Allison M.

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


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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.

image-metropolitan_museum_of_art_entrance_nyc_ny

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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A nice, comfy winter coat

Okay, okay, you’ve had your fill of me talking about the business world, and I hear you.  You want to see an actual new photo of me?  Well, let me take care of that right here and now.  If you’ve noticed the calendar, it’s still February.  And here in Wisconsin, February still means we’re in the grips of winter, no matter what some groundhog may say.  And when it’s winter in Wisconsin, one really needs to bundle themselves up before opening the front door and facing winter’s chill and snow.  And that includes…

Purple winter coat

Yep, a winter coat.  The past year-plus, I’ve been venturing out of the house as Allison much more often, primarily to support group meetings.  Before this winter, I never had a women’s winter coat.  No, I don’t mean the leather or denim jackets that occupy my closet; as lovely as they are in their own right, they’re more suited for a season like spring or autumn, when the weather in Wisconsin isn’t as harsh as what winter regularly brings.  So, back in December, I moseyed over to the Burlington that’s located here on the West side.  When you think of Burlington, you tend to think of coats (it’s website is still BurlingtonCoatFactory.com), although it also features other clothing as well as home decor and gifts.  But it’s that “Coat Factory” part of its old name that still makes me think of Burlington as a store for affordable outerwear.  And sure enough, this purple Madden Girl coat was on the sales rack.

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Random stuff about the Golden Globes red carpet

As I’ve admitted once or twice on here before, I don’t get into watching awards shows on television very much.  So, if you were with me in my apartment this past Sunday (January 7), not only would you have been sweltering with me in an apartment that has the heat stuck in a way-too-high position (a subject for another post, I promise), you’d also would’ve been switching back and forth between football and college basketball and hockey and even cricket.  In other words, we wouldn’t have been watching any of the 75th Golden Globe Awards ceremony or preceding red carpet.

And judging from the social media talk during the ceremony, as well as the post-ceremony analysis… oh, what a night we would’ve missed.  For one, there were the award winners, of course.  Then there was Seth Meyers’ opening monologue and his getting help with the jokes he couldn’t tell.  And definitely bigger than all of that, there was the appearance of a certain TV anchor turned talk show host turned actress turned media mogul — yeah, I’m talking about Oprah — who, when accepting a career achievement award, brought down the house with a speech about justice for women that many equaled to a speech from a campaign in two years’ time for a certain public office (the one currently occupied by You Know Who).  No doubt, her speech was a rousing and optimistic one that will certainly inspire more than a few women, of all ages and identifications, to stand up and stand strong.

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Random fashion stuff (12/14/2017 edition)

Some relatively quick fashion tidbits to share with you, starting with this tweet I shared with the world last weekend:

In what may be the strangest (to me, at least) holiday dress I’ve ever seen, this display at Windsor in the West Towne Mall featured a strapless gown decked out entirely in pine tree needles.  Clearly, this is meant to be a seasonal window display, one meant to encourage shoppers to check out their store.  But if one were to actually wear this to a holiday party… well, for sure, it would be quite the statement-making eye-catcher, one that would be sure to strike up a few conversations about the wear being “fashion forward.”  However, there would be issues with sitting down (“OuchOuchOuch!”), not to mention shedding needles (“Would someone please bring over the broom and dustpan?  Or better yet, the vacuum cleaner.”).

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Allison’s fashion summary (11/14/2017 edition)

Time to catch up on a subject I have embarrassingly left fallow on here:  Tidbits about fashion.  Or, at least this time around, tidbits about clothing that you can get some mileage out of.  A question for all of you:  Do you tend to wear clothing that could be well suited for spring or summer into the fall?  And more germane to the below photo, do you tend to buy something usually more suited for the warmer months but are not found in the markdown racks at at least 50% off?  Those questions were percolating in my mind when I spotted this Liz Claiborne display at JCPenney over the weekend.  Note the floral patterns on the shirts at center and right.  Usually, when you think “floral patterns on clothing,” you’d presume they would be only for the warmer months.  But the colors featured on this shirt are clearly not as bright as you’d expect for a floral pattern.  Not that color or pattern would matter when you’re in need of a casual top to wear.  Oh, this is definitely casual in style, perfect for cleaning house, running errands, or just lounging and relaxing with friends.

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My night at the Halloween party, 2017

[*cue rumble of thunder and eerie organ music*]  Salutations, ghosts and goblins and non-conforming.  I’ve gone on the record on here once or twice about not getting into the whole dress-up thing for Halloween very much.  Since I’m a crossdresser and normally appear as my usual male self before the public eye, any day of the year can be a day when I can put on that “costume” I call “being Allison” and bring my feminine character to life.

But that’s not to say that I’ve never dressed up for Halloween, at least as an adult.  Matter of fact, this past Saturday night, I dressed up to the nines for a Halloween party.  And here’s proof:

Black gown on Halloween

This dress may look familiar to you regular readers of this blog, and it’s true, you’ve seen it on here before.  This is the very same black lace-and-beads dress and accompanying bolero jacket I found several years ago at the Savers thrift store and have had in my closet ever since.  At first, I didn’t have any thoughts about attending any Halloween party this year (more on the party in a little bit), and even when I decided to go, this outfit wasn’t my first thought for a costume.  Instead, the first thought of a costume that came to my mind was a certain yellow-and-black sexy taxi driver outfit, an homage to a friend of mine on Facebook who occasionally wears such an outfit as part of her work.  Alas, I could not find such an outfit that was in my size.  And with the party coming up very quick, I went with Plan B (and, no, I’m not talking about the nightclub) and got all formal and classy.

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Allison’s second… er, uh, third live performance

It’s Wednesday as I finish this post, and while I try to process my long weekend out of town and my return from work afterwards (a topic for a forthcoming post, I promise), let’s devote this post to the big weekend I had exactly one weekend previous — Saturday the 23rd of September, to be exact.  As you can tell from this post’s title, I did indeed perform poetry as Allison once again.  But was it my second performance or my third?  Well, I guess some clarification is in order:  The first time I performed in front of a mic was during a poetry event at Mother Fool’s back in early July.  A few weeks after that, on the last Saturday night of July to be exact, I was actually back at Mother Fool’s, though not to read poetry.  Instead, since it wasn’t exclusively a night of poetry, I did a little bit of freeform spoken word storytelling about how I first found that sack of women’s clothing.

Saturday the 23rd, however, was all about the poetry.  And instead of Mother Fool’s, we did our thing at another coffee house in town.  (I’ll get to the significance of the “we” later.)  The business in question is Cargo Coffee, a locally- and family-owned coffee shop that has two locations here in Madison, one on the south side and the one we performed at on East Washington Avenue, a few blocks northeast of the State Capitol.  Cargo Coffee’s East Wash location is part of a major redevelopment that’s been occurring on the avenue the past several years (well, it’s happening throughout Madison but it definitely applies to East Wash):  Older, smaller, and generally decrepit buildings, ones that housed businesses ranging from repair shops to an automobile dealership, have been replaced by more modern buildings and shops (including restaurants, a swank hotel, and a supermarket) and condominiums and luxury apartments that cost a pretty penny.  And the redevelopment isn’t done yet:  A new music venue is under construction just kitty corner from Cargo Coffee; further up the avenue, a separate redevelopment is turning a long-empty and neglected plot of land into a mix of apartments, shops, and a UW Health clinic.

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