How to Pass as a Woman: A Cross-Dressing Guide

Updated on November 27, 2019
Jessica-Dresses profile image

I enjoy giving advice to others on how to appear like a woman.

A guide to cross-dressing.
A guide to cross-dressing. | Source

How to Pass as a Woman—What Is Your Goal?

Whether you are new to cross dressing or you've been dressing as a woman for years, one of the first questions I always ask when people consult me about feminization is, "What are you trying to achieve?" Are you trying to achieve better results when cross dressing now and then? Or do you want to learn how to pass as a woman full time?

This is not meant to be a judgmental question, but rather to gauge your goals and your needs. Not everyone wants the same things from cross dressing.

Some people want to pass as a woman so completely that they never feel "made." I'm sure you are familiar with that look you get from people who feel it's their job to judge—that look that says, "I've figured you out, and you are fake."

I hate that look—it's often filled with an unearned, self-righteous fury. It says, "I get to define you, not the other way around as it should be."

But to be fair, not everyone who cross-dresses wants to pass as a woman 100 percent. That's ok, great even. Express your inner female the way you want to. If you watch television at all, you may have seen an episode of Bones featuring a Japanese doctor who embodied that gender queer line of androgyny. Very well played! If that's the gender line you wish to portray, I salute you. (I was a little disappointed in the sub-plot to discover the doctor's "true gender," but it's a step.) It all comes down to you and what you feel is right for yourself.

This article is geared towards those who want to know how to pass as a woman, be more fully female, and achieve feminization.

How not to look like a drag queen.
How not to look like a drag queen. | Source

Top Cross-Dressing Mistakes

For most people, cross-dressing isn't about slapping on some stage pancake makeup and a sleezy dress. It's all about exuding glamor, class, and style.

When you cross-dress, you should be able to feel happy as a woman. You appearance should enable you to express and explore your sexuality more openly.

If you are looking to pass as a woman and transform into the quintessential ultra-femme, these are some things that you should avoid:

  • Don't wear a cheap wig that can be spotted a mile away!
  • Don't dress like a "hoochi mamma." Okay, I'm from the South, but do you get my point? Ultra-femme is not the same as drag queen.
  • Practice so that you can act natural and normal in public. Always being nervous or awkward can be a dead giveaway.
  • Pancake makeup is a no! While it is good for the drag queen look, people will spot your overdone makeup from the other side of town.
  • Don't walk like you just got off of a horse—heels are tricky, I know! Women's shoes require a different walk than your run of the mill cowboy boots or tennis shoes. Tuck your tailbone in and walk as though you have a string pulling up from the top of your head. Keep your shoulders down to elongate your neck.
  • Try not to talk like a "gay guy." Learn to find your feminine voice naturally, and you will pass much more easily.
  • Don't wear clothes that went out of style before your parents grew up! Find the right fashion from current women's departments that expresses your inner glamor!

How to pass as a woman is not the same thing as looking good in drag. These ladies pictured above are beautiful (and highly successful), but their look is not that of the ultra-femme!

Unless you are into something kinky (i.e. rubber or leather), buy your clothes where genetic women shop.

Bring out Your Femininity by Hiding Your Unwanted Features

Removing hair from arms and hands helps achieve a feminine look.
Removing hair from arms and hands helps achieve a feminine look. | Source

Feminine Gesture Tutorial

There are some body features that a genetic male has that can make it really difficult to truly look femme. Other than the obvious, hair and hands are actually the most important.

Genetic males tend to have a lot more body hair than genetic females. Most genetic females, in the US anyway, shave their legs and don't tend to have dark hair on their arms. If you are cross-dressing only part-time, waxing and plucking may be enough for your needs. Both of these procedures are rather unpleasant, I know, but they will go a long way toward helping you pass. If you are planning to cross-dress full-time you may want to invest in a more extensive hair removal procedure, such as laser removal. As for any facial hair remaining after a clean shave, a good foundation will be able to cover it.

For your hands, it is very important to pluck the hair on your knuckles! If you would like to grow your nails, consider having a professional hand-wax and manicure from time to time. Your hands will look much more elegant.

If you choose to go with fake nails, don't use the nail salon in Walmart! The $10 or $20 dollars you save won't be worth the loss of quality—stick with a professional manicurist at a reputable salon. If you are afraid to go into a salon that will judge you for cross-dressing, you can always make a call to the local LGBT community or counseling center and ask for trans-friendly salons in the area. Even if you don't identify as a transgender, a trans-friendly beautician is more likely to be welcoming, which is very important in the beginning. You will feel more comfortable and confident!


Let's face it, women's clothing is meant to fit over breasts. But if you're going for a natural look, bigger is not always better.
Let's face it, women's clothing is meant to fit over breasts. But if you're going for a natural look, bigger is not always better. | Source

Bra Sizing

An A cup is the smallest breast size you can get. The further the letter is in the alphabet, the larger the breast size will be. B or C cups are average—beyond that, you are getting busty.

The number that comes before your cup size (e.g. 38B or 40D) is the distance around your rib cage. Wrap a measuring tape around your chest to find this measurement.

Lets face it, women's clothing is designed to fit with breasts. And for the majority of cross dressers who aren't looking for body modification (i.e. breast implants or hormone therapy), there are many products in all price ranges which can help. Probably the best place to start is either with silicone forms or with a gel bra.

Silicone forms were originally designed for women who had a mastectomy due to breast cancer. These forms use an adhesive to stick to your skin and then fit inside of a bra.

KONMED 600g/pair Silicone Breast Enhancer for Mastectomy/Cross Dresser/Small Breast Girl,with Pink Protective Bag
KONMED 600g/pair Silicone Breast Enhancer for Mastectomy/Cross Dresser/Small Breast Girl,with Pink Protective Bag
Remember, bigger is not always better when going for a realistic look. These B-cup, 100 percent silicone forms are perfect to start out with (and they also are lighter than larger breasts—another plus for new cross-dressers). These run for roughly 50 dollars.

Gel bras often come with the forms already inside and can be easier to use if you are new to cross dressing.

Fashion Forms Women's The Original Water Push Up Bra, Nude, 36 B
Fashion Forms Women's The Original Water Push Up Bra, Nude, 36 B
A water or gel bra is cheaper and easier to put on. This one runs between 20 and 30 dollars. There are also gel bras made specifically for cross-dressing, but those can cost a bit more.

There are also various forms of binding and taping that you can use. These methods are more complicated and require that you have some form of movable tissue in your breast area.

Usually the cheapest place to find either breast forms or gel bras is going to be on eBay. I've listed a few good examples below.

And remember—don't overdo your breast size. I know the trend with breasts is that bigger is better, but if you are going for a realistic, classy look, most women don't have breasts so large they can't see their feet!

In addition, some cross-dressers really enjoy wearing corsettes. Corsets can be really comfortable or extremely restrictive, depending on the type. They can help achieve the desired hip-to-waist ratio, but if you are just learning to cross-dress, I would stay away from them.

This Is an Art You Can Master

You can learn how to pass as a woman and be successful, glamorous, and beautiful.

You do not have to go through any expensive surgeries or medical treatments to achieve your ideal femme-self if you don't want to.

You can choose to pass as a stone-cold fox or as your "everyday" woman—the choice is yours.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Lisa overstreet 

        9 months ago

        How do you make your body look like a woman body ???

      • profile image

        Bobbi Lee 

        15 months ago

        I have found that I like to dress real slutty at home, but when Im out in public I wear skinny jeans with ankle boots with a cotton top, I dont wear a bra under the top so as to draw attention to me. I shop with a small handbag that any gender could use.

      • profile image

        Jon mcdaniel 

        2 years ago

        I need to know for sure i look like a female

      • profile image

        Shay Linn 

        2 years ago

        I have been cross dressing since I was four years old. My older sister slept in the same bedroom and tempted me into it. Even so, I am glad she did!! I have always been masculine on the outside, but with the heart of a girl on the inside! For all my life up until the past year I have been straight. I find myself now being attracted to fememine transgenders, but I do not have the confidence to get to know her. I am only interested in a loving monogamous relationship.

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        Lately my female self, suppressed for my entire life, is having it, no longer. While I am a closet CD. Non passable, (annieurok) wants to go out dressed. While I love her dearly, my wife wants to know why now. My wife has been a part of my home game, but she says I need to do this as annie alone. Where to go, dressed as I choose? Should I try to hookup as I am curiously bi, had several encounters without any results except watching another CD bang the old lady. My male self is going to buck with another cock in the picture. Try to get some drinks down? As one might see, this is a mind fuck, but it's reality.

      • profile image


        3 years ago


        I am a bignner as crossdressing, please tell me how to dwear collar dresses especially peter pan collar because my neck is thin and tall. This style may be suitable for me


      • profile image


        4 years ago

        i cant believe this article was posted 6 years ago and still looks so fresh. Anyways it was a good read also check out my crossdressing site if you get the time of day

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        My Mother after my father left us used to say to me at times "if you where a girl Id dress you so that Men would desire you" . I never thought much of it till I was in my teens, when one early summers evening I was alone on the beach, when this older man chatted to me, he mentioned how nice I looked and he thought I make a very attractive girl if I let him dress me, some time.

        i never thought much more about it until about 6 months later i again meet another much older male, who seduced me and after he had had his naughty way with me, I one the way home seamed to want to be a woman, especially after being in his arms and receiving his sexual advances, which I relay enjoyed.

        On the way home I kept looking in Women's clothing shops and day dreaming of being dressed as one, When I arrived home I chatted to my mother and I let slip to my mother that Id meet a man who wanted to dress me as a girl, my mother wasn't shocked and said may be she could help as she always knew that I would one day become her daughter. She asked would i like her to help may, be wear one of her frocks tonight to get the feeling of being a woman, after our evening meal and she could also teach me how to make a man desire me. This played on my mind and after our meal I let her dress me up and even more surprising she also seduced me as though we where 2 lesbian lovers made me her hand maiden.

        Now with my mothers help we pass as sisters at clubs and end up with different men, and I love my new life.

      • profile image

        Patty Phose 

        4 years ago

        When I was young, I wanted to dress real sexy. Real short dresses or skirts, shiny sheer to waist, do me heels and long or big hair wigs. It was a look I loved and it got me a lot of attention. It was a party girl look but I was partying.

        Now, years later, I know I need to tone it down and blend in better when going out. I learned, for some venues, dressing my age and not dressing to get attention is how to go. Still, for parties, I get out the inappropriate stuff and don't act my age at all.

      • profile image

        lovley page 

        4 years ago

        a great help ive been hiding trying to deny girl i really am want to be full time but hair and breasts are worry,not to look fool orstand out,its really hard with all items i like and need to keep andtry privately,ansd been straight all life now acept im really a gurl.scared of sex first time getting used hurt or looking being joke and fool,but know its who and how i really need to be

      • profile image


        11 years ago

        I am glad that you have fond memories of your grandma making stuffed cabbage -- it is such a memory for me that is strong in my mind. I think every time I make stuffed cabbage that I surely channel my grandma.

      • profile image


        11 years ago

        Awesome lens! Some of my bff's are transvestites. And of course, you know Eddie Izzard is my fave! I guess what I'm trying to say, is that you've given some good sound advice here, and I know from where I speak! Brava!


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