Allison M.

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


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Et tu, 21?

“We need a little less Forever 21 and a little more Suddenly 42.”
Maura Ellis to her sister Kate while the two are shopping for a party outfit in a scene from the motion picture Sisters

As I’ve mentioned more than once on here, I’m one who loves to actually shop for clothes in person.  That is, I actually like getting out of the house, going to the mall, perusing through the racks, and tell the clerk to [da-da-da duh da-daaah] “CHARGE IT!” when I find something that will have the right look and fit on me.

And for the longest time (well, at least the last decade), one of my favorite go-to stores has been here:

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Image source here

That is the West Towne Mall location of Forever 21.  Founded as Fashion 21 in 1984, the chain has become in recent years one of the biggest names in the world of “fast fashion.”  For those unfamiliar with that term, it applies to articles of clothing that are eye catching, perhaps resembling outfits seen only on the Paris catwalks, that a retailer will not only be priced reasonably but also be available for a limited time.  In other words, create the product and generate the demand. Continue reading


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But what I really want to do is…

The second week of my new current work assignment is in the books, and it got rather busy late in the week.  Thankfully, the weekend is here, and I can relax, gather my thoughts, and rest up for the work week that’s to come.

Speaking of rest and work, I had a dream last night that at one point (from what I can recall) had me getting up from the cubicle where I’m spending my work assignment.  But while I thought I was walking into the break room, instead I found myself on what appeared to be some sort a theater stage.

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False start! (No offense?)

It’s the weekend, always a prime time to decompress from the work week just past, and recharge for the work week ahead.  For me, this past week was a significant one, in that I started a brand new work assignment through a staffing agency.  The assignment is at… well, uh uh, I’m not gonna tell you all.  I need to let Male Mode Me have his anonymity and professional dignity secure.

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Lessons learned from searching for a job (2019 edition)

While I await the next assignment in my professional livelihood (it begins on Tuesday), I want to share a couple of lessons I either learned or reminded myself of during the past couple of weeks:

Beauty is only skin deep.  That’s a more succinct way of saying that that beautiful prince you want to make out with may really be an ugly frog in disguise.  And when I mean “beautiful prince,” I mean a prospective job that may not be the best fit for you.  In my last post, I alluded to an interview I had for a temp-to-hire position that, initially, I thought I had been a good fit for.

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Sitting towards the East

I’ve been away from WordPress for most of the past week and a half, and boy, has that time been eventful for me.  As you may recall from my last post, the work assignment I had been a part of was drawing to a close, and that I was in need of looking for new work to do.  I was already prepared that it would draw to a close.  Well, sort of prepared.  While I had already sent out feelers for new opportunities, I wasn’t yet mentally prepared to leave behind the organization, duties, and work environment I had gotten used to for 13 months.

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Random personal thoughts (8/18/2018 edition)

I have just enough time this Sunday morning to let you in on a couple of personal matters.  First off, I’ve put in a feeler on a potential new employment opportunity.  It’s through a different staffing agency than the one where I found my current assignment.  It’s also a temp-to-hire role.  But it also appears to be an indefinite, long-term role.  And it’s also in an industry where I spent a significant portion of my early professional life, meaning I need to move some of the industry’s terminology from the back to the front of my memory if I get this role.

But at the very least, if nothing pans out there or anyplace else, I do have my current assignment to fall back on.  As much as I’m not happy there and have struggled sometimes, the managers I work under seem to be pleased with my work.  Well, at least pleased enough to indicate they’d like to keep me on past September 1 and work some special projects.  While that’s nice, and I’m grateful, I’m not sure if it will be a full-time role.  And let’s just say that it’s not easy having just part-time employment while living in a city as expensive as Madison.

This afternoon, at least, I get to put all those work worries aside and get dressed up.  And for good reason, as today is Madison’s LGBT+ celebration, OutReach Magic Festival.  As I noted back in the spring, city regulations, logistics, and lingering resentment from last year prompted event organizers to eschew from having a parade downtown up State Street, and instead have a picnic/festival event at Warner Park on the northeast side of town.  The setup is meant to help bring the various groups within the pride acronym together, something our community needs right now and will hopefully benefit from.  The bad news, however, is that somebody has been praying for rain.  As I write this, there’s a loud storm moving through town, and a chance of rain exists late during the event.  Ugh!

Hopefully, everyone will stay dry at Magic Festival.  Myself especially, as I will be lugging around a fancy camera while dodging raindrops.  See, yours truly will be volunteering as Allison at the event.  Little Ol’ Do-Gooder Me wanted to help out in any way.  Despite my signing up relatively late (I did so after a volunteer orientation), spots were still available, and I added my femme name to the list as an event photographer.  I’m planning to arrive early enough to not only drink in the event and get a lay of the land, but also to get the ground rules on photographing the event, one of which I’ve learned about already — get consent before taking someone’s picture.  It will be a great thrill to not only lend a hand to what will hopefully be a great event, but to also help document it for posterity.


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Some lingering birthday thoughts

The euphoria (and sugar high) surrounding my turning 50 years old a couple of weeks ago has now long subsided.  But whatever the day, I can still relate to stories about turning another year older — even if it’s not my own birthday.  As an introductory, let me share with you video from Rachel Brosnahan’s recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.  In leading off this appearance, Rachel talks about a bit of a birthday inaccuracy.

I’ve never told anyone that my birthday is on any day other than August 3.  But I can certainly relate to how Rachel’s birthday went from July to April to December, and it’s not out of anyone’s chicanery or anything.  I’ve mentioned it in passing on here before, but I will happily elaborate further in this entry…

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Random rants about this past week

Before I go any further, much of this post will be devoted to the dark past 7 days, and as a whole past 2½ years, that our country has gone through.  I perfectly understand if you want to hit your browser’s back button and go somewhere more cheerful.  Heck, right after I finish writing this I may very well join you.

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One month after that

While tumbling through the internet rabbit hole to write up my last post, I came across this photograph:

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The photo, rainbow border and all, was posted on the Student Life section of New York University’s website.  The photo was taken by the late Fred McDarrah, who was a writer and also a longtime photographer for The Village Voice.  Among his many assignments was the photographing of the Stonewall Riots, their immediate aftermath, and many LGBT-related marches and celebrations after that.

The date of this particular photo is significant:  Sunday, July 27, 1969.  Yes, 50 years ago yesterday.  Many people may think that all there was of the Stonewall uprising was what happened in June of 1969, followed by a quiet period and the first organized pride march one year later in 1970.  Even worse, many think that the LGBT+ rights movement was only the product of later (i.e. much more recent) generations.

But that line of thinking is incorrect, really.  There was a more quieter LGBT movement before Stonewall.  It’s just that those hot nights in late June 50 years ago were the propellant that took the movement further.  And sure enough, Stonewall led to other protests and rallies in New York immediately afterward, including one exactly one month after the riots, in which a “Gay Power” march culminated in a rally at Washington Square Park.

Admittedly, I don’t know every single detail about the LGBT+ movement.  I’m sure a great many not just outside but also within our community will say the same thing.  But it’s a great feeling to learn about a small moment or a minor contributor that would help ensure the freedoms we enjoy and inspire the open lives we live today.

Here’s hoping you experience that same “gee whiz” feeling when you peruse though our community’s vast and proud history.


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Trying to keep a “million dollar” look in place

As I’ve mentioned more than once on this blog, Ragstock has been one of my go-to stores to find clothing items that are unique, edgy, daring, retro-themed… and more than a few times all of those at once.  About that retro vein, Ragstock is known for stocking lots of vintage clothing, whether it would be current designs inspired by looks of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, or something that looks as if it came straight out of those decades.

At their State Street location here in Madison, Ragstock has a “seriously retro” (my term) section where they keep all of their metallic lycra/lamé clothing, along with vintage-style clothing and accessories that would go well with them.  For the most part, I think, Ragstock considers that section as a “costume” area, in that not everyone will go around every day looking like a Blues Brother or a disco queen or a prom queen.

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