Shamed I am, by my lack of attention to this old house, Voyages en Rose. Much to chat about after all, just precious little time available to your humble hack with which to tumble thoughts into keystrokes. I did get a post out in January, and with today’s effort, will be able to count one for February too. A streak of sorts I suppose.
This evidence to the contrary, I have been pretty well steeped in the life of Petra year to date. With my pal Ally on an extended tropical retreat, editorial responsibilities with Guilty Pleasures have taken on a life of their own. Samples from lovely vendors have been piling up here at home. For those of you with an interest in largely favorable and hopefully witty reviews of pretty intimates, do take a moment or two to visit.
Mrs. Bellejambes and the UPS man have both become accustomed to parcels addressed to this mystery woman. Not so concerned with the UPS man of course, but happy to report that my admittedly non-normative fascination with the life of women is, well, normalizing here at home. Mrs. B. does rather wish that we shared more sizes and is wondering when my wardrobe will squeeze us out of our home, but Petra is, on the whole, not a troubling tenant.
So, where was I? I did have a great January. The first planning session for the not-to-be-missed Southern Comfort Conference happened one sunny Saturday. SCC has a new-look, new-function web-site, and a massive crew of volunteers laying into the epic effort of staging a big, complex function for complex people. Wonderful stuff. Your attendance will add considerably. Please mark your calendars for Sept 21 – 25. Friends of Petra will reliably find her perched on a tall stool cradling a chilled glass.
I.N.C. line. Guy mode me has not worn flared pants since Frampton Came Alive and will not even long after he is dead, but Petra delights in the look. Shopping for slacks is, by reliable reports, a typically traumatic day for many women. I remain blessed by good fortune, and love the look and feel being the woman in perfect pants.
Next stop Ann Taylor where I scored a gorgeous new skirt (pictured above) for a song, and again enjoyed fashion chit-chat in the fitting room warren with other enthusiastic fashionistas. This skirt is by the way, still available in a great assortment of sizes and can be yours for a mere $15.00 for the next few days. Go click.
Last stop, the lamentably soon to be shuttered Bloomingdale's Perimeter store for a romp through their store closing clearance event. My finds from TC Intimates found their way up and over my hips and into the pages of Guilty Pleasures in the form of a loving review. The ravages of time and a general lack of exercise have contributed to a little weight gain about the waist friends. You know my vanity well by now, and so should not be surprised to see me singing praises about foundation garments that help order ones shape about. If you do not have a seriously smoothing slip in your wardrobe, you should, and could do much worse than the TC Torsette, seen below. The pull-on Nipper too helps provide a little waist to hip relief.
I spent a couple of hours wandering about, bags slung from shoulder and honestly enjoying what amounted to a spa day for my soul. Never an unkind glance or unwelcoming word from any of the civilians and staffers I chatted with, and this in broad daylight at the busiest time of the week in a thriving suburban setting mall. I have said it before, and reinforce it here: Even just a few hours out and about with the world from time to time does the rest of me a power of goodness. Lovely memories to carry about long after the bags are emptied, and the wig and the rest of it all folded away until next time.
Next time did not wait all too long either, and I claim a personal first on this recent Voyage en Rose. I packed a second bag for a business trip to the sunny west coast and saved myself a gruesome red-eye flight home by allowing for a little LA time en Femme. I had a theme of holy pilgrimage in mind as I begged off Friday evening invites, swapped identities and strode out of my hotel for a drive up to Studio City and a visit with the famous and fabulous Alison of Faire Frou Frou fame.
Faire Frou Frou is the epicenter of intimate wardrobe luxury, and I have enjoyed a friendly on-line relationship with Alison and her equally darling mom Gail for some years now. Nothing will get you past the rigors of LA Friday traffic more quickly than a little visit and modest shopping splurge in this Oasis of Underwear. Entirely refreshing and luxurious for the blogger to meet, in the smiling flesh, someone you really admire. Loads of girl talk ranging from fashion, knickers, relationships and even business of all topics. Wonderful shopping too, bien sur, and precious moments in the prettiest fitting room in the inner solar system. Read about the whole intimate idyll over here.
From there, the sublime, and slowly into the tawdry heart of Hollywood for something closer to ridiculous. We have to give credit to Fredericks of Hollywood for romanticizing lingerie and bringing sexy to market. Their flagship store is right on the Walk of Fame, vogueing vainly for attention amongst the dispirited tourists and busking Peruvian Pan-flute bands (yes, two of them) thronging the broad sidewalks. I executed a near-perfect Carrie Bradshaw stiletto-heel, gazelle-leap, hair blowing and bag flailing, darting through the vehicular mosh pit, and burst quite delightedly into Shrine # 2 of my evening.
Fredericks is too brightly lit for my liking, and the lingerie is of suspect quality for the most part. But still, I was nearby and dressed, so a polite genuflection was certainly called for. I did genuflect around the shoe department, and could not find a comfy fit amongst the towering platforms and over-the-knee boots on display. The prices were right yes, but the costs of pinched toes and aching tendons are to be weighed more heavily in my view. Out into the night empty handed therefore, one more swan dive into and through the Hollywood Boulevard chaos, and back to my hotel for a little end of day supper and perhaps a glass of wine.
Now, the Cross Dresser is accustomed, when out and about, to feeling like the most conspicuous person in most settings. This was not the case upon my return to the LAX Westin. I popped up to my room first for a quick refresh of the maquillage, and met fascinating company in the elevator back down. You see, there was a Wrestling Convention of some sort in my hotel. I shared the ride with three entirely cute and menacing young bustier-fishnet-and-boot clad Gladiatrixes who were practicing well choreographed moves in the tight elevator confines.
Awesome physicality, youthful beauty and an outrageous sense of fun was the general vibe. I share at least the outrageous sense of fun, and so we paused in the lobby for a while together. I was introduced to a handful of their male counterparts, massive hulking presences, neon tights, cowboy hats, evil Ninjas, hillbilly bullies, you name it the whole crazy assortment of personae that populate the squared circle.
Proper in Ann Taylor, dripping in faux pearl, shining in Donna Karan sheers, and clearly the least remarkable presence in the whole damned hotel. Top that, dear friends. There was absolutely nothing I could do to scandalize the setting. Time for hugs with the new girlfriends and retreat to a smallish booth in a dimly lit restaurant. My waitress was a complete sweetie, ready with the black table linen and a warm welcome. A super evening altogether, and one I will long remember.
My senses are always a little more lit when traveling, and seeing a place less well known. These feeling are magnified magnificently when traveling en Femme. I will have occasion to do this again this year, and the thought, amongst others, helps time click happily along. Perhaps I will have another tale of this variety for you in March.
Thanks as always for your visit, for your stamina, and for your curious appetite for my odd tales.
Happy dressing and everything else too.