Guest Post: Flushes And Fashion Police Can't Stop A Woman In Her Golden Years

This post is on what it's like to be a middle aged transwoman I write it in response to an offer to write a guest post and this being a gabby wee madam this was to good an opportunity to turn down. I also thought it could open a few eyes if I were to write a post on a subject which though gaining increased media is usually told from the perspective of the media rather than trans community ourselves. By doing this I will hopefully illustrate what it is to be a transwoman of a certain age and show that we don't all fit the stereotypes portrayed in the press and media nor indeed would we want to.

Anyway like any woman I like my fashion and when I can afford to shop I'll do it at every opportunity. Favourite shops include Karen Millen. This is a great place to find appropriate party wear and I've found more than a few cracking bargains over the years. These include my signature metallic dress which I'll trot out on almost all special occasions from wedding receptions, to Christmas poetry readings, and SNP Burns Suppers, to a silver shift dress which I had to eventually donate to charity on the day it could no longer fit me.

This tragic day happened not long after my hormones had started to take effect and I had started to shall we say, take my shape. This same day also spelled the end of the road for many of my favourite outfits from the days when I shopped in Bay Trading and Logo. Among the casualties were my favourite LBD, my red Christmas dress, the last of my mini skirts which I had held on to for the memories far longer than I needed to and my favourite ever dress, a purple velvet number which had served me well for 13 years. It was at this point I admitted to myself what I had always realised but been reluctant to concede. There was a world of difference between being a part time girl and a full time woman especially for someone transitioning as so many of us do started on the journey in her late forties I was 47 when I finally came out

As a woman I believe that the phrase shop around is a real metaphor for life. So apart from Karen Millen and those ghosts from the past, other shops I really love include Oasis and Warehouse, with Oasis being especially good for bags and shoes and Warehouse for jumpers, tops, and skirts. I think I can safely call Warehouse my multi purpose shop where I can buy just about anything. Maybe that's why I love it so much, well that and the affordable prices.

As for accessories such as tights and make up I make no secret that I consider them to be important finishing touches to any outfit. Now I know some of the younger crowd swear by fake tan but I would be more likely to swear if I ever to apply it. I just couldn't do the coffee coloured legs routine it's so not me it really is. I have to say for me it's tights every time

My favourite tights are definitely the Woolford range which can be purchased from House of Fraser. I particularly like the Satin Touch and Perfectly 30 which have a sheer sheen to them and like all Woolford products if carefully washed can last for years. Available in a variety of styles and colours they are suitable for both work and partying and can be teamed up with anything from business suits to causal wear and give your legs that winning combination of comfort, glamour, and sophistication.

When money isn't so plentiful I like Charnos or Pretty Polly and yes I will occasionally do fishnets or patterned. I know you'll want to know I have a pair of tartan tights, well the answer is not yet but they are on my must buy list preferably before this year's Edinburgh fringe.

As for make up I love Estee Lauder for just about anything but especially the double wear foundation which is so durable long lasting and natural. I love the texture and it is amazing for women like me who have our own particular issues and need a good all over coverage.

When it comes to lipstick I tend not to do baby pinks or anything too orange. Let's just say I've learned from my mistakes, well don't we all girls? It's the only way to make progress you know. Anyway I particularly like anything in nudes and cherry reds especially by Clarins and Estee Lauder. Eye shadow tends to be blue or brown depending on the outfit and nails definitely red. Anything else is just too pale and that just doesn't suit my complexion. As one friend told me early on in my transition the paler you are the less you'll get away with pale colours. This was good advice which I have now made in to a personal style rule. It is a rule I have no intention of changing.
One of my main challenges as a mature transwoman is that I have to face other people's preconceptions on what I should and should not be wearing. This is not always an easy issue to tackle especially when well meaning but not exactly stylish individuals claim I should dress more like they do. Personally I think this their attempt to make me older so they can delude themselves they may be able to look more glamorous.

Now when I say these women are not exactly fashionable believe me I am being kind. I can be quite the little bitchy knickers when I want to be and all I will say that short of a nuclear bomb landing on their wardrobes they will never cut it the style league.
I will not be told what I am or am I not too old to wear by people who can't spell class let alone know what it means. As for how I make my decisions on what or what not wear I tend to take advice from younger female friends rather than those who are or some cases perceived to be older.

I call this barometer the auntie test. In other words would you be ok if your auntie was wearing the outfit you want to buy? If the answer is yes then I'll usually go ahead if the answer is no then I probably won't, though there are exceptions to every rule. Generally though this tends to work out well for me.

Since officially starting my journey in December 2008 at my then work's Christmas night out it is fair to say that I've had a pretty positive reaction especially from women and long term friends. I have however to quote a line from Caledonia 'lost some friends I needed losing gained others on the way' In a couple of cases this has had made me genuinely sad but if they can't be happy for me then perhaps it's better that they are no longer in my life.

Overall whether it be in spoken word, music, politics, or just in my local community my transition has been generally successful and I am so glad I am now able to live the life I always wanted. Make no mistake being a woman is not all glamour and boy do we know it. There are issues we face men will never have to deal with which we accept as part of our lives and others which can be changed but only if we decide to change them. Well as my gran always said if you want something done then you had better do it yourself, believe me when I say only women really know the truth of those words. You know occasionally someone will ask if I have ever regretted my decision to transition to which I reply my only regret I didn't do it sooner. Forever the pragmatist, I waited till my country was ready and prepared to embrace the change and despite the flushes, the sexism, and the rules of the fashion police can't stop a woman in her golden years.

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