The fear and annoyance of store shopping results in most dressers doing their shopping online. This only solves the problem of fear in a public setting, but it brings a whole list of other issues. The big one is the problem with all online shopping, especially for clothes: you can never be 100% certain of what you're getting. Pictures can be deceiving, lighting of a photograph can affect how a color looks on the computer, and sizes are even more guess work than usual. Finally returning something that was mailed can be even more of a pain than returning to a store. That said many of my favorite clothing items are online purchases. My beloved platform boots were one of my early online buys. Same goes for my saloon girl skirt, my silver one piece and my breasts. Yes that's right, my tits came by mail. Hand delivered with care. My most recent purchase made online was a t-shirt from Nic Buxom's online store. Sometimes there's just things you find online that can't be found locally. However I would highly advise against any dresser from ordering wigs online. More than any piece of clothing you can buy a wig can look completely different on different people, and you really need to try them on. If there is a wig shop in your area (or a costume store with a decent wig selection) I promise you they've already encountered dressers and will be understanding and respectful.
Even if or when a cross dresser gets over their shopping fear enough to actually buy a few things that starts a whole new area of issues: understanding the sizes. Men don't understand how good they have it when it comes to clothes sizing. Take pants for instance, men's pants have two measurements: waist and length. In men's pants I'm a 31"x32", that's my size and that's what I look for. It all makes perfect logical sense, and it doesn't change no matter what kind of pants I buy. Women's pants are assigned a completely arbitrary number that isn't even consistent from brand to brand. So in women's pants I'm anywhere from a size 10 to a size 14. Sadly trial and error is really the only way to get it right and even the most daring dresser probably won't take women's things into the changing room at the store. That means dressers have to take it home before they can find out if it fits or not. The one exception to this is in a costume store, where men interested in women's items for themselves doesn't really raise an eyebrow. However dressers who want a more casual look won't find what they want in stores like that.
If there's one thing a cross dresser likes more than a good buy it's free stuff! Dressers and queens love is a good give-away, such as the one Olivia Rouge is currently having. There's nothing better in the world that getting something pretty and sparkly for free! And of course for the timid the "it's for my girlfriend" ploy works even better in this situation, because what guy wouldn't try to get a great looking gift for free?
Shoes from Payless, shorts from Rainbow, shirt and necklace from Steinmart, bracelet from Clair's, hair from Ricky's NYC, Photo by Stacie Joy
In NYC I had gotten to the point where there were a few clothing stores I would make semi-regular stops at. Now being in Vermont I have to start over and honestly be a little more careful. In huge city like New York nobody cares and even if they do you won't see them again. In more rural areas there's a distinct possibility of running into that store clerk on the street or that you might know some of the same people. This means that from now on most of my in-store shopping is going to be done further from home. I'm always sure to stop into Old Gold when I'm in Burlington. I'd done a little shopping at the local Fashion Bug but they went out of business. I was also forutnate enough to have Laura come with me on those trips. Which brings up another thing for dressers. If you have a female friend you're out to bring them along when you shop, it should help get rid of that lingering fear because everybody will assume you're buying for her. I think that's about it for this little ramble. Hopefully folks have found it insightful/helpful/amusing or at least it killed a few minutes that you could have been doing work. I'm so bad for productivity.