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.


  1. Fab dress!

    You go, girl. I bet you were riding a body high!

    “I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men.” Marlene Dietrich

  2. s --- I love all my clothing purchases from Friday and can't wait to wear them out.

    Thank you for the Marlene Dietrich quotation; it is great!