Jan 31, 2009
In any event, I have forgotten the hurt, smoothed my skirt, and reviewed your input on who amongst a bouquet of exemplary beauties stands out as the most blooming, most fragrant and irresistible.
Our contenders were a mix of contemporary and classic, from China white to Mocha brown. There are shades and shapes absent from the set principally because I only rummaged the attic between my ears for avatars of beauty for a few moments, but also because a truly comprehensive slide show of stunners would take too much time for me to build and for you to review.
And I, for one, need to focus on my own looks.
In any event, your runaway favorite is the ripe and alluring Selma Hayek. I share your enthusiasm, and Selma was my personal pick. I would encourage you to visit the Campari site for all the wonderful video that this still was pulled from. Yum.
Enduring English Rose Julie Christie and smoldering Spanish senorita Penelope Cruz top the podium with no objections from your editrix, and most of the rest of my favorites get a polite nod from one or more of you refined people.
Some personal observations here. I am delighted that Kim Novak got a tip of the tiara from one of you. I practically died the first moment she appeared bullet-bra’d and sweater-dressed in Vertigo. Intoxicating mix of strength and frailty.
Surprised given her high current profile that the beguiling Aussie Cate Blanchett drew a blank here, but truly in this company, anyone could.
I did feel poorly leaving Diahann Carroll out, and was fearful that she might get shut out of the voting as well. Alas she did. To me, she has maintained so well, for so long. She stood out when I was a kid watching Julia in the 60’s. She made all the other girls on Dynasty look garish in the 80’s. And even today well into her own 70’s she has legs I would kill for.
I will some time in the future repeat this poll because I suspect that one of the things that draws us to cross dressing is a profound admiration for womanly beauty, and the subtle irrefutable power that is just such an elegant part of the feminine inheritance. If you have a favorite femme that you want to see a little tribute paid to here, don’t be shy. Please leave a comment with your favorite here.
So this weeks poll? All about the shoes friends. I had a transformative experience in a Designer Shoe Warehouse this past week. You are never too old it seems to acquire a new obsession. There will be a post on the topic later this week. In the meantime, I would like to see just how many heels we are all stowing around the house these days. Stroll on over and vote, would you my dear?
Happy dressing and happy everything else….
Jan 29, 2009
For the first 4 weeks of Petra’s Pantyhose Parade some new discovery or unconsidered consideration caused me to slink back to the math and tweak my too too complex matrix. Recently however, the formula has been rock solid and returned to me results true, O so true. The numbers and my legs have a perfectly straight back-seam line. All that is required now is time immeasurable and a 7 figure bailout to fund an epic shopping spree. With those 2 small, small gifts I am confident I can return to you a gold standard, a true north, a magic touchstone that fully reveals the good, the bad and the saggy of the entire loving world of Pantyhose.
Failing those little gifts, I will continue to deliver it here in weekly increments.
Again, the ground rules:
I seek no favors from the selfless merchants who labor long to clothe our legs. I am beyond corruption. That is to say, I am so irredeemably corrupted by life itself that a new pair or 2 of free tights would barely get my attention. If, however, you are a senior VP of marketing of such a firm who might look kindly on me and my sisters, I promise to distribute your largesse (container loads only please) fairly. Ship me what you can. I will line up the ladies, from thinnest to thickest ankles, and make your hose proud, so proud.
If, however, you are in a position of influence or responsibility at Calvin Klein, I have a ’97 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon with your name on it simply for bringing the CK Matte Ultra Sheer Control Top Pantyhose to the attention of my many friends and I. You are my hero.
I splashed out a bit at a Macy’s last week. Lovely assistant who knew my size in a knowing top-to-toe glance. I knew in a glance as well that I wanted her boots. But that is for another day.
On this day I am compelled to report that caramel can be woven into a 20 Denier sheer fabric. Yes the label indicates 14% Lycra and the rest (minus the cotton gusset) in nylon, but they are lying, damn them, lying! If not for the diminishing flexibility that comes with advancing years, I would gladly have eaten my own thigh once my Calvin’s glided into place.
Forgive me, it is difficult to not be rhapsodic about these pantyhose. I will go now to bullet point mode and attempt to regain my newly shredded journalistic credentials:
- A nearly liquid feel. You expect ripples when you touch them
- Tight, even yarn that moves on the leg, but is in sure and constant touch
- Fashion forward reinforcement – clean lines between leg and panty right at the hinge of the thigh
- Sewn-in CK logo provides easy retrieval from crowded, chaotic hosiery drawers
- A healthy nude shade not exactly like any other I own called Praline. It looks like a tan of a far wealthier women than I
- Holds shape as though life itself (if not fashion) depended on it, and
- Possessed of an X factor that just makes you feel like a thousand fragrant kisses.
And this by the way from someone who is not much impressed with labels. I am not easily moved by a big brand, friends. But I do know how to fall in love.
And here I am. Smitten. Hopelessly so. And I don’t mind.
The current champ, Nordstrom Sheers have been effortlessly flicked off the pedestal with a massive ~33% improvement in Petra Pantyhose Points. The adjusted top 3 are charted here. And there is now nothing between me and my Calvin’s, but the next pretender to the throne. I urge you to look under the couch cushions (and do bend at the knee for the love of god) to scrape together the necessary $12.00. If you cannot manage that, drop me a line, and I will create a distraction by attempting to steal the Macy’s Sales Assistant boots. That may provide you the cover required to fill your handbag with these pantyhose of evidently unrivalled quality.
Jan 27, 2009
I asked what age we are. I honestly volunteered my own (46) and another 48 of you clicked in, Many thanks! Here is what we look like:
To me, there are some results that run slightly against expectations, and one big puzzle. O how I want your help with the puzzle, which nets out like so: Where are all the young crossdressers?
My own polling and numbers gleaned from other sources indicates that we are called into the pink fitting room at very early ages. Anywhere from 80-90% of us either crossdressed or had the dawning realization of a gender gift before we escaped from high school. And yet this next crop of fashion forward friends is completely absent from the Voyages en Rose readership. (Click on images to enlarge)
Where O where are they? Measured against the national demographic data provided by the never glamorous US Census Bureau you can see how silver haired we are relative to the overall population. Fully half of our site visitors are 50 years or older where this sophisticated set comprises a mere 25% of the broad male population (absolutely no pun intended). The chart shows Petra’s readership shamefully below national population distribution in the under 30 set though, and this begs a little speculating. Mine follows, and your ideas are solicited here.
Do we spend our earlier years experimenting and then, believing in our young adult years that this will simply go away? Is there a drive for “fitting in” and even mating up that suppresses the dressing? Does the habit go dormant or only periodically erupt until we mature a little and really take ownership of it? This theory is based on only a little consideration of my own case. There is however, one other possibility that I must contend with if I am to be an honest correspondent from the front lines of crossdressing. Here goes:
Petra Bellejambes' Voyages en Rose could be so irredeemably uncool and out of touch with youth culture that I lost the younger CD at “hello”. If so, I can live with it. I know that I certainly lived with the “never trust anyone over 30” suggestion that a generation just a little older than me lived well by back in the turbulent 60’s. Perhaps my blog has just too matronly a fragrance around it for our youngish friends.
Recently on one of the crossdressers.com forums one of the sisters started a thread wondering where indeed the younger set were. An instant flurry of 20something hands were virtually and proudly raised. That was encouraging. It seems to me that we live in a time of broader acceptance of alternative expressions of gender specifically and of self in general. With those conditions in place, it would be a shame to keep desires that don’t seem to vanish too deeply buried to enjoy them to the fullest extent.
Especially when you consider that most of us had so much better a figure in our slightly younger years. Alas, perhaps that is why I am so rarely in an age appropriate dress.
If you have any comments you would like to share, don’t hesitate. Happy to hear from you anytime, and especially in this case if you have the perspective of the 20something CD/TG.
I am going to put the data away for a little while now. I have some terrific en femme shopping planned for tomorrow. And likely not dressed age appropriate methinks. I suspect the next couple of posts will be a little less academic. Till then, happy dressing and happy everything else.
Jan 24, 2009
- Spend the morning on the phone chatting aimlessly.Go for a long lunch. Have that 2nd drink
- Go back to the office
- Find some data and draw completely unsupportable and sweeping conclusions
- Dash off 750 words in 18 minutes
- Take a schvitz at the club and nap in the back seat of the Town Car on the way home.
There are big differences between George Will, David Brooks and I though:
- I am going to tell you how I am wrong. Those clowns would never admit it.
- I am going to aim for, and hopefully achieve, witty, pithy, and at moments perhaps even funny.
- The data sample is heavily skewed to English speaking countries. We are missing the attention of beautiful ladies with exotic accents and fashion flourishes from the non-English speaking world. Additionally, even functional English as a second language girlfriends are liable to have a hard time with my ornamental prosings.
- The data set is small. Yes, a data sample of north of 2,000 is in play here. While we can make assumptions about the domestic US population on 1,000 data points (because it is a relatively homogenous group). we really need a pure data set of 10,000 cross dressers to be able to draw sensible global conclusions.
- Poor sample diffusion and distribution. Petra Bellejambes has only been chipping her nails on this blog for about 7 weeks. Gifted girls from 61 countries have flashed a little thigh or batted a dark and lengthened eyelash here. But our 61 countries are a little random. Time will sort that out.
This lame labor of love results in a wholly unscientific value we will call (henceforth) the “Petra’s Gross National Propensity for Cross Dressing” or the PGNPCD Value. Here is the math behind the model.
# of visitors from country / countries population * Random Petra Value * 3.14 = PGNCDP
Got it? OK, so what did we learn.
The Seychelles has by far and away the highest PGNPCD value in the universe at 3.82. The nearest competing nation is The U.S. of A with a value of 1.53. The Seychelles are an equatorial tropical island paradise off the horn of East Africa afloat in the Indian Ocean. Is this tiny country truly the most CD/TG friendly place on the planet? Likely not. It’s too hot for tights, there’s not much in the way of shops, and with a tiny population it would be hard to keep your habit closeted. The Seychelles has this mad-high PGNPCD value solely because 1 special visitor out of a population of ~ 80,000 who spent a little north of an hour here on Voyages en Rose.
Beyond those CD drawbacks, I imagine that with very few miles of paved roads, it would be a bad physical environment for walking in heels. I could be wrong entirely though and would love to hear from our dear sister in The Seychelles. Please drop a line here (anonymous comment will do nicely if you like). If, for reasons we cannot see from here, The Seychelles is indeed cross dressing paradise, please let us all know. I think you can expect me to charter a plane shortly and show up with about 100 of my closest and cutest friends. Here is the rest of the top 10 (click on chart to enlarge):
More careless observations about Planet CrossDress will come in the future when I am at a total loss for real content. Let me finish here today with a lament about the low representation of most Asian countries. Clearly, language has a lot to do with the poor PGNPCD numbers from this group of nations, but it just breaks my heart that China with a mere 2 visitors out of a population of more than 1.3 billion is in last place of 61 nations. So many slender people with fine fine features and all those gorgeous clingy silk gowns. China should be the world leader in cross dressing along with everything else they choose to.
And that would be the sort of globalization that I can actually agree with David Brooks and George Will on. Speed the day….
Jan 22, 2009
Well, I am an entire week more mature than I was last week, and I can see from this enlightened perch (or is it a slightly wobbly bar stool?) that clearly, I was then a much more easily beguiled and influenced young thing than I am today. My newfound and stately maturity did not come without effort however.
First things first. Aberrant Conditioning. Fearful of the continuing lure of Wolford, I watched “The Sound of Music” in its entirety 6 times running while consuming nothing but off-brand, made for the export market Tyrolean Chocolates. It worked. Today, even the thought of Edelweiss induces in me reflexive wretches of an entirely un-ladylike nature. It worked too well. I fear I can no longer enjoy the delightful and fruity Gruner Veltliners that have aged gracefully (often for days in fact) in my cellar before being quaffed with lusty abandon. Austria is completely off limits to me. But my savings are, well, safe.
Next things next. Test completely different Pantyhose. Something that might suppress the memory of my Wolford Luxe 9’s. And given the super elastic and confining nature of this weeks products, that’s not all that might be suppressed. The objects of my attention and affection are Super Support, High Waisted, Weaponized Body-Shaping Pantyhose from 2 favorite fashion vendors … L’eggs and Spanx. And so on with the review.
First up and over are the L’eggs Silken Mist Control Top Sheer toe Waist Cinching Shaper. Another fine entry from the working class hero of hosiery. The 17% Spandex panty that extends (after a nice little shimmy) to just below the bust line is a midriff smoothing, but not gut wrenching garment with similar feel to mid-range shape wear. At a fraction of the cost.
In an earlier post I waxed on about the feel and appearance of the Silken Mist line. Well no surprise, this model has all of the good stuff in the very sheer, comfortable and attractive leg. With one improvement. This weeks model has a reinforced upper thigh region that seems to solve the slight slackness of fit on the leg of the regular control top hose. Truly, a remarkable pair of pantyhose.
And, now on to Spanx. Sara Blakely may never know just how bright a torch I carry for her. And be assured it is not easy for a blond to make it past the velvet rope and into the slightly more darkly complexioned nightclub of my dreams. Truly this diva of the derriere should someday bring home a Nobel (Physics? Biology? Environment?) for her selfless contributions to eradicating visible panty lines with her Power Panty line.
The Sheer Leg High Waist All The Way Up Pantyhose marries the material magic of the Power Panty with a very glamorous sheer dress legging with some curious financial magic thrown in. These actually cost less than the standard Hide & Sleek line. Something has to give, but I could not find it --- at least in the panty portion. This is a well made and attractive garment. You will want to set your alarm clock about 5 minutes early to leave time for the divine struggle you should enjoy smoothing them up to full mast. There is none of the rubbery cling at the top that the L’eggs entry carries – just an elastic determination to fix in place and to not budge an inch.
The only negative I could find is in the leg finish. And this friends (and you especially Sara, dear Sara) is purely a personal preference. I love a silky finish. I want my legs to feel like caramel. And I think that in creating hosiery that will wear long enough to justify a $28.00 shaper investment, you have put your better work into durability at the expense of finish and feel. It’s a fine looking leg, but just a touch south of luxury, and to me, just a little less beautiful a feel than our more proletariat pantyhose partner, L’eggs.
With all of that said these are distinctive and wonderful pantyhose products, and I encourage friends to splash out and marvel at the smooth finish you will furnish under clingy things and ensembles you may be stretching just a tad here in the chilly, hibernating post-holiday months. And for those of you with a penchant for Zentai inspired confinement may I suggest that you may find some less expensive and more disposable additions to your wardrobe in this hosiery niche as well.
And on to the rankings. Sorry. I won’t be publishing the rankings. There is simply too little data. Additionally, the characteristics that this class of products needs to display are too, too different from what I look for in our everyday pantyhose. Beyond that, the very wide range in price makes comparing these makes the results table just look odd. I will, over time, find more splendid products in this category though, and hopefully present a more useful map of the high-waisted pantyhose landscape at some happy run-free day in our sunny future.
For the record, the Nordstrom Private Label sheers remains top of the Petra’s Pantyhose Parade charts for the 2nd week running. Next week, Calvin Klein swings her purse at Nordstrom. Feathers will fly. Please tell me your favorites in the meantime. I don’t need much encouragement, but I do like to know I have company.
Buff those nails girls – see you next time!
Jan 20, 2009
Everybody in the room sounds just a little different. What you learned at your old school does not sync up with the curricula at the new place. There is some code in the social order and you don’t have the decoder ring. You are way behind everyone, standing out like a sore thumb and hopeless of ever catching up.
When I transform, I am that kid. And I am sure that I am not alone. The 40-something genetic girl has decades of feminine apprenticeship that this 40-something cross dresser just did not get. What shapes flatter me? Does that high waistband lengthen me or fatten me? How about makeup. Does the mascara go on after the eye shadow? And the eye shadow … do I make the lids lighter or darker than just under the brow line? Consider your own experiences --- just how often have you had to really puzzle through questions that are just second nature for the GG?
For me, this not knowing, this delicious confusion and uncertainty is a part of the appeal and the tip of the hook that tugs at me. Being lost in the labyrinths of the feminine world is an adventure. But dammit it would be nice if we all looked just a little more … fabulous, just a little more …. effortlessly, wouldn’t it? I am not asking .... too much, am I?
So for today’s Tuesday Traipse I want to encourage you ceaselessly self-improving and ever hopeful friends to spend some time on a couple of sites I have enjoyed recently.
MyShape. Set aside a good hour, grab a tape measure and keep your femme online persona handy – you will be setting up an account with my new friends. What MyShape does really very well is recommend styles, lengths, shapes, silhouettes, fabrics and etc that are going to work with your shape. MyShape takes a questionnaire approach to getting all the vital dimensions into their system, and to determining what your style comfort zone is.
With this information they are able to make ensemble suggestions from their affiliated vendors that suit you, that should fit you, and that in all likelihood will flatter you. Take notes, commit to memory, and then go shopping. You are not obliged to buy anything directly from MyShape ( I would not of course try to stop you, you shopping fool you), but you are almost certain to learn something new and avoid a couple of fashion potholes. I have. I really feel as though I will shop smarter next time out.
And I will look smarter too. Not just wardrobe, but on the hair front too. Our next stop explains just how. Staci over at Femulate posted this piece about the Hollywood Virtual Hair Makeover on her blog last week. For those of you who missed out, take a little personal time at Instyle and get a better grip on your hair. You will want to have a nice mug shot of yourself with as much of your face exposed as possible and your best makeup coloring. Simply place it in the style finder and start to play with the hair of the stars. This is a low cost / no cost way to picture a new look, a new length, a new shade that better suits your face shape and complexion. Or at the very least, it’s a few minutes worth of fun if its just too damn cold to step outside.
Naturally, nothing beats trying on the real thing. But when you don’t have either the time or the purse power to do exactly that, this easy service tempts, educates and again, should help you make some better choices the next time you are contemplating a change.
These sites are just a couple that stood out from a really short and if I am to be fully honest, not overly diligent search. I will find more time to seek out other helpful how-to and what-not-to sites for future posts. I am sure that many of you already have favorites. Don’t be greedy, share them out with us all here. After all, if we are not helping to make the world a prettier place, just who is?
Happy dressing and happy everything else!
Jan 19, 2009
Views on society in general may however, emerge from time to time. Today, Martin Luther King Jnr. Day, is such a day
And so here are some very quick words for two groups of you:
To readers from beyond these borders (~ 44% of you): This is a very nice day in The U.S. of A. We pay tribute to a heroic person who called upon his neighbors to live well. I hope you have occasion to think of America in this light more than other less favorable lights in times ahead.
To readers here at home in the States (the rest of us): Much work yet to be done, and work that can only be done by each of us, in all of the things we do. Undoubtedly we flawed and entirely human specimens will fall short of our best selves now and then. But let us remember, especially we who wrestle for acceptance (from ourselves and immediate loved ones) and who would hope for an easier welcome from strangers, that we have a particular stake in the continued march towards the mountaintops glimpsed briefly in the beautiful dreams of a man who would only be 80 years young if he were with us today.
And so to us all, Happy MLK Day.
Briefly on politics, tomorrow, Inaugural Day is another big milestone. 2 comments:
- I suspect that we will all be called upon in an Inaugural Address to do more than go shopping as we were by the present administration in a dark time just over 7 years ago. Much fun as the shopping is, I for one look forward to participating in something more meaningful. We will be asked I suspect to contribute to a renaissance of the better parts and best potentials of this wonderful country. It will feel good to be respected.
- I must tell you it is delicious to have a First Lady whose wardrobe I would pillage with absolute and delirious abandon. Every generation deserves a Jackie.
Truly, happy days are here again. Let us all earn and enjoy them in the fullest measure possible.
Jan 17, 2009
(Darling, I love you like a sister, but I must share this with you. If you don’t click I won’t know how to not cry, and my face will be an absolute ruin.)
And now, back to our previously scheduled and entirely serious endeavors.
For me this week I fall into a minority position, and fall far behind the majority of you in our shared passion for crossdressing. I manage to dress twice or thrice a week. In short, I dress less often than you. There is good and bad news in this for your correspondent Petra.
Good news: It seems as though Voyages en Rose is useful or entertaining (or at worst, morbidly curious) to people who are very serious about catering to their feminine sides. Crossdressing connoisseurs, if you like.
Bad news: I have already forgotten the bad news. I am just so chuffed by knowing that truly accomplished and dedicated CD/TG types are visiting and engaging with me here that I simply cannot see any bad news. I just know its in the numbers somehow, somewhere.
High level analysis here. The data indicates that over half of you are dressed (under, partial or fully) every day. On the other end of the scale, just over a quarter of you are able to manage, somehow (happily or barely scraping by) by catering to your desires (or taming your urges) once a week or less.
At some happy time in the future, I will think about finding the poll question that helpfully determines how often we all would dress in a perfect world. Right now, I for the life of me cannot imagine the question and answer structure that would not elicit 100%, 24/7 and RIGHT NOW as the 100% response.
For this weeks poll though, I would like to ask you a very personal and entirely unladylike question. It is strictly entre nous my dears.
Ahem. Just how old are we? Not exactly, just do tell me a decade would you? I am not sure how this knowledge will help me make this a better blog for you. But if a vast majority of you are found to be in your 20’s, then I suppose I will find a way to include “whatever” more frequently in my postings.
For the record … Petra Bellejambes is 46.
Happy dressing, voting, and everything else….
Jan 16, 2009
She said "but that can’t be as much fun as dressing is it?". To which fair point I could only say yes, but I can be Petra online in a mere 20 minutes.
It takes me at least 2 hours to transform in the real world. Additionally, I can clean out my browser cache in the blink of an eye where lord knows I have managed to leave pumps and tights out in the real world full view of people who might be surprised at their sudden appearance.
To her credit, she is of course correct. There is nothing in the world that satisfies the want to dress like dressing itself.
But it is also true that time and circumstances do not allow most of us the freedom to be occupied en femme at will. And so back to the writing thing.
It has been interesting and surprisingly satisfying to write and think from Petra’s perspective recently. This represents a nurturing of a dimension of myself that is simply not going to go away. Even if I did want it to. And nurturing is healthier than whatever the opposite is.
I have joined a handful of terrific virtual sororities along the way, including crossdresserclub.com and crossdressers.com. These online societies provide an opportunity for people inclined like we are to know that we are far, far from alone. And that comfort is wonderful. Additionally though, they provide a platform for listening, thinking and responding with written words.
Clicking keyboards instead of clicking heels.
Some of the forum posts that I see are hurriedly written and coarsely considered. The written equivalent of “panic dressing”. These however, are exceptions. For the most part the thoroughness of thought, elegance of expression and sincerity of care I see expressed in CD/TG forum threads is outstanding. It seems to me that the best parts of our other selves really shine online.
There is an unselfish, empathetic quality to the responses to the triumphs, troubles and trivia that constitute most of the forum threads that is (watch out … stereotype iceberg directly ahead .... steer hard, hard dammit to port!) essentially feminine.
If you are not a part of such an online sisterhood, you are missing a real chance to develop and nurture your femme self. And in the nurturing, I suspect that, like me, you may find yourself in better control of these powerful, compelling forces. Forces that have the strength to ambush us, sometimes inconveniently, when we do not pay attention to them.
It takes less time than even a partial wardrobe swap. It costs less than a set of press on nails. You will learn things along the way of huge value. And from time to time a true friend can emerge from the jostling crowds.
So go do that. Or if you have been absent from your online sorority for a while, go back, pull up a chair, smooth your skirt out, and say hello.
And for those of you reading this post with any thoughts you want to share here, comments and indeed Guest Editorials are entirely welcome. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line with your thoughts. Especially if you want to introduce your sorority.
Happy dressing, virtual and otherwise.
Jan 15, 2009
I mention this only because I am thinking now of how long it took me to forget my Dunhill lighter. Everything after felt tinny, and then, plastic. And perhaps, as evidenced by this reverie, I have not yet fully recovered from the loss. When a luxurious experience combines with a well developed sense of entitlement, the result is a thing commonly known as a comfort threshold. A new standard that makes all prior experience a pale Polaroid propped up beside an old master.
Luxury corrupts like nothing else. Power, even absolute power, is Cinderella’s ugly sister by comparison. Luxury. Now there is a drug.
With that said, dear leggy friend, I must tell you that this week I misguidedly purchased and just moments ago pulled on my very first pair of Wolford tights.
The Wolford Luxe 9 is an ultra sheer, (yes, the 9 is 9 Denier) super transparent, dress legging. They are possessed of a combination of gossamer lightness and tightness of yarn that cannot be either fully anticipated or easily described with words, mere words. The subtle reinforcement through the panty provides more visual appeal than support, but don’t worry, nobody will be looking at your waistline. The flat seamed waistband vanishes both from a look and feel perspective, and stays in place without need for attention.
They move on your legs in way that you have not felt before. They achieve a smooth glide over and around flexed, bending and striding legs. They hold shape without evidence of effort. They glimmer not. They do not need to. They make you believe with fierce conviction, instantly, that the superb sensations they confer are precisely what you deserve, need and crave for all of your remaining upright earthly moments.
Lastly, they achieve an effect that contradicts logic, and frankly, has me flummoxed. They are invisible, and yet they vastly improve the appearance of the human cargo borne within. What dangerous alchemy has been harnessed bestride the Danube? Who are these Austrian sorcerers? And what magic have they wrung from an otherwise dull periodic table of elements?
These, to me, are not pantyhose. They are a Faustian bargain with a nice light cotton gusset thrown in. They demand an instant upgrade to every other element in your life from purse to pumps. Never, and I mean never, have I felt such an overwhelming urge to shave my legs. Loyal readers of this column (Hi Mom!) will know that I have not yet crossed this threshold. I know now that this is inevitable. And necessary. And dignified. It must be done. My Wolford’s deserve nothing less.
It is too late for me dear reader. I am here to save you. Please, for pity’s sake, buy not the Wolford. For if you do, we will meet, destitute and relying on the kindness of strangers for simpler and now to me, entirely trivial comforts like food and shelter, in our declining years.
Ah yes, and now the ranking exercise. I will confess to having paid full retail of $30.00 in a Neiman Marcus that had everything else under the sun on sale. My scientifically and entirely rational scoring system simply cannot accommodate the magnificence of these superb strumpfhose. Their high ticket price unfairly fetters them into 3rd place out of 6 rated contenders. Please accept my abject apologies for my inability to create a mathematical model that pays adequate tribute to these magnificent pantyhose.
Jan 13, 2009
Recently I have been lucky enough to stumble into the online lairs of a handful of Crossdressers and other gender gifted individuals who have really captured my attention. These are personal journals that manage to get past surface issues, and explore with style, sensitivity, insight and wit some of the more profound aspects of life for people who share our enthusiasms.
The sites in today’s Tuesday Traipse stand out for honesty and quality. They manage to not get too preachy or self-obsessed along the way. Additionally, the authors do not ever lose sight of the magical, electrical qualities of the transformations that we are drawn too. Moreover, and finally, these are sites that stand out for nice finishes, or for great execution of the technical tactics that make it possible to find beautiful roses amongst the myriad thorns of the web.
So here are a handful of blogs I would encourage you to visit.
Lets start today with the fabulously named Femulate. Anyone serious about writing has creating a new word on their “bucket list”. Well hats off Staci. Femulate is a peach. Beyond this creative flourish, Femulate is easy on the eye. The layout is clean, text stands out from background well and the site refreshes daily with really nice, aspirational imagery of beautiful, confident and yes, fully dressed women. Women who I invariably want to femulate.
Content on the site runs the gamut from the very whimsical to deeply contentious and political. Regardless of how serious the issue of the day is though, it never drowns out the essential enthusiasm for life and enjoyment that Staci clearly has a death grip on. It will take you just 2 minutes a day to get a piece of that for yourself. Go. Now.
When you have more than 2 minutes to spare, may I suggest the somewhat more demanding blog of Tricia Dale. This is stuff to curl up on the couch with. Leave enough time for your nails to dry. Prepare to spend some quality time. Those of you with a background in English Lit will recognize the epic, serial storytelling of Thomas Hardy. Those of you who pinched your big sisters Enid Blyton books will be similarly comforted.
If you are musically inclined too however, marvel at the remarkably well executed device employed by our 3rd person heroine to provide narrative structure. Chapter names are borrowed from a vast and diverse collection of beautiful songs, songs that express ineffably feminine perspectives. Complete with lyrics no less. Go. When you have more time.
Jillian Page comes from another school of authorship altogether. Jillian is an actual journalist. Not a frustrated amateur. She was thinking and writing for a living long before Jillian was broadly introduced to the world as, well… as Jillian. If you want to see the world through the eyes of a professional who happens to be gender transitioning, this is the place to go.
American gals may take a moment or 2 to get used to seeing the letter “u” following the letter “o” more than Webster would like. Once past that, Jillian’s dispatches are bigger than bite size, and dense with personal observations that are just drenched with experience, both authorial and personal. Jillian is in full M2F transition mode. She is creating an essential piece of social archaeology in real time here. Don’t miss an issue. Go. Subscribe to her feed.
And as much as I enjoy my visits to these 3 blogs, I cannot imagine how many terrific sites and insights I am missing. The more I look around the more I realize you cannot swing a purse around here without hitting a clever blogette. If you know one (or if you are that girl), drop a line, or leave a comment here on this post. I’d love to know what I am missing.
Jan 11, 2009
I cannot really recall precisely how the day ended. Nor should I. When not en femme, I am nothing if not a gentleman. I was in short supply of everything the next day though. Everything except hope, delirious hope. I was short of breath, short of clear thinking at the office, and short of focus on the homicidal drivers that haunted my drive home. My wife had other distractions on her way home though. She had made a little pit stop of her own accord at Victorias Secret. When I saw the famous pink striped bag I must have gulped air.
The contents were her attempt to gather some things for me that I might wear without feeling too too girly. There was a stretchy pull-on bra top that was as close as Victorias Secret got to sports gear back then. There was a black chemise without lace, stays or garters. I really believe that she was gingerly stepping away from classically, overly feminine styles to keep me in the spirit of helping out with her bosses party. The sweetness was unbearable. And O so absolutely unnecessary.
We spoke a little about what was required of me at the party. She explained what she knew, which wasn’t really very much, but it seemed that the whole evening and the “drag” part of it was designed more for comedy (and likely closer to tragedy) than for fantasy come true. But that little reality was not going to get in the way of some good spirited exploration in the intervening days.
There were lots of pretty things in drawers nearby, and I gamely volunteered myself up and into a waiting pair of pantyhose. While I was able to suppress verbal clues about my delight, other clues about my enthusiasms for the effort were not to be suppressed. Especially in a pair of nude light support hose. And so we discovered a new wrinkle on our time together. I am not sure that I heard the choir of angels sing, and whether it really was a fiery comet streaking the darkening sky but I may have more happily met my maker that night than any other in my life to date.
There were repeat engagements over the course of the week, and wonderful all of them. And gradual admissions on my part that this whole crossdressing thing, it was … well …. interesting. In fact I might be persuaded to try on some other things if she thought that was all well and good.
But one thing at a time. We had a party to attend after all. I was fearful that out in public I would be seen to liking this just too much, that my kink for crossdressing would shine like a beacon. False fear. The look was all camp, no tramp. A completely hideous electric blue Bridesmaid dress, bare legs and white pumps. After the little pageant was over I talked politics and golf with some of the other guests, drinking a beer straight out of the bottle, very butch and natural for maybe 30 minutes, got back into my civilian cloths and blended back into the party. Really nothing to it. I think one of the women did fondle my butt and think I feigned indignation, but things were not going to get out of control out with this public.
In private though, things were poised to get out of control. I felt that I had been waved on, green-lighted and given a passport to pursue this passion, this hidden thing, that had not been shared for long decades. Men are famously self-centered and insensitive creatures though, even those of us with a carefully tended other side. And this, I forgot about myself. If I was not so intoxicated by events, and if I was more sensitive to my surroundings, I may have been bright enough to detect some misgivings on my wife’s part. But you must know that I did not.
I did the next bit of shopping for myself, panties and pantyhose only. I remember justifying the purchase by suggesting that we could save some wear and tear on her things. I snuck in a little private underdressing and squeezed my way into some of the more risqué items in her top drawer. Lingerie rapidly became the fetishistic starters pistol for our moments of intimacy. Yes, the moments were more frequent, but now they were not ours alone.
My wife had a business trip out of town, and I had home to myself for a few days. There was a flurry of shopping. Fredericks, Charlotte Russe, a no-name shoe shop. I had my first little black dress, heels to teeter on, and the beginnings of a feminine shape underneath the outer layers. She came home, and breathlessly, I debuted my full new look without a word of warning, and without any consideration that this mad, wild escalation might somehow not be met warmly and fully anticipated. And before really even saying, “hi honey, how was your day, and can I get you a drink of something?”
Any of you who have been “caught” by significant others or wives (or anyone I suppose) can imagine the look on her face, and some of the questions she was able to pose. And perhaps you can remember or imagine how difficult it is to articulate a complex and nuanced thing with a waist cincher tugging at your stocking tops.
I stammered and blushed and changed. Back in drab, I could only explain that I was not any of the things she feared. I could not explain exactly what I was though. And in so failing, managed to walk out of the daylight I had been so freakishly fortunate to find.
And so now, like last week, I will hit the pause button. Next week I will attempt to conclude the story for you and me both. Observations on this story, or your own story are most welcomed here. Thanks for reading - Petra
Jan 10, 2009
Statisticians are a funny lot. We can only surmise that the same percentage of them cross dress as any random sampling of the population. But we would need to ask roughly 1000 statisticians whether they cross dress to arrive at a certain conclusion on that thorny, and entirely irrelevant issue. And we are not out to understand statisticians … just the statistics.
Why is 1000 a good number? I am told it has a lot to do with standard deviations and probabilities. I am thinking though that we all have our personal deviations handy enough to not need the standard ones. Probably.
So in last weeks poll, we sought data on just how old we all were when this silky siren called our names, when the figurative negligee slipped open, when the brightly painted nail atop a delicate index finger curled, just so, and beckoned us in.
My, weren’t we a young bunch? A slim (and likely very slender) majority of us jumped on the Crossdresser Express before the onset of puberty and adolescent acne. 23 out of 47 for 48%. I count myself in amongst the early adopters.
Almost everyone else was in a pair of panties before they drove a car. 20 of our participants representing 42%
And only a couple of outliers managed to stay drab until after the raging tides of hormones had quieted. 2 slightly late to class between 16 and 20 (4%), and then 2 more stragglers after a staggering 30 years or more in drab.
Back to statistics. These outliers have something special. Either our 2 fashionably late friends sneezed while the mouse was poised near the “Over 30” button, or something significant is afoot. Or at least something different. I encourage you, if you are a late bloomer, and are reading this, to please, please leave a comment here, about just how you found this part of you. If you would like to chat privately, you can always send me a private message over at crossdressers.com, or via email here. Respectfully and confidentially, I would love to know more. And if you have a story to tell, I would be happy (ed. thrilled) to have a guest editorialist the next time my nails are drying.
Now, this weeks poll. When is interesting, and so (to me at least) is how often. Please take a moment to consider the frequency of your habit. How well do you tend it, or how often does the habit simply insist on your attention.
It does mean a great deal to me that you visit here, and participate. Thank you and please keep it up. 100 votes will drive down the margin of error by about 4X.
Jan 9, 2009
Very short post today my lovely friends. And here on casual Friday are we not all just looking a scoosh more stylish than all the others? Thanks for making the effort!
In any event, our friend Vanessa Law over at crossdresserheaven.com posted a little Petra success story today. Vanessa is way more popular than me. I am not jealous. Just envious in a healthy way. So, in any event, what I think has dried my throat a bit, and started my little (but still capable of great things) heart just tap-tapping a little quicker is that well, there I am on the real internet.
Petra is not quite petrified, but feeling as though my wrap around skirt just got a little windblown if you know what I mean you bashful thing you.
In any event, I would not recommend anybody go and read the post for the literary merit in it, but I would recommend a few things…
- Do visit Vanessa. Wonderful site and loads of helpful stuff,
- Do read my post (especially if you are beginner-esque at all of this) because there is a happy, positive and life affirming (ed . take it down a notch lady) ok, scratch that, encouraging moral to the story, and
- Go ahead and tell your story. The photo is optional friends. Don't worry. And what is all this about the camera adding 10 lbs?
Have a < insert your own superlative here > weekend!
Jan 8, 2009
My recently adjusted scoring model is broken. Again. Yes, price is important, but we cannot lose sight of the really costly efforts that make the difference between a good pair of hose and a great pair. I am a girl on a budget and will continue to factor in price in the scoring, but with a little more weight given to the look and feel elements of the tested tights. Additionally I have added a 5th criteria which is entirely at my discretion. Random Petra Points are, again, graded 1-10 by my snap answer to the posed rhetorical question … "how would I feel about attending my own funeral wearing these?" So again, glamour should win out in the long run.
Additionally, I have re-graded L’eggs pantyhose in light of their relative performance against this weeks efforts. I dropped them all a singe point. I still love them. Really I do. Its only that I fear I am going to find hose that feel marginally, and even much better in my voyages. I am fearful of crowding the top of my 1-10 scale. So, revised rankings (new formula) here.
This week, Silken Mist falls a notch to number 2 in the Pantyhose Parade overall , only by fractions of a single point. I of course reserve the right to wear, admire, and feel each of the fierce competitors and adjust scores accordingly as time allows and the mood drives me in my happy future. Silken Mists’ slightly less glam sister, Sheer Energy drops to 3rd. This week our working girl favorites go toe-to-toe with pantyhose for ladies who lunch. Lets all take Donna Karan and Nordstrom’s house brand out for a little stroll, shall we?
Before we begin, a couple of quick reminders. The tested product is worn while pondering and clicking away (on heels and keyboard) here. The legs simply cannot lie. Furthermore, I cannot be influenced by the generosity of anyone who would see fit to provide me with a lifetime supply of fine hosiery. Moreover, I would really love to test my integrity levels on that one, so do drop me a line if you are in a position to attempt to corrupt me….
Donna Karan is famed for dressing the successful woman and enabling projections of confidence and femininity in the mannish corridors of power. Petra busted the purse this week in an attempt to get that feeling, and O, dear friends, may I tell you its is small, small price to pay.
The Maximum Control Satin Sheer Toner feels like 2 beautiful garments invisibly mended together. Up top, a 39% Spandex control panty that locks in place like a loving anaconda and dares flesh to step out of line. Below the delicate thigh top floral detail is a fabulously sheer (15 denier) leg with enough elastic to maintain shape, but with no loss of beautiful light shimmer. These are sex-on-heels. I mean yummy. The touch is glorious. You will feel better then all the other girls in the room.
All of this of course comes at a price. Even during Nordstrom’s legendary semi-annual sale, the DK’s are not discounted. $18.50 off the shelf, or $16.50 online at all the usual suspects including Bare Necessities. The may not be Pantyhose to (literally) die for, but certainly, they are Pantyhose to die in.
Petra felt terribly guilty about paying full retail for anything in January. So much so that she started to refer to herself in the 3rd person, and more helpfully, splurged on the stuff that was on sale.
Nordstrom’s private label pantyhose were marked down from $10.00 to $5.00, putting this product into the everyday wear category. And the Sheer French Cut are a sheer joy, to my thinking, even at full retail.
The fit is every bit as good as the DK’s, and 2 points better than the L’eggs Silken Mist. Nice broad waist-band is roll resistant, so these can be nicely worn under clingy knits. Finish and general style are outstanding with a nice 25 denier leg, flashing a very subtle glimmer. The dainty French cut panty is there in the mirror to remind you which part of your personality is driving today. When I run these through the grading formula at the sale price, its just not fair to the other pantyhose . But even at the suggested retail price, these beauties manage to claw their way up on to the podium and this week, into the Gold Medal spot.
The DKs, hampered by the price tag miss the top 3, but have a very real and important place in my heart (and around my thighs).
A last note on the Nordstrom French Cuts. They are no longer available online. The Light Support panty sheers are pictured here, and have the same material qualities, minus the pretty bits. The sale is still on in stores, and if you are nearby I encourage you to pop in, drab or fab, and say hello. Staff is a little thin on the floors, but as always professional, helpful and as per usual, stylish and beautiful as I dream of being.
Next week … who knows. I will shop. This is true, and unavoidable. I will happily take suggestions about what I should buy and test. What makes your legs smile? Leave suggestions or comments in general here. And keep those seams straight till next time….
Jan 6, 2009
Wolford, the legendary Austrian hosiery haus has been helping women in general and legs in particular look better since 1950. The product line and web site remain fresh, compelling and highly desirable. The finishes on the web site are as good as the finishes on the leggings. I do hope to be buried in the Individual 10 sheers (black naturally).
The site itself is built to polish the brand and not to sell product. The brand is supported in part by slick navigation and page rendering but mostly in the photography. Honestly, these legs look good. And that’s all you get here. And for me, well that is plenty. Love the site. For those of you who are in the income bracket to afford Wolford, bareneccessities.com has a great selection and the best prices you will see anywhere. For more fun, take a weekend in New York and visit the shop on Madison. Yummy.
From Austrian fabricator to Canadian retailer now. Shapings.com is located just west of Toronto and does a global trade in hard-to-find luxury and specialty leggings. The merchandise selection is broad and the prices seem right. Shapings does not put a lot of work into creating a gorgeous web site, but they are clearly passionate about pantyhose, they roam the globe looking for great hosiery, and will ship to you wherever you are.
Additionally, a visit to Shapings is worth it for anyone who simply wants to know more about tights in general. Exhaustive glossary section, and o by the way, an indispensable tutorial on how to put on pantyhose. Believe me, even if you have been in tights since you were a tot, you can learn something you will love here. Lastly, the nice people at Shapings are happy to cater to the CD / TG crowd, and that must be applauded.
Lastly today, a very happy find in England. Please visit one of my favorite blogs “Too Many Tights”. A dedicated legging enthusiast and fashion professional posts often, pushes the fashion envelope and even (little drum role please) fabricates tights for sale. It is refreshing to see some old-fashioned guild / craft approach being taken to making any sort of product in our mass produced and anonymous times. That some of that care is dedicated to tights just makes me feel so much better about our future as a species. Go ahead and pick up this RSS feed and enjoy.
Again, nothing in any of this but my desire to share what I find along the way. Please send me your favorite sites (even if it is your own). I’ll never find everything I want to see alone!
Jan 4, 2009
Time is tight for everybody. Time is even tighter for people who spend time dressing 2 bodies. So in the interest of saving you time, and in the interest in giving some attention to older, under appreciated dispatches, ( sometimes weeks old) here is a short digest, oldest first, of Petra’s posts.
Nice legs shame about the face is the tale of the fun and games I endured and enjoyed on Halloween this year. That evening I suppose rekindled a lot of things for me.
Petra seeks professional help tells the story of my continued flailing at getting the make up right and the circumstances that lead me to seek out and meet a male to female transformation consultant.
Petra gets polished by a pro is the tale of my deliriously happy first meeting with my dear friend R at Explore Your Feminine Side.
O for a pair, explores my efforts, both fumbling and fabulous at creating the illusion of a luscious bust.
Curtain up, is a night out adventure with Petra looking better and feeling more confident then ever. Hooray for Petra.
A Tale of 2 Visits is a nice story for any Victoria’s Secret fan, or for any CD/TG who loves to shop, in fab or in drab.
Getting that girlish figure is a how-to with lots of shopping links having to do with building the derriere that most of us born-boys (and especially really pale ones like your author) simply don’t have. This is worth it solely to admire the picture of Beyonces' heavenly, breathtaking, heartbreaking rump.
Passing, and other news, is a short post on an interesting online tool that will tell you whether you write like a girl. Guess who does? Yoo-hoo, over here! Also a lingerie tragedy.
Rest in Peace, Ms. Bettie Page is a short homage to a recently lost heroine. A very sad day 12 December 2008.
Cross Dressed 8 Ball is another en femme out and about adventure. Wonderful night. Again, Amanda, if you are reading this … holla!
Petra’s Tuesday Traipse is the first of my regular features. In these I pull a random handful of posies out of the internet meadow and display them just so. Sites, ideas and themes welcomed ladies – don’t be shy!
Petra’s Pantyhose Parade is the second (and last) of my regular features. Now I have all the structure I need (and can tolerate) in my publishing regimen. O yeah, the good part is that I am compelled to shop for, wear, think about and rank Pantyhose each and every week. Pauvre Petra n’est ce pas?
Vintage lingerie, my time machine is a reverie about a happily girdled past. It was also my attempt to win some beautiful Cameo Intimates Lingerie, and to suck up to a totally sweet bloggerette, Slip of a Girl.
Mad Men and Wired Women again takes a peek into some dusty old closets, questions how we sadly lost the romance of lingerie at exactly the moment I figured out how important is was to me. But I am not bitter, for things are looking better these days.
Of course, there are Holiday and New Years wishes mixed in appropriately. Everything else is here on the front page ladies. You comments are welcomed, encouraged, and …..
Pending posts you ask? You can expect an update to the Tuesday Traipse, a Donna Karan Hosiery focussed Thursday Pantyhose Parade, and Part 2 of Daylight - Petra Personal History....
Again, thanks for your time, your attention and your shared feelings. And ofr your ideas too! Happy reading, dressing and everything else. Petra
And participating in polls is therapeutic too because you can often see the results immediately. Typically, I find out I am not so much the freak I fear I am in my darkest imaginings. In fact, far too often I am presented with proof that I am actually pretty average. Then I rush back to insecurities, but that’s not where we started …. So …
Ahem. Where was I?
Yes. Polls. From the bloggers perspective they are awfully important too. You see, when readers and gracious visitors (take a bow, you gorgeous thing you…) participate, it helps the blogger understand what is important, curious, offensive, compelling and etc to visitors. And really, one cannot stress too much how important the reader is to the written material, and to the writer herself.
Even the most poetic and transformative words written, but unread are merely the sound of one hand clapping. And not to put too fine a point on it, evolution has provided us with better things to do with one hand (did I just write that aloud? God, I need an editor).
And so I implore you, dear friends to throw your shoulders back, shake your hair out, thrust thy bust forward, and, well, click I suppose. Really nothing to it. O, and another thing. I don’t actually go to immense lengths or great pains. It takes about 2 minutes of thinking and a couple of drags and drops. Sorry if I guilted you out earlier.
And now, recent poll results. As many of you know, Voyages en Rose is a very new thing. This blog has been under the big pink spotlight for just over a month now. It takes a while for a crowd to gather in cyberspace, no matter how much leg you are showing. The poll numbers are embarrassingly small, entirely unscientific, but at least trending towards better participation. You can click on the images below for a better look at the questions and answers.
Poll # 1 attempted to figure out when this all started. The question “How old were you when you first dressed”. Exactly 1 cross dresser answered. Me. This question remains really interesting to me. So I am re-running this poll this week to a larger, more intelligent, and did I say, really good looking crowd (where did you get those shoes my dear? And did you lose a little weight?). (ed. Please stop with the pandering)
Poll # 2 had absolutely no potential scientific value. Just a random beauty barometer. You might notice on the right column of this blog some rotating images of real women who possess some combination of qualities that simply makes me stop thinking rationally. Again, very few of you selected a rose from the other roses. Drop me a line with your gold standard anytime.
Poll # 3 deals with language, and how we describe ourselves. Who we are is important. So are the words we use to describe ourselves. I ran this poll to get a better sense of who I am really speaking with. I am a horrible pollster. The answers are not really all from the same basket of “classes”. For what its worth, I think of myself as a crossdresser. This might be an interesting discussion to elaborate on. So, if your nails are fully dried and hardened up, go ahead and start a new thread on crossdressers.com or crossdresserclub.com, send me a message and I will weigh in there.
Poll # 4 attempts to greedily plunder your top drawer, toss all the silky underthings in the air and find (and then steal) your favorites. I happily share the majority view. You will have to pry my pantyhose from my cold dead hands. Try not to put a run in them though would you love? This poll gives me the faith to continue the exhaustive, entirely necessary, and groundbreaking research currently being undertaken in Petra’s Pantyhose Parade! Thanks girls!
Last weeks Poll # 5 started to get some good numbers. The increase in participation in the poll is a natural outcome from the growing number of new friends who are spending a little time with me here. Just about 40% of you are completely private in your cross dressing habit. And you might be fine keeping it that way. I completely appreciate the appeal.
It is not Petra’s intention to encourage you to go beyond that place. I know that I was there for many years. I have found so much more meaning and satisfaction through introducing this part of me to a bigger world. And clearly this is the case for so many of my new friends. Including the 1 visitor who is “out there, full time and fabulous”. Congratulations sister. I would love to hear from you. Please drop me a line if you have any thoughts or experiences you would like to share here. You have my highest respect and admiration, and a license to publish any time you want.
There. That was a bit of a ramble. I so appreciate your wading through it all and hope you did not get a ladder in your mental tights. As always, comments welcomed and encouraged. Tell me please the sort of questions you would like to see asked, and the sort of thoughts you would love for Petra to weigh in on.
Happy dressing, and happy everything else….