Early in life when my only feminine experience was with the mirror, I learned quickly my quick visits with my new friend did not last long. Within days I found myself right back where I started. Mostly very confused concerning my gender. None of what I was doing helped me with my youthful desires to be like the other girls my age. Years later I finally learned how I was beating my head against the wall. In reality I was just trying to look like a girl not be one. All of this was occurring way before the internet and social media and in fact long before the term transgender was ever invented. So I was very much on my own except for the occasional issue of "Transvestia" I received in the mail. It's founder Virginia Prince was very much into the theory of all transvestites should be heterosexual to be a member of her organization.
Which in many ways was alright with me since I considered myself hetero at the time and was until my sexuality did come into question until I was transitioning. None of this helped me to understand clothes do not make the woman.
It took me years longer to why I felt this way. First of all, I had to look at what I felt made a woman. It turned out, nobody makes anything such as a woman or a man, While it is true most of us are born into one or the other of the binary female or male genders, over the years we have the chance to socialize ourselves and grow into women or men. Secondly as we grow into women or men, clothes are just a way to better present ourselves to the world at large. Early on we transgender women or men learn the more proficient we become at presenting as our authentic selves, the easier our path is when we actually find our way out of the mirror and into the world.
As I went through the often painful process of separating myself from the mirror, I still was having a difficult time understanding why just presenting well as a woman didn't come close to me having any sort of an idea of what a woman was. In other words, clothes for me were not making the woman. Following many more years of hard earned research and learning, I finally came to the conclusion gender was between the ears for me and likely had been my entire life. Clothes were just an extension of my inner feminine soul.
Similar to any man attempting to hang on to his frail masculinity, I fought the feelings as long as I could. Finally one night I decided to let my feminine self have her way totally. Now I wish I would have manned up and did it years ago.
I found out the hard way clothes do not make the woman. You do.