Lessons Learned: Part VIII – Fake your shape


In previous Lessons Learned I’ve written about various things including finding your personal style and shopping. This post (hopefully) fills a gap around building your shape. Now, that might seem a bit odd – I almost wrote nuts, but we’ll come too those later 😉 – in the idea you can build a shape.

What I mean is, what are the tricks, hacks, and ProTips to help you have more of a femme figure compared to your regular figure. I will touch on FTM stuff as well, but as that’s not my area of expertise, it will be light.

First off, let me a clear – oh dear, I sound like a politician about to not answer the question 😁. Where was I? Oh yes, there is no right way to be a woman or a man. People are wonderfully varied and what goes on from here are merely the things I’ve learned over the years. Maybe through trial and error, reading up on things, or help from friends. You don’t have to do any of this and if you prefer to work it another way, enjoy. 🙂

Also, please don’t waste your time wishing your body was taller, shorter, muscly, prettier, boyish, or whatever. Even with surgery – which some folks do have – all the wishing in the world won’t make you perfect. Instead, please know that you are doing the best you can with who you are right now. Try to accept yourself and make the most of what you have. ❤️

Key areas

So, we can’t ‘take something away from our shape‘ but we can add to other areas or try and hide things. 🙂

  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Torso
  • Hips
  • Bottom


I’m not aware of the shoulder corset, so if you are concerned about you upper body shape, here’s a few hacks to with with what you have.

The right type of top will help draw the eye away from your shoulders. Equally, wider hips can balance that shoulder/hip ratio.

What do I mean by the right top? As a rule of thumb, darker colours hide and lighter colours draw the eye. Wearing a darker blouse or t-shirt with lighter trousers/skirt means the viewer week look towards your midriff, rather than your neckline.

As well as colour, bardot or ‘cold shoulder’ style tops can draw the eye to a wider part of our frame. Instead, think on wrap style or V neck, as these may help draw the eye down and provide cover for the area we’re looking to minimise.

Having a look online with the phrase style advice for girls with large shoulders can keep you up to date on fashions and what may – and may not – work for you.


Okay, I could’ve written boobs, but might that lead us into Carry On Dressing? 😉

A bra is certainly going to help here and it’s a bit Catch 22. What bra size am I if I don’t have any breast forms and if I don’t have a bra, what size forms should I use? 🤔

Depending on your budget, you could go with rolled up socks or two pop socks filled with rice and tied off. If you are starting out, you don’t have to save up for breast forms or a chest plate.

For me, being a -ahem- gentleman of middling years, and middling weight 😉, I get by with two pairs of ‘chicken fillet’ style bra fillers. You can get those from various shops including supermarkets, online, or on the high street.

To answer the bra or filler question? You could measure your back and take a punt at a supermarket bra* and then experiment with different fillers or forms until you are happy with the result.

Thinking back to a visit from a bra specialist, cheap bras are made cheaply. Now, they’re not wrong in that, and sometimes that’s all we need. If we’re not wearing one day in day out, longevity may not be an issue for us. Plus, you may be starting out and you can always replace/upgrade as time goes on.

I would recommend you look online to see how to measure yourself as a man when it comes to bras. Our build is different, so following just the female advice may not give the best fit.


Thin or otherwise, having a little more curve in the right places can help. Not just our confidence, but the fit of our clothes. One thing I’ve noticed about my other wardrobe, is that womens’ clothes are thinner and a lot more fitted. The latter certainly brought my insecurities forward.

To achieve a smooth front, look into shapewear. That might be supermarket own brand, Spanx, or a corset. The latter might be an underbust style or one that sits around the gap been ribs and hip. It’s worth trying different versions to see which you prefer.

For a long time, I stuck with a long body, shapewear tummy control garment. Sort of like a long tube you pull up from lower tummy to hear your boobs. That works well if I’m in loose clothing or if I don’t need the fuller curves a corset gives. It’s really personal choice.


Not only do hips fill out our new clothes, they also balance the upper body / lower body ratio. A lot of men are carrot shaped: that wide triangle with the point near the floor and the width at the top. To get away from that, padding can help.

Now, you can buy specialist products – not just foam, but silicone as well. If you are starting our, or don’t fancy the above, you can go DIY.

Personally, I’ve been using a thumb thickness of foam cut into a rounded diamond and then a pair of foam shoulder pads on top to curve things. I’m either a cheap date or I watched to much Blue Peter as a kid. 😉 There’s numerous DIY hip pad videos on YouTube and while they may seem orientated towards a drag aesthetic, using thinner foam can change that.

I’ve no experience of the padded shorts sold on Amazon, although the reviews often talk about them coming up small. Buyer beware 👍 Conversely, a review of a set made specifically for drag and cross dressing had good reviews, so maybe worth a punt.


A story of two halves this one 🙂 Padding the rear of, uh, our rear can be done by DIY pads or purchasing padded underwear. If you’re not DIYing it, you may find the hip pad shorts include extra va-va-voom to your derrière.

As to the front, there’s a certain set of equipment that can spoil the line of an outfit, so we’re into tucking. A good tuck can be helped by control knickers, so keep an eye for those.

There are various guides on tucking available online, and for sake of completeness, tucking means pulling your ‘gentleman’ backwards (as if you’d be sitting on it) and gently popping the gent’s two compadres into their respective pouches further in the body. Be careful and this won’t hurt. It takes a little practice but certainly helps keep any unsightly bumps out of sight.

In closing…

So that’s pretty much it. A collection of ideas and suggestions from over the years. Like a lot in life, there seems no limit to what you can spend. But, you don’t have to if you’re willing to try a few things out and experiment a little.

Looking at the photo below, the hip padding emphasises the curves from the corset and both padding plus corsetry, help break up the vertical line of my birth gender’s straight-up-and-down-ness. We have the technology 😉

Okay, so I’m breaking the tip on shoulders

Ultimately, the things that work for you is the key element. What I do may not be for you and vice versa: it’s all cool and it’s about using things that make the best of what you have.

L x


  1. My first comment is to agree with you, there is no right or wrong way, everybody is different, every woman is different,, you need to find what you are comfortable with. In the chest area I would suggest to think carefully, I see too many girls going for the ‘fuller’ look which does not always work, it’s all about proportion, the size of your boobs should be in proportion to your body, unless, of course you are going for the Dolly Parton look. I used bird seed and the feet from an old pair of tights when I was experimenting, when you are not sure, use a cheap brea for the supermarket and the bird seed / rice method, that way you can enlarge or decrease to suit your look, with bra’s coming around £4 in supermarkets, if you get it wrong you haven’t wasted a lot of money.

    I use silicon hip pads, but have also used foam, silicon is better in my opinion, but can cause you to get a bit sweaty in hot weather. On line advice will tell you your hips should match your shoulder measurement, ok for a woman, but it doesn’t work for me, so my hips are close to my bust measurement which with skinny legs seems to work, but as you say everybody is different!

    Great advice and I have t say you look fabulous in the photo, lovely dress and great figure!!

    1. Excellent point about the choice on size. I think things need to be right for the person. Some people suit small, medium, or large. It’s about what works for them, I guess.

      For me, two pairs of chicken fillets in a 36B bra seemed to work. I wondered if if picked to small or too large at first, but now that seems like my shape. Does that make sense?

      Thanks for the kind words about the photo. I think it goes to show what you can do when you’ve a few tricks up your sleeve.

  2. Good advice, simply presented.

    I am impressed with your DIY suggestions. You are our very own Valerie Singleton! Even Shep should be able to look more feminine now.

    I seem to recall that photo, which couldn’t illustrate the advice you’ve given better. Those really are stunning curves with a well-chosen top and skirt that show off the business end. In fact, attention is drawn away from your shoulders by the emphasis on chest, hips and legs. I know why you’re wearing opaques, but sheers would’ve been the coup de grâce. You’ll have to beat off those admirers!

    Sue x

    1. “…. and here’s some we prepared earlier.” 🙂 BTW, I wouldn’t recommend sticky back plastic for anything T related. Well, except hair removal 😉

      I remember John Noakes and Shep fondly. The relationship between human and hound eh?

      Thanks for the kind words about the outfit and the post. The idea came to me when I saw a post online in which someone asked how people got started when it came to dressing. I thought back to this series and realised I’d missed the, uhh, foundations, if that makes sense. In terms of the DIY route, it was a case of having to make the best use of what I had. I think some folk sometimes get drawn into the ‘buy to fix’ mentality and if there’s a way to do things without being sold a dud, I’m all for it. Equally, if – like Angela points out about silicone hip pads – their experience, others can make an informed decision.

      The photo is a fair few years old and I don’t usually wear clothes that fitted – or a skirt that short. Hence, I guess, the opaques. Sheers would’ve made me feel quite self conscious. Make of that what you will. 🙂

      Luckily the occasion was the Chams Christmas Do, so there was no risk of unwanted attention. I think I can empathise with anyone who’s been out and felt ‘on display’. I didn’t put that outfit together for anyone, only so I could feel a bit more glam as it was the party and it just for me. Does that make sense?

      1. It makes perfect sense. It’s said that we eat to please ourselves and dress to please others, but when you are trans you often have to dress to please yourself chiefly.

        Thanks for sharing your top tips. We who have been there and done that should, I feel, do all we can to help others who are finding their way in this odd trans life of ours. I know how many people helped and advised me when I was a trans toddler.

        As for John Noakes and Shep, they were one of those unlikely duos who worked brilliantly together, like Han Solo and Chewbacca, Bert and Ernie, French and Saunders, Ian and Wee Jimmie Krankie … actually, maybe not those last two ;-p

        Sue x

        1. Ha ha! The last two were problematic for me as a kid (not my sense of humour) and as a teen, it was “So, she’s his wife? Oookay, that brings a different angle to it.” 🤔 Now, if you’d said The Chuckle Brothers that would’ve been a whole different thing. Absolutely not aimed at adults, but – IMO – an old school, seaside comedy for kids.

          In terms of sharing, I’m just paying it forward. Lots of folk have helped me over the years and I’ll include you given your comment on applying blush. There’s a poster in our local GP that states “feedback helps me do my job better”. I think good feedback is about “how something might be better because of X” or “have you thought about trying X instead of Y?”. IMO, it’s not about you being wrong and the other person being right, but on listening to what’s being said and reflecting on it. I think Stonewall talk about ‘kind eyes’ when it comes to being with others and conversations. Sometimes we don’t quite say what we mean and that can cause conflict if we’re unlucky.

        2. Your reply has influenced my latest post. 🙂

          It’s also lovely to see you and your photo featured on today’s Femulate entry. Fandabidozi!!! :-p

          Sorry, irresistible. Please don’t delete me … noooo, aaargh! 😮

          Sue x

  3. I’ve heard halter-necks are good for drawing the eye away from broad shoulders, but as a larger person, I’ve never risked one for fear of spilling out!

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