It's not just women who struggle with finding the perfect bra. Men who develop breasts (a condition known as gynecomastia), also deal with the challenges of bra fit. And crossdressers have an even more unique dilemma: they create the volume of their bra cups.
Their goal is to wear foundations that enhance their feminine exterior. This differs from men with gynecomastia, who (for the most part) prefer to hide their bras and not draw attention to their condition.
I sat down with crossdressing expert, Miss Joanne Fitzpatrick, to get some tips for crossdressers on finding the best lingerie styles. At 6’1 and 255 lbs., Miss Joanne is familiar with the potential difficulties of achieving proper bra fit. I found her advice applicable to anyone who wants to look and feel their best, whatever their sex.
E: Would you mind sharing how long you’ve been crossdressing?
Joanne: Off and on since 1970, but more regularly since 2013 when I ventured out into the world for the first time. I am something of an aficionado of "traditional" shapewear such as girdles and corselettes, and I absolutely never go out barelegged!
E: What do crossdressers use to “fill” bra cups? Do you buy breast forms?
Joanne: Initially, it’s scrunched-up socks, although I’ve heard of such things as bags of birdseed or even water-filled condoms. As we get more serious, we want something better. It’s possible to buy very basic breast forms for $50-100 on eBay, which works for the more conservative dresser like myself. Some of us even have enough “man-boob” to create cleavage with some help from the “chicken fillet” type of inserts.
E: How do you determine your size? Where do you start?
Joanne: In my case, I tried something of my SO’s and found it fit well, and have been a 44C ever since. I posed the question over at Crossdressers.com and received a number of varied responses. Most follow the recommendations of various online retailers, some use trial and error method, and a couple of the respondents go for a proper bra fitting.
We have a certain advantage over GGs (Genetic Girls) in that we get to choose our cup size, and can even change it on a day-to-day basis!
E: What would you recommend to other crossdressers?
Joanne: I would recommend getting a proper fitting, and plan to do so myself some day. You’ll almost certainly get better service from a smaller independent shop. My tip: contact the retailer first. You’ll usually find a “contact us” link” on their website. Be very up-front, if you’ll pardon the pun, about what you are and what you want. If they say it’s something they don’t offer, thank them for responding and move on. They may not be comfortable with measuring someone who doesn’t fit their normal customer “profile”. What we do isn’t for everyone.
E: What are your favorite bra styles?
Joanne: I’m a full-figured lady, and that can limit the choices for pretty undies. Fortunately, I’m a big fan of retro-style shapewear, and there are some great options out there. Firstly, the Exquisite Form Fully front-closing longline is my bra of choice. Couple of things to note: I bought this in my customary 44C, and initially thought that there were two chances of getting it fastened with, as the saying goes, “slim” having already left town. My fears were diminished once I realized that it required a different technique to put it on (i.e. start from the top hook and work down). It should also be noted that it’s a “posture” bra and as such, has no adjustment on the straps. I team it with a Rago 1294 open-bottom girdle, which is high-waisted and works well for my height. Ideally, you want your longline bra overlapping the top of your girdle by an inch or two.Exquisite Form Fully Longline Posture Bra via Big Girls Bras at BiggerBras.com
Lately, I’ve found myself veering more and more towards the Rago 9357 open-bottom corselettes rather than a bra and girdle, and am now the proud owner of four of these in various colors with a fifth (in a rather sexy black and red!) on order. I like the firmness combined with the retro look, and they’re very comfortable for all-day wear. A word of warning: bra-sized “all-in-one” garments aren’t for everyone. You may find them too short or too long dependent on your body. Check the rear shot of these garments on models; aim for just the merest hint of “cheek” below the hem.Rago Open Bottom Corselette via Big Girl Bras at BiggerBras.com
E: Any last bra fitting tips for crossdressers?
Joanne: Have fun and embrace your femininity!
You can learn more about Miss Joanne and her adventures in the lingerie world at her blog here.
What do you think of Miss Joanne's lingerie fit tips? Do you find them helpful?