on 26 July 2002
This is a book every "girl" needs. Charles/Patricia writes with humour and authority, covering almost every issue that a transvestite faces when first beginning to dress. Beginning with the basics on hair removal and progressing through wig choice, makeup and underwear to choosing clothes, this book is packed with practical tips and advice for the real world: "short cuts to femme gorgeousness". Even those of us who have been dressing for a while will find something useful in here.
Patricia focuses on ways to make the best of what you already have. She does away with any suggestion that the average man can transform himself into the perfect woman and focuses on working with your existing body, build and face. For example, if you have a typical male build, you're never going to look good in something built to show off the slender torso of a willowy woman; instead, follow Patricia's advice on spotting dresses and tops that will minimize those shoulders.
Similarly, the book demolishes some of the myths peddled by retailers keen to make a few quid by selling dreams to emerging trannies. Specially padded undergarments, clinchers and even silicones are subjected to Patricia's critical "do we really need this" test. To her credit, whilst she backs up her opinions with experiences and quotes, she doesn't preach and rarely presents herself as showing the One True Way to cross-dress, so I feel better that I'll never agree with her about a girl being able dress without boobs!
It's not perfect: for example, the section on makeup commits the cardinal sin of explaining with words what a couple of simple pictures would make so much more evident. Some discussions such as the best way to hide beard shadow cover several alternatives but don't necessarily conclude with any firm recommendations. Oh, and it's written by an American, so all the usual caveats about sizes and brand names apply.
The book closes with what is for me a slight lapse as it descends a little into Californian "self-actualization" territory, although it does still contain useful advice. The section on coming out is, however, lamentably short.
All in all, this book has joined the Tranny Guide in my bag as an essential, practical and humorous source of advice for a girl who, like me, wants to look good without all the effort. Thoroughly recommended.
on 7 February 2009
This book is the best book I've ever read on crossdressing. Instead of making you feel like you're nothing if you don't have "The Look" this book gives you confidence to find the real you.
The book also delivers it's message with great humour and there are many laugh out loud moments (some too rude to repeat here!) which in itself gives you confidence and a spring in your step.
The only downsides I've found are that it's written for the American market and thus not entirely relevant (in terms of brand names etc) to us Brits and, like Moonwatcher indicated, a few instructional pictures wouldn't have gone amiss either. But, all in all, I would recommend this to any transgendered person anywhere and I would recommend it way ahead of other books such as The Way Out Guide (which is nothing more than an advert for the Way Out Club imho!).
Addendum: Although not the author's fault I would like to add a warning to my review: Please be careful with cosmetics. I wasn't and ended up with dermatitis! I would thus suggest using any new products sparingly and in an inconspicuous area first. There's nothing more likely to make you feel less glam than having your skin peel off your face!