I am presently in the slightly odd situation of no longer fitting that nicely into most men's clothing, and yet not quite fitting right in lots of women's clothes.

I have begun to fit nicely in some cuts of dress, but not always.

With a slight bust and a much, much slimmer waist (within six weeks of starting HRT I dropped about 6-7kg, almost all from my middle) men's t-shirts kind of hang off my chest, even if I do my usual trick of wearing a tight sports crop underneath to flatten.

Even my jackets sit less well over my shoulders now I've lost a lot of muscle mass up there.

So I often wear women's tees, as they're much more comfortable. But, damnit! I have so many awesome t-shirts from my decade as a t-shirt hoarder. I'm going to have to get them altered eventually...

Anyway, my odd experiences clothing myself even when I'm trying to present in a very feminine way are curious, but what's surprised me and been really interesting is that while at first this felt like a "unique to transitioning" experience, it quickly became apparently to me that this is absolutely not the case.

As I spoke to lady friends, I got similar stories. "I don't have much of a waist. I use the following tricks and types of outfits to work around that..."

"I'm really self-conscious about having small breasts. So I tend to..."

And it goes on to other things...

"I hate my hips. They're so big. So I tend to wear stuff like..."

I had no illusions that all women magically wore the same type of clothes perfectly. You'd have ben totally blind to think that.

But it has still been eye-opening to me just how much effort most women have to go through if they want to adhere even a little to the kind of look that women are all assumed to have and are judged against.

After all, hormones aren't some zero-sum thing. Men have more testosterone than oestrogen generally, and the reverse for women. But there are other hormones, and different levels affect different genetics in different ways.

So there are a ton of cis people who are often mis-gendered, and have either consciously or subconsciously learned how to dress and behave to negate this. (Or rather laudably just gone 'eh, whatever'. In which case, rock on!)

Even things I thought would be relatively trans-specific, such as dealing with facial hair (not everyone can afford laser hair removal and almost NOBODY can afford or wants to deal with hair electrolysis), are still not things I and other trans women have to deal with.

At all.

More women than I ever realised wax, shave or have noticeable facial hair removed some other way - like blasting their face with a laser in the same way I do.

Thing is, this has been surprising and fascinating to me, and I had previously thought of myself as pretty aware of women's issues - be they social or physical.

But just in terms of dressing and presenting, there is more complexity and stress involved than I'd ever have previously imagined.

And, honestly, right now it's fun for me... but I'm sure in years it'll be hard not to just be over all of it.