.
Choose silicone pads if you want rounder hips.
This is where things get a bit more complicated, and the range of options increase enormously. The Lingerie and Corsetry industry have developed a number of very attractive and sexy ways of helping you shape your body. I have tried to list the items in order, with those that can have the largest impact on your shape listed first.
Corsets are a piece of lingerie which have a lace-up back, and frequently have boning to give additional structure. Although there are now many "fashion" corsets, these are not really suitable for body shaping as they are just not strong enough. At hour Glass Figure I only stock corsets from traditional corset makers, these are designed not only to look great, but are substantial enough to significantly shape your figure..
Corsets come in "underbust" styles (where the corset sits below the bust, and a bra can be worn) and overbust (where the corset comes over the breast). Underbust corsets are ideal for cross-dressers, as they can wear their normal bra and breast forms.
I have not yet come across an overbust corset that will fully conceal a breast form, and the support you will get will be limited. That said if you have some breast tissue, then you can try using a breast enhancer at the bottom of the cup, and use the tension of the corset to push your breast tissue up into a realistic cleavage.
As the corset is lace up, it is very flexible in how much you tighten it at various points of your torso. It also has the potential to make the largest difference to your waist / hip dimension, and can easily take over 2" off your waist measurement. However, do not over tighten, and always make sure you are comfortable .
I also think corsets are very sexy, but you have to think carefully what clothes you will wear them with (as the laces will show through anything sheer). Many can actually be worn on top of your clothing.
You have to be very careful when choosing a corset, as they are designed for a woman's shape. This means that the material and boning can provide a challenge to the straighter male torso even before the laces are done up. Unless you already have an unusually curvy body, It is essential to choose a corset which is of slightly straighter construction (they are all curved). All of the corsets I have listed on this site, are curved but slightly straighter than normal, and are therefore ideal for the male torso.
You also have to be careful when choosing the size of your corset as they are sold in the waist size with the corset FULLY LACED UP. This is typically 4" less than your actual waist size (so if you have a 36" waist you should be ok with a 32" corset).
Choose a corset if you need to accentuate your waist significantly, and you have clothing which you can wear over it (or under it).
Basques are similar to corsets, but do not have the lace-up back, and rely on the structure of the material and boning to provide the shaping. A basque will generally shape your chest and waist, accentuating your hips. As they do not have laces they do not have quite the same shaping impact as a corset, but the boning can give a lovely shape.
Basques nearly always have cups, and therefore the size of the bust needs to be considered. If your bust is too large, or disproportionate to the rest of your body, you will have trouble finding a basque to fit.
Basques are commonly part of a bridal outfit (white for the day and black for the evening).
They generally fasten using re-inforced "hook and eye" (the same way that bras fasten) along the full length of the item. The basques that I stock on Hour Glass Figure are all "Torsolette" style basques, which mean they go from the chest down to the waist (or just below). Corsolette basques are longer (going to the hips), and bustiers are shorter.
Choose a basque if you need shaping, and have a body that is already broadly in proportion.
A bustier is shorter than a basque, typically coming down only as far as the ribs (or occasionally the waist). They generally do not have boning and rely on their construction and mesh to perform the shaping. The purpose is different than a basque, as a bustier is is designed to push up the bust, and will only gently shape the waist.
A bustier can have two purposes - it can be worn as a "push-up" bra, or in many cases can also be worn as a camisole.
Choose a bustier if you need gentle smoothing of the waist, but a bit of a push up for your breast forms.
As the term implies, these are designed to "pinch" in your waist, and they are very popular with all women. You can get waist cincher corsets (which have the greatest impact on your waist size), boned waist cinchers which have slightly less shaping(the boning is made up of inserts to give them more structure), or just elasticated ones.
Do not under-estimate the impact that these elasticated waist cinchers can have - they can be made of very tough elasticated material.
Choose a waist cincher if you only need a little help in accentuating your waist / hip curve or you have a limited budget.
Elasticated shapewear, as made popular by Trinny and Susannah, and Gok Wan, can have a fantastic impact on your shape. I personally use the Julie France range (that is on this website) all the time. It really does trim and tone your whole profile, and can take you down a whole dress size.
Choose the elasticated shapewear if you just want a smoother more feminine profile.
I really hope this helps in choosing the products you need to help you shape your body to the figure you want.