Breaking the rules


This week has gone rather quickly, given the bank holiday and then a day off, with the Ever Lovely Mrs J. Yes, we took a day off together, and nipped into town for a fancy lunch and Mrs J’s hair appointment. Wee Man and Little Miss were busy at school, so it wasn’t like our usual trips out. Sometimes, I guess you’ve got to push the boat out a little. 🙂


One of the new ladies emailed Chameleons asking for some tips about day time shopping. She was having a day out with her wife, but wondered if we had any suggestions. Here’s a few from that email:

  • Crowds are your friend. Should anyone clock you, you’ve already moved on. Don’t worry about seeing anyone you know. When was the last time you saw a friend at the same shopping centre mid week?
  • Don’t worry about ‘passing’ too much. Just try to relax and be yourself. You’ve as much a right to be here as anyone else.
  • Dress daytime. If that means leggings/long top/flats, so be it. Take a look what women you own age are wearing. Only a rare few wear heels to shop. Boots, yes, heels no. Much as false lashes can be fab for night, think daytime and what others are wearing. You want to blend in, right? 🙂
  • Wear clothes you can get in and out of easily. Changing rooms are a faff at the best of times. Leggings / shirt top / wrap dress, mean it’s easy to try things on, and not have to worry about messing up your hair or make up.
  • If you are going barefoot in shoes, take some pop socks, or footsies, should you want to try shoes on. Easier and more hygienic.
  • Think about what shops you want to visit. Don’t waste your time looking through fairy size clothing, move to the shops that serve taller ladies. Next, LTS, New Look, M&S, etc.
  • Take good care of your handbag. That’s got your purse, keys and, probably top-up lippy. Keep your hand through the loop and do keep it zipped up.
  • If you can, walk slowly. Don’t rush. You’ve got all day and smile…. shopping is supposed to be fun. 🙂
  • If you’re doing your nails, don’t forget a protective top coat and don’t go near a plastic bag, until they are fully dry. Not touch dry, but a good 30 mins, sometimes more.

Iffy perspective. Must try harder 🙂

The advice was well received and partly lessons learned, as we say in project land, and partly knowledge passed on, by other trans folk.

By a happy coincidence, I was home alone at the weekend and once I got the chores done, it felt that staying in, would be a chance wasted, if I didn’t pop out to stretch my legs.

I didn’t need anything, it was more a case of just wanting to be out. It’s just a lot easier to browse clothes, shoes or make-up, when not in bloke mode and there’s a little shopping place about 20 miles out of town, that’s got enough shops to make it worthwhile and it’s far enough to feel okay.

Thinking to the advice above, I did my best to blend in and went for leggings, rather than skinny jeans. The latter are fab, but can be a faff taking off and putting back on. Likewise, sensible shoes make a trip out easier and keep your height down too.

Or Just Ignore the Rules

Which brings me round to a slightly different take on the above. I happened to be out in Birmingham for a work related thing. I took my car, rather than go through the faff – and expense – of taking the train. After I parked, I took the lift down and a well dressed lady followed me in. No, this isn’t a trans story, my T-dar did not ping. She was wearing killer heels, leggings, with a shortish top and boxy jacket. The outfit, and by no means to disrespect her, broke some of the fashion rules I’ve read – namely, leggings aren’t trousers – but it worked for her.

The lift arrived at the ground floor and we got out, only to find no exit to the street. I wandered off and she followed, and I was clearly lost. We both laughed, as random strangers do about our own failings with a sense of direction and she suggested following the car route.

It was a rather long-ish route to the centre of the city and I bumped into her again, while checking my map for the afternoon’s meeting. She gave me directions and she made a comment about regretting wearing ‘silly shoes’. I did say they seemed more fabulous than silly, and that, sometimes we suffer for our art. This made her chuckle and for the first time, I noticed her make-up. She was wearing the current trend of heavy base and sort of stencilled on eyebrows. Again, without judging, it was very dramatic, but worked for her. I made a comment, perhaps foolishly, that I knew what it’s like to be in heels on uneven city streets, which got a laugh. I thanked her for the directions and we parted ways.

Looking back at her presentation and thinking about the trans shopping rules, she – bless her – broke many of them. But, that so worked for her. I wondered, as I walked towards the meeting, do we get hung up on rules? Is it we’re – and by that, I mean, trans folk – trying to fit in too much? Or, do we need all the help we can get, because we’ll never have the physique, that the glamorous Brummie lady has? Questions, questions.

Take care,


  1. Hehe, I can so relate to this!

    As for the rules, I can totally go for them, and generally ignore them completely at the same time! Which causes an extreme amount of pain when I'm done (and trying to help your son on his first hobby horse in a shop wearing 4” heels is even more interesting!). I remember the first time I went shopping and even though I was in relatively loose clothing it was horrible in the changing room – a mixture of fear and angst made the experience less than great.

    That said these days I go my own way, and break as many rules as makes me comfortable. My day to day wear includes a petticoat and those same 4” heels. Not practical, and there are times when flats come into play (we are going to go to Ikea today and there is a better than 50% chance that I’m going to be in Vans, not Tamaris / Lineazetta heels ;p)

    The biggest thing (for me) is to own what you are wearing and radiate confidence (that you may or may not have).

    Great post as always Lynn!

    1. Any lady who can prop up a pushchair, or haul children's toys about, in heels, gets a gold star from me. Glam, yes. Practical? Not so much 🙂

      I'm so with you on 'owning' an outfit, as it can do so much for your confidence. Likewise, the right shoes – heels, flats, or trainers: if they're right, they're right 😀

      PS: thanks for the kind words about the post.

  2. Fab post Lynn and completely agree with the rules! With Brummie lady, if you don't mind drawing attention to yourself and people are going to like it or at least not abuse you for it, then you are good to go. As an oversized elephant, I already draw attention for the wrong reasons, compounding by breaking the rules seems like a daft thing to do! :o) x

    1. Thanks, Mrs. Maybe there shouldn't be any rules, only guidelines. Well, apart from socks and sandals. That's just wrong 😉

      As for attention, maybe it's all down to how a person wants to be treated… But then, if a person likes to dress a certain way, maybe they dress for themselves. I know I do, albeit within certain boundaries. Hemlines and age for starters 😉

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