I attended the DC Area Trans Ladies Community Special Ladies’ December Holiday Party and thought readers might like to see how I approached the event from a style and fashion point of view.
The DC area Trans Ladies Community is the central group in the Washington D.C. regional area for transgender women, cross dressers, and transsexuals and their partners, families, allies, and friends to network, learn, grow, and come together socially in safe, trans friendly venues. Of the 761 members, about 85, including me, participated in the December 17, 2016 Holiday Party.
My objective was to add a seasonal flavor to a modern sophisticated look. This was a perfect opportunity to wear red – a power color I usually avoid when trying to blend in.
This was my plan….
With a square, or perhaps a slightly long rectangle, face shape my hair should narrow and lengthen my face. To do this my Henry Margu wig in chestnut brown with auburn highlights was a perfect choice. This specific wig was originally recommended to me by feminine image expert Monica Prata. The color is much like my natural hair color which still matches my natural eyebrows. This gorgeous wig features wavy layers for tons of movement and the length just graze the shoulder. I wear this wig a lot because the mono-filament top cap gives the look of real hair growth directly from the scalp while allowing for styling versatility – letting me shift the part of the wig from the left to the right or to the center. There is also a lace front for a nearly invisible hair line. I simply combed it out with my fingers and added a bit of lift to elongate my face shape…and then patted it into pace. Voila!
Because of my square jawline, my facial appearance benefits from a length enhancing V neckline. A classic red satin cocktail dress by Tahari was perfect. I fell in love with the red satin fabric because it reminded me of red satin ribbons adorning Christmas presents and like one, I felt gifted. See the following photo of me in my hotel room before the event.
This dress was a calculated risk, because a V neckline also tends to lengthen the body which my 6 ft. stockinged feet height does not normally need. However, because I was going to be with the Trans ladies this evening, I had no worries about appearing unusually tall in this group – there were many I could “look up” to.
Also being monochromatic (a single color) the dress created a strong vertical line and made me look thinner which was also good. The half sleeves covered enough of my muscular upper arms and a knee length hemline provided appropriate modesty for my age – even though people tell me I have great legs. The side pulled torso gave me some needed feminine waist shaping too. It seemed made for me!
With a red dress, I was tempted to wear red shoes but decided against it. Red is a notoriously difficult color to match and my existing red shoes simply clashed with the dress color. Instead, I choose J. Renee gold sandals with a rhinestone accent at the heel. A 2.5 inch wrapped stiletto heel provided a perfect combination of comfort and slightly sexy. The satin material mimicked my dress fabric, like a ribbon, and the gold color, like nude, appeared to lengthen my legs. Gold and red are a classic classy combination and perfect for Holiday celebrations and of course, gold is ideal for accessorizing! Finally, the open toe sandal allowed me to showcase my toenails covered in the appropriate red color matching my lipstick!
Seeking a neutral tone I chose Hanes Silk Reflections Ultra Sheer Toeless in Buff. I wouldn’t go barelegged at this fancy winter event though some did like my beautiful friend Christina in the photo following. Because I still wanted to look natural this hose choice allowed my arm and leg color to closely match and the control top panty was useful for smoothing a potential bumpy/lumpy waist transition to a modest cincher under my dress. Except for the obvious one, there are few more awkward fashion “gaffs” than a bumpy torso silhouette. Yikes!
In case readers are wondering, Christina is wearing an Adrianna Papell gold and black metallic lacy cocktail dress. She bought it on sale at a great website called 6PM that features designer fashions at reasonable prices. Christina told me she chose this dress as an ideal Holiday night out dress because it’s glitzy and puts the wearer in a mood for celebration. I agree! She is also bravely wearing black with gold studs Vince Camuto strappy 5 1/2″ gladiator heels. The 1″ platform, she claims, made it stable and comfortable to walk in. They certainly give her more verticality and I agree they go well with the dress and Christina says they can be worn with many different outfits including skinny jeans. She reportedly bought the pair on clearance at Off 5th Ave Saks for under $40. Her handbag is black quilted Calvin Klein purchased on clearance at Macy’s. Extra-long glitzy gold earrings and a large sparkly black and gold bracelet completed the celebration look. Note that she chose not to wear a necklace because it would look too busy with the high neck glitzy dress. Smart lady! Style Highlight: all 20 of her nails are color matched!!!
Gold and more gold! My earrings were never visible in photos because of my long hair, however they were long dangly layers of orbs to elongate my face and add a curved accent to my facial straight lines. My shorter length gold chain necklace was designed to lie in a circle on my upper chest to add roundness to my face and create a visual break between head and body. I wish it had been a heavier link but it still did the job. A gold bracelet and ring on the other hand was all I needed. I was tempted to add more bling, but have learned that simpler is classier or perhaps quality is better than quantity.
This was tricky. An obvious choice would be a gold tone clutch however I find these to be too small to be useful and “toy – like” to someone of my frame size. Instead a gold and red silk scarf, lent by my wonderful understanding wife of 30 years, tied on my black bag (with gold metallic accents) seemed perfect. Carrying the bag lower on my body added bulk and movement to my naturally narrow hips and thus helped create a more feminine hourglass silhouette illusion.
The Holiday Party event was my first with this well established group. Sure I knew a handful from the Internet and had even met a few in-person, but the cold hard reality was – I was a stranger here. I’ve been out and about plenty of times but still I was quite nervous, because I am normally a shy, quiet, observant type. How, I wondered, could I convey something unique about me that might also help open conversation. A gorgeous red dress alone does not make me a party girl!!!! Well, because my home was decorated for the season, I grabbed a toy momma and baby bear set on my way out. With a red and green cap on momma and baby in a red and green stocking- they were beyond cute. It worked! Many posed for photos with the bears (like one of the event organizers Lucinda Cindy Teese in the photo below wearing a beautiful sparkly dress with satin jacket – she was perfect as a beautiful tree ornament!), some wanted to hold the bears, and some just wanted to say “hi”. As the bear’s escort, I met many kind and friendly people and also got to explain that I was an animal lover too.
I recently had a professional image analysis by expert consultant, Dr. Lynne Glassman, the Doctor of Dress and learned many things I should have already known (perhaps a separate article). I provided this information to my friend and makeup artist Beth Taylor with whom I had wonderful previous experience before we agreed on a look complimentary to my color palette and dress and also to convey that sophisticated modern look I seek. Working with Beth is a true collaboration. She does her best when you let her know how you want to look and the impact you want others to have when they meet you. I can do my own makeup-but for this event, meeting many new people and many photos being taken, I decided to take no chances on making my best impression. I’ll probably write about my makeup experiences another time so until then you can judge results by the photos here and in my Flickr stream. I felt gorgeous and many compliments showered on me all evening-though most were probably directed at the toy bears!
Following is a photo of me and fantastic Beth at the Soiree.
Beth’s dress for the evening was a big hit. She modeled it in advance of the party on Facebook and quickly received over 400 “approvals” to go for it and very few negatives. The revealing lacy top and short hemline certainly contributed to that high advance approval rating, but in person her radiant energy expressed by sparkly eyes and genuine smile plus her skinny waist caught, the eyes of everyone there. Simply gorgeous!
So imagining myself a red and gold satiny wrapped Christmas present I strolled into this event scared and alone and left a few fast hours later feeling the opposite. What a wonderful way to end 2016 – a year full of adventure and firsts for Nora!
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