So, was meant to be in London yesterday for my third and final session in a week on/week off approach since the lockdown lifted, but it was not to be; a combination of a heat wave (ten hours of modelling in multiple outfits when the temperature is 24C+ is not comfy) and my car deciding to throw TCS errors while driving (how much fun is it when your car pulls hard to the right while the road carries on straight; hint, not a lot) led to a postponement until mid July, so feeling a bit meh at the moment.
So a cheer up is needed; the last session I did we tried something different, or rather, something more normal (I know, makes little sense, stick with me).
I love retro and glamorous makeup. That may have become apparent, what with the majority of my looks being straight out of the fifties and sixties, but for me it’s gorgeously feminine. However I’ve been feeling a bit, well, naturally feminine lately (shock horror) so I asked Cindy to do a more, well, normal look this time.
This entailed toning down the look a bit, including, gasp, not having red lips (sob) and also not exaggerating the lips. The look was, well, fantastic, and led to that wonderful pant-wetting moment of tottering up and down on the, gasp, pavement outside of Cindy’s place in a Marks and Spencer’s animal print shirt dress. There’s a lot more to it than that, but go read the blog post; I could squee about it for days but I have a load of other outfits to share in this post.
Knowing that I’d be doing a more natural, modern look meant I showed up with an armful of frocks, mostly from Marks and Spencers because it’s easy to buy stuff there. See, buying clothes is much easier for us girls nowadays, what with the advent of the Internet and all, but it’s still a rush to buy a dress in real life. And one of the very rare upsides of the pandemic is you get to wear a mask, so it’s much easier to grab a frock, pay for it whilst talking in a DEEP voice to show how manly I am, and then squeeing when I’m by myself.
In fact, and I know I said I wouldn’t go on about it, but that animal print frock that I ended up standing in the street wearing, with its thin material whipping around my legs in the wind (and WHY is that so bloody thrilling?), was an impulse buy when I was shopping for groceries in M&S. In Hereford (yes, I live in Hereford which is a wonderful place to live if you like countryside and following tractors for miles) the food court for M&S is downstairs; in the pandemic conditions you walk in one door, down a set of stairs, get your food, then up the the other side and out the door. But they always put the new season frocks there so I get a little rush looking at them as I walk quickly with my shopping bags. On this day as I came up the escalator I saw the animal print frock and it was one of those ‘oooo’ moments.
It’s a little hard to describe if you haven’t had that kind of moment, but growing up closet-trans means I have mastered the ability to look sideways at shops windows and dress displays without appearing to. It still feels a little, well, naughty. Buying a frock was completely out of the question back then, partly due to my massive internal guilt and ‘I’m not a poof’ attitude and partly because, well, fear. The fear is still there, just not as prevalent now that I can buy stuff online. But anyway, that dress just shouted ‘buy me, Sarah!’ and the girl in the pink room in my head took over.
Where was I? Oh, I’ve been taking double doses of phyto-estrogens (over the counter food supplements for post-menopausal women, it’s meant to give a similar effect to estrogen) and find my mind a bit foggy at the moment so I can lose my train of thought, especially when squeeing about a gorgeous dress.
So, I had a number of dresses that a middle-aged woman, with a touch of style, would wear, rather than the usual bag full of swing dresses and retro clothes that a modern girl wouldn’t look at. And once Cindy had done her magic and I looked and felt like a sophisticated wife, it was time to try them on.
Oh Lord, it was fun.
The ‘New Look’ Mother of the Bride dress
I didn’t think this one would be as impressive as it was; I bought it because I loved the colour, but it was, on the hanger at least, just another shirt dress. But once it was on, with the shape from my bust, hips and stomach cincher, it was delightful. In addition it has those wonderful puff sleeves; there’s something about button cuffs and flowing sleeves that feels and looks so feminine (hence my love of the 1940’s style blouses).
I normally wear a dress like this and button it all the way up, but this felt much nicer with the top couple of buttons undone. It had a lovely little belt that tied to a nice side bow as well, and the combination of the frock, heels and a pair of tights (yeah, tights; I always wear stay-up stockings for the retro looks but in combination with the normal look I decided to be a modern woman in all ways for the day) just clicked.
I felt like a comfortable married woman in her early to mid forties. And I like to think I looked like one as well. In fact, when I get back in (i.e. mid July assuming the world doesn’t end up in a heatwave) I think this woman may be going for a longer walk out in the streets of London…
Midi dresses for the win…
This one was a M&S dress; I think the website said it was a maxi but, you know, because I have the figure of a Valkyrie it felt a lot more midi. It was another dress that felt, well, natural; this is the kind of dress that I can see myself just throwing on to pop down the shops, effortlessly stylish without having to glam up.
I always used to avoid green but I think it works; the style is very seventies, even after I said these dresses were modern (we seem to be in a 70’s inspired period at the moment, I’m seeing a lot of hippy style long frocks).
This dress felt more femm done all the way up and I got to do some poses I haven’t tried before; kneeling down and trying for a natural look.
Again, another ‘Julie’ look rather than Sarah, and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.
The frill of it all….
I realised, when I looked in my closet for outfits for this session, that I have a lot of shirt dresses. A lot. So I had ordered something a bit more summery, in this case a frilly sundress. Cindy went for a blonde look and et voila, happy summer girl. Which given the fact I have just missed a session due to a heatwave is painfully ironic.
Anyway, this dress has a lovely pattern on it, and the texture is very light; going to sound mad but it’s like wearing strawberry ice-cream. No, skip that, it did sound mad. It’s like a strawberry water shower. Nope, still mad. Let’s just say ‘summer girl’ and leave it at that.
I would have gone for sandals but due to my excessive exercise my feet are looking a little, well, used. Plus side on that is that if you lose a toenail they say you can paint it to hide the fact. Too much info.
Combining that dress with pink heels, pearl jewellery and I think I look a bit like Phoebe from Friends. Well, how she looks in the reunion (I’m 52 so that’s still a complement).
Another shirt dress? Colour me predictable….. for a gender confused, double life man-woman
This is the identical style to the animal print one I’ve been enthusing about; in fact I bought this first (online) before I saw the animal print one in the shop, so it got a little side-lined. I always like polka-dots, there’s something delightfully retro about them, so a chance to wear a modern dress with that kind fo print is always going to appeal.
It didn’t work as well as the animal print one (it’s lovely that I have a favourite dress now, that’s a wonderful thing to say that really appeals to the inner girl), but it was still pretty.
What is it about 1980’s style power dressing that still reverberates today? Who cares, it’s gorgeous…
So, we ended the session (before I got up the courage and went on a brief walkabout) on a number of Cindy’s dealer’s choices; I wanted to see what she would do if I was made up like a normal woman. I’ve saving two of those choices for another Frock Tale (let’s just say Blue Haired Katy Perry and a full size Barbie Doll and leave it at that for now; yeah, I know I’m a tease), but the last one she did was a lovely ‘office’ style, basically a woman’s suit and a satin pussy bow blouse.
The thing is this; if I was a woman and this was how I could dress for work, I’d never get any work done. Yeah, I know that for a woman it’s normal, but everything about this outfit was just sensory overload. The tight skirt, the buttoned jacket, the soft satin against my skin, the works.
When I first started dressing again, about five years ago, I was always nervous when dressed; I barely smiled for the first five or six sessions with Cindy. Now I can’t get the smile off my face. It’s genuinely delightful to be completely immersed, skin deep and beyond, in my feminine personality. And the best thing is that I now know there *is* a feminine personality. And interestingly that personality seems to be a lot more dominant inside my head at the moment.
This look just made me happy.
So, that was a normal look; Julie as opposed to Sarah. I loved doing it but honestly, I missed my red, over-sized lips. Yes, I know they are exaggerated but still, I love the taste and look. I will do some more normal looks this year and I plan to be out and about a lot more, where this look makes more sense, but…..
….. I plan to attend Pride London in full Sarah mode. It’s four months or so off but I’m looking forward to it already, a whole day in Soho in full retro (I’ve already bought a Collectif frock which is delightful), petticoat. It’s going to be a huge step but I’m so looking forward to it.
Anyway, that was some normal looks. And I love that I can call them ‘normal’.
Stay beautiful sweeties and remember to try something different now and again, you might be pleasantly surprised….