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Quick start guide to passing

Maid In Bedlam

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Maid In Bedlam

I found this online while i was looking for something completly unrealted but I considered it might be helpful to some of you.


Its a basic guide to how to hide maleness when just starting out or if your  afflicted with any of the complaints listed below.



1. Broad shoulders
Draw the attention away from the shoulders, and towards the middle of the chest  by wearing dresses with proper sleaves and v-neck, wrap-around or scooped necklines. A small amount of detailing on the neck-line will also help draw the eye.

Ironically, jackets with padded shoulders can help because the pads are in a different position to the tops of male shoulders - even cis girls can have broad shoulders, but they are a slightly different shape to TGirl's.

2. Lack of waist definition
Choose clothes that nip in at the waist (or where your waist should be), such as classic blazer-style jackets, tailored ladies shirts (the sort with darts in them to give them a waist) or skirts/trousers with belts worn with a top that tucks in at the waistband.

Avoid lycra dresses, shapeless blouses and most particularly those tops that balloon out and have elasticated frills at the bottom - they make a size 8 supermodel  look fat.

3. Wide backs/chests
Whatever helps your lack of waist (tailored jackets, darts) will help a broad back, but so will vertical stripes. Never, never wear horizontal stripes on your top, or to much going on pattens. black can be aging and dull so do go carefully with colour.

4. Hips narrower than shoulders and,
5. Lack of bottom padding
You could buy a  padded girdle but that isn't necessary if you're careful about style of skirts. Try to avoid straight, pencil skirts and styles designed to show-off a round bottom.

Flared, A-line or gathered skirts are all good, and because you've got narrow hips, you can go wild with patterns and bright colours that an Cis would be scared to wear as it "enhances" the size of your hips and bottom.

"Peplune" blouses or jackes (the sort with a frill that comes out at the bottom, like a mini-bustle) are a nightmare for most Cis Girls because it makes us look enormous, but you could capitalise on it.

Avoid lycra or figure-hugging skirts if you don't have a figure to hug.

6. Nobbly knees

Don't wear skirts above the knees unless you really have the knees for it - that means small kneecaps and preferably a little bit of subcutaneous fat around the knee, making it more rounded.

7. Lack of calf definition

Don't wear big, clod-hopper shoes as that makes the legs look even more bamboo-cane like and high heels actually work by flattening the calf (which isn't what you want). Go for a lowish heal and a light-weight style.

Fishnets can be less than flattering too - unless you have great legs, fancy tights simply draw attention to something you don't want attention drawn to.

Bootleg trousers disguise the legs entirely, which can be good, or if you wear skirts, make them longer and try to draw the attention more to the middle of the body (with the style of your skirt, top, belt etc).

8. Large, broad feet

If you've got enormous man feet, please don't draw attention to them! Keep your shoe styles conservative (but not old-fashioned).

Avoid white or beige shoes as they make feet look bigger.

Don't wear overly high heals (even though you can because your foot's longer) - it makes it really obvious that your foot is not exactly dainty.

Also trainers and canvas beech shoes can look like small barges.

If you wear trousers, wear a longer, bootleg style that will cover half of your foot. Never wear tapered trousers as they will emphasise the size of your feet.

9. Large, knotty hands

Make sure they're hair-free (particularly on the palms)

If you have age marks on them, cover them with Dermablend or any suitable camoflage make-up. Don't draw attention to them with large, glittery rings, big watches etc.

Longer sleeves can help disguise the size of your hands, particularly if they cover the wrist area.

10. Adam's apple and 11. Broad Neck

This is probably controversial, but don't wear a  great big poloneck jumper. It might cover up your Adam's apple, but it'll make your chest and shoulders look the width of a football field, particularly in a light or bright colour (and black will make you look like you're in mourning and obliterate any female shape you may have from a false bust).

Likewise, a wide choker can be a mistake since it emphasises a short, broad neck and actually draws attention to your Adam's apple, rather than disguising it.

So, go for open neck shirts and v-neck or other low-necked tops with a delicate necklace or fine choker that will draw the eye away from the Adam's apple.  I recently tried an experiment of working out people's gender from their neck's and it's a lot harder than you'd imagine - some women have big Adam's apples.

12. Five o'clock shadow

 perhaps a Turbo Mac 3 razor, or something just as good. some shaving oil and Dermablend camoflage make-up.

If you're even thinking of going full time, and know you'll never, ever want a beard, seriously consider permanent hair-removal such as electrolysis. It'll take years and is quite expensive, but too many TS's of our acquaintance have woken up after GRS with a disappointing "Desperate Dan" look going on the chin.

13. Large ears

Be careful when chosing hair-styles or wigs that you don't leave the ears sticking out like Prince Charles in drag.

Big, over the top ear-rings won't help either.

Oh, and if they're hairy, do something about it!

14. Male pattern baldness

A good wig is a must. This doesn't necessarily mean an expensive wig, but it needs to be in a style and colour that suits your age, coloring and personality. the majority of wig sellers will be well aware of the needs of TG customers.

A lot of TVs seem to go for what I call the "fantasy wigs" ie. Brittney Spears hair on the Queen's face. OTOH, a lot of the TS's seem to go the other way (the Queen's hair on Brittney's face). Try to be honest about what you look like and what sort of wig will look best. A properly fitted and styled wig should look like your own hair.

Alternatively, you can take anti-androgens and try to grow your own. But do be aware that it can grow as slowly as an inch a month. There are hair-thickening products out there which may help.

15. Large, heavy jawline and 16. Big nose
This again relates to hair-style, as the wrong style will emphasise your chin and nose.

For the nose, keep eye make-up not too heavy as that can make the eyes look closer together and thus emphasis the size of the nose.

17. Small eyes
Unless you are dark skinned, do not ring the entire eyes with black eyeliner, as this will make them look ridiculous

Don't go too heavy on the eyeshadow either, but don't be afraid to put appropriate colours up to the level of the brow. By "appropriate colours" I don't mean shocking pink, turquoise or white, however, unless you want to look like a drag queen.

Use plenty of lash-thickener mascara and an eyelash curler will help to open the eyes out further. Match the colours with your overall colouring, not your eye colour, and for passibility, you'll probably find that rather conservative browns, peaches and greys are best.

18. Bushy eyebrows
This is covered elsewhere on the site but plucking your eyebrows can greatly improve passibility, especially if you have a pair of Dennis Healey, woolly-bear caterpillars above your orbits.

Always pluck from the bottom, pluck gradually and try not to get carried away. A visit to a professional beautician is a good idea at first, just to get the style that suits.



I hope that little guide will help someone. As I said above I didnt make it. I found it in the deep depths of the internet.


Some of it is common sense. But some also may get you saying "I hadnt thought of that"


If anyone has learned any tips not covered in this guide then feel free to share for all those who will ask these questions when they are first going full time or at least trying to or indeed if it helps you out then do come back and tell us for the sake of helping others.







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Sally Stone



These are all great tips.  I can attest to many of them, because I actually use a lot of these myself.  Thanks so much for sharing.

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Dana Michelle

I'm concerned about passing while swimming because bathing suits do not cover the shoulders. A bathing suit with wider straps will probably help but I don't know how much. I've heard that most public pools require people to take showers before entering the pool. I don't know if this means showering with or without the suit. Can broad shoulders make it difficult to pass while nude?

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@Dana Michelle Even before I started transition, I hated bathing suits.  I've used rashguards to cover up the top of my body and they also provide sun protection.

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  • Admin
37 minutes ago, Dana Michelle said:

Can broad shoulders make it difficult to pass while nude?


Women come in so many different shapes and sizes that several in the room will have the illusion of broader shoulders than most men.  It is also a phenomena that is not burned into all that many people to look out for so that lowers the chance anyone will notice.  Another item is that while we look grotesque and misshapen to ourselves we are not as distinctive as we fear that we are. The biggest give-away to being Trans is nervousness and subtle actions that say we are not where we are supposed to be, or that we are in a place we are not familiar with. Women look at each other's eyes more than bodies in a friendly but non intrusive way.  Men look on the bodies much more than women do.  As with rest rooms, go in, do your business, wash, touch up make-up if you need to and it will be fine.  See how women hold their arms and bodies, and learn to hold yours that way is another way to help, men and women do have different posture which is trained in, and thus can be changed, best way being relaxing and enjoying who you are.

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12 hours ago, VickySGV said:

best way being relaxing and enjoying who you are

Great advice, Vicky!  Thank you!



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14 hours ago, Maid In Bedlam said:

Its a basic guide to how to hide maleness

Thank you, MIB, for sharing this.  So many great tips!  I am fortunate that the body I was always ashamed of as a man is now a source of confidence ... other than boobs and my male pattern baldness, my body is almost there even without HRT yet.  Can't wait until I can wear a bathing suit out in public someday.
The tips also on social behavior when out are great too.  Its all about how we feel about ourselves.


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  • 1 month later...

as i approach the start of my HRT and having experimented on and off for,a lifetime these tips are greatly appreciated. i have made manu mistakes already and reducing the misques certainly will cut down on costs needed for more important health xare needs.

thank you,


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  • 2 months later...
  • Forum Moderator

I particularly like the Suggestion of v necks.  I see too many folks with boat necks that make the upper body seem immense.  I often wear UPF50 shirts that button up like the old work shirts i wore as a man.  To accentuate my gender i leave an extra button undone.  While far from exposing my breasts, it does draw the eye a bit.

If i'm wearing a skirt, especially in cool weather i get one that is almost touching the ground.  Big feet disappear.  Same thing with old fashioned bell bottoms.

Vicky is spot on about attitude however.  The ladies room is simply my safe space.  

We find our own style and confidence with time just as cis women do.  







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@Charlize wise words. I found it a real revelation a long time ago how people develop their own clothing?style whether they are aware of it or not. As I transition I include those items I always wanted to wear and am happy that a lot of the styles I loved in the 60s and 70s are in style including bell bottoms. 

The list is a wonderful guide and needs to be included in your clothing choices and your style

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On 5/16/2020 at 7:18 AM, Maid In Bedlam said:

Unless you are dark skinned, do not ring the entire eyes with black eyeliner, as this will make them look ridiculous

Don't go too heavy on the eyeshadow either, but don't be afraid to put appropriate colours up to the level of the brow. By "appropriate colours" I don't mean shocking pink, turquoise or white, however, unless you want to look like a drag queen.

Use plenty of lash-thickener mascara and an eyelash curler will help to open the eyes out further. Match the colours with your overall colouring, not your eye colour, and for passibility, you'll probably find that rather conservative browns, peaches and greys are best.


I do kind of disagree with parts of this.  While black liner below the eye does visually shrink the eye, even on light skinned people, it can be done tastefully.  What are "appropriate colors"?  Color is a personal choice, and bold colors can be used and not have a person looking like a drag queen.  Besides, if a person likes that look, they should rock it.  Matching wit overall coloring I think should be more towards working with undertones.  Cool undertones will look harmonious on people whose skin has cool undertones, while shadows with warm undertones will tend to "pop" more on skin with cool undertones.  An understanding of color theory is necessary to master the art of make up.  I do agree not to match your shadow to your eye color per se.  You can use a shadow the same color as your eyes but it won't be the best.  Instead, look for shades on either side of your eye color on the color wheel (adjacent colors) or a shade family opposite you eye color on the color wheel (complementary colors).  For example, to make green eyes really pop, colors with more red undertones will work the best, and really make the green stand out.


Just a few nit picky points from someone who is in school for makeup artistry.

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  • 5 months later...
Maid In Bedlam

As @VickySGV Women come in many shapes and sizes.


Personally before i had any work done I was always concerned about my hips and how they didnt match the perfect female body. The concerns were my shoulders were always going to be wider than hips. They still are even after all the hormones and work. However. Take a look around you! Granted some born women do have hips that are wider than there shoulders. But theres also many who are in much the same position as me or you. Watching some of the more elite athletes you will see that most if not all have a body shape much the same as mine or yours. Therefore the shape of yourself is not defined as predominatly female or predominatly male. Its your shape. so love it and work with it. of course you can always give the illusion of hips and shoulders being in proportion with a waist trainer or corset. But I wouldnt recomend them to vigorously. Especially if your just starting out. They can be very uncomftable and tight lacing a corset straight off the bat is just silly and dangerous.


I have seen some women who were born into it and have a body a man would be proud of. But they are women. You can tell by the way they conduct there movements and posture and voice. I doubt if anyone would question there gender.


So dont be disheartened. Own what you have and learn to love it.



I would agree with you @MiraM regarding makeup. Some good points their. Its what suits the individual best and there personal tones. Makeup can be a strange world. But its a matter of finding what works for you by doing your homework.



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