Clothing to Pass as Male
Our perceptions of gender are often guided by how someone presents themselves. Clothing is one of the main indicators that helps people distinguish whether someone identifies as a man or as a woman.
Dressing in mens clothing may seem deceptively easy. However, trans men face unique difficulties in finding the right fit because of our smaller size and bone structure. In addition, trans men who have not started hormones, or who still have a curvy figure may need to disguise their figure. Something as simple as the cut of your pants can make a huge difference in reducing or emphasizing your physical attributes.
Something as simple as the cut of your pants can make a huge difference in reducing or emphasizing your physical attributes.
Wear flat front pants to reduce the appearance of hips and thighs.
Mens dress pants may be pleated or flat front. Pleated pants will emphasize feminine curves and residual body fat on the hips and thighs. This is because pleated pants are cut to differentiate the torso from the hips on skinny and tall men. In contrast, flat front pants will straighten the figure and disguise the natural curve of your hips.
Pleated pants are a more classic option, whereas flat front pants are more modern. Stores that cater to younger buyers, such as Express, rarely carry pleated pants. Pleated pants were created to allow for more comfort in the seated position. Ralph Lauren usually features pleated pants with their suits and dress wear because they lean toward a more classic style. Calvin Klein usually features flat front pants with their suits because they lean toward a more modern style. Both are acceptable to wear with suits and business attire–it is simply a matter of preference.
Wear slacks with no cuffs to appear taller.
Cuffs are common on traditional mens slacks. They are the turned up portion of the pants that distinguishes between the shoe and the slacks. Cuffs can make a man appear shorter because they encroach upon the length of the pant legs. Thus, short men are better off going cuff-less so that they appear taller. Cuffs protect the bottom of your trousers from fraying or damage, and are helpful for growing teenage boys because they can be released as he grows. They are a more formal option for pants and are common on mens suits. However, tuxedos should never be worn with cuffs. Typically, cuffs should be worn only with pleated pants. It is ok to wear cuffs with flat front pants, but it is not the traditional style. If you do opt to wear cuffs, they should be sized correctly. Men under 5’10 should wear a 1 1/4″ cuff. Men over 5’10 should wear a 1 5/8″ cuff.
Do not wear pants that a tapered to the ankle.
Make sure that the jeans to do not clasp to your ankles because this will make you look very curvy (notice how women’s jeans tend to do this). For example, regular levi’s are cut smaller at the ankle.
Finding the Right Pant Size
If a pair of men’s pants is 30/32, then this means that the waist is 30 and the length is 32. A 30/30 is generally around a size 6 in women’s. This is probably common knowledge, but men don’t tend to wear their jeans very tight. Try finding a pair of jeans that aren’t skin tight, but that sit comfortably at your waistline. Also, pull pants down so that they rest about 2-3 inches down from the belly button-this will reduce the sight of curves slightly. Also, be sure to buy pants that fit–not too tight because it will show curve and not too baggy because it will also show curve. The idea is to become as straight as possible, rather than curvy. This is one of those areas that takes a lot of effort in order to pull it off well.
If you’re on a budget, consider purchasing basic clothing supplies at Wal-Mart. Some smaller guys may even be able to opt for clothes in the boys section. The men’s section at Wal-Mart has a decent selection of cargo pants and jeans.
Button-down shirts can also be a problem because men’s shirts tend to be huge everywhere, especially in the shoulders. Once again, I recommend heading to the boys department. There is one big problem, long-sleeved boys shirts sleeves are often too short. Mail order catalogs can be an excellent resource, but in order to pull it off you will need to know your neck circumference and sleeve length. Most girls have a neck circumference of around 12-14 inches. The shirt sizes are __X__ which is nexk x sleeve. If you’re on a time limit and need a shirt immediately, go to the boys department and just role-up the sleeves. T-shirts are always safe and polo shirts are a blessing.
Mens dress shirts shrink just like women’s clothing, however long sleeve mens shirts can cause a real problem if they shrink too much. Make sure that there’s some extra length (the shirt sleeve should end where your thumb and hand connect) so that the sleeves won’t be too short when they shrink. Also, it is important to wash a mens shirt before having the sleeves tailored so that they don’t shrink after you have the shirt tailored.
Mens shirts that have a straight cut along the end are meant to wear untucked. Shirts that have a survey appearance along the bottom are intended to be tucked in.
Muscle Tees can be wonderful, but they tend to have very large holes for the arms. This can be a huge problem because a binder will show through. Regular tank-tops are ok.
Wintertime can be the best for early-stage FTMs because winter clothing hides everything. In fact, you don’t have to bind as tight if you’re going to be in a sweater. If it is fall or just a bit chilly out, pick up a hoody that is tighter than normal Academy sells them for very cheap, this way it doesn’t get too hot, and you don’t have to bind as tight.
Shoes also tend to be a problem. Men’s shoes are much wider than girls. If your feet start to slip around in the shoe, go get a pair of doctor sholes pads that are too large for the shoe. Cut them down so that they fit lengthwise and stuff them in each shoe. You can even glue them down. This will help narrow the pair of shoes down on the insides so that they fit better. It may also be helpful to wear two pairs of socks.
Finding the Right Size
The key to successfully dress like a man is obviously to wear men’s clothing; there is a difference between men and women’s clothing. One of the biggest problems that FTMs find is that men’s clothing does not fit them.
Brands for smaller sized men
Stores that carry merchandise for smaller sized men
American Eagle Outfitters