Product review: Veronica 5


Disclaimer: I do not work for Classic Curves International, nor have I been commissioned to write this review, which, in any case, only reflects my opinion, experiences and feelings about the product, which was not submitted to a scientific, unbiased test 🙂

It’s not frequent for me to do product reviews. But now and then something comes along that I simply feel the need to talk about 🙂

Today I’m going to tell you a little bit about Classic Curves International‘s products and the reason why I use them. But first I need to go back several years to the day I started crossdressing!

At that time, I was struggling with a relationship during my university time, and feeling a bit stressed out with that, and for one reason or another, I spent part of the summer at a (female) cousin’s place. She (and my parents) were on vacations, so I had the place for myself. At some moment in time, the urge to crossdress to feel some relief about the way my (current) girlfriend was treating me was so great, that I remember I put on a too-tight bra, some panties, and a pantyhose, and, naturally, I came. Before worrying too much about the stretching out of my cousin’s clothes and the washing up, I remember that the first thing I did, after struggling about all the emotions that told me how wrong it was, was to check myself on the mirror. And somehow, underneath all those conflicting emotions, there was a thought: I look ugly. I’m all the wrong shape.

I’ll skip over the months when I tried to eradicate that memory from my brain, and how — a few years later — I was reading all I could on the Internet. It was 1995, and the first websites about transgenderism and crossdressing were brand new. But they were very informative. Like many of you, I soon came to find Suddenly Fem (yes, they’re really old in Internet terms!). What captivated my immediate interest is that the models were clearly males but they didn’t look like males, because they weren’t male-shaped! How did they manage that without extensive surgery??

The answer was, of course, “corsets and padding”. So on my first order to Suddenly Fem I bought a waist cincher and some latex breastforms, because I didn’t want to spend too much money, and a long evening dress on top of everything.

Like most crossdressers, when we begin, unless we have a “mentor”, we’ll make a lot of mistakes, and this certainly was my case. Even though I wasn’t overweight back then, I wasn’t in shape, and a waist cincher simply wouldn’t tuck everything into the right places. The latex breastforms were ugly and completely unrealistic. The blonde wig gave me an incredibly “drag queen” look which was horrible and even scary to watch, and it was utterly unrealistic (and completely out of fashion besides that). The only thing I liked was the long evening dress, the nice satin stockings and suspenders, and the stiletto high heels — the latter lasted me over 15 years. But the dress simply wouldn’t look good on me. I still looked like an ugly male in drag.

Then, of course, I learned two things. One is that waist cinchers are no good for us, because, well, we simply are the wrong shape. We need something much stronger — a corset. The other thing is that a corset by itself is not enough. We still have to take into account the Golden Rule of the Hourglass shape into account!

We all have learned that the “perfect” hourglass shape, like it was in the 1950s, used to be 90-60-90 (that’s centimetres; 36-24-36 for you Americans 🙂 ). Now, we gene-impaired females have a problem, because most of you will never come even close to that, not even with some major surgery! In fact, most genetic women won’t, either. Even though the hourglass shape is a bit out of fashion, thanks to those skinny supermodels, it still attracts a lot of attention, and it’s the best way to look like a shapely woman. Unless you’re super-skinny and already very androgynous, it will be hard for you to have a shape that people will identify as being female.

And the shape matters. People will start looking for subtle clues about gender: the hair (because it’s seen from far away), the breasts, then perhaps the face, but the overall shape will also be at the top of the list. We humans are rather good at pattern-matching: from simple clues and impartial data, we quickly assemble a whole picture. But that also means we can exploit some neat tricks to “fool” the brain. We all learn how to do that with makeup: the subtle play of shadows and light that will enhance some features and downplay others, or the very simple trick of making our eyes look larger and use eyeliner to give the impression of fuller eyelashes.

With the overall shape, we can also apply a rather neat trick. Apparently, what the brain is looking at are not the precise measurements of one’s curvy body. Instead, it looks at the difference between the breast/hip measurement, and the waist measurement. If the breast and hip size are the same, and the waist is 30 cm less (12″ for you Americans), then the brain interprets that as the perfect hourglass shape. This is especially true if we’re larger (and most males will have a larger frame than most women).

So, getting down your breast and hip measurements to the “perfect” 90 is, for most of us, unachievable, and a corset that cinches us down to 60 can become seriously dangerous for our health, compressing our internal organs far too much… but we can do the simple trick of merely balancing out the breast and hip measurements, and reduce the waist to 30 cm less than both.

Now, most males who are not yet pear-shaped will be rather “straight” in their measures. That means that their breast, waist and hip measurements will be about the same. In a sense, this makes things a bit easier. Usually, you start by enhancing your breast measurements, using breast forms. In my case, after many trial-and-errors, and some special fitting done by an Amoena employee (the company where I bought my last pair, and who have trained attendants to help with the fitting at their local offices), I brought up my breast measurements to 114 cm. That might look like a lot, but remember the trick — all I need to do now is to get a corset to bring my waist down to 84 cm, to keep it balanced. This is easily accomplished in my case, even though I went for a training corset to make sure that the waist stays at that size.

So far so good. But now I had to deal with my hip size. It was nowhere near those 114 cm. What to do?

The easiest trick, so often forgotten by most crossdressers who happily get breast forms in the right size and a corset to trim their waist, is simply to wear an appropriate skirt — one that flares out, disguising where actually our hips are. This works rather well, because the brain is tricked into imagining where the hips might be, getting it wrong (because the brain wants women to be shapely and curvy!), and be fooled. But what I see is that so many crossdressers simply use tight-fitting mini-dresses or mini-skirts which will not disguise anything, but rather show the absolute lack of hips and bottom — thus spoiling the whole illusion.

If you wish to pass using that kind of clothing — and that includes pants, jeans, leggings, etc. — then you really need some hip/bottom padding. There is no other way to create the illusion.

Now, there are a lot of such garments around (many of which are not even specifically designed for crossdressers; women also have the same problem!). I’ve actually tested one or two, and they have two main problems. The first one is their sizing. Either they are one-size-fits-all (which means it won’t fit anybody), or they do have a waist measurement which might be correct (if you don’t use a corset…), but the padding is either excessive or not enough, depending on the size of your bottom. I do have a large bottom for a male — not large enough for a female, though — but no hips. And those garments will simply look horrible.

The second issue is how they apply the padding. Some just enhance the bottom, which is not enough for us males. Some, by contrast, just add some lateral foam padding to create the illusion of hips. This works to a degree when you’re seen from the front, but it will look odd from any other angle. And, again, the size of those pads will fit some of us well, but will look too big or too small on others.

A few garments have recently appeared on the market that add both bottom and hip padding. Some are already made of silicone, or gel (which will also have the same weight/texture as human flesh, but will resist sitting on it, while silicone is really not designed for that kind of stress), meaning that they will add a degree of “bounce” which is far more realistic. The problem, again, is the sizing. It might simply look strange on an average male. Also, these garments have basically four “lumps”: two at the back, and one each on the sides. With some appropriate clothing, they might not be visible; but if you’re planning to use some tight-fitting clothing, the “lumps” might be anything but realistically-looking.

Clearly, something better is needed.

At the top end of the hip/bottom enhancing technology, you have “perfect” bottom-shaped garments, made out of silicone, which will give you an all-around hip/bottom enhancement (no lumps!) and even a relatively realistic (and sometimes “functional”) vagina, like the one you can get from Gurl Shorts. I have to admit that I have been very tempted by those! They have a problem, though: this is an all-silicone garment, and silicone is not that good to resist putting it on and off repeatedly. It will also be very warm, since silicone is a rather good insulator. But it might be the perfect solution for the ultimate illusion. There are a few competing products, all very expensive, but Gurl Shorts seem to be the best of its class.

My personal choice, however, has been an old Californian company (old in Internet terms!), which was perhaps the second place where I have shopped online, which does very specific garments for crossdressers: Classic Curves International (CCI). They have a very high-tech approach to designing a solution for the hip/bottom problem, called Veronica. Espy Lopez, the owner, has designed a state-of-the-art manufacturing process which is revolutionary. You send her your precise measurements, taken at many different points, and you have to say if you’re planning to wear a corset all the time or not. Then you give some hints on how you wish your femme shape to be: more or less curvy.

CCI will now process this data using a model of your current body, and a model of your desired femme shape. The difference between both is calculated, and provides data for creating the padding as well as for the garment that will hold them in place. Sophisticated, isn’t it? You bet it is!

The result is not merely a custom-made garment with padding: it’s a custom-made makeover that turns your body into the femme body you desire!

From their website:

A perfect 3D female form is superimposed over your 3D male form. The computer subtracts out the body shape common to both, and generates a 3D CAD model of the extra curves necessary, to give you YOUR appropriate female body shape!

Of course the technology has its limitations — you cannot be a 160kg giant and expect to become a svelte beauty ready for the catwalk! Instead, what the Veronica does is to take what you’ve got and “turn it” female. Now you can also understand why the precise measurements are necessary, and why you have to tell in advance if you’re wearing a corset or not: this makes a huge influence in the way the padding is cut (or cast, or however their technology works), because the shape you start with without a corset is quite different from the one you end up with after being tightly corseted. Needless to say, you really have to be honest with your measurements, or the Veronica won’t fit. Also, if you gain or lose weight a lot, you will quickly see that the Veronica won’t fit you any longer! (This actually happened to me for several years, when I gained some 10 kg which I only recently lost.)

Like Suddenly Fem, Classic Curves International is a manufacturer targeted specifically to the crossdresser market. They don’t do “generic padding garments”. Although they also provide other shaping garments (like the Diva, worth a different review one of these days), their flagship product is really the Veronica, and they have been manufacturing it for several years.

Also, unlike other garment manufacturers, CCI knows that these padding garments will be used a lot of times. They require that the pads not only fit, but are tightly in place. Since the measurements are so precise, the last thing you wish is for a pad to “slip” or get out of place, completely ruining the experience. The garment is also subject to stress and tension: this is really a tight fit, and that means the fabric has to retain the ability to stick close to your body, even after washing it several times. The fabric doesn’t shrink nor stretch, neither rips. My first Veronica was bought a decade ago and it’s still in quite good condition! In fact, I’ve been wearing it on all my sessions of the past years, twice a week, and the only thing that gave way, a year ago, was the zipper (it still works, though, with some simple repairs). To be honest, I could have had it replaced, but I don’t trust people to sew new zippers that can resist the tension for so many years of use.

Some transgendered people in transition use the Veronica every day, until their hormone therapy shapes their bottom and hips in a more female way, and the Veronica becomes unnecessary. But this process might take years, and, for many, it might never give them the desired effect. So they turn to the Veronica as a way to boost their self-esteem as shapely women, and wear it every day. Espy Lopez confided in me that most customers only return after 8 or 9 years, because this garment was really made to last, and to be subject to the constant wear and tear and the tensions of keeping everything in the right place.

When I first bought by Veronica, a decade ago, there were only two choices available: a shorter version, which is great for mini-dresses and mini-skirts, but which might not look so “shapely”, and a slightly longer version which gives a better shape. Since I usually don’t wear my skirts and dresses so short, I opted for the longer version (Veronica 2). This was available in two models (currently there seem to be three): with a zipper or without. I was informed that the zipper version was easier to use, and that’s what I bought. You slip it on like some normal shorts, wearing your favourite panties, pull a strip of velcro at the waist to keep it in place, and then pull the zipper up. Part of your corset (if you use one) will actually be beneath the top of the Veronica; and I’m actually quite glad of that, because of the way I’m shaped: the very bottom of my belly will always protrude a bit, no matter how tightly I lace, and the Veronica keeps that neatly in place, too. So now you know my trick!

Having a zipper, of course, also makes it easier to use the toilet — you don’t need to take it off and put it on again (an advantage on these very tight-fitting garments). But it also means you won’t be able to pee like a female!

At that time, CCI only manufactured foam pads. These are relatively large (you get two, one for each side) and provide hip and bottom padding simultaneously. So it sort of “flows” from your hips, down towards the upper legs, and back towards the bottom, but leaves a space free between both. It smoothly gets more thicker from the edges to the middle of the pad, so you almost don’t see where the “edge” is — it will be hidden beneath the garment, of course. It’s very well done. No “lumps” or “bumps” — it really looks like it’s your flesh (and bones) beneath the garment!

Foam is very lightweight, and relatively cheap, but it has a drawback: unlike the garment itself, which can be easily handwashed, you cannot clean the foam. After several years of prolonged use, it will slowly crumble, starting at the edges. I have attempted to repair it with duct tape, but nothing seems to adhere to the foam pads, so, after several years, they will slowly become useless. Of course you can always get just the replacement pads from CCI. Also, of course, if someone pinches you, they’ll notice there is no flesh beneath the garment but just… some rubbery material.

A few years after I’ve bought my Veronica 2, CCI introduced the full-body Veronica 3. This was a partial redesign of the Veronica 2, with a torso area, and that includes a bra and a Diva (to create cleavage), all in a single garment. Again, unlike full-body shapewear designed for women, which will never fit us male crossdressers properly because we have just a much longer torso, the Veronica 3 is custom-made for our measurements, so it will fit us perfectly like a glove. The main reasons for never buying one were that I actually like to wear different bras, and I was a bit concerned that a full-body suit would be too hot in the summer (the fabric of the Veronica 2 is not too hot, but it’s tight, without ventilation). But if you live in a temperate region and never have to worry about extreme heat, this might be just the garment for you — and you won’t need to worry about buying extra bras any more.

The Veronica 3 also introduced another novelty: polymer gel pads. This is a highly-resistant material, flesh-coloured, which has the same density and tension as real human flesh. It’s not silicone: as said before, silicone is not really appropriate to be subjected to huge tensions, like… sitting on top of it. You get silicone breast forms because you’re usually not placing them under tension, but you might have noticed that most breast form manufacturers will warn you not to sleep in them, because the weight of your body pressed on the forms might rupture them. Obviously the state-of-the-art of this technology encapsulates the breast forms with a special plastic protection (an amusing British company calls it “sandwich wrapping”) which protects the forms to a degree (I have certainly slept in mine several times and was told not to worry too much about a rupture). The drawback is that this will give those forms a shiny, unnatural finish, which means that you won’t be able to go braless, since they will be immediately noticed as being “fake”.

Veronica 5 gel pad
Gel pad

The protective wrapping also means an extra step in the production system. Custom-made manufacturers of silicone prosthetics will forfeit the wrapping, because, when doing a cast for a customer, they will not be able to do the special wrapping. But then these products will be more vulnerable to wear and tear. Industrial prosthetics, which come just at selected sizes, will almost always include a wrapping, as they can target their production line for just a few sizes and thus keep the costs low due to mass-production (that’s one of the many reasons I opted for Amoena breastforms: while they’re industrially manufactured, they have an incredible array of sizes and options, so even though they’re not custom-made, you get a lot of options).

But you can’t do custom-made silicone padding without any protection and expect people to be able to sit on it with all they weight. Silicone simply doesn’t work for that! Thus, CCI opted for gel padding. To be honest, the look and feel is so similar to silicone (unwrapped silicone, that is), that I wouldn’t notice the difference. It certainly looks “fleshy”, lacking the “shine” from the plastic wrapping. and the pictures below don’t do any justice to it — in fact, the pads eerily look like a huge slice of beef just cut out from the butcher, and they feel like flesh as well. It’s a bit… odd, to be honest!

Unlike those super-smooth silicone breast forms that you might be used to, CCI’s gel pads are a bit rough and they look wrinkled when not in use. But don’t worry, because that won’t be noticeable when wearing them. They also have a strange, vaguely sugary smell. I don’t know what industrial process goes into their manufacturing, and — for now — I don’t know if that’s just because they are “brand new”. CCI advises to wash them with liquid soap and water before the first use. This, again, is a huge advantage over foam pads, which cannot be washed.

And… they are very, very heavy. I mean it! I was shocked when CCI told me that the package would weight 3.5 kg! This is massive! But you have to remember that these gel pads have the density of human flesh. If you actually got the extra weight to round up your hips and bottom (and had some magic way of making it fit your desired body shape!), this is exactly what you would gain in weight. But — because they imitate flesh! — the extra weight will give you two unexpected advantages: the pads will be bouncy. Mmh oh yes! And, of course, if someone pinches you on your behind, they will not notice a difference from real, human flesh. Golly!

Like silicone, this gel will also warm up with your body temperature (unlike foam). After some prolonged use, I cannot in honesty say if it’s warmer or cooler than foam pads. I will need to wait for the summer to be able to tell.

Veronica 5, seen from the front, without pads inserted
Veronica 5, seen from the front, without pads inserted

The Veronica 4 is a redesign of the Veronica 3, which will take either foam or gel pads. And, finally, the last released model is the Veronica 5, which is the equivalent of the zipper-less version of the Veronica 2, but which accepts either foam or gel pads as well.

There were some design changes as well. Now the fabric is something lacey (thus, more ventilated) and looks much more like lingerie than the Veronica 1/2. One issue I had with the Veronica 2 was the crotch section — even though I used a gaff beneath, the crotch was a bit too tight (but we are all used to some sacrifice!). The Veronica 5 only has a pull-on version — no zipper — but provides a very clever flap at the very bottom, which allows you to use the toilet — either as a male or even as a female, since the flap is in exactly the right place!

Seeing the lacey fabric, I had some doubts about the tensions it can resist, because most lace will stretch under tension, so I felt that I ought to ask Espy about it. She cast my doubts away by confirming that the fabrics they use on all their products are designed to do exactly what they should. It’s just that after a decade, there are newer and better fabrics, which do also look much nicer and feminine, and the fabric of the Veronica 5, even though it seems lighter and looks more fragile, is actually as strong as the one from the Veronica 2 — if not stronger! Any doubts are dispelled when you feel its texture. It’s definitely tough and strong!

Veronica 5 seen from the back, without pads
Veronica 5 seen from the back, without pads

On the images, which are not too good (you get better images on CCI’s own page), you’ll perhaps notice that the fabric is slightly see-through. It’s available only in the nude colour, which, for me, is a plus: one disadvantage of the Veronica 2 is that you get a choice of white or black, and you know how it is, wearing white underwear under dark clothes, or black underwear under light colours… it will be slightly noticeable. Nude is best if you wish to wear any colour. It might not be as sexy, but it’s more practical.

As said, I haven’t figured out yet if the Veronica 5 is hotter or cooler than the Veronica 2. But I can imagine that the extra ventilation provided by the lace will keep everything cooler, even if the gel pads turn out to be better insulators than the foam pads. There is an old trick from the physics class to tell what materials are insulators, and which are heat conductors. Take metal as an example. If you touch it, it’s always chilly — it convects heat rapidly away. But if you hold a piece of metal in your hands, it will quickly warm up to your body temperature. That’s the kind of material that is a heat conductor. If you remove your hands, it will cool down again relatively quickly. Now do it with a book or a wooden chair, or most plastic things. The temperature of their surface remains about the same. They might warm up a bit (if you hold a plastic cap inside your hands for a long time, it will warm up for sure) because no insulator is “perfect” and then it will remain warm for quite a while. That’s why blankets and most protective clothing are insulators.

In my experience, these gel pads are chilly to the touch, but they will warm up to body temperature, so they seem to be more heat conductors than insulators. This is similar to what happens to silicone breast forms. But, alas, the test of time will be wearing the pads at the peak of summer!

The next step is to insert the gel pads into the pockets. The pockets seem to be just very simple fabric flaps, but there has been a huge improvement over the Veronica 2 — they’re exactly matching the gel pads (the Veronica 2 had some “extra fabric” which you would wrap over the edges).

Veronica 5 without gel pads
Inside of the Veronica 5, showing the pad pockets
Veronica 5 gel pad inserted
Pad being inserted


Here is where the first two difficulties arise. The foam pads I had were actually labeled at the edges, on the inside: front/back/top/bottom, so there was no way to mix them up. Alas, this is not the case with the gel pads (probably the manufacturing procedure does not allow labels to be engraved in the pads), so you have to figure it out for yourself. To make things simpler, the inside of the gel pad is the flat one; the “bulgy” part is the outside one. You still have to figure out which one is the left pad, which one the right one, and what is the top and the bottom.

Because the pockets are made to precisely fit the pads, this helps a bit. If you’re putting them upside down, they will not fit properly. Let me just say that this is rather tricky to do correctly, compared to the foam pads! First, they weigh quite a lot, much more than you’d expect, and this means it’s not so easy to handle them. And secondly, the “fleshy” texture makes it harder to push them inside: like real flesh, the pads will stretch (they’re quite flexible, but will retain the original shape), so you’ll be constantly pushing and pulling them, thinking that they might be in place but finding out that they aren’t. Again, the precisely shaped pockets help a bit, because you can see if your alignment is correct that way.

The second difficulty is actually wearing the garment. Compared to the Veronica 2, this is a much tighter fit, at least it seems like that. Note that by “tight fit” I don’t mean it’s uncomfortable; it is, after all, made to my measurements. What I mean is that pulling them on is harder. The fabric, as said, even though it seems lighter, thinner, and it’s lacey, seems to be much sturdier and doesn’t “give” easily. No wonder: it has to keep those heavy pads in place!

This was actually one of my sources of worry: how can a mere fabric keep the pads in place? If you’re used to silicone breast forms, you know that gravity will play its role, and that’s why we — just like genetic females! — need a bra to keep them in place. Modern silicone forms are tacky, so that they stick somewhat to the chest, but they still need some support. However, the surface area in contact with the chest is comparatively small — and breast forms will weigh much less! These pads, by contrast, have a huge surface area and a lot of weight.

I was actually quite positively surprised that they do, indeed, stick to where they should. That’s thanks to CCI’s amazing design. Whatever their magic is, the pads do not slip — when they’re properly in the correct place, they will remain that way. In fact, they seem to remain much better in place than the foam pads in the Veronica 2. Then again, CCI has had a decade of experimenting to deal with all the issues in the past, and I shouldn’t be surprised that this would be a superior product even on those fine details.

When worn, the garment is actually quite comfortable — in fact, way more comfortable than the Veronica 2, which came as a complete surprise to me. When I saw the trouble I had in slipping it on, I was worried that I would be hurting all night long in a super-tight fit, and getting back pains from all the extra weight I was carrying. But it’s actually the reverse! Not only is the weight so well distributed that you will notice absolutely no difference (yes, amazing, but true!), but the Veronica 5 is far more comfortable than the Veronica 2 in all aspects. One thing that I disliked with the Veronica 2 was a certain “stiffness” in my bottom part, which prevented me from crossing my legs, bending down easily to put my shoes on, the before-mentioned issue with the crotch design, and so forth. Over time, of course, I got used to all those small things. The Veronica 5, by contrast, has none of those issues. Not only does it keep the pads much better in place, in spite of the extra weight and the completely different material (foam pads do not stretch, nor are they subject to gravity like silicone or polymer gel), but I have much freer movements below the torso, which naturally makes things much more comfortable for extended wear. The crotch issue disappeared completely, and, to be honest, while I still used my regular gaff for the first time I’ve used the Veronica 5, it’s not really necessary: the Veronica 5 will perfectly hide any “bulges”, and some normal panties will be much easier to slip off when using the toilet (it’s very tricky to do that with a gaff, btw!). Peeing in “female position” is rather easy to do (unlike the zipper version of the Veronica 2, which would make it impossible), but you can use the “male” position as well, with some care (the flap is really at the bottom, as it should be, and not in the front); of course, for the “solid” work, you will really need to take the Veronica 5 off.

The only problem is really the time it takes to wear it! CCI recommends that the pads are stored separately on a plastic bag they provide, when they’re not in use — I don’t know why. I had the foam pads always inside the Veronica 2, ready for wearing them. So, slipping the pads inside the pockets, adjusting everything, and finally wearing the garment… that takes a lot of time! I suppose that it becomes easier with practice, but, for the first times, I take ages doing that, and constantly checking and re-checking to see if both pads are symmetrical and in the proper place — because if they aren’t, your shape will look completely weird! And heavens forbid if you figure out that you have switched the left-sided pad with the right-sided one after you’ve worn the Veronica 5 — you’ll have to start from scratch! Pulling it off is also a bit harder than with the Veronica 2, but not overly so.

Here are some pictures of myself wearing the Veronica 5 under the corset. You can see the “bulge” made by the end of the corset; on that day, I had the corset not so tightly laced as usually. In fact, when wearing a dress or a skirt over it, it will become completely unnoticeable. And I suppose that if you don’t have a flabby belly like I do, or if you have a different kind of corset, this will not be a problem — you can see the pictures on CCI’s websites to see how well it fits. Again: this is not an issue of the Veronica 5, but only my own problem!

Worn Veronica 5, from the front. The bulges are not noticeable under a dress.
Worn Veronica 5, from the front. The bulges are not noticeable under a dress.
Veronica 5 from the side. You can see very well where the pads are inserted and how big they are!
Veronica 5 from the side. You can see very well where the pads are inserted and how big they are!
A closer view of the Veronica 5 from the side. The lacey fabric is slightly see-through.
A closer view of the Veronica 5 from the side. The lacey fabric is slightly see-through.

The final effect, of course, is psychologically very satisfying! Not only you get the hourglass shape just as you always dreamed to have — no way anyone can mistake you for anything but a girl if you’re wearing correctly-sized breast forms, a corset, and the Veronica 5 — but the gel pads also give that extra bouncy quality which makes them so much more realistic than foam pads. And, yes, people can slap you and pinch you, and it will look, feel, and sound just like real flesh — which is very satisfying!

There are three schools of thought regarding crossdressing, and for different types, the answer to the question “should I buy a Veronica?” will not be the same.

The first type is the kind of crossdresser who loves the touch and feel of femme clothing on their skin. The overall image matters little; they have the fetish of wearing sexy woman’s clothing, and that’s all that matters. If they look ugly or not hardly matters — it’s just the fabric, the silky touch, the excitement of wearing woman’s clothing that matter. For this kind of crossdresser, the Veronica has little interest: it’s not the normal kind of woman’s apparel that genetic women would wear (even though they could if they wish — CCI’s software also deals with genetic women!). If you have the fetish of “normal” female shapewear, there are a lot of other products in the market (like Spanx, for instance) which might be better suited to your particular tastes (and be cheaper, too!).

The second type loves to create an overall feminine image, and is not happy with “merely” putting on some lingerie and femme clothes, but wants the whole experience. However, they’re acutely aware that they have the wrong body shape for the dresses the like to wear, and, because these days foundation garments are out of fashion with genetic women, they steer away from them. The result? They don’t care about the result — women come in all shapes, after all, and lots of them wear whatever they wish even if it’s completely wrong for their bodies. If they can do it, so can we. “Natural” is the way to go; padding and corsetting are aberrations of Nature, and the Second-Wave Feminists abolished them, so why should we? The whole concept of “passing” is just prejudice and discrimination; we should wear what we want, and that’s it. Who cares if we look good or bad, so long as we’re enjoying the whole experience? If you’re that kind of crossdresser, clearly this is not the garment for you.

Finally, there is the last type, who also desires the overall feminine image, but is acutely aware that men and women have completely different body types. “Passing” is fundamental for keeping a realistic feminine image, and we will try anything that brings us closer to that. Of course we will have to make concessions — after all, except for supermodels, most women will also have to struggle with the styles that their particular body type allows them to wear — but when we dress according to our body type, we want to be immediately recognised as a woman, not a guy in drag. That means doing one of two things: either become as skinny and androgynous as possible (because that way any type of clothing will fit), or, if that route is impossible, we need good foundation wear. The Veronica is an indispensable garment for this last type.

So, if you’re still reading this, and wondering if the Veronica is for you… think of what you wish to achieve with your crossdressing. If you’re after the perfect feminine image, and that’s all that matters, then you have no choice: you’ll have to order one. You won’t believe the difference it makes after you put it on — provided, of course, that you have already a pair of correctly-sized breast forms (for your chest size) and a corset. If not, order some. You can look curvy and shapely if you have all three, even if you have long given up the hopes of looking even remotely feminine. Except for extreme cases of morbid obesity (and you should do something about that anyway!), foundation garments can work wonders in shaping your body. But a corset is not enough. Spanx will just keep the tummy in the right place and enhance your bottom, but it won’t give you hips and a female bottom. Rolled-up stockings slipped into the sides of your pantyhose will just not look good enough to pass. You need a Veronica as well. After all, who wants just to look female from the torso upwards? The rest of your body matters as much!

If you’re transgendered and in transition, you have a much higher incentive to buy a Veronica, specially if you’re still doing the Real Life test and the hormones haven’t done their magic yet. Sure, you can disguise the lack of hips with an appropriate skirt. But it’s so much more fun to be able to show off some hips and bottom in some tight jeans. It will boost your confidence tremendously, it will ease your transition because you’ll really look shaped like a woman, and, sure, if your hormone therapy is a huge success, you might at some point discard the Veronica and just show off your new body. But since that takes a lot of time, the Veronica is your friend all the way, and you can always replace the pads as your own natural hips and bottom start to get more fat on it thanks to HRT.

These days, to be honest, I cannot look at myself at the mirror without a Veronica. It simply looks “wrong”. On the other hand, I like the build-up in confidence when I’m wearing a Veronica, because all my outfits will show off my lovely curves.