Allison M.

A crossdresser's thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and (oh yeah) dressing up


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Random stuff (post-VS edition)

I haven’t been on here the past several days, what with trying to earn a living and fighting an achy cold since Thursday.  But I’m back to share some lingering stuff related to my last post about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and more importantly comments by Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, expressing that the show has no place for “transsexuals” (his term) or plus-size models on the catwalk (“because the show is a fantasy,” he reasoned).

Well, any hope that Victoria’s Secret and ABC would generate great ratings for the 2018 edition of the fashion show turned out to be a bigger fantasy.  Last Sunday’s (December 2) airing of the event registered an all-time low viewership number.  And that’s coming off previous all-time lows for viewership in both 2017 and 2016, the last two years the event aired on CBS.

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Entertainment for men

No, this post isn’t about Playboy, though hopefully when you finish reading you’ll understand why I titled this post with that magazine’s former tagline.  This is going to be a rant about a recent controversy a certain fashion retailer got into.  That company is Victoria’s Secret, the (in)famous designer of lingerie and women’s wear that are nowhere near the dowdy floral gowns its founder frequently found on sales racks.  It’s a safe bet that the mall near you has a Victoria’s Secret selling scantily designed undergarments and/or a PINK store selling sleepwear for the college-age set.

Before I get into the controversy in question, take a gander at this photo.  (Gentlemen, don’t drool.)

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Photo credit: Corey Tenold via Vogue

What do you see in that photo?  Obviously, you see a multitude of beautiful women.  That photo is from last year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.  Every year since 1995, and every holiday season since 2001, Victoria’s Secret sets up a very glitzy show to showcase and promote its lingerie, sleepwear, or whatever else they’re selling.  It’s not a sedate affair for sure:  The setting is elaborately designed; the music is live and pulsating; the costumes are extravagant; and the star wattage is high, with A-list stars both strutting the catwalk and providing the music.

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A vital voice

I want you, the fair readers of this blog, to take a look at this outfit:

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Saturday morning, I made a quick trip to Target.  No, if you’re inquiring, I wasn’t there to add new purchases to my closet, nor did I bring any new clothes home.  However, while walking past the women’s clothing section, I saw this mannequin with a nice pleated skirt and a simple pink top with… well, just read what it says.

Saturday was also a troubling day in the national news.  If you haven’t heard, You Know Who got his man on the highest court in our country.  Ugh.  And it comes after a nomination period that saw said man be accused of gross misconduct in his younger days, including not one, nor two, but three women coming forward to claim he sexually abused them when they were all younger.  More disgusting was the fact that said man vociferously deny those claims, which only exacerbated his bad character and made him look more guilty than he likely already was.

And yet, a group of mostly old, misogynistic men saw fit to put him on the highest court in our country.

Now, I know it’s impossible for our side to win every battle.  But when a battle this important and this hard fought finds our side on the losing end, it’s hard not to feel disappointed.  But through the disappointment, I saw the message on this outfit at Target and thought… yeah, I needed that message on Saturday.

Matter of fact, that was a message everyone needed on Saturday.  And today.  And every day during these dark times.

With those with evil in their hearts and dark motives on their minds threatening our community’s hard-fought freedoms, or at least just waiting do us harm, we should be a “vital voice…”

Yes, it’s good to be that “vital voice” for what’s right (not for the right side, if you know what I mean).

It’s best to be that “vital voice” to stand up for those who go without.  It’s necessary to be that “vital voice” to stand and defend for those in our LGBT+ community who feel threatened for living as who they are, and should not be discriminated because of who they are.

It’s important, now more so than ever, to be a “vital voice” who can stand up to the bullies in our country and the men (well, they are almost all men) who are making all of us live in fear only because they’re living in fear of women who aren’t afraid to stand strong.

I cannot profess to being all that articulate in voicing support for the downcast and others like me in our community.  Indeed, there are those much, much better than I’ll ever be in being that “vital voice.”  But at least I can use this platform, small and unpolished as it may be, to highlight those who think positive and stay strong and never yield or give ground to the hateful.

Even if our voices are small, let’s all speak up together… for when we do, we will be come the VITAL VOICE (note the all caps) that is so very necessary at this time.

(Oh, the outfit? The shirt especially? A certain friend of mine is really big on social justice and standing up for the disadvantaged. I imagine she may want to buy that shirt the next time she’s at Target. Walk the talk, friend. *grin*)


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Cheapest hottest-looking outfit ever

You know, as much as the subject of my last post was intended to keep one’s spirits up, I still felt a bit down after writing it.  So, to perk myself up — and you as well — let’s do something I’ve been wanting to get around to doing:  Venture into my closet (figuratively speaking) and pull some things out (figuratively speaking).

Vinyl trousers and Gitano jacket

Last March, I ventured out as Allison for a couple of evenings of poetry and spoken word performances.  One of those was the very chilly evening where I sported this gingham trench coat.  What did I have underneath?  Well, you’re looking at it.

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A poem: “Big Sale”

This poem is inspired by the topic I addressed in my previous post, which talked up the closing of a couple of anchor stores at West Towne Mall here in Madison.  As I mentioned in that post, the eventual closing of the Boston Store chain, including its West Towne location, first made news back in April (it’s slated to close for good this week).  Sometime after that, this poem started percolating in my mind.  And in all truth, I finished it pretty quick, or at least quick enough to perform it in an open mic performance the last day of June at Mother Fool’s.  (Yes, it was a few days after I lost my job.  Yes, performing helped take my mind off my job search a little bit.)

In prefacing this poem at that performance, I asked a show of hands from the audience of about 20 or so, inquiring as to how many of them had the chance to check out the Boston Store closing sale at that point.  The response wasn’t 100 percent, but more than a few (60 percent was my guess) put their hands up in the affirmative.  The rest of the audience?  Well, I think they spend too much time on their computers.  (Dang you, Amazon!)

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When going to the mall isn’t fun at all

I want to start this post by mentioning something that took place a year ago but did not get the chance to share until now.  Despite the delay, it perfectly dovetails to the theme of this post — stores closing in malls.

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These are jeans?!

Time for me to clear out a couple of bookmarked web items from my browser.  And I’m doing so with one hand holding my nose, because earlier this spring I bookmarked articles from The Independent and Teen Vogue about the same fashion item.  I’m hesitant to call it “fashion” as I’m not sure if this was just a case of someone pulling a late April Fools joke on the world.

What am I talking about exactly?  Well, three years ago I talked about a trend in denim called “distressed jeans.”  Basically, fashion brands and retailers made and marketed jeans that had intentional wears and tears in them.  These weren’t the still-very-comfortable-but-faded jeans in your closet.  Rather, these were jeans with tears, strains, bleached spots, and other on-purpose distresses that were put on sale for more than they looked like they were worth.  Yeah, you were able to go to an American Eagle or an H&M and plunk down large coin ($65 or so) and take home something you probably could have found for a lot, lot less at a Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul, where the distresses in the jeans they sold were real because, well, someone else lived in them for a long period of time.

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“Meet The Met! Meet The Met! Step right up and greet The Met!”

It’s the middle of springtime, if you’ve haven’t noticed.  And that means, of course… baseball!  So, let’s talk up how the season is going, specifically the New York Mets.  As of this writing, the Mets have an 18-15 record and are within one game of the National League East lead.  Tonight, the Mets are…

Uh, wait.  I’m sorry, my reference links are mixed up.  This post really isn’t about the Mets, or baseball for that matter.  I guess I should have realized that before looking up the Mets’ team song and titling this post.  Since it’s too late for that, I’ll go on the correct path and tell you this post is about the Met Gala.  Or, to get all formal, the Costume Institute Gala.

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Image source here

First held in 1948, the Met Gala is an annual gala held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, which you see above.  As befitting its more formal name, the Met Gala is a fundraising banquet for the benefit of the Museum’s Costume Institute.  Traditionally held on the first Monday of May, the Gala also serves as the grand opening for the Institute’s annual fashion exhibit.

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Gingham trench coat

You may recall that earlier this month of March, I participated in another poetry reading as Allison.  That particular Friday night here in Madison wasn’t too chilly, meaning that the comfy winter coat I had just added to my closet would have been a little too much.  But then, it wasn’t anywhere near balmy, meaning a light jacket would leave me chattering my teeth on the walk from my car to Mother Fool’s.

But earlier that day, out of pure coincidence, I came across this College Fashionista article that gave a nice recommendation for the season:  Layers are a great way to combat the chilly air that always comes with late winter/early spring weather March forces upon us.  The article came with a couple of pictures of outfits featuring long coats.  Problem was, I didn’t have any long coat in my closet.

Luckily, I checked out of work a little early that Friday, giving me a little extra time to head down the road to Target to see if they had any long coats.  Thankfully, they did.

Who What Wear trench coat

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Allison empties her bookmarks (Dove edition)

Time to do something I haven’t done in a while:  Clear out a few items that have long sit idle as bookmarks in my browser.  Both are related to an advertising campaign that’s made an impact in both the ad world and popular culture over the past decade-plus:  Dove beauty products’ Campaign for Real Beauty.  Perhaps you’ve seen some of the campaign’s advertising in the past, all aimed at countering the prevailing image of women and young girls concocted by the beauty and fashion industries — i.e. images of waif-thin models of a certain age and/or ethnicity, all sporting all-too-perfect hair, makeup, and skin tone — and instead celebrate various types of female appearances and encourage and inspire women to be confident in and comfortable with themselves.

As I recall it, the first I time I heard of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was a 75-second online ad produced in Canada and first released in October 2006.  Titled “Evolution,” the ad featured a pretty yet ordinary girl going through a time-lapse transformation into a beautiful model — with some obvious embellishments.

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