A Hodgepodge of Fashionable Thoughts

| Aug 20, 2018

It’s one of those days when no clear cut idea is emerging for a fashion column so what you are going to get is a hodgepodge of fashionable thoughts. I was looking at group pictures of crossdressers and thinking there was a sameness about many of them and God knows, I strongly advocate for a ladylike look. Yes, we tend towards above the knee skirts and dresses, often too tight and we still have a penchant to showing too much skin. I get a video feed from Feedspot every day and there’s a daily video of MTF transitions. You can bet that 60-90% of the photographs will show short and shall we say form-fitting outfits. Of course the ladies are mostly in their 20-30s and I could wear anything at that age too. The idea that alluring and feminine can be equally as sexy has still not taken hold in our male-dominated brains.

crossdressers

L – Femme Fever crossdressing group R – selection of CDs from MTF videos

This is not necessarily true for readers of Sister House though if you believe my latest poll on their preferred style of dress. Almost 70% of readers prefer an everyday, business or mature look where the skirt is at or just above the knee. 28% voted for shortness in a miniskirt, girlish or fetish look. What did surprise me though was the small number of respondents (4%) that preferred the glam look. Guess there aren’t too many places to go where you can glam up.

It’s said that fashion follows art. Today we are in an “anything goes” art climate, in which specific movements are now dead and the very definition of art is hard to pin down. Anything could be defined art simply by virtue of being an artist. This is exactly where fashion finds itself today. We have entered a state of pure postmodernism, where anything goes and nothing means anything anymore.

Fashion once had its old masters in Coco Chanel and Christian Dior, its impressionists in Yves Saint Laurent and Cristobal Balenciaga, and a long stretch of its own modernist avant-garde starting with Vivienne Westwood and continuing through Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler to Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto and the Antwerp Six.

It has its own pop art in Versace and Moschino, minimalists in Jil Sander and Helmut Lang, deconstructionists in Martin Margiela and Rick Owens, and provocateurs in Alexander McQueen and John Galliano.

But what united all of the above is that they were fashion designers, meaning they had aesthetic direction and worked to convey a theme or tell a story.

Now we find ourselves in a totally different situation. Fashion in the original sense still exists. But plenty of new forms of fashion have spring up alongside this. H&M and Zara are fashion. Nike and Adidas are fashion. Supreme and Stüssy are fashion. Any piece of clothing is fashion, and so is the way we dress as is aptly described in my blog post Yes, It’s All About the Clothes.

But this phenomenon used to have another name. When the art historian Valerie Steele was interviewed several years ago, she was asked what the word “fashion” meant. She suggested that it was basically how one puts clothes together. To which I thought, wait a minute, that’s what we used to call style.

Style and fashion have collapsed into each other. But being stylish and being fashionable used to mean two different things. One did not require having money to buy designer clothes; the other did. One required a certain sensibility; the other one did not. That’s why you could be called a “fashion victim,” but no one would call you a style victim.

The signs that we are in a postmodernist era of fashion — where fashion has become unmoored and lost its original meaning — are everywhere: the rise of streetwear, a tsunami of product collaborations, normcore, dad sneakers, the ugly-made-pretty aesthetic, and the erasure of concern for the quality of both materials and construction brought about by the rise of “Fast Fashion“.

Well, I’ve done this rant before, but I want to focus on a more positive aspect of fashion, or really style. In an earlier post on TG Forum, Street Style Fashion and You, I focused on the many over 40 bloggers that I follow to source many of my ideas. Beth Djalali, a girl that grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, is but one excellent example of an over 50 blogger with great style. In her style interview with Sylvia of 40plusstyle,  she made some very cogent points. And I picked Beth because she calls her style “American Classic with a modern twist” which is true casualness at its heart.

  • The devil is in the details so I try to remember this when putting an ensemble together.
  • I’m a firm believer in dressing appropriately for the occasion no matter what the age.
  • But what I love most about fashion is that you don’t have to have a lot of money to look great!
  • Personal style is your calling card to the world. Sometimes, it’s your first and only impression. Make it count
  • Don’t fear aging, instead let’s embrace it. Let’s be authentic, let’s be genuine, let’s find new adventures to embark up

Beth Djalali in various casual outfits

You’ll want to read her whole interview.

Then we have Annette Höldrich  from the Lady of Style blog and Lisa Hale from the The Silver Stylist. Both ladies are long time favorites with flair and style

Annette on left and Lisa on right

Now we have our own style icons in the trans world and you can read about them in Sister House in the Dressing Room under the headline Stylish Crossdressers. Here are 13 girls, with more coming, that set the standards for beauty and grace. But none of them will ever tell you that. They’ll admit to only being themselves. See for yourself if you don’t agree with me.

stylish-crossdressers from Sister House

Now Pamela Lutrell in her blog, Over 50, Feeling 40, hit a particular nerve in her post on Why I Love a Fall Fashion Show, and this one happens to be at Neiman Marcus in San Antonio. I’m not usually a fan of fashion shows because I find them just a bit too esoteric, but this one actually spoke to me. Pam says, ” I love the artistic beauty of the fashions ….just as if I were visitng an art museum” . I particularly love the leopard outfits and you’ll want to read my post on Loving Leopard, A Timeless Trend. Everywhere I go, I see leopard.

And I also loved those printed pants, so girls, you’ll want to read How To Make Floral Prints Work For You.And yes, red and polka-dots too.

Ladies, listen to Tasi. I am hitting the nail on the head every time

Some wise sage (must have been me) once said, “The older you are, the more vital and rewarding fashion becomes”. Amy Smilovic, founder and creative director of Tibi said, ““So much of fashion is wrapped up in the confidence of the wearer,” and I agree.

In a Vogue UK article on Style Rules For Dressing Your Age, the author made this point, ““Knowing how” isn’t easy. OK, it is if you’re naturally stylish, but that’s about 0.2 per cent of the population. Regardless of our age, the rest of us have to learn style. We have to practise putting outfits together. We need to keep repeating mantras such as, “Always remove one thing before you leave the house” (if we’re Coco Chanel acolytes), or, “Shovel on 17 more things” (if we’re more in the Anna Dello Russo camp). We must swot up on proportions (which aren’t only an age thing, but also a body-type thing). We must apply ourselves to the study of details – unless, like Michael Kors, who told his mother all the bows on her wedding dress were making him ill, we know everything there is to know about details aged five”.

I’m staggered when I look back at how uncomfortable some of the clothes I wore were,” says Victoria Beckham. “But I dressed to be a certain kind of sexy. Now that I’m 43, my idea of sexy has evolved. I feel more confident because I feel fulfilled creatively. I don’t feel I have to show it all off in a tight dress. Maybe that way of dressing was a reflection of how insecure I felt.”

Second, third and fourth lessons? The art of fashion as you grow up is to master it, not the other way around, to let it help you project the person you want to be, to use it as a tool that fills you with confidence, and never to lose sight of what Alan Greenspan (not a fashionista, but a rare economist with a sparkling turn of phrase) would call its “irrational exuberance”. Or as Carolina Herrera puts it, “I like it when fashion has some element of fantasy. Always leave room for fantasy. And try to do things with grace.”

My final bit of wisdom today is ”

fashion quote

One of my very favorite blogs is Advanced Style where Ari Seth Cohen photographs ladies in their 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond. What I love about these ladies is their willingness to be totally themselves and it’s reflected in their style. You won’t find these ladies on the covers of Vogue, In Style, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s bazaar,  Allure or the many other fashion magazines, but in my mind, they have reached the zenith of fashion by dressing from what is in their heart and they do a wonderful job of it. Here are a few examples.

advanced style ladies 1

Advanced style ladies 2

advanced style ladies 3

older women

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Category: Fashion, Style

About the Author ()

Tasi is transgendered, married, and a lifelong crossdresser. She’s the founder of the Ladies of the Blue Ridge transgender group in Roanoke VA, a prolific writer, commentator and blogger including fashion articles for Tri-Ess, TG Reporter, Repartee, and Pretty T-Girls magazine. Tasi currently resides in Merida, (Yucatan) Mexico. Her new website, Sister House and her blog, the Fashionable TG Woman are dedicated to fashion and style for the transgendered woman. Please visit her. Tasi’s new book, "Top Ten Fashion Mistakes By Crossdressers and How To Fix Them" is available on Amazon or on her site free to subscribers.