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Can A Dress Turn A Man Into A Woman?

Updated on October 13, 2009

Before you scoff at the idea of a Y chromosome fixing garment which somehow knits the DNA of a man into a more feminine form, hear me out. Many men say that when they wear lingerie and women's things they become softer and more feminine. A great deal of men report that when dressed en femme they find themselves expressing so called 'feminine' personality traits such as increased sensitivity and emotion. In some cases, their personality changes so much that they assign a female name to their new feminine identity.

This isn't a new idea, nor is it entirely remarkable. It is logical that putting on women's clothing has the ability to make a man feel feminine the same way putting on sports clothes can make one feel more fit and sporty. Why, sometimes after I've put on my sweats I don't even need to work out anymore, I've magically become so very fit just by wearing the clothing. Clothing can have a big impact on the way we feel and the way we express ourselves. This is why at any given time we have half a dozen reality shows dedicated to making frumpy people dress more flatteringly.

But I do wonder, just how feminine do men feel when they wear lingerie and women's clothing? Are they really expressing feminine traits, or are they simply expressing universal traits which are described as being 'feminine'.

After all, not all feminine traits are pretty. Women are, on average, more prone to mood swings due to fluctuations in hormonal levels, are more sensitive to what other people think about them (there is a reason why advertising aimed at women always insinuates that they're not pretty enough yet, whereas advertising aimed at men bolsters their feelings of self worth.) Do men who wear women's clothing find themselves less capable of expressing spatial skills? Are they more or less likely to ask for directions when they are driving around in circles lost? Does dressing in women's clothing make a man's biological clock start ticking? Can he no longer stand the sight of a toilet seat left up? Does he become fixated with the proper use of coasters? Just how powerful is a dress on the male psyche?

We know already that some men become very girlish when they're dressed up in their women's clothing, whereas other men consider skirts and suchlike to be legitimate male attire and are utterly unaffected emotionally by what they are wearing. I'm throwing this to you guys, you who wear women's clothing. You who wear lingerie, you who wear panties and dresses and all manner of feminine finery. Just how does wearing women's clothing change the way that you behave and feel in your every day life?


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    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      Again, I am going to post AlanaRaso's comment here in its Safe For Hub Pages form. Please guys, avoid using language that you wouldn't use at work. It makes me end up deleting entire comments for one stray word.

      Alana said:

      No, I don't think a dress can make a man a woman. However, I love dresses, especially very silky and feminine gowns.

      I feel so much better wearing silky clothing. I have always felt very feminine and have had a desire to live as a female since from age 3. Yes, I have strong TG tendencies, but not so much that I want to transition. However, I cook, sew, clean, nursed my children when they were young and cared for my wife when she was injured several years ago. So already I express so many practical feminine characteristics every day. I don't dress during the day, but underdress (panties, camisole) every day and sleep in satin or charmeuse nightwear every night. The few occasions that I came to bed wearing cotton, my wife bitterly complained. Silky underwear is part of our daily life.

      What is interesting, I consider myself to be a very feminine male. However, if women's clothing was only made of wool or cotton, then I probably would not be attracted to it and wouldn't feel the compulsion to dress. However, my feminine nature would still be very much present.

      So while I very much enjoy dressing to the nines, it doesn't change who I am or how I express myself.

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      Gena, I'm just going to copy past the SFW part of your comment here, because it was a lovely comment, but I couldn't approve all of it...

      "Having being gender-inclusive since my earliest memory, when, about age 4, I asked my older sister, "am I a girl, yet?" it is hard to find a base line for a difference in emotional state between drag & drab modes. I dressed in feminine attire beginning at about age 11, my first purchase being a lovely pair of nylons, which I treasured. Wearing feminine attire was VERY erotic when I was young, and it made me feel incredibly alive and sexy. Later in life, I find that feminine clothing is my comfort zone, makes me relaxed, and it is a matter of course."

    • LatexLeah profile image

      LatexLeah 8 years ago

      The more I think about it, the more I believe I wanted to dress as an escape as much as anything. It was an escape from the ugly realities of life.

      Less stress=calmer, happier person=more desire to dress.

      Plus there were times I just wanted to feel pretty. :)

    • profile image

      Chris 8 years ago

      I'm normally sensitive and caring regardless of my clothing or appearance. Wearing womens clothing fulfills my desire to wear beautiful stylish clothing. However, I do feel more feminine when I wear women's clothing and that's all the time because I don't ever wear men's clothes anymore. Wearing heels and having long nails naturally limits my ability to do certain things I used to do without thought. I don't do heavy lifting anymore and I open my soda cans with a key or spoon or whatever is lying around in order not to break a nail. These limitatioms make me feel more feminine (not that women don't do hard work). I feel more feminine around other men because they're doing things that I'm not comfortable doing anymore. They're turning wrenches and busting their knuckles and their nails look horrible. I'm standing there in heels admiring my nails and thankful someone else is doing the work. I'm very particular about my grooming now and I find myself checking the mirror before I leave the house making sure my eyebrows look nice - I get them waxed and shaped at the spa. I'm accutely aware of when my nails need a fill and count the days to my next manicure/pedicure. I have as much trouble as any woman trying to find things in my bag and I've come to the point of almost seeing myself as a woman. I don't cross dress, I wear women's clothing as a man but I do keep much of my bodyhair shaved off as it contributes to my overall feeling of femininity. I've been called ma'am a few times and have confused some people as to my gender based on my nails and my clothing and caring a bag. Afterall, It's not very often that you see a guy clicking around in high heels wearing a 3/4 sleeve empire waist tunic and black wide-leg jersey knit pants caring a purse. Thanks Hope for your incredible articles and for spotlighting this movement.

    • profile image

      Michelle 8 years ago

      I always seem to change personalities when wearing women's clothing. I seem to bring out someone else in myself. I hold my coffee cup differently, write slower with a more feminine flair,etc! My feelings also change, i'm not so quick to judge people or situations.

    • Georgiakevin profile image

      Georgiakevin 8 years ago from Central Georgia

      You write such interesting hubs. Transsexuals feel feminine without wearing women's clothes. Wearing women's clothes for transsexuals just makes them feel right, even if the women's clothes are just sweats.