A late post from Yours Truly, as the school holidays are now under way for the Jones Massive. Both Wee Man and Little Miss have been in need of some down time. To be away from both the routine of early mornings and all day in a class room. They’re not the only one in need of a break too, the Ever Lovely Mrs J will, I’m sure, appreciate dodging the multiple bullets of half a work afternoon, the dash home to collect the kids and start the tea. Meanwhile, I’m still bashing the rocks together, at work, before crawling home in the evening traffic. Not, that I’m complaining, the commute could be a lot worse and I do get to listen to the odd podcast on the way home. Sure beats listening to commercial radio, that’s for sure. 🙂

Over on social media, I shared my photo from the Chameleons’ Christmas party. Helen, one of our irregular regulars, mentioned a make-over service that she’d been to. This got the gears of memory turning. Have I had a makeover or visited a dressing service?

Well, the answer to the latter is no. Not for any reason, other than practicality. That breaking into both economics and the distance they are from home. Much as I like to spend a little on life’s little luxuries, most services seem to come at a cost. A cost I don’t feel comfortable spending. I guess, there’s that magic figure in my head, that says “but that’s the price of a week’s food” or “you could buy a tablet for that.

There’s also a feeling that some dressing services, can be a bit formulaic. Please, before you organise a strongly worded letter of complaint (Ed: address to /dev/null/) I did say ‘some’. I guess, if you have a routine, or method, that works for your clients, it’s tempting to run with that. Equally, and perhaps from a personal point of view, I think the better ones – like high street, or image consultants, I presume – tailor the process to the individual.

Maybe another part of it, was that at the time I considered it briefly, I had clothes at home, flexi-time for the opportunity and I’ve got that type of brain, where I like to work things out. That’s not to say I don’t want someone to help (we’ll come to that in a bit), but I guess, I don’t want someone to do it for me. As my old boss said, “how are you going to learn to drive, if I’m the chauffeur?

I guess that leads us on to make-overs, and those, I’ve had the good fortune to have a few times. Each one was at Chameleons, and via reps. One, the Body Shop, and the second via Avon. The Body Shop one, was for me, the benchmark. The lady who ran it, gave us all advice and I learned a lot. She told me about colours that would work for me, and ones that would not. How best to apply and also remove.

Coming back to what I said earlier; she made is personal. As something Val said once, often, make-up folk who visit us, they do what’s right for women, but – and these are my words, not Val’s – under all of it, I’m a guy. I have a man’s skin and bone structure. Things that work on people with more delicate features, disappear on me, and likewise, stuff I do, would probably look heavy handed.
Other than sharing that little bit of history, if there’s a point to this post; it is: shop around and look for that personal touch. A few minutes and a few carefully crafted questions will, I hope, save you money and time.

Chances are I’ll schedule something for next week, but if I don’t manage that, I’d like to thank you for reading, and for those of you who comment, thanks for sharing your views.



  1. Its an interesting debate about the value of dressing services. Several times I went to the fantastic and now defunct 'Trans-Femme' in Swindon. It really served a purpose in my journey: 1. I'd never felt any confidence before in how I looked and they showed me who Rhiannon was and allowed me time and space to discover my 'look', but also 2. they were open to teaching, so I learnt the basics of make up application from someone expert in reducing the effect of masculine features.

    After a while though, it became just a lovely day out that was relaxed and Tracy, the owner was lovely to talk to and we had many conversations that felt very woman to woman. Added to which they were really reasonably priced.

    I still miss them now.
    Rhi x

    1. So it goes when a good business disappears, I guess! Sounds like you found a good one. Do you know why they closed?

      We've had three make-over / dressing service people come along in the last year. They seem to visit once and then that's it, despite a flurry of emails and a statement to say "they're in it for the long haul."

    2. It was for personal reasons I think – changing circumstances. Right thing for her, but still a shame – I miss it! Also a shame that your visitors are clearly not in it for the long haul :o(. The thing I liked about Trans-Femme was that they didn't go over the top, it was all very subtle and tasteful.

    3. True. Shame, but so it goes. Glad to hear they did a more daytime look too.

      Yeah, it's a shame with fleeting vendors. I wonder what they get out of a meeting, if anything. Perhaps that explains the one time visits. Then again, as society gets more accepting of trans people, is there a need for dedicated businesses? Maybe you can just mix your clients and not worry about it. I get that that will put some people off.

    4. I guess that's also the case as acceptance grows. I do lack confidence, but I still recently went into Mac because I needed foundation and they applied it to me in the shop and weren't remotely bothered and nor was I. Ironically, I think that many 'mainstream' photography companies could learn a lot from Trans-Femme commercially: not limiting the number of photos and making the price affordable etc. If it puts people off, that is still a sad state of affairs. I suspect that they could avoid issues by not overlapping clients.

  2. That's a good point about what works for women may not work for men. Whether it's age, hormones, or lack of care, my skin more resembles orange peel rather than peach, and I can never achieve the smooth foundation finish that I want. I don't so much need primer as Pollyfilla.
    It doesn't help that I skimp on makeup and either use L's leftovers or cheap brands from Superdrug on the basis that it seems unduly extravagant to pay £30-$40 for a top brand product that I will only use a few times a year and no one else is going to see the result.
    As for application, makeup sites contradict each other all over: Use a sponge, don't use a sponge, use a brush, avoid a brush and use your fingers. Use concealer over or under foundation.

    1. At the risk of acting as a completely untrained consultant [wink], do you exfoliate and moisturise regularly? I find that makes a big difference to the feel of my skin. Likewise, the foundation that's right for you, will help both the coverage and again, the moisturisation when you take it off.

      I don't think you have to spend a fortune on slap, but I think you do have to invest wisely. A mid-range foundation is well worth the pennies, as it's the base – if you pardon the pun – for your whole look. Magazines like Woman & Home, or Good Housekeeping, they tend to have beauty on a budget (but not bargain basement). Another thing is 'dupes', where you can find a duplicate of a high end product, by a lesser known brand, that's as good (see London Beauty Queen, for example).

      Application? Hmm…. There's trends and fashions. A few years ago, it was all about applying using your digits, then it was brushes, now it's a funny shaped sponge. Funny thing is, I remember the brush massive saying a sponge sucks your foundation up, whereas finger folk say a brush leaves streaks. It is, really, up to you 🙂 Personally, I use an angled brush (inexpensive one from Boots), after asking a Clinque beauty consultant. With that, you can swipe (like a paint brush), or stipple (where you need more coverage). I used to use fingers before, but getting the depth of coverage was very tricky and I guess I'm not that patient.

      Concealer? I *think* colour hiding ones under foundation, and then light reflective ones on top. That's how I do it, but we're back to what works for a person, rather than what's right for everyone. Maybe it's more about the blending than the order, but professionals may disagree! 🙂

      [ PS: Wayne Goss does some brilliant tutorials on YouTube ]

  3. Hi girls, first up, I never had a makeover, a meltdown yes, a makeover no. If I would ever get one, wild horses, a Shillelagh and a couple of bottles of the hard stuff would have to be involved in getting me to one, as well as some preliminary gardening on my face before one could start.
    [Ed: in other words she can’t wait 4 1]
    I can’t really say if there is a typical female or male skin texture. I have seen woman with orange peel and men with peach skins to use Susie’s analogy. Hormones do play apart in this somewhere. I have been taking for years something for downstairs that is bringing back something that has long disappeared on the top of me ‘ead.
    [Ed: no, that’s a 5α-reductase inhibitor!]
    One can argue that if you throw enough and long enough products at ones face some of it will eventually stick and work. Over the years I have seen MrsA. applying an arsenal of creams, gels, serums and exotic pastes in hourly sessions 24/7. Did it bring anything? Really I can’t tell, ones complexion and its nature changes gradually over time and it is difficult to compare ‘with’ or ‘without’ unless one does a double blind study.
    [Ed: her profession is kicking in here]
    If all that work (and money) reduced her age a few milliseconds then ok, yes it did work and was worth it. Believe it or not Mr.A is envious of my complexion. Her remarks are that I have hardly any blemishes or wrinkles for my age, smooth as a baby’s ‘you know what’ and to top of all that I only expose my skin to soap and water! You may be thinking that, ah! but Abi does use creams & Co while MrsA. is not looking. Well actually no she doesn’t and I don’t need to. Anyway she would cotton on quick enough if I did, and questions would getting interesting … I have can one say an optimal canvas, but no opportunity to have someone paint on it and show me 2 me.
    I can fully understand Susie when it comes to hand me downs from L or not forking out for products that will hardly be used. As you know I very rarely have the chance to go girl mode (In May I have a week to myself – I hope). But what I have experienced is to keep away from cheap nail varnish and lipsticks. When I get the chance to do my nails and lips then I want to be in charge of how it looks and not get into an argument with the jinn in product.

    Nice to see you back in print Rhiannon, we have missed you. Will send you a link to a cocktail dress and blazer I’m interested in, would like your opinion. Lynn and Susie have no problem with buying clothes, but girls with a bit more weight on our minds have to be more critical in the limited choices we have 😉

    All the best Lynn, have good a ‘good slide’ into the new year, as we say over here, although there doesn’t look like ice is in sight.

    Do you think they understood what I was going on about?
    [Ed: no]
    Good, I thought it was me.

    1. I can't comment on anti-aging creams, or any of that. I'm afraid my area of knowledge, only extends as far as what works for me. You'd have to consult an expert – self proclaimed, or otherwise – for other views 🙂 For what it's worth, I think genetics and how you treat your skin – harsh chemicals, no sun block, etc – are probably a much larger factor, than whatever lotion, or potion, you pick. That said, I think if you get the right make-up combination (colour, coverage, concealment and cost), you're on to a winner.

      Merry Xmas to you as well, Abi!

    2. Hi Abi, I have replied to your email — but I do think that there are lots of options now for us plus sized girls and some great clothes out there – doesn't have to be so difficult any more!

      Take care,
      Rhi x

      PS – sorry to hijack your blog Lynn :o)

    3. I feel suitably chastened, thank you.

      My plus sized shopping was completely assisted by a friend of mine who is amongst other things, an expert on image. So much great advice she gave me. Would be worth a blog at some point. :o) x

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