Sunday, November 30, 2008

Angie Harmon

Just caught a bit of Good Advice, a film starring Angie Harmon and Charlie Sheen. When I noticed that Ms. Harmon was taller (in heels) than Mr. Sheen, I checked her height on the Internet and as a result, I am happy to add the 5' 10" beauty to the Famous Females of Height list.

Don't you want to be part of the experience?

When I'm feeling down, feeling a little guilty about my trans-ness, or feeling a little depressed, I think about the following words from Hannah and Her Sisters by Woody Allen.

One day, a month ago, I really hit bottom. I just felt that in a godless universe I didn't want to go on living.

I happen to own this rifle, which I loaded and pressed to my forehead.
I thought, "I'm gonna kill myself."

Then I thought, "What if I'm wrong? What if there is a God? Nobody really knows."

Then I thought, "No. Maybe is not good enough. I want certainty or nothing."

I remember clearly, the clock was ticking and I was sitting there frozen debating whether to shoot. All of a sudden, the gun went off. I was so tense I inadvertently squeezed the trigger. But I was perspiring so much the gun slid off my forehead and missed me.

Suddenly, neighbors were pounding on the door and the whole scene was just pandemonium. I ran to the door. I didn't know what to say. I was embarrassed and confused.

My mind was racing a mile a minute. I just knew one thing: I had to get out of that house. I had to get out in the fresh air and clear my head. And I remember, I walked the streets. I didn't know what was going through my mind. It all seemed so violent and unreal to me.

I wandered on the Upper West Side. It must have been hours. My feet hurt, my head was pounding. I went into a movie. Didn't know what was playing. I just needed a moment to gather my thoughts and be logical and put the world back into rational perspective.

I went up to the balcony and I sat down. The movie* was one I'd seen many times in my life since I was a kid, and I always loved it. I'm watching the screen and I started getting hooked on the film.

And I started to feel: "How can you think of killing yourself? Isn't it stupid? Look at all the people on-screen. They're funny, and what if the worst is true? There's no God, you only go around once, that's it. Don't you want to be part of the experience? It's not all a drag."

And I'm thinking, "I should stop ruining my life searching for answers and just enjoy it while it lasts."

And after, who knows? Maybe there is something.

I know "maybe" is a slim reed to hang your life on, but that's the best we have. And then I started to sit back and I actually began to enjoy myself.

* Duck Soup
starring The Marx Brothers

Saturday, November 29, 2008

all bundled up

On Thanksgiving Day, I went to New York City to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I had a great time, even though there were fewer celebrities in the parade that I recognized than there were last year.

Last year when I wrote about my trip to The City to view the parade, I noted that half the woman I saw "wearing skirts or dresses were also wearing black tights with black patent high heels." This year, the weather was a lot cooler and most women were bundled up to stay warm.

One woman in our group wore an incredibly short skirt, with black tights and black patent heels despite the weather (something I would do), but she was the exception. Most women were dressed appropriately for the weather including Miss USA (pictured here), who looked beautiful. Click on the photo to magnify the image and check out her boots!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

bras for boys

This story has been bouncing around the Internet for almost a week now and I am getting mixed messages from the various reports I have read.

According to the Reuters article, "A Japanese online lingerie retailer is selling bras for cross-dressing men and they've quickly become one of its most popular items.

"Since launching two weeks ago on Rakuten, a major Japanese web shopping mall, the Wishroom shop has sold over 300 men's bras for 2,800 yen ($30) each. The shop also stocks men's panties, as well as lingerie for women."

The mixed message is whether the retailer is targeting its boy bras for crossdressers or non-crossdresser, although I am sure they will accept anybody's money!

The beginning of the Reuters article indicates that crossdressers are the target customers, then the article seems to contradict itself by quoting the Executive Director of the retailer, "I think more and more men are becoming interested in bras. Since we launched the men's bra, we've been getting feedback from customers saying, 'Wow, we'd been waiting for this for such a long time.'"

Other reports (like this one from Wallet Pop and this one from Inventor Spot) indicate that non-crossdressing males and metrosexuals are the target customers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

boys' names into girls' names

Are you stuck for a name for your femulated persona?

The easy way out is to use the feminine version of your boy name, for example, Andrew becomes Andrea, Jack becomes Jacqueline, and Pat becomes Pat.

If you don't know the feminine version of your boy name, here is a short list of boy names and their feminine equivalents.

evening gown out of the blue

Peaches, one of my regular readers, gifted me with a Jessica McClintock evening gown.

Peaches and her SO bought the gown during a sale at the Jessica McClintock warehouse in San Francisco. Peach's SO wore the gown for one occasion and since then, she has downsized and has no use for the gown.

Peaches was going to sell it on eBay, but before doing so, asked me if I wanted it gratis. How could I refuse such a generous offer!

The gown arrived and when I opened the box, I found a gorgeous white tea-length gown. I crossed my fingers that it would fit and when I slipped it over my head, it fit perfectly. Now I just have to wait for the right occasion to wear it.

Peaches and your SO, thank you both for the lovely gift!

(By the way, the photo depicts a different, but just as lovely Jessica McClintock gown.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday musings

(Updated Below)
I watch awards shows to see the fashions worn by the female attendees and the rare male attendees, who show up in female attire. So, when I saw that a music awards show was on television last night. I watched it, but after about 15 minutes, I switched to a movie titled Passed Away.

I almost changed the channel as soon as the announcer announced that Jimmy Kimmel was the master of ceremonies (I hate don't care for Mr. Kimmel), but I stay tuned because Christine Aguilera opened the show (I love Ms. Aguilera). She was worth staying tuned, but I wasn't in the mood to sit through a lot of music that I did not like just to glimpse an occasional plate of fashion, so I moved on.

I switched back during commercials and I did catch the gorgeous Rihanna looking gorgeous as she collected an award, but that was about the extent my good catches during commercials.


I received my latest Spiegel clearance find and was surprised that it fit.

I had no doubt that the skirt would fit because it was in my size, but I was not so sure about the jacket. Spiegel did not have the jacket in my size, so I took a chance and ordered one size smaller. I was very surprised that it fit like a glove! I guess my weight loss made the difference.

The skirt also fit like a glove. It was a little shorter than I expected, but that won't prevent me from wearing it!


I plan to wear my new outfit on my next outing en femme, which will be next Tuesday, when I participate in outreach at two human sexuality classes at Southern Connecticut State University.

UPDATE: Regarding my first musing above, "hate" is a strong word. I don't hate Jimmy Kimmel. I just don't find him amusing or talented and sometimes I find him offensive, so I avoid him whenever possible.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

imaginary portrait of Diane Arbus

Yesterday, I watched a film titled Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey, Jr. It was an interesting film, but according to the film reviews I read today, the title was accurate and the story had little to do with the reality of photographer Arbus' life. That being said, I enjoyed the film and I recommend it. (In my opinion, most films starring Kidman and Downey have some redeeming value.)

In addition to the story, I enjoyed the 1950's fashions worn by the women in the film. Some of the dresses were like the title of another Kidman film, to die for.

Also, there was a trans-moment in the film. About half way through, Arbus attends a party where there are men in various stages of getting crossdressed. (Transpeople were occasionally the subject of Arbus' work.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

going out en femme with less peril

In response to yesterday's post, Christy Tindy wrote, "You're so right about personal safety. As I was leaving a drag club one time my girlfriend stopped me and asked if I had my car keys out.

"I didn't think much about it until she explained that you should have the keys ready and out where the lighting is good rather than a block away in the dark. Plus, you can use the key to defend yourself if it comes to it."

I have been using this key strategy for awhile... even in daylight. For example, whenever I am finished shopping en femme, whether it is day or night, I remove my keys from my purse before I leave the store or mall and head out to my parked car.

Also, you might consider adding pepper spray to your arsenal. They sell small cannisters specifically designed to attach to your keychain.

You can never be too safe!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

the REAL perils of going out en femme

Yesterday, I wrote about my Tuesday evening out en femme and how I had a close encounter with a former co-worker, who I feared might out me at my workplace if she figured out who I was en femme.

Being outed at work is a real peril of going out en femme. It could result in the loss of your job and could negatively effect any future employment. However, there are worse real perils of going out en femme like the loss of your life.

Years ago, a bunch of girls decided to go to a gay bar after the conclusion of our support group meeting. I had never been, so I agreed to go to see what it was like.

As it turned out, I didn't like it. Smokey dim-lit bars are not my cup of tea, so I had one drink and hung around just long enough so that my clothes and wig stunk from the cigarette smoke.

The bar was not in the best neighborhood. The streets were not well lit and my car was parked a long block away. As I left the bar, another patron exited after me, followed me, and began accosting me. He thought I was one of the girls performing in the bar's drag show and he wanted a "date."

I was scared, so I ignored him, and walked to my car as fast as possible. (In retrospect, I should have returned to the bar and asked for an escort to my car.) He finally gave up pursuit, I assume, because I would pay him no mind. I escaped unharmed, although a little unnerved, but others have not been so lucky.

There are a lot of girls, who have turned up dead after being in similar situations and today we memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

For more information, visit the International Transgender Day of Remembrance Web site and find a Transgender Day of Remembrance event near you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the perils of going out en femme

Last night, I went out en femme wearing my new babydoll dress that I bought during my last outing (see photo).

I did my makeup the way the Sephora representative suggested during my makeover and I was very pleased with the results. I love the new powder foundation; being a powder, it is very lightweight, but it does an excellent job as a foundation.

I tried to replicate what the Sephora rep did and I thought I did a decent job, but after looking at my photos from last night, I don't think I did my eyes correctly. Well, practice makes perfect and I will have another go at it real soon now.

Out the door and on the road, my first stop was Dress Barn to pick out and try on outfits to model at my support group's in-store party.

The Dress Barn saleswoman, who I have been working with organizing the party, accompanied me through the store and we picked out a large handful of items to try on.

While we were looking through the racks, a new customer walked in, who happens to be a woman I worked with for ten years or more. She left my company two years ago, but I thought she might recognize me because she had seen me in drag when I went to work en femme on Halloween a few years ago. Then, I wore an auburn pageboy wig and was about 15 pounds heavier, so she might have not put two and two together seeing me last night in my short blond wig, but I was still very concerned because she still has friends at my workplace and if she had any suspicions, I am sure it would get back to work because she is a "gossip."

I told the Dress Barn saleswoman about my concerns. Luckily, we had already picked out a load of outfits to try on, so she escorted me to a dressing room in the Women's section of the store far away from my former co-worker, who was shopping in the Misses section of the store.

I began trying on clothes. First, I tried on the three holiday party dresses we selected. The one I liked the best did not fit in the bust area. The other two fit perfectly and I chose one to model at our party.

Next, I tried on the daytime "office girl drag" outfits we selected. The first outfit I tried on was my favorite: a clingy multi-colored top and a black skirt with a black patent belt.

I had my doubts about the outfit. I just don't look good in outfits like that (skirts and tight tops) and the only way to make them work is to wear a jacket or cardigan to cover up what needs covering up.

But I was pleasantly surprised! Just as I was buttoning up the skirt, my saleswoman returned to see how I was doing and she said the top and skirt looked great. I had to agree. I love my new weight! A girlish figure with no bulges where there shouldn't be bulges. (Nine pounds down and I plan to lose more.)

I was done, so I got dressed, and escaped without encountering my woman friend. I was a little disappointed because I was hoping to do more browsing and take my time in Dress Barn. But it worked out anyway because I did what I went there to do despite my unexpected encounter.

My next stop was the first meeting of the Non Conforming Gender Variant Group(s). Since I exited Dress Barn so early, I was too early for the meeting, so I stopped at the Payless shoe store, where I have shopped numerous times for women's shoes while in boy mode. It would be my first time shopping in that store en femme and as I walked into the store, I noticed that the two saleswomen were the same saleswomen I had dealt with in boy mode.

I tried on a lot of shoes, but did not buy anything. I was just killing time and really did not intend to buy anything unless something really moved me and the only pair of shoes that moved me to make a purchase, did not fit.

I exited the store and the saleswomen bid me adieu. I don't know if they figured me out. They might have realized I was male, but I doubt that they realized I was the male who had shopped there for women's shoes in the past.

I arrived right on time for group meeting. Thirteen people showed up including five significant others (SO's). I knew everyone except two (a tranwoman and the SO of another transwoman).

Each of us told the group about ourselves and conversations were spun off from what different people said. I spoke first because no one else wanted to speak first and I gave my bio in a nutshell. There was no spin off from what I said.

Two hours flew by and it was very interesting, but with five couples in attendance, the conversations were more couples-oriented and not too pertinent to me. It's not that I don't have issues with my SO, but these conversations did not deal with my issues. And so it goes.

Thirty minutes later, I was back home and back in boy mode already looking forward to my next time out en femme.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

out tonight

I will be going out en femme this evening.

First stop is Dress Barn to pick out and try on outfits to model at my support group's in-store party.

Second stop is the first meeting of the Non Conforming Gender Variant Group(s).

I will have a full report and photos for you here tomorrow.

Monday, November 17, 2008

clip-on comeback

Who would have thought that clip-on earrings would make a comeback? Not me, that is for sure.

Since I am in boy mode most of the time, I have resisted getting my ears pierced for those few hours each month when I am in girl mode. So I wear clip-on earrings.

These days, clip-ons are hard to find. Some stores don't carry clip-ons at all and the ones that do, have a very limited selection compared to the array of pierced earring they have for sale.

I am happy to learn this morning that clip-ons are making a comeback according to this article by Lindsay Mannering on The Huffington Post. Even our First Lady Elect was recently seen wearing a pair of vintage clip-ons.

I don't know how long it will take for the local retailers to begin stocking up on clip-ons, but as soon as they do, I will be buying them up before they go out of style again.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

humor in an en femme vein

If you have been reading this blog long enough, you may have noticed that I enjoy celebrating the lighter side of being en femme. For example, see my blog post from earlier today.

One of my all time favorite Web sites for humor in an en femme vein is Transgender Graphics and Fiction Archive. Problem is that the site's last update was in March 2002, so I am always on the lookout for something more current.

A few days ago, I discovered "something more current," i.e., the TG Comics (and Stories) Web site. I have been perusing the site off and on since discovering it and I have had a few laughs (the toon accompanying this post came from that site; click on the image to enlarge it).

If you enjoy the lighter side of being en femme, I recommend that you visit TG Comics (and Stories) Web site.

guess I'm different!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

next outing

Tuesday evening, I plan to make my next foray out in the world en femme.

First stop will be the Dress Barn where I am hosting a Very Indulgent Party for my support group next month.

I volunteered to model outfits at the party (like they had to twist my arm to do it), so Tuesday, I am going to work with a saleswoman to put together the outfits I will be modeling. One will be a daytime office girl ensemble and the second will be a glam holiday party ensemble.

Next stop will be the inaugural meeting of my friend Patty's Non Conforming Gender Variant Group(s). It will be a get acquainted meeting, so I don't expect to have any great ephiphany, but I do look forward to seeing some new and old faces. (If you are interested, e-mail me and I will provide contact information for the group and meeting, which will take place in central Connecticut.)

Oh... what am I wearing Tuesday evening?

Since I will be trying on clothes at Dress Barn, I will wear something I can slip in and out of easily, so I plan to wear the black babydoll dress that I bought at JCPenney last week. I promise to take photos.

Friday, November 14, 2008

just rewards

I got on the scale this morning (actually, I get on the scale every morning) and I have lost 8 pounds! (Isn't that equivalent to one dress size, more or less?)

Anyway, it was slow going, but I did it (and I plan to lose a few more pounds).

To reward myself, I bought this tweed bouclé jacket and skirt that Spiegel has for sale. Their original price was $79 and $49 respectively; their sale price is $14.99 and $12.99!

How can I resist?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

passable vs. presentable

Passing, in regard to gender identity, refers to a person's ability to be accepted or regarded as a member of the sex or gender with which they identify, or with which they physically present. (from Wikipedia)

I like to think that I pass. Just today, I received an e-mail from a dear friend who wrote, "You pass so well."

But who am I kidding?

I am six feet, two inches tall (or a more dainty five feet, 14 inches tall) and I always wear heels of some height when I am out en femme (OEF). There are not too many women out there who are six-feet-two. (I list the famous ones here.) So, when I am OEF, my height is my biggest giveaway.

I can hear some of you saying to yourself, "Well, Girl, don't wear heels, then you will be shorter."

My response to that is even without heels, my height is still my biggest giveaway and adding three or four inches will not make much difference.

Last Friday at the mall, I passed some of the time.

While I was walking through the mall, I passed a few women walking in the opposite direction, who looked me in the eye and smiled. Of course, I returned the smile. When a woman smiles at another woman, it is a sign of camaraderie, so when a woman smiles at you when you are OEF, it is a good sign that they have accepted you into the club.

On the other hand, I have also passed women in the mall, whose smiles indicate that they have read me as a male. Their smiles (or smirks) indicate that they are mildly amused by my attempt to pass. Go OEF for awhile and you will begin to recognize the difference between smirks and genuine smiles.

At the mall last Friday, there were times when I did not pass.

For example, the saleswoman at Sephora referred to me as "he," then quickly corrected herself and referred to me as "she." I was not offended. When you are up close in another person's face, as when you are dealing with a salesperson, it is more difficult to pass because they are concentrating on you and therefore, are more likely to pick up telltale signs that you are male.

I have gone OEF enough to resign myself to the fact that sometimes I pass and sometimes I do not pass. There is not much I can do about my ability to pass because I believe I have pushed the envelope about as far as I can to emulate a woman without undergoing surgery.

Admittedly, my ultimate goal is to be passable, but since that is not always possible, I always try to make myself look presentable. If I present as the best woman I can be, then I will be less likely to attract attention and will blend in with the real women out there.

On the other hand, if I go to the mall wearing my highest heels, shortest skirt, largest breasts, biggest hair, and thickest makeup, I am going to attract a lot of attention. Dressed so, more people will check me out and thus increase the chances that people will recognize my birth gender.

So, I try to present myself as a real woman would present herself in a similar situation. Last Friday, I even wore dress slacks instead of a skirt in order to be more presentable and I believe that helped.

While I was at Sephora perched on the makeover seat at the front of the store, I did attract the attention of a lot of passerbys, but none of them gave any indication that they recognized me as a male. All they saw was a woman getting a makeover, so they gave me an interested passing glance and went on their way.

It probably helped that I was seated, so that my height was hidden, but I think more important was the fact that I looked presentable in that situation. I really looked like a woman who had been shopping in the mall and stopped at Sephora for a makeover.

One more thing: if you are presentable, other people are more likely to respect you and treat you like a lady even if they know you are not really a lady. If I dress like a teen queen, I am not going to get much respect, but if I dress like a middle-aged woman (with impeccable taste, by the way), I have found that I get respect because I am trying to be a female clone, not a clown.

So, the bottom line is that, of course, you want to be passable, but before you can be passable, you must be presentable. And once you hone your presentation, you may or may not pass, but at least you know you did your best come what may.

(Thank you, Michelia, for suggesting this topic.)

imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... NOT

(updated below)

I am mad!

While browsing the Internet this morning, I discovered that someone plagiarized my July 28 posting titled "men in skirts." They did not even bother to change the name of the article or its content. Their plagiarized version is almost word for word what I wrote back in July.

If you are interested, you can see the thief's handiwork here.

'Nuf said.

UPDATE: After I pointed out the error, they added a link at the end of the article indicating the original source.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama transition team is transgender-inclusive

From PageOneQ comes this story by Nick Cargo:

In what is being viewed as a strong signal to activists nationwide, the transition office of President-elect Barack Obama has issued a non-discrimination policy including sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Obama-Biden Transition Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law," says the website of the Office of the President-elect,

While Executive Order 13087, signed by President Clinton in 1998 to amend President Nixon's Executive Order 11478, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in hiring for the federal civilian workforce, it does not mention gender identity. "The inclusion of gender identity is a bold departure from the past," said ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Christopher E. Anders, "and it sends a clear message."

Read the rest of the story here.

Controversy at the Crossdressers' Support Group Meeting

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved. — from the Transgender Day of Remembrance Web site

Visit the Web site to find a Transgender Day of Remembrance event near you.

coming to terms

Yesterday, I mentioned that I had to look up the meaning of the word "pintuck."

Although I am a fashionista, I admit that I do not knowing the meaning of every fashion term. Google usually comes to my rescue when I a fashion term stumps me, as it did yesterday when I looked up "pintuck."

Yesterday, Google's first choice was Glossary of Fabric & Fashion Terms, which is where I found the definition for "pintuck."

Kohl's glossary is comprehensive and I recommend it highly.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Friday fun en femme redux

I was frustrated finding images for my "Friday fun en femme" blog posting. Neither the JCPenney or Dress Barn Web sites had those items I bought online, so there were no images to grab for my posting.

I revisited the JCPenney Web site last night and I did find an image of the skirt I bought, but in a different color, and I found a dress that is very similar to the one I bought at Dress Barn.

The skirt is an east5th long bias-cut skirt, described as follows:

A flattering A-line style makes a very versatile asset.

* tailored with a wider waistband
* invisible side zipper
* length looks good with boots, too

east5th long skirt has a full polyester taffeta lining. Plaid is polyester/rayon; solids are polyester/rayon/spandex. Washable and imported.

The version pictured here is Black/Polar Bear Plaid. The one I bought is Red/Polar Bear Plaid and is much prettier than the black version.

The dress is a Sandra Darren, described as follows:

Sheer mesh and satin stripes update the little black dress into a stunning favorite.

* softly pintucked
* mesh is layered over a black slipdress
* ribbon belt
* tailored and relaxed fit

Pintuck dress is polyester. Hand wash, line dry. Imported.

By the way, I had to look up "pintuck" and here is a definition: a small, narrow fold of fabric stitched together to create the appearance of a line or stripe.

The big difference between the dress pictured here and the one I bought at Dress Barn is that the pintucks on my dress are gold and silver and give the dress a completely different and amazing look. (When I wear, I promise to post a photo here.)

hit me with your best browser

The popularity of this blog amazes me!

Throughout the summer and early fall, the blog averaged 641 hits per day. When I began writing about my Fantasia Fair experiences, the hit count jumped 65% averaging well over 1000 hits per day.

I expected that number would drop off after I stopped blogging about Fantasia Fair, but on the contrary, the number increased averaging 1127 hits per day! Last Wednesday was an all time high (so far) with an eye-popping 1780 hits.

In the past, the hit count always dropped off on weekends, but not any longer; the last two weekends averaged 1244 hits per day.

During that same time period, the number of repeat visitors has jumped by 50%.

Meanwhile, I discovered that words written here are showing up in other Web places. In the left sidebar, I quote fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg ("Feel like a woman. Wear a dress!"). Below her quote is my retort, "Feel like a woman. Wear a bra!" Those two quotations were recently repeated on the "I Love Fashion" section of the Experience Project Web site.

Also, my "Top 30 Things Every Crossdressing Man Needs In His Wardrobe To Emulate A Woman" has been picked up by other Web sites.

I guess I must be doing something right and I hope I continue to do so, but I do appreciate your input about what I write (and don't write).

Is there any subject I should write more about? Is there any subject I should avoid? Is there anything new you would like me to write about?

I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday fun en femme

(updated below)

I went out en femme yesterday.

It decided to go out at the last minute. My week long eye problem started clearing up midday on Thursday and was completely gone when I woke up yesterday, so I called work, told the boss I was taking a vacation day, then I dressed to go out. I wore my real estate agent drag ensemble (white top, black slacks, pink suit jacket, and black booties).

I was on the road at 9 AM and my first stop was Contessa Corset Shop in West Hartford. It was a "pig in a poke" selection.

Since Irene's closed in New Britain, I have been looking for another local trans-friendly store to buy foundation garments. A lot of the local girls recommended Princess Lingerie Shop in Waterbury, but I am leery about driving around my old hometown en femme where I still have a lot of friends, relatives, and acquaintances, who are familiar with my car and its Amateur Radio call sign license plates. So, I searched online for another local store and the closest one was Contessa Corset Shop.

I did not call ahead to make an appointment because my decision to go out was a last minute thing. I had no idea how I would be treated. Well, I have good news: I was treated like a lady by the saleswoman named Brenda. She helped me find what I needed, made suggestions on other options, and was genuinely happy to have me as a customer. By the way, her prices were reasonable and comparable to online prices.

As I was leaving, I asked if I could recommend her store to my trans-friends and she said she would be happy to have more customers like me.

Next stop was West Farms Mall in Farmington. First stop in the mall was Sephora. My powder foundation is almost gone and since its manufacturer is also gone, I wanted to find something comparable.

A saleswoman greeted me and helped me find a comparable powder foundation. As I was checking out, I asked the saleswoman how much they charged for makeovers. She replied that makeovers were "free," but that all the cosmeticians were in a training class. She suggested that I could come back later in the day or make an appointment for a makeover on another day.

My next goal was to find a long lightweight sweater coat like the one Patty lent me for my week at Fantasia Fair. I browsed through a few store looking for a similar coat without success.

While in JCPenney, I browsed their dress department and found three dresses and two skirts that I liked. I took them to the dressing room and tried them on. Everything fit fine, but I only liked the look of two dresses and the one skirt on me. I purchased the three items.

The skirt is a long bias-cut A-line from east5th in red/polar bear plaid. The hem is at my mid-calf and will look great with boots.

One dress is a cute black cap-sleeve babydoll from B. Smart decorated with black buttons accenting its scoop neckline and pockets. It is lightly pleated below the collar and its hem is above the knee. It will look great in black tights and my black patent high heel Mary Janes.

The other dress is very '60s retro from Worthington. It is a simple dark gray short-sleeve A-line with metallic silver threads in the fabric. The collar makes it so retro; a curved piece with a gray button on each end (see my drawing of the collar). The hem falls above my knees and will look good with off-black hose and a pair of dressy heels.

(Sorry, but there are no photos of the dresses on the JCPenney Web site, so you have to put up with my rough descriptions and drawings.)

JCPenney had a sale, so the three items cost $98 vs. their list price of $188, which was a nice savings (and my last of the day).

I decided to take my purchases to my car, then continue shopping. But by the time I walked to the other end of the mall where my car was parked, my feet needed a break. As I passed Sephora again, I noticed that they were not too busy, so I decided to cool my heels while getting a makeover.

A cosmetician sat me at a makeover kiosk right near the entrance of the store and began working her magic on my face. (Being so strategically located, I had an audience throughout the makeover.) The transformation was amazing. I was very impressed by a product she used that shrank and smoothed out the bags under my eyes, which subtracted years from my visage. I bought a lot of the products that she used, so much so that I qualified for some "free" gifts.

My "free" makeover was hardly free, but I was very happy with the results and received a few appreciative glances as I exited the mall and walked to my car. (I really regretted not bringing a camera yesterday.)

My week-long bout with the allergy was taking its toll; I was tired and ready to call it quits for the day, but I wanted to show off my makeover one more time. So I decided to visit Dress Barn across the street from the mall and size up what they had to offer in anticipation of our party there next month.

After my spending spree at Contessa, Sephora, and JCPenney, I had no intention of buying anything at Dress Barn; I just wanted to familiarize myself with their offerings, but as I walked into the store, a dress on display in the window caught my eye. An overcoat over the dress hid a lot of it, but it still looked very attractive.

I entered the store and lifted the overcoat to see the rest of the dress. It was gorgeous, but the display model was too small and I did not see the dress on a rack in the immediate vicinity. So, I proceeded to look through the store and saw a lot of nice things that I noted to check out more closely during our Dress Barn party next month.

During my tour of the store, I did find a rack with three copies of the dress I saw in the window display. The largest of the three was a size 16. I examined it and I concluded that it was too small in the shoulder and bust area. I sighed as I hung it back on the rack.

I continued touring the store and just as I was about to leave, I returned to "the dress" and decided to try it on. What did I have to lose?

It fit like the proverbial glove and I had to buy it even though it was not on sale. With only four in the store and only one in my size, how likely would there still be one available a month later? I did get a 10% discount by signing up for a Dress Barn credit card.

The dress is a Sandra Darren black sleeveless mesh dress. Over the mesh are silver and gold vertical stripes that look like ribbons covering the length of the dress. Underneath the mesh is a black full slip with spaghetti straps. A black ribbon belt cinches the waist. Its hem falls below my knees. And did I say, it fits like a glove?

It is so classy; a very nice cocktail or holiday party dress. I'll probably wear it with black hose and my faux suede high heel platform pumps.

With that purchase and my credit card going down in flames, I decided to call it a day en femme... another wonderful day en femme.

UPDATE: I found this photo of a vintage '60s dress that has a collar similar to the one on the dress I bought at JCPenney.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

my fashion sense

I have fashion sense.

I can put outfits together and accessorize them. I can also do my makeup and style my hair (wigs). I'm no expert, but I think that for a natural born guy, I do well doing those girly things.

I read and practice a lot to improve my girly skills, but I think there is more to it than that. I think that I took after my Mom.

Mom was a fashion plate. We were not rich by any means; we were lower middle class at best, but Mom always dressed very nicely wearing outfits she sewed herself.

Mom was also beautiful and did not have to wear a lot of makeup. Lipstick, powder, and rouge were the only ingredients in her makeup bag.

Overall, Mom's look was very classy.

I inherited my fashion sense from Mom. Over the years, I honed my girly skills, but to start, my basic girly skills came from Mom. When I was a little girly boy, I was fascinated watching her do her hair and makeup and sew pretty clothes to wear with beautiful hats and always, with high heels.

I am a high heel maven just like my Mom. In fact, a lot of girls my age have an affinity for high heels because our mothers came from a generation in which high heels were the standard footwear for going out. Similarly, girls my age favor dresses because that is what our mothers wore most of the time.

It is not only me; many of us get our fashion sense from our Moms. Luckily, my Mom had a great fashion sense and a little of that rubbed off on me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Formal Portrait Via Photoshop

Denise e-mailed me some photos that she shot at Fantasia Fair. I liked one of the photos so much that I decided to convert it into a formal portrait.

Using Photoshop, I replaced the original background (a banquet hall) with a gold backdrop. I also deleted the name badge lanyard from around my neck and touched up my makeup.

I am very happy with the results.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Acceptance in Dreamland

Last night, I dreamed I was back in college during final exams, unprepared as usual in such dreams.

With only 15 minutes to go before my Psychology course final exam started, I was out on the campus scrambling between buildings trying to find an exam schedule because I forgot where my exam was taking place.

At one point, I dumped the contents of my white pocketbook on the ground and rifled through each of its pockets trying to find the schedule. I woke up from the dream shortly thereafter still looking for the schedule.

As I have written here before, I seldom remember my dreams, but those I do remember have a trans theme. The usual plot of those dreams is that I get dressed en femme and then run into a friend or relative, who accepts me in my feminine persona.

Last night's dream seems to be a step beyond that dream theme. Last night, I did not get dressed and I did not run into a friend or relative, who accepts me. Last night, I was already dressed and never noticed how I was dressed. Only when I searched my pocketbook was there any indication that I was dressed en femme. Getting dressed and being accepted was not an issue. Instead, I was already dressed en femme and acting as a woman might in that situation.

Maybe the dream is telling me that I have finally accepted my feminine persona and no longer need the affirmation of others.

Stay tuned.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday musings

(updated below)

I am fairly certain that my ills the past ten days are allergy-related.

I popped a Claritin-D 12-hour allergy pill last night and all my ills disappeared. Eleven hours later, my eyes are starting to water and my head is getting congested again. In an hour, I will pop another Claritin-D and I suspect I will feel great again.


I plan to go to Dress Barn today to arrange an in-store party for my support group.


My eyesight has deteriorated since my last visit to my optometrist over two years ago, so I plan to visit my optometrist today, which is conveniently located next door to Dress Barn, to see if they are on my new insurance plan, and, if so, schedule an appointment.

Last time, I picked out female frames that 99% of the public would never consider female. This time, I want to pick out something more feminine than my last pick.


My favorite source for warpaint, Marlene Klein Cosmetics, seems to be no more. The Web site has a lot of broken links, missing Web pages, missing images, and my e-mails have bounced back. If anyone knows anything about the current status of Marlene Klein Cosmetics, I would appreciate hearing from you.


UPDATE: This morning, I went to Dress Barn in boy mode to make arrangements for an in-store party for my support group. The store manager was enthusiastic and very accommodating. She said we can even have a fashion show during the party (an option I was unaware of).

The party would take place for two hours after the store closes, so we will have the run of the store. Everyone gets a 15% discount.

The store will provide refreshments and we can provide additional refreshments if we wish.

The store is a Dress Barn Woman store, so they do have larger sizes as well as Misses sizes.

I just have to confirm the date with my support group and then proceed with the party.

By the way, the store has some delicious clothing on display and I can't wait to return in girl mode to do some shopping.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Vote Sam Caliguri Out of Office

I am a liberal. At work, I am probably the most liberal person in the building. (I work in an engineering design and development shop and my fellow employees tend to be more conservative than I.)

I do not mix politics and work unless I am confronted by someone who is in my face with their political views. Most people know how I lean, so they don't confront me, but occasionally someone will.

Similarly, I do not mix politics and this blog unless it has a direct connection with trans issues. (The "Femulators for Obama" button down in the lower right frame is an exceptions, but it is just sitting there on display minding its own business. I have not been in your face blogging incessantly about Obama, McCain, Biden, and Palin.)

But I will get in your face about the candidacy of the State Senator running for re-election in my district, that is, the 16th senate district of Connecticut, which includes the towns of Southington, Wolcott, and parts of Cheshire and Waterbury.

In May 2007, the Connecticut state senate passed the gender anti-discrimination bill by a 30-4 margin (it died in the state house of representatives). My state senator voted against it. He also voted against the bill when it came up for a vote in his committee (the Education Committee) and I suspect that he will vote against the bill again if he has an opportunity to do so in the future.

For that reason, I urge you to vote against Sam Caliguri if you live in the 16th senate district of Connecticut.*

I also urge you to vote against the referendum calling for a state constitutional convention. Some of the groups in favor of that referendum are against GLBT and woman's rights and I assure you that they would do no good regarding trans issues.

* Senator Caliguri irks me for other reasons. He is one of those Republicans that hides the fact that he is a Republican. I have yet to find a mention of his party affiliation in any of his campaign literature. In fact, his campaign literature gives the false impression that he is an "independent," which he is not. Also, when I wrote to him to ask him to support the the gender anti-discrimination bill, it took him eight months to respond! I guess he was too busy being independent.