Thursday, January 31, 2019


While taking inventory earlier this week, I made the following observations.

Bad Sizes

Sizes are all over the map. Not only are dress sizes inconsistent between labels, the sizes of dresses from the same label are inconsistent, too. I knew this before, but doing inventory affirmed what I already knew.

I bought a black sequins cocktail dress from a consignment shop a few years ago. The label was Dress Barn; the size was 14. I was wearing a size 16 or 18 back then and I was surprised that the size 14 Dress Barn confection was actually a little big on me (go figure), but I purchased it anyway because it was only $5. Needless to say, I was swimming in the dress when I tried it on this week and it ended up in the discard pile.

And although I am usually a size 12 these days, some of my old size 14's and 16's fit fine and were keepers.

Dead Brands

I own many nice dresses from labels that no longer exist: Newport News, Spiegel, Fashion Bug.

Back when I did all my womenswear shopping online, Newport News and Spiegel were my best friends. When I finally started shopping in person (in girl and boy mode), Fashion Bug became my new friend.

I miss my old friends.

Source: Unique Vintage
Wearing Unique Vintage (Source: Unique Vintage)

Enrie Scielzo
Enrie Scielzo, male womenswear model

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Taking Inventory

I just did something that I have been meaning to do for a long time: try on everything in my closet to see what fits and what doesn't.

Why? Two reasons:

1.  I have so much clothing hanging in my closet that everything is very tightly packed. Removing or adding anything is difficult. The clothing has no room to breathe (!) and whatever hanging there is becoming permanently pressed in whatever configuration it was hung.

2.  Having lost 25 pounds and keeping that weight off during the holidays has assured me that I will be able to maintain that weight. So I can free up closet space by removing the size 14's, 16's and 18's that are too big for me now.

Mid-morning Monday, I slipped into my bra, girdle and Spanx and began trying on the contents of my closet. I underestimated how long the process would take and after two hours, I was not even half way through, but I did have a pile of discards, so that was progress.

I broke for lunch and returned to the task in the evening, put in another two hours and clocked out at 8 PM. Another two hours Tuesday afternoon finished the the job.

While I was trying on clothing, I became ruthless on what I discarded. Initially, I only discarded clothing that was too big. And then I encountered some dresses that were too small in the bust — they did fit me at one time, but evidently my breasts have gotten a little larger as I have gotten older, so those dresses had to go, too.

Then there were those dresses that fit perfectly, but I did not like the way they looked on me. I wondered why I had purchased those items in the first place! They ended up in the discard pile, too.

On the flipside, there were dresses that I had not worn in a long time that now look amazing on my thinner body. It's as if I had just acquired new wardrobe to wear!

What am I going to do with the discards?

I will donate most of the dresses to the donation center in town that distributes clothing and household items to the needy in our area. The cocktail dresses and evening gowns are not donation center-worthy and may be eBay-bound.

Now my closet is so empty, I think it's time to go shopping!

Source: Intermix
Wearing Balmain (Source: Intermix)

Source: Pinterest
Dad or Mom and sons dressed for Halloween. (Source: Pinterest)

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Alison Laing

Alison and Me
Alison and Me

I have not attended Fantasia Fair in a few years, but when I did attend, I usually stayed at the Chicago House, a cozy bed and breakfast in Downtown Provincetown.

About half the guests at Chicago House were repeats and as I became a repeat myself, I got to know the other Chicago House repeaters, including Alison Laing, who died recently.

From Dallas Denny (via Helen Boyd):

Alison played a huge role in the forming transgender community. She was a co-founder of Renaissance Education Association, author of a book on voice, and served as Executive Director of the International Foundation for Gender Education. Alison and spouse Dottie were long-time supporters of Fantasia Fair, and both served as Director for multiple years, and both earned the Fair’s highest awards.

Living in a B&B, you get to know your sister residents a little more intimately than you would otherwise. Only in a B&B do you get to chat with your sisters over breakfast while wearing nightgowns and slippers. Some girls showed up without wigs and makeup, others with wigs and full makeup (that's me) and then there were some in boy mode pajamas — it was quite a mix. That's where I got to know Alison... over breakfast at the Chicago House.

Alison was very friendly and very knowledgable. And she was very willing to share her knowledge and never tired of this newbies questions about Fantasia Fair and the trans world, in general. She also had a good sense of humor and got my jokes.

I will miss Alison. May she rest in peace.

Source: Ann Taylor
Wearing Ann Taylor (Source: Ann Taylor)

Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari
Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari femulating in television's Bosom Buddies, circa 1981.

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Quest for Perfect Hair

By Sally Stone

I remember so vividly the first time I wore a wig. It was one I "borrowed" from my Mom, a style that really didn't flatter me much. Still, it was a feminine hairstyle and I just couldn’t get over much it changed my appearance.

Way back then, my funds were minimal, so my access to wigs was limited making my acquisitions mostly opportunistic. Usually they were well-worn and often discarded by the original owner. In short, I was wearing wigs that were not particularly suited to my facial structure and skin tone. Of course, at the time, I knew little about the art of personalizing a hairstyle or about how to select the right wig.

Later, when I could afford to spend more, I made purchases mostly via mail order catalogs to avoid outing myself. When the Internet came along, ordering wigs got even easier, but like mail order, I was still making a wig purchase based on how it looked on the model in the catalog. Unfortunately, the wigs I ordered didn’t look nearly as good on me as they did on the model and in many cases, the wig I received bore little resemblance to the picture in the catalog. Obviously, it would have been much smarter to buy a wig in person from a salon where I could try it on and be fitted properly. At the time, however, I simply didn’t possess the courage or the confidence.

Eventually, I worked my way out of the closet and at some point, I forced myself to go to a salon for a wig fitting and purchase. And while it was clearly a much better method of purchase, the downside was the extra cost. On that first visit, the specialist fitted me with a beautiful blonde wig that really looked great, but it cost me well over $200. Because it was such a huge hit to my “girl” budget, I was forced to wear the wig for nearly four years, even though after only two years, it was already beginning to show its age. This is a typical failing of even the most well-made synthetic wigs, a fact that adds even more to the cost of maintaining a well-coiffed appearance.

Human hair wigs are an alternative to synthetic, but they are extremely expensive and require the same high-level of care and preparation as real hair. I did give thoughts to trying one, but the cost deterred me. The best solution, something I have always dreamed of, was to grow out my own hair. Unfortunately, that isn't currently a realistic option for me, so, synthetic wigs have always been my solution for maintaining a feminine hairstyle.

Since a hairstyle is such a powerful form of camouflage, choosing the right wig is critical. A wig can counter or at least soften masculine facial features, helping to feminize the appearance. I have discovered through trial and error that sometimes it is subtle wig characteristics that can make the most difference. The sweep or length of the bangs, the location of the part, the fall of the wig can each help to feminize a face. The trick is to find the characteristics that work best for individual facial features.

Whether online or in salons, I have spent a tremendous amount of money on wigs over the years and finding that perfect wig has always been elusive. However, five years ago, while searching online, I found a style called "Glow Girl” by Forever Young. Like Internet and mail order purchases from my past, I held out little hope the wig would end up being my go-to style. Additionally, the wig was priced at $29 and certainly, a wig this inexpensive couldn't possibly look as nice on me as it did in the online photo. Still, there was something about it that pushed me to buy it anyway.

Honestly, I was fully expecting to be disappointed when the wig arrived in the mail, but surprisingly Glow Girl proved to be the most flattering wig I'd ever owned. In fact, I was so happy with the way it looked on me that I ordered two more in slightly different shades. This particular purchased taught me that,while a challenge, it is possible to find a very nice wig without spending a fortune. Unfortunately, this discovery was mostly luck since I purchased it based on how it looked on the model instead of getting it fitted on me first.

Today, I own five Glow Girl wigs. The last two I purchased cost $39 and $49 respectively, but I still consider them bargains. All of my wigs are color variations of either blonde or red shades as they tend to flatter me best.

I learned something else interesting after acquiring my collection of Glow Girl wigs: each of them was slightly different. The differences were subtle, which didn't change the overall style, but the subtleties; how much curl, texture and fullness and the fall and length of the bangs gave each wig its own unique personality. I don't know if this is a quality control issue associated with this particular manufacturer or if the nature of wig construction generates slight variations in all wigs of the same style.

Owning multiple wigs allows me to rotate them, which significantly increases the amount of time it takes for any one of them to wear out. And these five wigs actually cost me less than a single high-priced salon wig would have making Glow Girl even more of a bargain. Rotation also allows me to vary my color choices from day to day, something I believe keeps my hairstyle looking fresh and new.

Finally, after so many years, I have satisfied my personal quest to find the perfect hairstyle at least for now. I must assume that as I age, the hairstyle I wear today may not suit an older me in the future. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, but for now I'm extremely happy with this style as it accentuates the feminine characteristics I possess very effectively.

I’m not trying to advocate for the style or the manufacturer of the wig I currently wear. That wouldn’t make sense, because a hairstyle that works for me may not be a good match for someone else. In fact, choosing a wig is an intensely personal choice and each of us has to pick a style and cut that best suits our feminine and dare I say it, our masculine characteristics.

Ultimately, I can't guarantee that someone else will be as lucky as me finding a go-to hairstyle. After all, it only took me 25 years, but there are beautiful, well-made wigs out there and they don’t need to break the bank.

Source: Rachel Zoe
Wearing Rachel Zoe (Source: Rachel Zoe)

Gene Chandler
Professional femulator Mr. Gene Chandler, circa 1965 

Thursday, January 24, 2019


Hi Stana!

I’m a cis-woman who started reading your blog for the fashion and stayed for your unique perspective on trying to live an authentic life. Could you write a post about what good manners are for members of the public who encounter transgender people?

Thank you,


👦 / 👧

Hi Beth,

Thank you for the compliment, that is, "I’m a cis-woman who started reading your blog for the fashion."

Regarding your question, I will always remember when I unintentionally scared the living daylights out of a transwoman. I was attending a transgender convention, arrived in boy mode and boarded the elevator at the host hotel, which was occupied by a young transwoman.

I said, "Hello" and asked her if she was enjoying the convention.

She reacted like the proverbial deer in headlights.

Oops! I immediately realized my error and added that I was also attending the convention, but had not changed to girl mode yet.

She was relieved and I learned a big lesson. Whenever I encounter someone who I think is trans, I bite my tongue and don't say anything that gives away my assumption about their gender. I might say, "Hello" and make small talk, but I would never say something like, "Your femulation is great!" 

...for two reasons...

1.  What if they are not trans? I don't think I have to explain why misidentifying a civilian as trans is a big no-no.

2.  And if they are trans, they probably don't want anyone (even another trans) telling them that their cisgender is showing. Some trans people may not care, but it is better to err on the side of caution and not say anything because many trans people do care.

So the answer is that generic small talk is OK, but don't say anything that will burst the bubble of a trans person who is trying to make their way out among civilians in their true gender.

Source: DVF
Wearing Diane von Furstenberg (Source: DVF)

Simon Hanselmann
Simon Hanselmann, cartoonist

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

No Surprise

Above Average
Commenting on my Thursday post, Meg wrote, "I wonder when you'll stop being surprised that you're treated as the woman you are."

Julie and Tina left concurring comments. I can imagine Cher saying, "Get over it" as she slaps me in the face.

For most of my life, I did not present as a woman among civilians. When I began stepping out as a woman, I questioned any attention I received — usually assuming the worst, that is, a civilian figured out that I was not what I appeared to be.

There is probably some truth in that assumption because early on, my presentation may have been lacking. But as I fine-tuned my presentation, I received feedback in my encounters with civilians that indicated that I was fooling some of the people some of the time.

Thirty years later, I think my presentation is better than average and when I am out, I assume that everyone accepts me as a woman. So I am no longer surprised when I am treated as a woman.

However, when I write about my days and nights out as a woman, I often mention the positive treatment I receive in order to encourage my readers that they too can go out and be accepted as the women they truly are.

And so it goes.

Source: Pinterest
I'd wear this outfit (Source: Pinterest)

El Brendel
El Brendel femulates in the 1935 film Okay Jose.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Another Fashionista Day

Not a Pretty Picture Dept.

Here is a follow-up on the outfit I purchased from New York and Company last week.

Everything fit me fine. I liked the polka dot blouse and it is a keeper, but I did not like the pants.

The on-line photos gave me the impression that the pants were stretchy leggings made of a cotton and spandex blend. Instead, the pants were a rayon, nylon and spandex blend and did not stretch much at all... not like leggings. Instead of clinging to my legs like leggings, they covered my legs and did not hint at the shape of what was underneath.

Maybe they were too big, but they were also very wrinkled and not attractive at all (on me), so I am returning the pants along with the matching cardigan for a refund.

Ten Happy Piggies Dept.

I wanted to wear my "new" Nine West high heel pumps out to dinner last Wednesday, but I was a little hesitant. The heel is 4-1/2-inches high and at that height, comfort can be a problem.

I have high heel inserts that usually provide some comfort, but I decided to try something different: ball of foot cushions that I recently purchased. The cushions are different than to what I am accustomed. Rather than slipping the cushion in your shoe, you wear your hosiery over the cushion and the cushion has a loop that slips over your second toe (the little piggy that stayed home) to keep the cushion in place.

They worked. I wore my heels for over six hours and comfort was not an issue. I even wore them driving my manual transmission go kart.

Source: Pinterest
(Source: Pinterest)

Frederick Weller
Frederick Weller femulates in television's In Plain Sight (2012)

Monday, January 21, 2019

I'm So Tired

Sorry, there were no Sunday Funnies yesterday! The past five days have been very hectic and the blog suffered as a result.

Wednesday evening, I went out for my free dinner and when I returned home, I chronicled the evening for the blog before I went to bed because Thursday was Day One of my daughter's move.

Thursday, we rented a box truck from U-Haul, brought it home and loaded it with my daughter's belongings. I never drove anything bigger than a passenger van before, so I was a little nervous getting behind the wheel of the truck, but I got used to it very quickly. The truck had a rear view camera to facilitate backing up and that was a godsend.

Friday morning, Day Two of the move, we drove the truck to my daughter's apartment in Hartford. The building (formerly a factory) had a loading dock and a freight elevator, so we were able to move everything up to her fourth floor apartment by loading the freight elevator twice. Our cousin showed up to help us move and we managed to get everything into the apartment in two hours. Then, we assembled her bed and quit for the day. My daughter rewarded us with dinner at Outback Steakhouse.

We returned to her apartment Saturday to assemble some other furniture and unpack the essentials. We quit after four hours, went home, ate dinner and crashed.

I spent Sunday morning removing the ice covered snow from the driveway and sidewalks. The snow overnight turned to rain this morning, which froze on contact making power outages a possibility. I am crossing my fingers that that does not happen. So far, so good, but I am trying to finish and post this as soon as possible, just in case.

And I'm so tired!

Source: Veronica Beard
Wearing Veronica Beard (Source: Veronica Beard)

Oslo Grace
Oslo Grace, model

Thursday, January 17, 2019

There is such a thing as a free lunch: the rest of the story

Wednesday evening, I had a free dinner date courtesy of the Prudential Financial. The event was held at the Aqua Turf Club, the finest banquet facility in the area, so I dressed appropriately for a nice night out.

I wore a "parker green" belted bell-sleeve sheath sweater dress from New York and Company with "Tomalah Ombre Pumps" from Nine West. I accessorized with earrings, necklace and watch from Avon and a black satchel handbag from Jessica Simpson. I also wore a new hairdo: Noriko Reese in a shade of red called "Cherrywood."

Aqua Turf is only 20 minutes from my home, so I left at 5:30 PM to arrive at 5:50 PM for a 6 PM start. As I drove into the parking lot, I was surprised by the number of people walking into the banquet hall. For a second, I hesitated and thought about not mingling with hundreds of civilians (turned out that there were about 400 people in attendance), but I gathered up my handbag, exited the Subaru and joined the throng heading indoors.

There was a line of civilians checking in along with a lot of Prudential suits milling about and it seems that they all looked up when the tall redhead got in line. One of the suits came over to me, asked my name and directed me to the correct line for my last name (there were three separate lines for three divisions of the alphabet).

I exchanged banter with another tall woman joking about which line to get into because the lines were not clearly defined. She was in my line and I was in hers, so we swapped spots.

The suits checking me in did not blink when it came to my male name that I was registered under. I think they were too busy to care.

After I checked in, another suit escorted me to my table, which was occupied by a 50-something couple. Soon we were joined by two other 50-something couples and one gent who was solo. I was seated between two women and we chit-chatted throughout the evening... some girl talk and some talk about retirement planning.

The speaker, Tom Hegna, was excellent. He was entertaining and informative, has written five books on retirement planning and convinced me that the annuity I owned was a good thing after all.

The food was good, too. I have eaten at Aqua Turf in the past and the food was always over the top, but I assumed that a free dinner might be cut-rate. I was wrong; dinner was excellent.

I also assumed there would be some high pressure salesmanship at the event, but there was none. However, I expect I will receive a call from a Prudential suit in the near future.

The event broke up at 9 PM and I arrived home shortly thereafter.

The evening went very well. No one gave me an odd, knowing look. Rather, everyone treated me as a woman and I had a wonderful time.

Source: DVF
Wearing Diane von Furstenberg (Source: DVF)

Wearing New York and Company dress, Nine West shoes and Avon jewelry
Wearing New York and Company dress, Nine West shoes and Avon jewelry 

There is such a thing as a free lunch

I just arrived home from my free dinner. It's too late to write much about it, but I will say that it went well. Standby for a full report as soon as possible.

Source: Rue La La
Wearing Escada (Source: Rue La La)

Yours truly dining out Wednesday evening
Yours truly dining out Wednesday evening