[Chat] Costuming inside my head….

It’s Halloween and for the last couple of years, at least, I’ve managed, not by design at all, to end up having a session at Cindy’s on this very day. In fact last year, if I remember correctly, I actually went to Torture Garden dressed as Black Widow from the Marvel Universe. This year, not so much fun, as the continuance of this (insert coarse swear word here) sty means my Halloween costume is grumpy 53 year old man with a sty, a look I pull of perfectly but not the one I wanted to wear.

I mentioned last time about ‘tranny tropes’, a not overly nice phrase I came up for those archetypal looks a lot of us crossdressers always want to try; the bride, the schoolgirl, the boudoir etc etc. There’s a lot more to those than I made out, partly because I was being flippant (and miserable).

So, as I can’t dress-up this Halloween, I thought it would be fun to dip into the archive to see what I’ve got up to over the last five or so years when it comes to the concept fo costume as opposed to look.

The first thing I will say before diving into the juicy world of costumes is that I have always wanted to dress-up; I never got to do it as a kid, partly because I was immensely shy, and partly because the costumes I wanted to wear were, being honest, the girl ones. Being a spaceman or a cowboy never appealed to me; I always looked on enviously at the saloon-girl, at the nurse, the sexy (insert profession here).

I wrote about my origin story a long time ago here, but it’s worth mentioning it again because a: I keep forgetting about it (it was 44 years ago. And holy crap, it was *44* years ago) and b: looking back it has some odd things about it, courtesy of that wonderful decade we call the 1970’s when there was a lot of out and out kinkiness pretending to be nothing in the shadows. But, long story short, I did a huge Gang Show in Bristol at one of the biggest theatres; it was a full on professional production, a cast of cubs and scouts gathered from the entire region. Three shows, always sold out, in the magnificent Bristol Hippodrome.

For a nine year old who had pretensions of going to the stage (I have always wanted to perform but ended up being pushed towards a ‘career that would give me steady money’. Basically John Cleese in reverse, if you go read up about his urge to be an accountant and ending up in the Ministry of Silly Walks) it was wonderful. I can’t describe the sensations, partly because it was 44 years ago and the human brain has a wonderful way of remembering the high spots without any of the low spots, and partly because it WAS 44 YEARS AGO.

But what I do remember was the sheer fun of putting on a costume. And because I was nine years old, one of the youngest of the cast members, and shorter than everyone else at that time, I got a lot of the girl’s roles. See, like a lot of things in 1970’s England, there was a lot of repressed sexuality going on at all levels of society, and with the Gang Show that manifested it, through a flamboyantly gay wardrobe guy and an in the closet director, with the tendency to put the smaller boys into the most feminine costumes they could possibly get away with.

It’s how I found myself foxtrotting to ‘when you’re dancing with the one you love’ with a taller boy, dressed in top hat and tails, while I wore a pink satin flapper dress, page-boy wig, the works. When you have to step out onto a stage as one of five ‘couples’, where the girl in each couple is a stage made-up boy (and when I say stage makeup, we’re talking huge lashes, over the top blusher and very red and big lips), holding the hand of your ‘man’ and then dancing while the rest of the cast stand behind you, all dressed in their scout uniforms, it’s going to leave a scar of sorts. Chuck in the fact that I was already massively in the closet when it came to wanting to wear girl’s clothes (I started around six, or at least that’s my first memories, but I’m pretty sure it was there forever), and that moment of stepping out, feeling my dress cling to my tights, under the bright lights, hearing a massive audience, and ending the song ‘pretending to kiss’ (let’s just say the instructions to ‘get close enough to look like you are kissing passionately’ are damn difficult to keep to when you’ve been twirling around) and you’re living the experience nigh on every trans-person wants.

Shame it was 44 years ago and my memory means that I can barely remember if I’ve gone to the toilet today.

Anyway, I digress. The point is, I’ve always had a massive soft spot for the idea of a costume. In fact, as I’ve described it to a very good friend of mine, I really think I’m 98% a costume fetishist. Now when I say costume, I mean all the retro stuff as well. Dressing as a 1950’s housewife is a costume (and I love it).

It’s also why, and I know I’ll probably get flamed a bit for this, why the modern look doesn’t really do that much for me. Nowadays we make a little too much of having to belong to a category (whilst actively moaning about being categorised, go figure) and I don’t; I can wake up one day and feel an overwhelming urge to dress-up as a 1940’s housewife (again, housewife, that’s a bit of a give away). The urge isn’t to become one. The idea of being a housewife fills me with a thrill because it’s extreme costuming; not only dressing up but mannerisms as well (which is why the 1970’s were also such a terrible time; mainstream media subconsciously felt the need to make men in dresses, of which there were way too many in UK entertainment, a horribly awkward pastiche. It was always people like Bernard Bresslaw in the Carry On Films, talking in a rough builder’s voice while mincing around in a dress, hairy legs on show. It was actually massively negative towards the idea of trans, this mockery of costumes.

If pushed (hard) I’d say I’m a female impersonator; for me the costume goes deeper than the clothes. Put me in a floral mini-dress and I will pose, flirt and flutter my eyelashes in a far too convincing way. And that comes completely from within; I put on a costume and I instinctively know how to pose.

Before I start to enthuse about some of the costume looks in my archive I want to expand on that slightly; when I do a session we take a lot of photos but I know within seconds of putting on an outfit (when it is all done and dusted, with appropriate accessories and the like) whether or not the look will work. And it’s an amazing feeling; if the look works I feel one with clothes and posing just happens. If it doesn’t I feel awkward and have to work at getting a pose right.

The way I describe it is some looks/costumes pose themselves; you can sometimes tell with a look I do that very easily by looking at my face; if the majority of the photos have a smile it’s because I can’t help but smile when a look works.

Hmm, my short intro to why I love costumes seems to have got out of hand. What I was trying to say, in a roundabout fashion, is that I love the costume side of what I do; I’ve got out of wearing costumes a little lately, and I’m going to be completely honest (and a little immodest, so bear with me). Some of the latest looks I’ve done have been amazing and a little too good; it goes to the head a bit. I was started to persuade myself I could be a model, and while that’s not too far from the truth it’s not why I do what I do. I can bang out a stunning modern look and when I look at the pictures it’s ‘wow, that’s an attractive woman’ and not ‘I *love* that costume, that is soooooooo not me’.

The line between normal me and the woman in the photos has got perilously thin, just like the boundary between the living and the dead on All Hallows Eve. As I type this it’s got…..dark. Plus I’m drinking a really decent red wine cos I should have been posing all day in ten or so retro outfits but instead I’ve been sat at my work laptop at home fuming at the world in general, and applying a hot compress to my eyes every three hours to try and encourage the immensely visible swollen gland on my eyelid to F*CK OFF. Cough.

Right, let’s have some costume fun…..

Early days (i.e. five or so years ago)

When I started this new phase of my life I wanted to catch up on thirty years of missed-out fun so I was very much about trying out every costume I’d ever had a thing about.

Amusingly I’ve just dipped into the archive to find the earliest ‘Cindy’ pictures I have and they are from, err, 2016. This is a Covid thing. I was convinced it was five years yet another year has sneaked in under the memory radar.

Anyway, found a couple of really fun costume looks from, cough, way back when.

Pictured – Oh Alice, what have you got yourself into now?

I love to pretend I’m cultured, but I’m a product of my (not ashamed to admit it) working class upbringing. So Alice wasn’t from reading the book (I never have), it was from seeing an early 1980’s BBC adaptation where I couldn’t get over how attractive the main character’s dress was. It kinda disappeared from history but it was directed by Barry Letts and starred Kate Dorning and her dress was adorable. I couldn’t focus on the story, there was something delightful about the frock, all petticoats and, well, floofiness.

Long story short I’ve always had a thing for the Alice costume. It’s delightfully innocent but still very feminine. And I love what Cindy did with the makeup for that look; I look like a China-Doll Alice. Man, that ticks too many of my boxes….

Pictured – yes, that is an OFFICIAL Disney costume…..

Yes, confession time, I’ve never been into Disney films. They are all, well, a little too twee; Fairy Tales need a little bit of the original body-horror in them. But aside from that, I always wanted to try an official Disney Princess outfit because, well, what girl hasn’t dreamt of being a Disney Princess at some point in their life?

So, it’s costuming at its most mainstream, but I loved doing it. Only thing is, and I hate to say it Disney, that frock was sooo uncomfortable. The material was, to put it mildly, scratchy. Back then, due to 30 years of drinking myself happy, I had somewhat of an interesting figure so I needed to wear a very tight corset for shoots and the combination of that and the odd choice of material (it felt like chicken wire with a side dish of sandpaper) meant the shoot was interesting. Good look though and a tick off of Sarah’s bucketlist for sure.

Pictured – Downton Abbey time

Ahh, what is it with crossdressing and the good old fashioned maid outfit? Rhetorical question, I know exactly what it is. Due to age old biological differences (I’ll give you a clue, testosterone gives you muscles and a short fuse, Estrogen makes everything soft and injects your mind with a perfumed, pink fuzziness) male-kind has an inbuilt superiority complex and the concept of having a woman waiting on us, dressed in a formal uniform, seems a standard male fantasy. So, for the crossdresser, emasculation-follower, the idea of being restrained in a formal maid uniform is delightfully kinky.

For me the ‘sexy maid uniform’ has never worked. I find the classic maid uniform really attractive; as anyone who has followed me on social media knows, I have a glorious *actual* housekeeping uniform that is very 1940’s styled and, again being honest, if I won the lottery I’m pretty sure whatever huge mansion I bought would be cleaned everyday by someone wearing that uniform (yes, it would be me. Of course, if I won the lottery I’d have custom maid (sic) uniforms tailored to my exact body measurements, which would change because, you know, too much money, too easy a chance to get feminising surgery – I need to stop now before I go and buy too many lottery tickets.

So interestingly this wasn’t actually a maid uniform. I found a lovely black dress on Amazon with a beautiful white lace collar and thought it would work a treat with an apron and hat and et voila, Downton Abbey maid time.

Halloween time…..

A part of me is conflicted about this for the insane-ist reason. I was (and still am to a certain extent) a practicing Wiccan. Yeah, yeah, forget all the rubbish the media has portrayed about Wicca, it’s not all Stevie Nicks types dancing naked on hilltops around cauldrons of sacrifice’s blood. I’m the least religious person you will ever meet, but living and growing up in England you appreciate the darker and more delicious nature-centric sides of life; walking up Glastonbury Tower at 3:00am on a foggy morning back in the late 1980’s I had an epiphany that led me to become, yes, a witch.

Pictured – yeah, not this kind of Witch, yet here I am.

Well, a Warlock but you get the drift. Anyway, this time of year is massive for Wiccans, yet, courtesy of Hollywood/America/The Modern Church all of the Wiccan stuff has been turned into scares for young children and the notion of the Witch.

If I ever came out completely I know a lot of my friends would be stunned. But I know my Wiccan friend would be absolutely fine with it; I’ve been accused of having a feminine soul so many times that I’m still amazed none of them have gone ‘err, you’re non-binary gender?’. Well, they’d be fine with it until they found my *extensive* set of ‘sexy witch’ pictures.

But I can’t help myself. That outfit is to die for. Unlike the Disney one it’s a joy to wear; the mesh is really comfy, the way the sleeves billow out, combined with the satin skirt and felt collar, is just delightful to wear. And yes, I know I’m effectively mocking centuries of tradition but you know, crossdresser and all.

Pictured – another reason not to wear this to Torture Garden; I went in a full latex bodysuit with some butt padding to, well, accentuate the figure. I got slapped, hard, a couple of times by rather imposing gentlemen in ‘bull’ outfits. Wearing this costume I would have been black and blue for weeks.

Having assuaged my internal ‘what the hell’ I love this costume. I’ve never seen ‘Wicked’ but thought recreating the poster would be a hoot, and it was. I came soooo close to wearing this costume to the Torture Garden Halloween Ball but, amazingly, I thought they wouldn’t let me in. And I was probably right; Torture Garden was seriously down the Latex and PVC hole.

Other Stuff

Yeah, I know, but it’s Halloween, I’m two thirds of a really nice Red wine bottle down and having looked at my pictures I have around 16000 costume pictures, so going to finish with a smile and just a couple of the other outstanding costumes I’ve had fun wearing…..

So, to add to the hilarity of the situation (see two thirds of a very, very good red wine for details), I’ve been, in my paid career, a soldier, a CAN’T SAY, another CAN’T SAY, a software engineer, a data scientist, an author. And a professional Tarot Reader. I did that in bearded male mode, all serious, but something tells me if I’d done it dressed in this delightful costume I’d have had way more customers……

Yes, we’re crossing a line now, but this costume is utterly delightful to wear. It’s, err, surprisingly comfortable. Plus, you know, Sissy Maid and all that……

Complete change of tack now. I found a website (HalloweenCostumes, which is ultra relevant on this night) which does some surprisingly authentic and fun costumes. This was a ‘Prairie Housewife’ which ticked at least one of my fetish boxes, and is to date one of the most fun looks I have done. It doesn’t get much love on the Social Media scene which surprises me, but I guess it’s a little too on the nose. Fun dress though.

This was an utter surprise. Cindy had bought it on a whim as an Xmas costume and when she showed it to me I said you *must* make me a Reindeer. Never thought I’d say that phrase, but you live and learn. I’m not a Furry but this was just so much fun to do. Plus the makeup was exquisite, check out the pattern she did on my forehead……

So, Red Wine is kicking in, the night is drawing in, and restless souls beyond the boundary yearn to step into the light just one more time when the veil is thin. Translation, happily squiffled and can’t produce no more of them there words. Off to bed, time for some chilling Shudder movies and sleep. Hopefully not to be interrupted by visits from friends now departed.

Stay beautiful and safe this All Hallow Eves, you wonderful people.

Pictured – completely honest about the Lottery win. If I did this would be my daily life. Oh, and if anyone out there wins and wants a full-time maid…….

5 thoughts on “[Chat] Costuming inside my head….

  1. As a new member of your blog, I had to write and tell you how much I enjoyed your latest post, stating a bit of your history and how you came to be the person you presently are.

    Your pics are without fail, fantastic! And I see quite a writer, too!

    Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Sarah! What another wonderfully erudite and well observed blog post! ☺️ XXX
    I love your costume pictures sweetie. All of them! 😊
    I think it is testament to your chameleon like femininity that you always look absolutely perfect in whatever outfit you wear. πŸ™‚ 😘 And while I understand that it isn’t a goal, I think that if Vivian of Holloway got in touch with you, you would struggle to resist! πŸ˜‰
    I know I have a couple of PVC outfits but I don’t consider them costumes as they are apart of a couple of my own ‘foibles’. I do have my own longing for wearing a costume or two though. St. Trinians schoolgirl (it’s those pinafores with stockings! 🀀), Vegas Showgirl, Magician’s Assistant (another foible! πŸ˜‰) and also Alice in Wonderland. But we both know that you are sooo much better in that outfit than me! πŸ˜…XXX
    And I’m very certain that your wiccan friends would be more than welcoming to you too! 😊 I don’t think that there’s too much difference between the study of science and the study of the esoteric. The universe (and that means *everything*) is weird! And that’s why we’re still figuring it all out. Even Albert Einstein believed in God.
    And while I’ve never really found a personal interest in becoming a maid (house, Victorian or French) I do understand the needs and desires of other ‘girls like me’ who do wish to be one. πŸ™‚ And okay so I don’t live in a mansion but my house is still pretty big. And takes a lot of cleaning. If I had my way, I would be more than willing to let you fulfill your feminine need for dusting and tidying up! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‰ XXX
    And at the weekends you could have off and just *be* a housewife. How does that sound sweetie…? πŸ€” πŸ˜‰ XXX
    Stay safe my beautiful friend. I have my fingers crossed for you that the sty disappears quickly. 🀞🀞

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “…t****y tropes…”

    NBBL – non-binary bucket list? πŸ™‚ Nibbles seems nicer than ‘Checklust’ πŸ˜‰

    However you want to name it and while some things may seem clichΓ©, might that be just true for folk who want to experience certain things or achieve certain goals.

    I hope your eye clears up soon. It sounds both painful and frustrating. If it drags on – no pun intended – maybe it’s time to break out in pirate costuming πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

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