My wife planned to be out of town for six days in early July, but she tested positive for Covid two days in and returned home early (her case was mild and she has since recovered, and although our son who lives with us also got it, I have escaped so far).
I planned for some Dee time while she was away (those plans evaporated), but I did get a day out with my GG friend Michelle before my wife returned home. She had been suggesting for a while a visit to a local Merle Norman salon to shop for wigs for me, but the days Michelle had available didn’t work with the days the salon was open. Fortunately, Michelle had a Wednesday off, the store was open, and we had a plan.
My other time wig shopping was back in 2016, during my first week of getting out. I found a wig I loved, have worn it repeatedly since then, and I was hopeful I could find a new one I loved.
Upon on arrival, the store manager (Vicky) and Michelle asked what I wanted. I just answered that “I would know it when I see it” and by that I meant seeing it on me.
The two of them pulled wigs and Vicky explained to me the various features and how to put a wig on. I started trying on one and then the next. That meant taking one off and putting another on, but as there weren’t others in the store (other than a customer in another room getting her hair done), I wasn’t bothered–and I’ve become quite relaxed about being in public.
During the process I watched Michelle and Vicky, because their reactions would tell me which ones they liked FAR more than their words. When their eyes and faces lit up I knew which ones they really liked.
After trying on all the wigs once, I narrowed the choices to two of the same style, one blonder and the other more brunette. After I tried on both again, there was only one choice. We all liked the blonde look, including the customer in the other room getting her hair done. It fit nicely, looked good, and Michelle’s face just lit up when I tried it on.
After buying the wig–which took about 90 minutes–I wore it out of the store, because Michelle and I had other girl things to do. First up was some retail therapy at Plato’s Closet and Clothes Mentor in South St. Louis County. Both are secondhand stores (a/k/a for profit thrift stores), with Clothes Mentor being a bit more upscale.
Michelle and I have a standard MO (modus operandi) for our retail therapy sessions. We each browse the racks for things we like, then get separate dressing rooms and try things on. We pop out of our rooms and exchange opinions. Occasionally we will both try on the same thing, as we have similar heights and sizes, although Michelle is probably a size smaller than me.
First was Plato’s, then Clothes Mentor. Michelle found something at both, and I found a Maggy Lindon (my favorite brand) blue dress at Clothes Mentor (unfortunately, no picture though).
After clothes shopping, we stopped at a sex shop (something for Michelle, and yes we discuss sex, but that’s all–she has a boyfriend and I have a wife), and then we stopped Hooter’s for dinner (Michelle’s choice). All in all, a fun day out, and now I have a new look.
FYI, my wife and I hosted a large (probably 200 people) outdoor party at our house the Saturday before Michelle and I went wig shopping. I invited Michelle, and she came with her boyfriend, her brother, her brother’s girlfriend, and her brother’s daughter. Anita knew she was coming, and Michelle went up and introduced herself to Anita (and gave her a big hug). In short, my wife has now met Michelle.
I wrote a similar version of this on an internet board that Kandi and I frequent, and my post generated the following comment by one of the GGs on the forum:
“How fun! Isn’t it amazing how different colors, lengths completely change everything. I wish others felt free enough to experience this. Well done.
I answered with my thanks, and then added “Yes, it is interesting how it does, which is I’m sure why GGs do it from time to time” (referring to how women change their hair style and/or color from time to time).
Another member commented how it is fun, and I agreed and added it was double fun that Michelle came along, after pushing this for a long time.
I then noted this was the second time for me. At the previous sitting, it was just me and the sales lady. She was accepting, if not overly enthusiastic, but after trying looks I knew “the one”–and I wore “the one” to a lot of places over the next five plus years, then climbed on my soap box.
Here’s what I wrote for our forum members, and I will repeat that advice here.
“The right wig gives you confidence, like the right clothes can (a message from my Dangerfield buddy Kira). There is NOTHING like sitting in a store trying something on, and seeing how it looks. Buying from a website based on a picture is a very distant second. Trying it on, seeing it in real time, and you see the look you want (and if you don’t, you keep looking).
There are wig stores everywhere. Vicky, the sales assistant, was showing Michelle and I pictures on her phone of drag queens that she knows. For the record, she’s an older (than me) married woman, formerly an engineer working on roads, and now a retirement second career managing a Merle Norman store. She was enthusiastic, explained each wig, and made me feel extremely comfortable.
There are TONS of shop assistants out there at wig shops who would likely be delighted to help you find “your one” if you would just make the effort and overcome the nagging fears and doubts. Much like there are tons of SAs at Sephora or Ulta or Merle Norman that will help you find your makeup look, but they aren’t going to find you, you have to go out and FIND THEM.
I went from zero to sixty in three days in October 2016. It was a combination of the right makeup, the right wig, and the right clothes. That combination gave me the confidence (plus the acceptance of the people I met) that I could go out, and I haven’t looked back since.”
Happy hunting for YOUR new wig.
Your advice is very true , there is no sbstitute for sitting in a wig shop and trying on , I think the other important point is keep an open mind . Also I know that look and sound SAs make I went through a dozen until I tried the one in my picture , we both sighed and knew it was the one but tyhen she added but you’re not going to like the price . Well you have to forget that if it’s the right one , as you comment the confidence it brings is wonderful .
On the down side I didn’t realise what a short life a wig has , OK I wear mine everyday so I was very surprised a wig will only last about a year . So now I buy ywo of the same style and colour so the changeover isn’t as obvious . I still keep my older wigs for the dirty , dusty jobs . As for washing them , I now wash mine once a week in a very soft shower gel ( Nivea ) and use a Loreal conditioner , I was given a care kit by my last supplier but I’m not convinced they have any benefits , I’m reluctant to use any chemicals in case they damage and shorten the life of the wig .
As for compliments , the nicest one is , ” Oh I didn’t realise it was a wig ” or ” I thought it was your own hair ” .
I’m so glad you had a great day out and it’s a wonderful outcome with your wife meeting Michelle .
I hope you don’t mind but I’ve just checked out the forum and was interested to read your question on the number of trans/cders we have seen . In my old home town I can’t recall any but in my new home town only twenty miles distance I have seen at least a dozen . Some more passable than others but sometimes I do question their motives , perhaps I should consider some don’t want to pass and some really have no idea about presentation . The difficult question then arises should I stop and chat to them ? Perhaps I should turn that around and ask myself how would I react if they stopped me to chat ?
I believe that people should wear what they want to wear, male, female, and in between.
We ask for tolerance from others when we go out in public but we as CDers are intolerant of how other CDers present themselves? I suggest judge not lest ye be judged.
When you write “some more passable than others” you are actually saying that NONE of them are “passable” because otherwise you wouldn’t have noticed them as being trans/CD. What you are really saying that some of them meet your standards of how they should dress more than the others. And you consider approaching them to share your OPINION on how they should dress? Do you do the same with GGs you see on the street and offer how they should dress too? In short, for anyone to do that I would consider that to be extremely rude.
To be clear, I don’t believe I pass. I also don’t care. The people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made don’t care either. I don’t believe that “blending” gives a CD a magic cloak of invisibility that means others won’t notice. If I am going to take the time to get dressed and go out, am I going to wear what I want to wear–or wear what some unknown person on an internet board thinks I ought to wear?
I like cute stuff and I bought it because I thought it would be cute on me, and I buy stuff to wear out. Also virtually all my clothes are from stores that originally sold them for women, so some manufacturer out there thought it was good enough so a woman would buy it.
In short, the ONLY person who should be judging what is appropriate to wear is the person wearing it, otherwise you are letting others run YOUR life.
Here’s my guest post in the same vein at Stana’s.
I strongly agree Dee. Wig shopping in person is the only way to go. It was a wonderful 60 minutes for me. And as you say, the SA was extremely helpful and supportive.
Perhaps we’ve hit on the problem of being a (trans ) woman and being happy in your own skin as a CDer . No I certainly wouldn’t critcise another for the clothes they chose to wear , it’s for them to decide what they feel is appropriate or not . All I can say is I’m very happy with my acceptance level , some may see me totally as a woman and some may have their doubts , I don’t see the point in publicising what I am , I don’t really think about the trans issue I’m just Teresa .
OK lets now consider the trans/CDers I’ve seen . On one occasion I almost bumped into one in a supermarket car park , I sensed I intimidated her because she just scurried away . There are several who chose to wear any combination of clothes with badly fitting wigs , making very little eye contact , is it my place to consider they might need help ? I would love to simply because everyone is turning and looking , I did feel sorry for them . At the other exteme I met two very tall ones in a large clothing store , they were both wearing very short leather skirts , of course they stood out and people were looking but they may be enjoying it . I was with a lovely TS friend doing some shopping having a lovely time but just being treated as two ladies out shopping and that is the way we both preferred it .
As for comments from GGs , they tend to look at outfits in a different way so if one does comment it may not be the same as a comment made by a CDer to another CDer . I take care with my comments with GGs because of that point .
I’m sorry if you read it as being rude , I admit after being full time for over four years I do see things very much from a woman’s perspective . I know the issue of passing is a sensitive one , my take on it is women come in all shapes and sizes so I must fit in there somewhere .
Dee , sorry to amend my first line I meant to say the difference between being a ( trans) woman or being happy in your own skin as a CDer .
Dee, a fascinating insight for someone who’s bought wigs anywhere and everywhere except a specialist wig store. Amazon, party shops and online suppliers have all ‘benefitted’ from my business over the years. I was actually very close to biting the bullet and going to a local wig store until I remembered that a close friend lives nearby and pops into a nearby cafe for a coffee on most days! Given that I’ve bumped into people I know while holidaying in the US, Germany and Guernsey, it’s practically a dead cert that I wouldn’t have got away unnoticed from the wig shop!
Anyway, great choice with the blonde wig.
That never ceases to amaze me , you can travel half way round the world and find you bump into some who lives just down the road .
As for UK wig suppliers , I have used Trendco who have several shops , I caught the train to Nottingham to buy my latest one . On my return a friend found the same wig at Valentine wigs ( online ) for £40.00 less , they are always sending me Emails with special offers, worth a try .
Teresa, I think the gist of Dee’s post is how wonderful the wig store experience is; something I totally agree with. I have bought wigs at second-hand stores, party supply stores, on line and at specialty wig stores and my experience and satisfaction was always best at the wig store. I have gone into a shop, picked out four or five wigs that looked amazing on the manequin heads, tried them on and hated them all. Usually the SA has gotten a feel for where I want to go by my first choices and has brought out similar wigs with slight nuances that made a huge difference on me. Its also fun to step out and try something way out of your regular lane. To use a Harry Potter comparison, wigs are like wands … the wand chooses the wizzard. You KNOW the right wig when you try it on!
It is true you can save a lot of money shopping on line. I highly recommend it if you are replacing a wig you already own with one of the same make and color. But you dont get to see a new wig on YOUR face or get to feel the quality of the wig til you’ve paid for it and recieved it. A lot of online wig vendors are really hard to deal with for returns if it doesnt work out.