Woman shopping
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The story "What It's Like to Shop as a Transgender Woman" first appeared on For more stories like this, visit POPSUGAR now.

In the months leading up to Caitlyn Jenner's debut, gender identity has been a focal point in the media. In an effort to give the transgender community a voice in that conversation and to help anyone going through this or on the other side of the change, we tapped Francesca Appelgate, who is shedding light on her own experience as a transgender woman. Read on as she shares what it was really like to shop and dress her new body.

I have walked through the women's department on many occasions, hoping that one day I'd actually do a little shopping of my own. Well, that day has come . . . and I have next to no idea what I'm doing.

As a transgender girl in her mid-20s, I have little to no experience with shopping for women's clothes. As a teen, I always enjoyed helping my mom and sister pick out their outfits, but it doesn't do much in the way of developing my own style. Now, I should say as a disclaimer that my experience doesn't necessarily reflect all transgender people. Every transition, if one even chooses to transition, is unique to the individual. Some trans people have ample time developing their own style before starting their transition. Some run from it as long as humanly possible. I was definitely more of a runner in this respect. After years spent in denial and a few more years of working up the courage, I finally decided to officially start hormone replacement therapy or HRT near the end of 2013. For those not familiar, HRT is essentially a medically induced second puberty that reverses many of the male physical traits and replaces them with female physical traits. At the onset of this transition, I had a basic idea of what to expect. With that came the knowledge that I would eventually be buying new clothes and building a wardrobe I could finally call my own.

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