Lessons Learned: Part IV

Hi,

If I was a sci-fi nerd, I’d make a joke asking if this is a New Hope? Ah, but perhaps my comedic powers are weak (old man) and the Farce is not yet strong in this one…. Okay, I’ll get my cloak. Sorry, coat 😉

Over the last few posts, I’ve talked about trying to make sense of things, personal style, and shopping. Indeed, some of you were kind enough to chip in with your own stories and comments, which I think makes this little ol’ blog a bit less one sided.

Hair

By this, I mean on your head. Maybe we’ll talk about body hair and personal grooming another time.

On my time on this planet I’ve had long hair in my 20s, obligatory short back and sides in my 30s, and in my 40s, a lot less. 🙂 As much as I enjoyed having my hair very long as a younger guy, it was never cut in a feminine manner and my skills were certainly not enough to home style it that way.

In perhaps a touch of irony, losing my hair actually made it easier from trans point of view. Sure, I’m not overly keen on my hair heading further south every winter, but there’s not much I can do about it Well, other than learn to live with it….or without it, if you see what I mean.

Being a part timer (genderfluid? non-binary?) I get to switch between nodes and not having hair I could style either way means wearing a wig. Not that you should have to, but for me, I prefer to. It helps me feel more feminine and having written various wigs over the years, there is a style that makes me think This is Me.

Vendors

Reflecting on last time’s post about shopping, when it comes to getting a wig there’s the usual suspects: online, real world, and second hand.

All of the wigs I’ve had have been bought from a store or wig specialist. I know a few folk at Chams who’ve bought online and if that’s your preference, enjoy. What I will say, is that what you you get from a store is service, a variety of options, and instant try on. With some retailers having a hairdressing background, they can also trim the wig to make it really work for you. You won’t get the latter online.

I think a good vendor will help you choose something that works for you. I feel there should not be a rush or an upsell. You should feel comfortable – not just in how it looks, but how it fits. Yes, a wig will give a little, but a too tight cap is uncomfortable.

In terms of quality, human hair is going to feel the most natural (see also expensive), although a good synthetic number can work very well too. Synthetic can be easier to keep (hint: do buy a wig stand) and they hang on to their style very well. For us part timers, they will last, just not forever.

I would be wary of ‘too good to be true’ priced imports on certain sites. Sure, you may fall on a true bargain, but how many nearlies will you need to buy to find the one?

Is this me?

Regardless of the material, I think the key factor is does this suit? Do you feel that this style works for you? Like clothes, if the item doesn’t really seem you, will you wear it?

It may be worth a look online at finding your face shape and then looking for a haircut that works with that and your age. That’s not to say if you live a certain style, but the guidelines say a different look would suit more: it’s your choice. Sometimes breaking the rules helps more than following them.

While changing colour is tempting, don’t forget your underlying complexion: will I look wasted out? Am I too pale for dark hair or should I go lighter as I get older? Again, look online and do a bit of research. There are some excellent blogs or advice out there (like Whispers from a Wig Wearer).

Things to think about…

Regardless if you buy online or go real world, here’s a few suggestions, some of my experiences, and things others have shared with me:

  • Don’t expect miracles. Sure, a good wig really helps, but understand that we T folk are adept at seeing ourselves through whatever we’re in. Try to maintain a calm optimism.
  • if this is your first time in a wig shop, phrase understand that most vendors have sold to us trans people before.
  • Be polite, try to relax, and be clean (hair and face!). Enjoy the experience: not everyone will be having this adventure you’re on.
  • Bring a wig cap or popsock to protect any wig you try on. Hint: don’t rush to the shop and get a sweat on 😉
  • If it’s okay to do so, do take photos of you in each wig to look back at previous choices. It’s easier to cycle through those images later and compare.
  • If you’ve got your own hair, don’t forget a brush to bring it back from the dragged through a hedge look. 🙂
  • If you feel you can go dressed, it may be worth checking that the store are okay. Chances are they’ve heard of trans people, so no ice breaker required.
  • If you can’t go dressed, for whatever reason, be clean shaven and wear something gender neutral. This may help you picture what you may look when dressed.
  • Do a bit of research about styles beforehand and if you can bring a photo, that may help. Equally, be open to trying something new, you can always say it’s not for you, and you may learn something along the way.
  • If you are offered something that’s out of your price range, be gracious and honest: I do like this, but it’s more than I can afford. Could we work on the price? The vendor may flex on the price, but if not, be grateful and ask if they’ve something similar in looks than you can afford.
  • If you are buying on the day, if the assistant offers you the option of styling it for you, do ask them to explain how that might change things. It might also be a good time to ask about wig care.

Finally, don’t be afraid to thank the assistant for their time and come back later. You don’t have to buy anything on the day. Perhaps giving yourself some time to review those photos you took, maybe with a help of someone who gets you, can help you make up your mind.

L x

4 Comments

  1. I’ve done both long hair and short hair. I got rid of the long when someone said, without at all meaning to be funny, that I looked like Dana Carvey in Wayne’s World. Right.
    Nowadays I’m quite happy having *no* hair 🙂
    I’ve never liked wigs because they make my head too hot.

    1. It’s a personal choice with hair: perhaps like style in general.

      I find good wig cap helps, but on a hot day, I could imagine that being the wrong side of warm. 🙂

      I can’t say I can see the Garth similarity.

  2. I cannot recommend an appointment with a wig/hair specialist enough, or else a dressing service, rather than just plumping for something you like online. Firstly, you have ideas that need to be challenged by an expert – a bob wouldn’t work on me, much to my disappointment, but it’s advice that I needed to hear. Secondly, like going to a bookshop in preference to clicking on Amazon, you get to browse the goods.

    Hope you and yours are safe and staying well. Sue x

    1. Wise words, Sue. The option to browse and try different things are very true. As much as hearing a particularly style isn’t for us may be hard. I think seeing and hearing why is valuable feedback, and it’ll help us find what does.

      I remember one specialist saying – this was the early 2000s – that a short bob sits right on the jawline. Hardly a feature most assigned male at birth folk need to highlight. 🙂 The long bob, though, that’s another thing 👍

      Yes, keeping out of the way and in our little community bubble. The kids are at school, although restricted in who they see, while Mrs J and I continue to work remotely. Oh, and of course going on dog walks into the sticks 😁

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