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How to Dress Like a Drag Queen

Updated April 17, 2017

If you're new to dressing in drag, you may be overwhelmed by all the steps required to transform your look from male to female. The key is to embrace the sense of camp intrinsic in famous drag queen RuPaul's statement, "I do not impersonate females! How many women do you know who wear seven-inch heels, four-foot wigs, and skintight dresses?" In other words, the more outrageous you are, the better. Start your drag journey with a few essential cross-dressing techniques.

Wear the correct foundation garments. This means a padded bra with silicone "cutlets," or fake breasts (the bigger the better) and a gaff to tuck in your genitals. Gaffs are heavy spandex underwear, usually thong-cut, that smooth out the male bulge for a more feminine silhouette. Shave as much of your body hair as possible; shaving your chest allows you to use double-sided tape to keep your breastforms in place.

Learn to walk in high heels. Many stores that sell club or bondage clothing sell stilettos and high-heeled boots in men's sizes. Don't be afraid of being extra-tall; remember that drag queens are both literally and figuratively larger than life.

Pile on the sequins. Sequinned and metallic gowns are tried-and-true drag queen staples. While custom-made sequinned gowns can be quite expensive, you can often find used ones in thrift stores, especially right after prom season.

Adorn yourself with feathers. Use feather boas, feathered false eyelashes and feathers in your hair -- which, if you can afford it, should be a human hair wig. Some drag queens double up on wigs for extra volume. The more hair you have, the more feathers and sequins you can stick into it!

Wear theatrical make-up to achieve dramatic colours that will show up when you're onstage. Pancake make-up, a very thick theatrical foundation, hides skin imperfections and tell-tale beard shadows. Look for glitter eyeshadow, extra-long fake eyelashes and waterproof make-up that will stand up to the sweating inherent in wearing elaborate costumes and hairpieces.

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About the Author

Ann Jones has been writing since 1998. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies. Her journalistic work can be found in major magazines and newspapers. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.