Dec 15

Am I Stylish

Stylish Kandi Robbins Am I stylish?  I believe so and have been told that I am.  I really don’t know how I developed this skill or why, but I know I have it and am thankful for it.  For me, it’s all about understanding my strengths and weakness and knowing how to dress to maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses.  I also have a sense of what works well together and have always understood how colors work with each other.

The first step in the process is how I go about acquiring clothes.  I have developed a massive wardrobe.  I would estimate I have well over 100 dresses, probably 40 skirts, 15 pair of slacks, about the same amount of jeans, capris and shorts.  I’d estimate there are a good 30 jackets, blazers and coats, easily about 30 sweaters and tops, blouses and t-shirts too numerous to count.  I am very lucky to wear the same size shoes as my wife.  She allows me to borrow footwear as needed as well as selecting just the right purse from her large collection.  Despite access to “free” shoes, I probably have 25 or so of my own. Oh yeah, I have a very large jewelry collection, too many earrings, bracelets and necklaces to count.  Then of course, a girl must have her lingerie, hose, tights, slips and other undergarments.  Let’s just say I have plenty of these as well.

I am fortunate to get out frequently, usually three times a week.  I never wear the same outfit twice, but will re-purpose certain items a few times before shipping them off for consignment.

Now how did I build such a cache?  I am the queen of the thrift store!  I am in at least 5 different thrifts every week.  Unlike many gals who go out shopping and put together outfits as they shop, I approach things differently.  First, I generally will not buy (I get the irony here) anything at full cost.  I only purchase discounted items and/or use a coupon.  I often keep purchases to between $2 and $3.  But the beauty here is I am able to buy quality.  I have many excellent labels in that closet: New York and Company, Calvin Klein, Ann Taylor and Loft, just to name a few.

So while many women’s outfits are born in a store, mine are done so in my closet.  I will select a center piece for an outfit.  It could be a dress, a top, a skirt or even a certain necklace.  I know almost instinctively what I need to round out an outfit and what I have available to do so.  I am almost Rain Man-like in knowing what I have and what goes with what.  Then the outfit goes through my vetting process.  I try it on and look at it critically.  How does it look on me?  Does that sweater really work with that skirt?  Let’s consider a smaller necklace.  That might look great with tights.  My outfit sessions are truly one of my very favorite activities, sometimes more fun than the subsequent outing.

After having acquired much of the bones of my wardrobe, I have become much more selective.  I now only look for the best of the best and the lowest possible price.  I have walked away from beautiful dresses because I didn’t want to spend the $5.  Recently I was working the dress rack at the Goodwill and I saw a My Michelle LBD (and the L is very appropriate).  I knew it would be perfect.  I tried it on as soon as I got home, paired it with some beautiful patent leather pumps and a string of pearls and I was ready for the evening (if I put a bag over my very male head).  I just lit up when I looked at myself.  Money well spent.  I know my body and I know what types of things complement it well.

Kandi Robbins - great legsI am thin with an outstanding figure and have great legs.  I don’t say this arrogantly and I was not born this way (far from it).  That figure and those legs were built by hours in the gym and miles and miles on the run.  I earned them!  So when assembling an outfit, I look to feature these.  Conversely, I look to soften my male arms, although I have been getting bolder in going sleeveless.  I also know my back is not my best side, so I always look to properly cover it.  No backless dresses for this girl!

Every time (and I am sure I am not alone here) I get dressed, I take some close ups to capture my makeup work and some full body shots to document the outfit and the coming outing.  Looking at these photos frequently helps me better understand how outfits work for me.  For me, it’s all about experimentation, working through things until the outfit just tells you it works!

I have lived my entire life outside of a few years living with women.  Mom and three sisters (no brother), wife and two daughters (no son), so certainly some of this is by osmosis.  Being a crossdresser (closeted for most of my life), I of course observed.  My wife is stylish, so I probably mimic her in some regard.  But mostly, I do have a way to putting things together, be they outfits or decorating a wall.  I have developed a sense of tying things together.  I know what top calls for a smaller, more delicate necklace.  I understand that in an outfit, one thing should draw the eye’s attention.  For example, I just put together a lovely outfit with a beautiful ankle length patterned skirt.  The skirt features lovely shades of red, purple and black.  I paired it with a black top so as not to diminish the beauty of the skirt with a necklace that echoes the red in the skirt.

Stylish Robbins with dark tights

Allow me to walk you through a recent outfit.  I occasionally attend the theater (Cleveland’s Playhouse Square is the largest such theater district outside of Broadway) with a women’s social group I joined on Meetup (all GGs and me).  This particular evening we went to see “Waitress”.  About eight us of met for dinner before the show.  I had recently purchased this lovely black skirt with the white circle pattern.  I knew immediately that I would pair that skirt with a black sheer NY&Co blouse I had in my inventory.  Once I saw them together, I knew that black tights would tie everything together very well and I borrowed a pair of heels from my wife (we wear the same size!) that emulate ballet slippers and I love how they flow with the tights.  I always like dark tights or dark hose to match my skirt when the weather gets colder.

Now knowing I am in all black, I wanted an accent color to provide that pop.  Pink was my choice.  When accessorizing, I usually select either gold or silver.  Since the blouse had gold buttons, I went with gold.  I had recently purchased a beautiful pink pendant and placed it on a shorter chain to use as the center piece for an outfit.  This was the perfect time for that.  I chose a pair of large hoop earrings that would echo the circles in my skirt.  My favorite part of the whole outfit was the lovely pink Kate Spade purse I borrowed from my wife for the evening.  I always wear a faux wedding ring (after all, I am a married woman!) and a number of charm bracelets.  I almost always stack many bracelets and am partial to charms.  My outfit was complete and my evening sheer delight!  The other ladies were very complementary and I even received a complement on my skirt from a passer-by.  The show was so much fun and to be in that ornate theater, dressed pretty with so many other women all dressed up, was a dream.

 

Stylish Kandi Robbins in beige color block dressAnother example of the type of stylish outfit I prefer is one I wore this past summer.  It was a beautiful Sunday.  I attended services at church and then volunteered as an usher at one of the community theaters I work for.  I had purchased this wonderful color block Dressbarn dress and was anxious to get it out in public.  The dress fit like it was tailored for me.  It was summer, so I went barelegged with my freshly shaved legs.  I worked as best I could on getting a tan this year.  Since there was a beige color block, I selected my favorite pair of nude pumps.  I chose a burgundy lipstick to pull in the burgundy from the dress.  I went with gold and pearls, I love the delicate simplicity of the necklace.  I have a pair of multiple hoop earrings with a pearl on each one and went with the pearl bracelet.  The outfit was rounded out with a lovely black purse with gold in the chain, to tie it all together.

Kandi Robbins in teal summer outfit

Finally here is a casual outfit I put together to go to a summer street festival.  I love the teal in the top and how the peak hole allowed my necklace to be seen hanging in my cleavage.  The teal was my central theme so I chose a cute teal headband that pulled the whole outfit together.  Being summer, I was able to wear my sunglasses and chose some silver and teal/blue charms to complete my look.  A grey purse and silver hoop earrings rounded everything out.  As any GG would, I wore my flats.  I was there alone and received a few complements from some of the people there.  The picture you see was taken by a kind stranger.

I’ve done this enough now that it is automatic when I put myself together.  Intuitively I know what goes with what, what colors to incorporate in my makeup and how I wish to present myself.  How am I perceived?  I’m not sure but all I can tell you is that I have been out hundreds of times in the past three years (when I finally accepted myself and embraced the Kandi in me) and have never had a single negative experience.  I am certain I have rolled some eyes behind my back, but no one has ever spoken a cross word to me and it is not unusual for me to gather hugs from total strangers when out.

Try things, experiment, be self-critical, understand your strengths and who you are (brash, conservative, demure, etc.).  Dressing is fun, looking pretty is intoxicating.  Now get out there girls,  have fun and be stylish!

Be sure to read Kandi’s author page.  Her Flickr page is here.

 

Jul 22

What Fashion Style Are You?

Fashion is forever as is fashion style. Fashion is completely transparent. It’s fun, it’s confusing, and it never dies off. Fashions from the past are still being worn by women across the country and new fashions are being designed every day. There’s SO many different fashion styles, and we’ve come up with a list of the top 20 looks, from elegant to gothic, exotic to casual, and everything in between.

1. Trendy

tendy fashion style

Yup, you guessed correctly: the girl who follows a trendy fashion style is always up-to-date on the latest trends, and probably refreshes her wardrobe four times a year with the changing seasons. She always makes sure she’s following the latest fashion news and always looks like she just stepped off the runway.

2. Casual

casual fashion style

When you hear ‘casual’, you probably think ‘frumpy’; and the casual fashion style could really be ANYTHING but frumpy! Women who indulge in the casual fashion style don’t grab the exotic and bold items off the shelves. They would much rather prefer a simple white tee and a pair of black pants with a coordinating and trendy purse. The entire look is very modern and uncluttered with an extra touch of subtle elegance.

3. Exotic

exotic fashipon style

Just as the name would describe, exotic fashion is all about wearing something nobody has ever seen before. It’s a collection of bold, mysterious, and eye-catching pieces, usually consisting of vibrant colors and intricate embroidery, fascinating prints and standout jewelry that can be seen from a mile away.

4. Vibrant

vibrant fashion style

A vibrant fashion style is reserved for the lady who wants to say “Hey, look at ME, world!” This energetic and intense fashion style typically features garments with wild patterns and exaggerated embroidery as well as asymmetrical designs and tons of colors. Most of her wardrobe will be lined with super light and pastel colors that draw the attention of everyone’s eyes, no matter where it’s worn.

There’s nothing quite so vibrant as our African style Pinterest page

5. Sexy

sexy fashion style

There is two main goals of the sexy fashion style: gain the attention of every male around you and show as much skin as legally and humanly possible. Sexy style is all about showing off your *best* features, those being your breasts, stomach, and legs. A woman whose fashion style is set to sexy is usually loaded with plenty of miniskirts, body-con dresses, high heels, and crop tops or low cut tops.

6. Preppy

preppy fashion style

Preppy girls, often named simply ‘preps’, love to rock a college-inspired wardrobe. Their hangers are lined side to side with girly blouses with matching collared tees as well as a-line skirts and tights. Her hair is almost always amped up with a cute little headband and she usually wears glasses- whether she really needs to or not! This style may appear geeky and slightly luxurious, but the look itself is really not expensive and extravagant at all.

7. Elegant

elegant fashion style

With the elegant fashion style, refinement and glamour is key. The woman with this type of fashion style won’t step foot outside without looking her best, and pays close attention to creating a wardrobe filled head to toe with the most glamorous and classy pieces. She is a lover of all things that dazzle and wouldn’t be caught without her diamonds and jewels, as well as a very stunning outfit that makes heads turn. She’s the perfect combination of sophisticated and sexy! Check our Extraordinary Pinterest page for some truly glamorous looks.

8. Bohemian

bohemian fashion style

The bohemian fashion style- always referred to commonly as the ‘boho’ look- can easily be described as a style that focuses mainly on wild and intricate patterns and exotic textures. They get most of their inspiration from gypsys and hippies, creating a standout finish with plenty of tie dye, geometrics, chains, fringes, and other eye-catching designs.

The “Boho Look” was popular in the late 60s and early 70s and then again in the early 2000s. Check our BoHo Look Pinterest page for the many variations.

9. Girly

girly fashion style

A girly fashion style can most easily be described as the popular vintage style. Most of her outfits consist of plenty of beautiful lace as well as ruffles, hearts, flowers, and pale colors, especially pink and white. She’s a romantic at heart and wants to be treated like a lady at all times. She’s awaiting her prince charming and thus, adorns herself with only the girliest and most lovely fashions.

10. Cowgirl

cowgirl fashion style

It’s not hard to point out a gal that wears the cowgirl fashion style! In this particular style, there’s a few staples that are an absolute must for the wardrobe: undoubtedly an adorable cowgirl hat, typically in either some shade of brown or pink, a pair of flared blue jeans with western themed leather belt, denim jacket to match, a pair of cowgirl boots, and a few white t-shirt and plaid button-ups.

11. Girl Next Door

girl next door fashion style

The girl next door. The classic style that’s been around for ages. This fashion style doesn’t pay attention to the latest trends and doesn’t involve anything wild or exotic. This trend focuses on simplicity and cuteness, with a striped tee, shorts, and tennis shoes enough to make her happy. At the end of the day, she just wants to be adorable and casual!

12. Punk

punk fashion style

The punk fashion style is all about SCREAMING edge and attitude. Punks like to wear plenty of leather- especially when it comes to jackets and pants- and they wouldn’t be caught in the streets without studs, spikes, and chains. They tend to also indulge in spandex and wild animal prints as well as band tees, boots, and skinny jeans.

13. Artsy

artsy fashion style

Women who enjoy the artsy style tend to stay away from the traditional ‘trends’ of the fashion world and love to make a statement with their clothing. Oftentimes they will be the creator of their own fashions, designing and creating their own blouses, hats, and jackets. Each artsy style will be different per woman, as everyone has their own idea of what ‘art’ truly is. That’s what makes this particular fashion style so unconventional and interesting.

14. Businesswomen

businesswoman fashion style

The woman who dresses like a businesswomen is a smart, sophisticated lady who demands and deserves respect from everyone around her. She won’t settle for less and is an over-achiever who considers herself to be high up in society. Her wardrobe is incredibly smart and snazzy, with plenty of blazers and pencil skirts. Don’t miss our Dressing for Work Pinterest page either.

15. Tomboy

tomboy fashion style

Tomboys are anything but dowdy; in fact, this style can easily be described as simple and modern. Girls who wear the tomboy look don’t like to wear frills or lace, pinks or other bright colors. They prefer the boyish look, typically wearing jeans with a graphic tee or button-up and a pair of flat shoes to match.

16. Gothic

gothic fashion style

There is only one thing you need to create the gothic fashion style: BLACK. Everything about the gothic style is black, from black hair to black lips, black shirts to black boots. Women who wear gothic fashions will typically be seen wearing tight-fitting clothing, intricate black dresses, and tons of chains, spikes, studs, and other exotic accessory styles. The overall look is designed to say ‘morbid’ and ‘mysterious’, and that is easily accomplished with the super dark clothing and accessories from head to toe.

17. Rocker

rocker fashion style

The rocker style is very versatile and will change from person to person, depending on the particular type of rock they love. However, whether you’re sporting a Ramones t-shirt or a Metallica sweatshirt, you’ll have a few things in common: ripped denim, boots, leather jackets and pants, and studs.

18. 50s

50s fashion style

A super adorable blast-from-the-past fashion style, the 50s look is all about bright and pastel colors (unless you’re doing a more ‘pinup’ theme, then you’ll wear black and red very often!) in adorable fashions, usually featuring an assortment of flowers and polka dots. Women will typically either wear a high ponytail or lovely curls with this fashion, and poodle skirts are an absolute must.

Check out our 50s and the Fun and Flirty  Pinterest page and our post on 1950s Fashion for Women in the Playroom

19. 70s

70s fashion style

The 70s fashion style can also easily be referred to as the ‘hippie’ look, where women leave their hair long and straight and add an adorable little flower or stem of flowers to create a natural finish. Their wardrobe will undoubtedly have the classic super-flared jeans and tons of tie-dye tops and accessories, as well as simple white tees to go with their look. Floral patterns are also common in this fashion style and makeup is minimal to maintain a simple and natural appearance.

20. Sporty

sporty fashion style

It’s rather easy to describe the sporty fashion style: it’s sporty! Girls will typically wear some popular sport companies like Adidas or Nike and will always have runner shoes (or similar style shoes) on. They prefer a simple and subtle look that oozes ‘sports’, with plain colors like white, black, and gray being BIG hits. They won’t strive for anything fashionable or flashy and would prefer sweatpants, tight runner pants, and basic tees. Don’t forget the ponytail to finish it off!

There’s so many fashion styles out there! Which one do you prefer? Would you ever try one of these styles? Let us know in he comments what you like and what styles you would like to see more of

Reprinted from Herinterest.com

Apr 16

Disney’s Dress Shop For Adults Is Totally Amazing

dresses from Disney's dress shop Disney’s Dress Shop sells stunning outfits that pay tribute to your favorite characters

If you’re heading to Disney any time soon and aren’t already into DisneyBounding, you might want to get on board. It’s when you dress as a modern version of a Disney character instead of wearing the actual costume. Think of it as cosplay lite — a fun way to pay tribute without the elaborate garb.

Luckily, Disney is now catering to those who want to spend their time at the park appropriately Disney’d up and has a new store called The Dress Shop that will have any DisneyBounder positively squealing with delight.

As someone who isn’t particularly obsessed with Disney, even I’m drooling at these outfits. The Dress Shop just opened a few weeks ago and according to Inside the Magic, some styles will soon be available online.

Merchandiser Donna Sorrow tells the Disney Parks Blog, “We designed The Dress Shop collection for guests who want to emulate their favorite Disney characters or theme park attractions in a fun, retro way. These items aren’t costumes, rather the collection contains perfect outfits for guests who have a passion for Disney style.”

The Disney Springs Twitter account has photos of several outfits and after taking a peek, your next stop will be nabbing airfare to Orlando, because holy cuteness.

Pay subtle tribute to Belle and her books in this absolutely incredible dress that I may or may not buy the moment it’s available online, so help me god.

Belle dress from Disney's dress shop

Image via Twitter

Obviously, you need a Chip purse to match.

Disney chip purse

Disney purse

How about this gorgeous retro number, a nod to the park’s Enchanted Tiki Room attraction.

retro dress from Disney's dress shop

Image via Twitter

There are several outfits celebrating Disney rides. Here’s a Haunted Mansion ensemble complete with matching handbags.

haunted mansion ensemble from Disney's dress shop

Image via Twitter

Be a pirate princess with this way-too-cute Pirates of the Caribbean dress and its coordinating loot. Loot. Pirates. See what I did there? I’m here every weekend, ladies.

pirate outfit from Disney's dress shop

Image via Twitter

We’re straight up coveting this Hollywood Tower Hotel halter dress and ridiculously perfect Snow White apple design.

Hollywood Tower Hotel halter dress from Disney's dress shop

Image via Twitter

And how about this positively magical Alice in Wonderland get-up. We wish it came with her perfect, vintage hairstyle.

Alice in Wonderland dress from Disney'd dress shop

Image via Twitter

We honestly can’t even handle it.

dresses from Disney's dress shop

Image via Twitter

Since the items aren’t available for sale online yet, we couldn’t find an official listing of sizes, but commenters on Inside the Magic who visited the store say select styles are available up to 3XL and that unlike a lot of Disney apparel, the clothing runs big. The dresses run between $100-$160 and prices for accessories vary greatly.

Hopefully, it will all be for sale online soon. Until then, we’ll just have to stare and dream, or hightail it to Disney’s Dress Shop

Reprinted from Scary Mommy

Apr 02

Target Adds Victoria Beckham Plus-Size Line

Posh new fashion line by Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham plus size line at Target_Victoria Beckham is working on a clothing line for Target that will feature a range of styles in sizes that go to 24. Her current clothing line only goes through size 14, so this will be a change from what Beckham typically produces.

“I want to design for women no matter their budget, age, or size. I want to empower women and girls, and make them feel like the best versions of themselves. The fact that I can offer plus size is really exciting, it’s a first for me, and it’s something important that I’m proud of,” Beckham told Refinery29.

The line for Target will have styles ranging from $6 to $70 and will feature a collection with over 200 pieces. The collection has fashion for women and children, which marks the first time Beckham has designed for kids.

Spice Up Your Wardrobe

As if this all weren’t cool enough, a sneak peak of the line was released with a Target ad featuring one of the Spice Girls most famous hits, “Spice Up Your Life.” Beckham shared the advertisement on her Instagram as well as photo ads for pieces from the collection.

“The Spice Girls were so much about girl power and fun, and there’s an energy that the song brings to the ad; you can’t help but smile and dance,” Beckham continued telling Refinery29.

Much like Beckham’s own personal style, the collection appears chic and sleek with many options in neutral colors. However, she does spice up the looks with pop of colors and floral patterns.

And Target is getting a makeover

The red and white retailer recently announced a new giant leap forward, away from drab, toward fab. According to Target, they’re planning “the company’s most ambitious store re-design to date.” And judging by the concept drawings, it’s going to be awesome.

Revolutionizing the retail game

“Expect lots of flexibility, open sight lines and discovery moments throughout the store,” says Cornell. Target is on its way to being a corporate giant in local hangout place-clothing. In terms of design, it looks like Nordstrom and Ulta and Whole Foods all squeezed onto that little red and white target.The first store to feature the design will open in Richmond, Texas, a suburb of Houston.

Read all the details of this makeover here

Mar 27

Lessons Learned from Ageless Fabulous Women

Lessons learned from the women that prove age is a trivial matter, indeed. There is no copyright on style, and as long as it suits you, I say go for it. To get you on your way, these ageless fabulous women have given us their list of the  most helpful, universal styling tricks you can steal that will work for just about every body. Guilt-free thievery, that’s what I’m talking about.

Carmen Dell’Orefice

Who: Model, booked her first cover at age 15.

The Lesson: Looking pulled-together is an art form.

Fabulous style icons lessons learned

L-Carmen Dell’Orefice R-Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin

Who: Singer and Philanthropist

The Lesson: A slip dress lends perfect insouciance.

Charlotte Rampling

Who: British Actress

The Lesson: Menswear inspired looks can be the sexier than the littlest dress.

fabulous style ibons lessons learned

L-Charlotte Rampling R-Carolina Herrera

Carolina Herrera

Who: Designer and philanthropist.

The Lesson: A signature button-down is an evening staple.

Iman

Who: Beauty company founder, model, philanthropist.

The Lesson: Opt for looks that are powerful yet feminine.

Fabulous style icons lessons learned

L – Iman R – Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren

Who: British actress and philanthropist.

The Lesson: Show off your shape in form-fitting gowns.

Christy Brinkley

Who: Model, beauty company founder.

The Lesson: Flaunt your best feature—sheer tights and an LBD are a perfect pair for killer legs.

fabulous style icons lessons learned

L – Christy Brinkley R – Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton

Who: Actress and philanthropist.

The Lesson: Black and white is always right.

Debbie Harry

Who: Lead singer of Blondie, punk icon, philanthropist.

The Lesson: Don’t be afraid to take chances and if you find a style that works, hold onto it.

Fabulous style icons lessons learned

L – Debbie Harry R – Diane Von Furstenberg

Diane Von Furstenberg

Who: Designer, philanthropist.

The Lesson: Create your own signature piece and always look elegant in it.

Iris Apfel

Who: Interior designer, philanthropist, style influencer.

The Lesson: Find a trademark accessory and hold onto it.

fabulous style icons lessons learned

L – Iris Apfel R – Pat Cleveland

Pat Cleveland

Who: Model, philanthropist

The Lesson: Maintain your flare for drama.

Ines de la Fressange

Who: Model, writer, speaker, Uniqlo collaborator, philanthropist

The Lesson: Help define what French style means, and then embody it.

 

fabulous style icons lessons learned

L – Ines de la Fressange R -Fran Lebowitz

Fran Lebowitz

Who: Writer, columnist, philanthropist

The Lesson: If a uniform suits you, stick with it.

Jane Fonda

Who: Actress, activist, philanthropist

The Lesson: Be the incarnate of, “if you got it, flaunt it.”

Fabulous style iconslessons learned

L – Jane Fonda R – Kim Gordon

Kim Gordon

Who: Former lead singer, Sonic Youth, author, singer, Boy/Head

The Lesson: Maintain rockstar cool in all that you do.

Linda Rodin

Who: Philanthropist, currently runs RODIN Olio Lusso

The Lesson: Choose accessories wisely and stick with the ones that work.

Fabulous style icons lessons learned

L – Linda Rodin R – Jan de Villeneuve

Jan de Villeneuve   

Who: Model

The Lesson:  Things don’t always have hanger appeal- you need to try them on.

There are even more lessons to be learned so if you enjoyed this article, check out Advanced Style, Older and Wiser on TG Forum (to be published on April 3rd). , And for more lessons from the stars, these photographic tips from WHOWHATWEAR are quite amazing too as are these Fashion tips to take from the 50 most stylish women over 50

Reprinted from Harper’s Bazaar.

Feb 26

Battle of the Royals

Princess Mary of Denmark the Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Letizia of Spain

For my British and even American readers, there was little doubt that for many years Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, was the best of the best among fashion icons. Since her marriage to Prince William she has set the fashion world on fire. “The Kate Effect”, as it has become known, has had a global impact on women’s fashions and she has turned the image of the British royals, which had been declining since the death of Princess Di, into a positive one.

But now she has some serious competition from the royal families on the continent. Hello Magazine asked its readers to vote on ten royal women which are listed below in order of total votes

WHO ARE THE MOST STYLISH ROYALS? 

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Queen Letizia of Spain

Sophie, Countess of Wessex

Princess Madeleine of Sweden

Queen Rania of Jordan

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

Princess Charlene of Monaco

Princess Victoria of Sweden

Princess Mette-Marit of Norway

Nearly 29 percent of the 30,000 readers voted for Crown Princess Mary as the best dressed, putting her on the top of the list, above the Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and Queen Letizia of Spain. Mary truly outclassed her Scandinavian rivals, and Princess Mary, who is the Australian born wife of Crown Prince Frederik, also topped the Hello! poll last year. I suspect it was a difficult decision because Kate and Mary are almost like sisters in their style and dress.

This article will focus on Crown Princess Mary, Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Letizia, and Queen Maxima and I admittedly have a soft spot for Dutch Queen possibly because she is a bit more mature. Our purpose of course is to learn what style lessons can be learned from these ladies

Two years ago I wrote about the style lessons that cross-dressers can learn from Kate Middleton in an article titled The Duchess Speaks to Crossdressers published in TG Forum. Many of those 10 lessons still apply today and we’ll reexamine them as we look at each of these royal ladies.

Princess Mary of Denmark

Princess Mary of Denmark

Princess Mary is married to Prince Frederik of Denmark She was born and raised in Tasmania, Australia. She met the prince at a pub during the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. She has a background in advertising and once taught business English in Paris. She has two children and now conducts tours aboard the Royal Yacht Dannebrog

Go-to brands:  Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Hugo Boss.

Princess proclivity:  Great shoes. Whether its racy snakeskin Christian Louboutin court shoes, Rupert Sanderson patent stilettos, Isabel Marant ankle boots or Gianvito Rossi leopard print heels, Mary knows the shoe maketh the outfit.

See more great pictures of Princess Mary here

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, UK

kate middleton, duchess of cambridge

A Duchess by name, but a princess in every other sense, Kate Middleton has morphed from a Home Counties belle into the beautiful yardstick by which all other royals are judged. Kate has redefined the definition of the people’s princess. She’s really changed the game for how people view the Royal Family and especially the younger generation of the Royal Family.

She has evolved into a model of royal modernity and simple elegance seemingly impervious to a misstep and ready to make style statements and even take interesting fashion risks. Kate Middleton has a distinctive style and has started multiple fashion trends with her clothing choices.

Go-to brands:  Alexander McQueen, Emilia Wickstead, LK Bennett – all topped off with a Kings Road blow-dry.

Princess proclivity: The raised-waist tactic. Kate is a master of alterations, regularly getting her high street purchases taken in by the Buckingham Palace mice so that they sit a centimeter  or so above her natural waist to give the illusion of longer legs.

See more great pictures of Kate Middleton here

Queen Letizia of Spain

Queen Letizia in a Felipe Varela guipere lace dress; and a teal lace shift

Queen Letizia of Spain is elegant, beautiful and intelligent. Letizia’s Signature Style is a blend of Chic punctuated with Glam. Her relatable and strategic style comes from a template she follows that is to shine in complete alignment and authenticity.

Letizia’s brand style follows this criteria for success to get the look of the leader:

  • Conveys her Chic/Glam Signature Style
  • Chooses styles that flatter her hourglass body shape
  • Maintains a focused brand palette of six colors in beige, black, red, blue, purple, blue and gray
  • Wears primarily camera-friendly solids and timeless evergreen styling

Go-to brands:   Spanish high-street fashion brands such as Zara and Mango, as well as couturiers such as Felipe Varela and Lorenzo Caprile

Princess proclivity:  Lace. Guipere lace, to be precise, and usually in the form of a figure-hugging sheath dress. It looks traditional but not stuffy, and allows for a hint of Spanish sassiness when worn off the shoulders.

See more great pictures of Queen Letizia here

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

Queen Maxima

Queen Maxima is a fashion plate we love keeping tabs on (she’s so impeccably turned out, we’ve yet to see the woman wear a pair of jeans!). The year was filled with chic moments for her, but there’s one that deserves extra attention: Yes, that’s a pair of satiny slick culottes, worn with a bold floral top to a children’s concert

The Argentina-born queen is constantly surprising us with her versatility, one day wearing a very classic skirt suit and the next showing off a printed jumpsuit or incredible designer dress. Believe us, though, that ability to try different trends isn’t the only reason you should be following her.

Not only does the Dutch royal woo us with her fearless, color-centric style choices, but the woman knows when it’s time for an outfit to make a second (or third or fourth) appearance

See more great pictures of Queen Maxima here

Style Lessons

So what style lessons are to be learned. Here are some that I gleaned from all the many fashion articles on these four fabulous ladies. They may be royalty, but when it comes to fashion, they own their looks and dress right for the occasion with style and grace’

Dress with at Least One Standout Accessory

If there is anything we’ve learned from watching royalty from around the world, it’s that every outfit needs at least one standout or statement accessory. Their love of accessories extends from hats, crowns, and headpieces to bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and more. If you’re an accessory novice, start with one standout piece. As you get an idea of your own style, you can start experimenting with multiple pieces and mix and match

And hats may be the best accessory. Boy, I wish I could teach the Americans this for no outfit is complete without a hat or fascinator — hair clips decorated with flowers, feathers or lace. While it’s customary to wear fashionable headwear at big events, these ladies hats are often their most-talked-about accessories. Here in Mexico, hair clips of various types are the favorite, especially when wearing traditional dress.

.It’s OK to Wear an Outfit More than Once

Just because they live at a royal residence and have their own personal dressmakers, these ladies are not above wearing an outfit more than once.  In fact these ladies are very adept at recycling their looks with the same dress and often reuse or reinvent items to give them new meaning.

No Need For A Fairy Godmother

Nothing feels worse than being underdressed or overdressed for an event. Before settling on an outfit, ask friends what they’ll be wearing to get a better idea of what’s appropriate. If the event’s invite gives a specific dress code, search online for inspiration and to get an idea of what’s expected. If you’re still not sure, it’s better to be a little overdressed so you’re sure to be the best-looking guest there. Depending on your preferences, be sure to check out the more than 100 Pinterest boards on Sister House. Good fashion sense in not necessarily intuitive

Navy is the New Black

Who needs a little black dress? Navy is quickly becoming the go-to color for fashionable women everywhere, thanks to the classic, stylish pieces of these royal l;adies. They say purple is the shade of royalty, but the these ladies don’t let silly out-of-date rules box them in. Their fashionable ensembles always pack a punch. From fire-engine red to canary yellow, these queens make dramatic statements by injecting bold pops of color into their wardrobes.

Tailor an Outfit to Flatter Your Figure

Altering your clothing to fit your body shape can make all the difference. No matter how simple or glamorous an outfit or gown may be, always choose to wear clothes that are tailored to suit your figure. Never wear anything too tight or revealing, but instead choose to don classic, well-structured jackets, coats and dresses that flatter your waistline and long legs. The secret behind the polished royal look is expert tailoring. Though their sleek silhouettes are probably about mostly genetics, they’re taught that some expert pinning and tucking can offer a world of difference, too.

Sheer Hosiery is Practical and Chic

Pantyhose can be flattering, as it smoothes skin and covers unsightly cellulite, bruises or veins, but be mindful to buy a hue that matches your skin tone. These ladies would never wear hose that made her legs stand out from the rest of her body

While women in the United States begrudgingly wear hosiery if it’s required, the trend has definitely caught fire across the pond. From 2010 to 2011, L’eggs and Hanes reported that in the United Kingdom, sales have increased 85 percent for nude hosiery, and Middleton inarguably helped the trend take off.

Less is Not Always More

These royal styles tend to be more classic and ladylike and less monarchical monotony, and can probably be described as minimalistic chic. They keep it simple by relying on perfectly fitted sheath dresses, structured skirt suits, and flirty coatdresses with occasional bursts of color and other trendy pieces.

Be True to your Individual Sense of Style

Although many designers are knocking down the door for the chance to dress these ladies,  these down-to-queens have the reputation for staying true to her own sense of style, often choosing affordable clothing and accessories that they would’ve worn in her past life as a commoner. They also has the reputation of collaborating with clothing designers to achieve a desired look. Unlike many royals before her, many of these ladies refused the help of professional stylists in the past and opted to choose outfits on her own instead. They have a knack for selecting garments that are comfortable, flattering and often glamorous — all reflective of a unique sense of style that each of them can call their own

And Across the Atlantic

Too soon to tell, but our new American First Lady, Melanie Trump, and her stepdaughters, Ivanka and Tiffany, are rockin the fashion scene in the U.S. We may again see fashion like it hasn’t been seen since Jackie Kennedy

Melanie, Tiffany and Ivanka Trump

L-R Melanie Trump, Tiffany and Ivanka Trump

 

Jun 04

Donnakelli on Summer Fashions

It’s June and summer is here, lots of cool fabrics and fashions all over the malls and catalogs.  If you are shopping for new summer fashions, resist the urge to buy lots of new or “fad” items. Assess your current wardrobe and get rid of what doesn’t work anymore and make room for a few new spring summer pieces.

Casual Looks

I love tops, especially with ¾ sleeves because you can dress them up or down with heels, tennis shoes, jewelry or boots.  Print tops in your colors and lightweight t-shirts (pun not intended) are terrific for summer, they pack easily and look stylish without going over the top.  Generally, if you are on a budget they are inexpensive compared to nicer evening tops.  Consider the venue you are going to and choose your print or fabric.

Here are some pictures of a Daisy Fuentes t-shirt with long sleeves, I dressed it up a bit for the day with Nine West pumps in grey and black snakeskin, I was feeling girly so wanted it to look a bit more feminine and fun.  If I changed the heels for skechers and jewelry it would look more like a daytime shopping outfit and very casual.

The T looks classy but casual, if its rainy or cold this same outfit works with boots.

Donnakelli in Jeans

Here it is with boots, different day but still feminine and classy in simple jeans and T-shirt.

Suit Dressing

Some of you girls are venturing out into the business world and trying to pick suits and tops, I thought I would show you one of my suits with top. There are many combinations but the key items to change the look again is the top and jewelry.  The suit is a simple Jones of N.Y. in black pinstripes, the top is cap sleeves with a v-neckline in a very feminine and colorful print by Kasper. I wore black Nine West 4 inch pumps with it.

Donnakelli in suit and top

The top without the jacket will work if you’re stopping after work for drinks with friends and will appear dressy/casual… I wore this outfit all over a few days ago and everyone who knows me while doing my errands thought I was coming from work… I stopped at the Walgreens drug store to pick up prescriptions and had to shop for my grandson, so I took a picture in the children’s aisle.

Donnakelli shopping at Walgreens

Now I would like to move on to my stylish friends of the month and see what they are wearing for summer fashion and why…

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

My Stylish Friends

This month I wanted to focus on another good friend who is very much out in the public, has a style that she’s made work for her and is a larger girl who uses her size to enhance her confidence.  Kind of like Big Beautiful women.  I hope you girls like hearing from Annie Smith who I’ve been out with more than once.

Annie Smith:  (full figured Stylish T-girl)

Annie Smith blue dress_

As a full figured T-girl, I try to express myself with a little class and sex appeal. I sometimes choose outfits a little on the edgy side, which allows me to show my curves. I know I’ll never be a size “0” model, but a curvy girl can still appear sexy and alluring. When Victoria Secret sold nice dresses, I purchased this blue one to attend my first Southern Conference  in 2010. I liked the blue color and it hugged my body and curves, while still being a bit modest with the high neckline and long sleeves.

At the Raven conference in Philadelphia, I choose a Lavender Color V-neck wrapped dress with ruching from Venus. This dress was a little more elegant and allowed me to be a bit more daring with the V-neckline, but still appearing classy. I like dresses with a little stretch and in an XL size because specific sized dresses sometime don’t fit as well due to my body proportions as a full figured girl.

Annie Smith at Raven in lavender dressMy casual attire usually involves nice jeans and a cute top. I love the looks with riding boots as they are fashionable and comfortable for shopping, lunch or a walk on the boardwalk by the lake or ocean in the fall. The top is from Venus, the jeans are Jessica Simpson and the boots are from Torrid.

Annie looking casual

All in all, I think you have to know your body type, know what style of dress or casual outfit works for you, as well as your personality to present in manner which makes you feel your best. As stated, a little class, edginess and sex appeal is what I want to portray, just as any woman, regardless of size, wants that little attention, look and gaze from those around her as she walks through life. As I heard another girl say in a TED Talk, “Own It.” Look your best and go out there and change the world.

Annie says, “I am 5’11” (6’3″ in heels)  and eeeek 230 lbs. Size 16-18. Or 1x-2x. Size 13W heels. OMG…. to be a size 6!  

If you want to see more of Annie,  her Facebook page is here.

** This is the end of my column for another month, if any of you wish to see me in a short, albeit silly video check out my Facebook page

I bought a new iPhone and was messing with the video one day while out in the car. I do hope this column is interesting and is providing some style and fashion ideas to all girls who read it, if you have ideas or things you want to see or something you want me to wear or visit more places with me let me know and I’ll do my best to fit it all in my column..

Thanks for reading and as always girls be safe out there…

Many Warm Hugs

Donnakelli

Stylish T-Girl Columnist

 

Feb 11

Nadine Spirit

Nadine Spirit has been blogging since 2010 and is a highly read author here on Sister House. She started her blog, Unordinary Style, with the idea of being able to show a fashionable side to cross dressers. Since that time her blog has evolved into showing her personal style, discussing a wide variety of transgender topics, as well posts about her personal life. At 5’9” and 155lbs Nadine has often been described as having a body that anything will fit on but one of the best lessons she has learned about clothes is that nothing magically fits on anyone. She has been known to fit into a S, M, or L and anything from a size 4 to a 12 and what she has learned from this is that the most important thing to good fitting clothes is to get out there, use the tags as a guide, and try, try, try!

Now you have an opportunity to learn some of her styling secrets

Nadine Spirit

Interview with Nadine:

What is the secret to great style?  The willingness to be open minded about your clothing choices. Too often people get stuck thinking that they only look good in certain types of items. Thus they will then stick to certain items like blue jeans only or super bright colors or dresses only. Maybe without even being aware of it then people will avoid even checking out different options. One of my favorite things to do is to grab a bunch of items I normally wouldn’t wear, go into the dressing rooms, and show them off for my wife. Quite often things have worked out that neither of us ever thought would.

nadines outfitsWhat is the one thing you would spend a lot of money on?  To date the most expensive piece of clothing has to be the pair of 7 For All Mankind blue jeans that I paid about one hundred fifty dollars for! My most expensive semi-clothing item? My Coach purses. A quality purse is well worth the price. Oh and kind of another semi-clothing related item would be my wig which I spent about $300 on. So yeah, I suppose that was actually three items.

nadines clothing choices

What is the one thing you wouldn’t spend a lot of money on?  Basic items like undershirts and underwear. There are so many great inexpensive options available out there.

How do you balance new trends with a more timeless look?  I think it best to have a basic stable wardrobe that you can include newer trends into. Some of my favorite skirts are pencil skirts. I have many of them in various colors, but solid colors. These particular skirts can go with just about any top. So I can pair them with some newer, funkier, riskier top but not be over the top.

nadines clothing choicesWhat is your current obsession?  I would suppose that my ongoing never ending obsession is trying to figure out how to make better looking cleavage.

nadines clothing choices
Who inspires you? One of my biggest inspirations is a close friend of mine, Vivian. She has fabulous style! Vivian is one of those women that enjoys dressing nicely because it feels good. She does it because she wants to, not because she thinks she has to. And I so appreciate the super cute looks that she puts together in both her casual clothing and her professional attire as well.

Do you have a signature piece or style?  Black and white. I am obsessed with it.

nadine in black and whiteWhat’s your secret to making yourself stand out?  Well that is kind of the trick huh? Being transgender I would prefer to blend in than stand out but at the same time I have a definite bug to attempt and be fashionable. So I simply try and dress as a fashionable everyday woman would.

nadine in everyday dressesThe one piece of advice most crossdressers need but don’t get?  You don’t have to be boring in your outfit selections to be able to get out into public, but you also don’t need to be over the top either.

What’s the best piece of style wisdom you’ve ever received?  Try on things that you don’t think would look good on you. You would be surprised at the number of items I have fallen in love with that I at first never thought would actually work on me.

nadine things that look good on meWhat is your favorite trend?  Tight stretchy pencil skirts! I love them.

nadine in tight stretchy pencil skirts

What would you not be caught dead in?  Pj’s and Ugg boots. Sure it looks like it would be comfy, but not out in public!

What are your favorite websites.  I really like Already Pretty by Sally McGraw. I love her style! She is adorable with a bit of timelessness and funk swirled together into awesomeness.

How would you describe your personal style?  A stylish everyday woman. Most of my closet is made up of nicer items, but I so love my female jeans as well. I often try and pair the jeans with a stylish top to try and bring up the outfit. Even the jean cutoff shorts I wear have a bit of a cute cut and a stylish look to them.

nadine in jeansWho are your style icons?  Anyone who takes the time to care about their appearance.

nadine favorite looks

Finally, here’s a collage of Nadine’s latest looks

Follow Nadine on her blog, Unordinary Style.  You’ll want to bookmark this one

Feb 08

The Iconic Red Dress – Sexy and Alluring For All Seasons

red Dress Fashion Show

Every woman should own a bright red dress. The color red says ‘look at me!’ and ‘yes, I can’ or maybe even ‘yes I will.’ The color red sparks in us an enthusiasm and energy that increases the heartbeat and protects us from stress and fear. We are driven by centuries of cultural conditioning that has associated the color red with sex. Think “Scarlet woman,” “red light district,” “lady in red.” Think of the iconography of Valentine’s day; of the dingy red bulbs that wink down apocryphal alleyways to the client of the peepshow and the brothel.

First of all I want to say that anyone can wear a red dress and feel great in it no matter the color of your hair, your skin tone or your dress size. With a red dress, you’ll feel sassy, bold, alive, beautiful and little bit naughty 😉 And did you also know that the color red has been scientifically proven to elevate your self-confidence? Yup, it’s definitely a must-own look and an indispensable piece for your wardrobe.

Choosing the Little Red Dress

Select a Dress Style That Flatters Your Body Figure

The best length for a red dress is at the knee or shorter unless you have an Apple body shape. It shows more of your legs and make you look taller and leaner. Calf-lengths are a bit tricky because they tend to overpower most body figures — not to mention that it tends to make petites look frumpy.

Know What Type of Necklines and Cuts Suit Your Body Shape

Select details that accentuate your best assets and conceal the ones you’re self-conscious about. A V-neck is universally flattering.

Choose the Right Red Color For Your Coloring

The right shade of red is crucial to looking your best in a red cocktail dress. Blueish-red flatters cool skin tones (Winter and Summer, while yellow/orange colored reds suit warm skin tones (Autumn and Spring).

cool red dresses

From left: Blue red, burgundy, clear red, true red

warm red dresses

From left: Tomato red, deep red, clear red (on light peachy skin tones)

Click here to discover your best colors.

Opt For a Versatile Dress Style

If you’re on a budget and want to be able to wear the same dress multiple times for various occasions — then buy a red dress in a timeless style. Like for example a basic knee-length V-neck dress with short or three-quarter sleeves.

simple and classic red dresses street style

Securing a simple dress makes it easier for you to create various fashion looks with it! Use scarves, jewelry and shoes to reflect your personal style.

This is a personal favorite that I just purchased from City Chic because the styling has that definite Mexican flavor and the strappy sandals give it just the right touch.

Border flock dress from City Chic

Wearing the Little Red Dress

There are also several ways to accessorize this red-hot piece. However, I recommend you to go light on the extras as the color is already eye catching enough.

If you decide to go for the whole fashion look charade, try to imagine an outfit theme that you want to create with the dress. For example: Do you want to look glamorous? Classy? Bohemian?

Accessorize it for the occasion

For example if you’re attending a semi-formal event — go classy and minimal on the accessories. But you can turn up the heat when you’re out clubbing by adding the extra sparkles and trendy shoes. Here are some ideas from Wikipedia.

Lastly, a video of crossdresserrs in red dresses

Nov 18

The Power of Clothing

There isn’t enough that can be said about the power of clothing. Clothing is a political issue. It serves a great number of purposes, all of which are social, but many of which are also political. First, I want you to think about what we know, or, more correctly, assume about someone from their clothes. Of course, the first thing that comes to your mind is gender, and you may well be right. But clothes are not always safe gender signals in every context.

fashion-tips-for-women

I work on a university campus, and as often as not, the young women and men there are wearing the same thing – jeans, a T-shirt and runners. When a young woman dresses like that she can be stating many things, including, to cite just one, that she is not in a romantic space and is focusing on her classes.

Of course, clothes establish a lot – clothes speak volumes. Again, on campus, there are identifiable groups of students. One group always wears black and usually has shocking hair colours. Another looks like they just stepped out of an L.L. Bean catalog, and yet another just walked out of J. Crew.

As you well know, looks vary from a business like appearance to quite grungy; some attire is ethnic, some quite ordinary and some quite bizarre. But in each case, her personal attire establishes who a person is, and who she wants to be. By this I mean, she is establishing her group connections and, if you know the codes, telling the world how to react and what to expect.

The diversity of dress, especially on some place like a campus without a dress code, allows you to establish your identity and membership very easily. To see the importance of this, consider what happened during the cultural revolution in China. Why was so much emphasis placed on everyone wearing the same clothing? Why were there no gender differences in attire? The answer is very simple: clothing establishes difference, and the cultural revolution was all about eliminating difference. The ideal was that everyone was the same and that all deviations were nothing but counter-revolutionary egoism. Sameness induces conformity, and that was important, just as it is in a prison or an army.

If you want everyone to act the same, dress them the same. In the vast majority of cases, clothing and its concomitant, appearance, establishes gender group membership. The establishment of gender is an imperative accomplishment, and those who fail to do so are in peril. Females who appear masculine, males who appear feminine, (and I am not here talking about transgender,) have grave difficulties maneuvering their way in public spaces.

Many of us of a certain age can certainly recall the taunts that followed hippies, freaks and flower children when their gender was ambiguous. Pat, on Saturday Night Live, is a person of highly ambiguous gender, and an entire ongoing skit is built around determining just what it is. Much of the time women dress differently from men. How differently depends on a number of variables.

The first is age. Women who are young and fecund generally dress differently from mature women who are partnered. The second variable is occasion. Clothing at work varies, often dramatically, from clothing at a party or celebration. A great number of women in North America wear slacks to work as opposed to skirts or dresses. Similarly with hair styles. Most working women over thirty seem to have short hair, while single young women almost all have long hair. Finally, a third major variable is personal taste, politics or religion. Some women refuse to display any skin or wear anything but pants, while others prefer to be dressed in a very “feminine” manner at all times. (Culture, of course, has a lot to do with the parameters in which this occurs as well.)

The key to how we dress is realizing that how we dress expresses how we want to be treated. A woman who is dressed in a provocative manner wants to be noticed; a woman wearing jeans and a loose sweatshirt is trying to minimize her gender membership, generally in order to minimize male attention. (Note that lesbians, many of whom often dress this way, are rejecting the display function assigned to their gender.)

plain vs provocativeIf you notice the way western women dress when they are on display, the social politics becomes clear. There is always, among young women, a great deal of skin on display. A dress is standard, often short and low cut, exposing a fair bit of decolletage. The man beside her is covered in cloth from head to toe, with the only exposed skin being his face and hands. The woman, being exposed, is vulnerable and is fortunate that the fully covered male is at her side, ready to protect and cosset. He will open doors, shield her from strangers, and otherwise act in a protective, paternal way. The clothing she wears infantilizes and puts her on display, while the clothing he wears emphasizes his strength and importance.

That’s social politics. There are times when the different rules for male and female dressing seems extremely stark, and when they occur I am always transfixed. These times are most discrepant when the context is formal. Weddings, elegant Christmas parties, banquets, awards shows, all demonstrate both the diversity and rigidity of dress.

When I watch the Academy Awards, to cite one prime example, I am struck by how exposed the young women are, how fragile their appearance. Their shoes make fast movement next to impossible, their skirts make genital access easy, and the exposed skin means they require protection. Older women range in their degree of exposure, but also follow the party line lest they face the wrath of commentators like Joan Rivers. Note also that the vast majority of men look identical – black tuxedos and white shirts. Their uniform means that they are ready to defend, well clothed and invulnerable; covered and guarded . It also emphasizes that they are not the ones on display, but the ones who are displaying their beautiful possessions.

I have to confess that I’m not certain where I’m going with this, but I’ve been reading Erving Goffman, the master of this sort of analysis, and it got me to thinking. (You can find out lots about Goffman with a simple Google search.) As a young cross dresser I indulged in the most feminine aspects of women’s clothing, the sort that proclaimed femininity. As I got older, and especially as I became more politically involved in TG issues, I began to explore other forms of dress – more casual, more typical of what I would wear for my age and style were I actually a woman. When I began to do that, a lot changed for me. I developed a deeper sense of what I liked to call my woman-ness, my sense and awareness of myself as a “woman” in the world, as opposed to someone just going out to party.

But, I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I know many women who like to get dolled up regularly, and going to a wedding or a ball can be a treat for someone whose work outfit is slacks and a blouse. I, myself, love skirts. They are a favorite article of clothing, and while I do wear slacks sometimes, I feel better and think I look better in a skirt. It’s just not a mini for daily purposes.

We all know this and act accordingly, as, for example, when we carefully choose just the right clothes for a job interview. For the interview you want your choice of clothing to establish that you are the sort of person being sought. You’ll dress one way for a corporate position, and quite another for a sales clerk in a grunge clothing store. Clothing expresses who you are, and, also, what you know. By applying for the grunge job while wearing a J. Crew outfit, you have clearly shown you are not the right person for them, you don’t know enough.

A male going on an interview or a first date, often takes a fair bit of time and care with his appearance, while most women take that time and care most of the time. They are taught that they are always under scrutiny, always being judged, and always on display. Clothing then, expresses who we are by our choice of styles, colors, and image. It also says how much we know by showing that we are aware of what to wear, when to wear it, and how to carry it off.

Finally, clothing, and our ability to wear it shows what we are worth. The guy in the $3000 Armani suit declares his worth when formal, just as he does when informally wearing a cashmere sweater and Gucci loafers. Wearing the right thing, at the right time, and wearing it well, establishes your place in any number of hierarchies. This is the case for men, but it is infinitely more so for women.

I now need to take a detour, but will l come back to the main theme through a side door. The detour is to look more closely at what a cross dresser does with clothes, and why he does it. (In fact, this is relevant to some transsexuals as well, but not quite as much.) There are a couple of central facts about a CD that have a large impact. The first is that he came to cross dressing around puberty. He may have felt feminine yearnings earlier, but likely began to eroticize women’s clothing more or less around the time he discovered masturbation. This is important, because it means he lost out on an enormous era of socialization, when he was not really paying attention to what it means to be a female. (This is also true of the so-called secondary transsexual, or, as I prefer, adult-onset transsexual.) So when, some time later, he begins playing with outfits, his taste will go to the erotic and exotic since he has never had the usual girl-to-girl social limitations placed upon him.

There is another important factor in a cross dresser’s choice of clothing, and that is the amount of time one gets to dress. A typical CD may get to dress once a month, and if that’s all the opportunity you get, you sure don’t want to put on a set of sweats. In fact, the more often someone gets to dress, the likelier it is that they will experiment with casual and comfortable clothing. Gals who come to Fantasia Fair for a full week, almost always end up in slacks at one point or another. With a time frame like that, you get to explore more options than cocktail outfits, and can begin to learn what appropriate dress means. There has also been some change in this regard, change I would call progress.

Ten years ago, when I attended my first Fantasia Fair, a good half of the first timers trekked to the orientation wearing heels, which is not an easy feat on Provincetown’s streets. The past few years, there have been hardly any not wearing flats. This change reflects the way CDs are learning from each other by investigating the web, and how they are learning to care more about being appropriate. Why do I care about this? Because clothing is powerful.

How you dress, and how you present yourself declare volumes about what you know and who you are. When you are being a woman, you are expressing what your women-ness is about by how you display yourself. It is important to remember that women are always on display, always being assessed and judged as objects, as well as people; in fact, if the people part is included, then, as a woman, consider yourself lucky.

That means the message you are sending needs to say how smart, self-possessed, available, sexual and feminine you are. Your dress can say that you are a sophisticated person who is feminine and sensible, or it can say that you are an inexperienced cross dresser who needs a lot of help. If your goal is to pass, then you simply must blend in. If your goal is to drag it up and attract attention, then, by all means, blend out. While you are doing all this you can come to understand many things. You can understand why a significant number of women simply choose to opt out, and adopt a basic uniform of jeans or slacks and tops. Sometimes this is a political statement, at other times it’s a function of convenience.

good vs bad dressing

You can also come to understand why the majority of women, those who do not opt out, take a good deal of time to select an outfit, accessories, and makeup. They know that they are doing a lot more than getting dressed. Whether they think about it on a daily basis or not, they know they are sending a message, making a statement that will be examined and read by everyone they encounter. Remember the gala affair? Perhaps the Academy Awards on TV? How long does it take a man to decide which tuxedo he’s going to wear? Then compare that to the gender that is going to be examined and critiqued by Joan Rivers. Understand, that in our culture, women are objects of display and they are subject to that kind of critique, and, yes, it’s no accident that the critic is another woman. It has to be; men, mostly, don’t know the rules.

And this brings us full circle. As a cross dresser, especially as a CD who wants to pass, you have to make it clear that you know the rules. You have to be able to read the message you are sending, the statement you are making, and examine it critically. You need to separate the occasions on which it is OK to be lax, from those on which it is important to be correct and precise. You need to understand that being overdressed is as bad as being underdressed, and that those numerous phone calls women make to each other about what they’re wearing to the party are important business, not idle chatter.

Why? Because clothing is powerful.

Mikki GilbertAbout the author.  Miqqi Alicia Gilbert is a life-long cross dresser and an activist in the international transgender community. S/he is the book review editor and regular columnist for Transgender Tapestry, the magazine of the IFGE, The International Foundation for Gender Education. Miqqi is recipient, in 2007, of an IFGE Trinity Award. His articles can be found on numerous websites and scholarly journals. Miqqi Alicia is a founding member of the Toronto transgender group Xpressions, and is currently Director of Fantasia Fair. Your feedback is important to me. I need to know you’re out there. Please drop a line to miqqi@gilbert1.net.

Jun 14

Be Surprised About “Age Appropriate” Style

Age appropriate style is a subject that always pops up on the fashion blogs as well as in the CD forums from time to time. My own view has changed over the years rightfully so as you will read below. Thanks to Sylvia at 40plus Style, we now know this amazing lady, Dorrie, who at 80+ years old, is a stylish lady in her own right. And she is neither a movie star nor a pop singer, but an ordinary woman with a flair for style. She blogs at Senior Style Bible. We have much to learn from her, but her view on age appropriate clothing is one we should all adopt.

pictures of Dorrie

By way of background, Dorrie was raised in the Philadelphia area and has a flair for east coast fashions, but then so was I. Maybe that explains my affinity to her. Her career includes modeling, a cosmetic representative and a “Playboy Bunny” and an obviously thin body. You do need to dress for your body, nevertheless her words do hit home. She says:

“I don’t believe women over 50 should be worried about what is appropriate and what is not. I actually don’t like the term “age appropriate” because I think the subtext is that women of a certain age should not be wearing certain styles because they are too old to be sexy, and need to cover up their less than perfect bodies. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and that kind of negative messaging undermines women’s self-confidence and I don’t like that.

Obviously it’s important to be aware of what flatters the mature figure and what no longer works. Style has nothing to do with age, it is understanding what flatters your body, how to accentuate your best assets and deciding what makes you feel pretty. Fashion is a non-verbal form of communication, so what we wear, tells the world how we feel about ourselves. It’s important to figure out what we want our style to say….but what I know I don’t want it to say is “I’m going to let society tell me what I should look like.” That’s a form of censorship, and the idea that we have to edit who we are is absurd. So I’d like to see that term disappear out of our vernacular entirely.

pictures of DorrieDon’t fall into the “age appropriate” trap. You know yourself better than anyone else. Select clothes that highlight your best features and camouflage the parts you may not want to show off. Fit is also very important; a good tailor can make an inexpensive piece, look expensive. Also choose quality over quantity and invest in your clothes. Less is more. It’s better to have fewer pieces that are really great than a closet full of clothes that are just okay. It’s important to buy things that you really love. If you aren’t madly in love with it, don’t buy it.”

I thought Dorrie’s advice for women over 65 was particularly appropriate and I think it applies to many women under 65 too. Again Dorrie speaks; “Don’t retire from life. Start a new chapter in your life. Remain active, engaged and young at heart. Do something productive with your day. Many senior women have told me that once they are no longer in the work force they dress for comfort and no longer use makeup except for special occasions. Sweat suits and sneakers seem to be the retired lady’s uniform of choice, and that’s Okay. Not everyone has an interest in fashion. Some women just want to relax into old age and focus on other things. However, that is definitely not me. I want to stay as attractive as I can, for as long as I can…for me. So, if you are still interested in fashion and into looking your best, you can start by saving the sneakers for the gym.

You can read Dorrie’s complete interview here

There are many blogs for the over 40 woman that show just how stylish you can be. In your 20s and 30s you can wear most anything, but when you reach 40, be chic instead. I was watching an amusing episode of “Sex in the City” and the ladies (in their 30s) were bemoaning the ladies in their 20s for being so young and perky. Guess what, every age has its advantages (and disadvantages) and frankly I prefer the more mature woman who knows how to pull it together. How about you?

With a little effort, you can too. That’s what Sister House is all about. Read Tasi’s blog and our many articles in the Dressing Room and Library and stay tuned for our upcoming series “Dressing for your Body Shape. Here are a few of my favorite blogs for the over 40 woman.

Advanced Style

Lady of Style

Happiness at Mid-Life

Not Dead Yet

Flattering 50

Style Crone

Mar 18

Dressmaker

dressmakerWe are pleased to announce our affiliation with Cecilia Dupinet, an expert maker of wedding gowns and evening wear for ladies, located here in Merida. We will be featuring many of Cecilia’s creations in Sister House, but for now we offer the opportunity to have a dress made of your choice to your measurements.

This is an opportunity to craft something truly unique for yourself at a price you can afford or perhaps a more likely scenario is one where you found the dress you truly love, but it wasn’t in your size or it wasn’t in stock. Or perhaps that perfect dress just didn’t seem to fit right. Now we have the problem solved.

Our expert dressmaker will complete your dress to the measurements you provide, and then (if you are here) provide fittings as needed to ensure the perfect fit and the perfect look.. Cecilia uses over 31 measurements to ensure your dress fits perfectly the first time however minor adjustments can be made by any alterations shop in your local area

Gee Tasi, how do I do this:

Complete this form with a description and picture of your dream dress, provide us the measurements and we will provide you a quote for the work. Upon acceptance of our quote and a 50% deposit, the work will begin. You will be able to communicate with the dressmaker or her with you though her email address on Sister House (dressmaker@sisterhouse.net)

You need to allow 2-3 weeks for a gown or wedding dress and 1-2 weeks for an evening or cocktail dress depending upon its complexity, not including shipping time. Normal post is 10 days or more. UPS/Fedex is 3-5 days depending on your location

On your arrival in Merida, Cecilia will be available at the hotel for final fittings, or to take new orders, or just to talk about the dressmaking process. Here’s your chance ladies to have something really special.

Here are some samples of Cecilia’s beautiful dresses

red lace dressturquoise dressblue ball gownlilac maxi dressGrey Lace back gownblue and white lace top dress

 

 

Mar 15

The Flirty and Sensual Lace Dress

Whenever I’m thinking of making a purchase for a special occasion — and it’s usually a dress — I want that dress to do more for my wardrobe than be the star of only that special occasion. And you’re lucky, the flirty and sensual lace dress is not only one of this season’s hottest trends, it’s a timeless dress. . Whether your style is demure and ladylike or edgy rock chic, there many different styles of lace dresses available And with the tips in this article we’ll show you how you wear the dress in any season and how to dress it up or down for the fancy ball to a casual girls night out, and yes, even to the office. So read on as this dress will capture your imagination and bring out the girly and feminine side of you.

Some Basic Guidelines

Keep It Classic

For day wear it’s important to keep it classic with lace, by that we mean opting for basic silhouettes like sheath dresses, or pencil skirts. Lace is an already intricate design, so keep it clean especially at the office.

Enhance Your Shape

According to celebrity fashion stylist Anthony Henderson, there’s no fabric that will flaunt curves quite like lace. “It’s not just for your grandmother’s coffee table, the curtains, or the living room,” he says. “When wearing lace, you want it to accentuate your hottest assets. You should be confident that it will make you feel fabulous.” Henderson advises making sure the lace is strategically placed on your favorite feature to flaunt it.

Dare To Be Sexy

Follow the French and make sure the look stays effortlessly sexy, not overtly. If your bold enough to bare it all, do it in flowy feminine shapes versus others that leave little to the imagination.

Go Bright

Replace your traditional lingerie shades — nude, black and light pink with bold brights. Whether it’s a dress or a top, sticking to one shade of colored lace is key to keep from looking cheap and cheeky.

Short on Time?

If you’re in a hurry, lace can help solve your what-do-I-wear woes because the hair and accessories should be kept as minimal as possible. “Hair and accessories should be no fuss,” says Kennedy. “You don’t want to take away from the sex appeal of the lace, so keep it sleek and easy with the rest of your look.”

See a Seamstress

Before you wear a lace dress, it’s important to first visit a seamstress and ensure that it’s not only the right fit for your frame, but also the correct length. “If the dress is too long, the lace may give an effect of excessive weight,” says celebrity stylist Ali Levine. “Whereas if your dress is too short, it can look cheap.”

Those Special Tips

There are a number of different factors at play when looking at how to wear lace dresses. From casual shifts to glamorous gowns, the following are just a few tips on how to wear lace dresses this season

Colored Lace

A big trend this season is colored lace so you may want to stray from black and white lace dresses and head for bright reds and pinks. Stylists insist that when it comes to wearing lace, you should invest in an array of bright, bold hues. “This will keep you looking young and fresh As colored lace makes quite a statement, team these dresses with neutral accessories. It makes you glow whether you chose turquoise, tangerine, or classic red. Don’t be afraid to experiment

Casual Wear

When thinking about how to wear lace dresses, look to the quality of the fabric. Lower quality lace is better for carrying off casual, day-to-day looks. Heavier lace fabrics are also better for creating that casual appearance. Choose a shorter length lace dress in neutral colors. Top it off with tan leather accessories for a fun, casual look.

Evening Wear

Better quality lace is more suited for evening wear and special occasions. Longer length dresses and gowns can be quite elegant. Black lace is great for creating drama, but don’t be afraid to try white or cream lace either. If you are worried about white lace being a bit too bridal, team it with colorful accessories or add some colorful trims.

Sheer Lace

Make the lace the focal point of your outfit. A sheer sheath dress is an easy way to do this. Daring individuals might opt to wear them without a slip underneath, but if you’re more modest then a slip is a smart option. Balance out the revealing nature of sheer lace by choosing a more relaxed cut or a longer hem.

Heavy Lace

This season it’s less about stretchy lace and more about structured, heavier lace. These types of lace are better for keeping structure and creating a defined silhouette — think shift dresses and full-skirted tea dresses. These types of dresses are much easier to style when it comes to how to wear lace dresses. Sturdier lace fabrics with wider nets and more unique patterns are what you should be looking out for this season.

Metallic Lace

Vintage-type lace is all well and good, but if you want something a little more contemporary you can’t go past metallic lace. The metallic lace dress is perfect for a party occasion. For a fun evening look, team a metallic lace dress in a flirty shift style with some patent accessories and metallic jewelry.

Metallic Dress — Lace with Leather

With Contrasting Textures

If the lace look is too full-on for your personal taste, mix it up with contrasting textures. If you are unsure of how to wear lace dresses, add a leather jacket for a tougher look or play down the lace with jerseys and knits. For an eclectic gothic-inspired look, try teaming your lace dresses with faux fur and velvet.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with lace. Hopefully these tips on how to wear lace dresses will have you feeling more confident about the fabric. Whether it is a staple part of your wardrobe or for special occasions only, lace is an elegant and on-trend choice of fabric.

From Day To Evening

Next Nikki Parkinson gives us some tips on how to take your lace dress from day to evening with just a few changes. Starting with this new Blue Illusion Cross Over Lace Dress, Nikki says it very much fits that bill. Why?
• The fit and flare design is one that will work on most women. It’s all about the drape and shape but with comfort.
• The platinum grey (with steel blue undertones) stretch floral lace skims the bits you want skimmed and nips you in at the upper waist. And that cross-over neckline? Works a treat no matter what your bust size
• The sheer lace on the sleeves and the swish-ability of the flared skirt.
• The length is perfect for her height (5-5.5 or 166 cm) just hitting at the top of the knee. The dress is an XL.

Looks for Evening – Casual – Office

Evening

On its own, this dress just speaks for itself. Lace is such a wardrobe classic. It is feminine, fun and a little flirty. For an evening look, you can’t go past simply teaming with a pair of black patent heels and a little bling. Add a small clutch and you’re good to go.

Day — casual/brunch
As the seasons change and the weather cools down, pop on a long-line cardigan and a pair of ballet flats (even adding in leggings for winter) to create an easy weekend look that will take you to brunch in comfort and style.

Day — office/lunch

The dress works for a daytime occasion, the office or a lunch out with the girls. Simply add a jacket and scarf and the tone of the outfit is changed again. The lace is a sideline feature this time but beautiful all the same.

Summer To Winter

Then turning to Karen, known as Mrs Looking Good, here are her tips for wearing the casual lace dress in summer and converting it to a winter look when the weather turns cool.
• Wear a statement necklace — a necklace gives the eyes something to look at and focus on. Since you all know I smile a lot, it also draws people to my face. If you wear a chunky one and attention grabbing one, it elevates your look immediately.
• Put a belt on it — although one can do away with a belt, I feel I needed it to complete my look. I’ve always had a boxy shape and the thin belt gives me a better shape and highlights the fit and flare silhouette of the dress.
• Add more accessories — I skipped this but I know some women prefer arm parties. I decided not to as I don’t want anything to compete with the necklace I’m wearing.
• Choose your shoes wisely — I went for a nude pair of flats but I know gladiator or strappy sandals would work well with this look too. Heels and wedges would look great too.

For Fall and Winter, I would suggest adding on some of these:
• Scarf
• Tights
• Vest or Denim Jacket
• Booties or Boots

Then here are some further tips on How to Wear Summer Dresses in the Winter

Now I know you are just so ready to run out the door to buy your perfect lace dress, but finding the perfect one is not all that easy. That’s why you want to shop the Sister House stores, but Izilady, in particular, has some great selections. Still want more selection, then try these vendors and don’t forget your shoes. Sensational Soles specializes in sizes 11-14 in all styles

Izalady lace dress creations

Izilady Modcloth      Unique Vintage      Nordstrom       Suddenly Femme      Sensational Soles

And finally, just want to look and dream, check out Sister House on Pinterest, Why I Love Lace

And visit Tasi’s blog, The Fashionable TG Woman for more great fashion articles

Resource: All Womans Talk

The Savvy Shopper

The Savvy Shopper

The Savvy Shopper shows you how to see through marketing ploys and visual tricks when shopping online or from catalogs. Following her advice can keep you from wasting your money on purchases that will die unworn in the back of your closet.

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