I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to collaborate with @Miss_Joanne_F who, despite possibly causing her some embarrassment, may be regarded as being somewhat of an expert in the field of vintage style foundation wear. In a two for the price of one offer the first part of our blog post shall be in the form of questions and answers with the second part being an insight into “What goes in to being Joanne”.
Thank you for chatting with @Rations2R_n_R Joanne.
Christine @Rations2R_n_R (C). It would be nice to start by hearing a little about you Joanne.
Joanne @Miss_Joanne_F (J). I’m 59, and moved to the Los Angeles area from Scotland in 1999. I’m what I would describe as a “Recreational Crossdresser”: I don’t live as a woman 24/7, but have been dressing on and off since 1971!
(C). For how long have you presented as female in public?
(J). I first presented as female in public in 2013. My presentation and “character” have evolved considerably since then, even in that relatively short time!
(C). Please tell us your inspiration that lead to @Miss_Joanne_F.
(J). The image I try to present is that of a businesswoman my age – someone like an office manager or the VP of a small company. She is professionally attired, and wouldn’t look out of place presenting the evening news. I have “modelled” my presentation on two fictitious characters:
This is Evelyn Harper from the comedy “Two and a Half Men”, played by veteran actress Holland Taylor. Evelyn is always very smartly dressed, sells high-end houses and isn’t above using her feminine attributes to complete a sale. She’s what we used to call “a bit of a goer” 😊
This is Gloria Akalitus, played by Anna Deavere Smith. Gloria is the Administrator of All Saints Hospital in the drama “Nurse Jackie”, and always dresses in a manner commensurate with her lofty position. She was heard to remark over a post-work drink “Men go weak at the knees for a woman in a skirt suit”.
So, this is the sort of woman I aspire to be. Smart and professional with a hint of sexiness thrown in!
(C). Were you presented with obstacles on your journey to the place that you are now and, particularly, at the beginning?
(J). Obstacles? Where to begin…..when this all started for me, I was 13. That’s, by all accounts, a fairly common time for a desire to crossdress to first emerge, around the onset of puberty. I was an (adopted) only child, so no sister(s) to rob from! I had to make do with Mum’s clothes. Looking back, I think she knew what was going on. Also, there was no internet, no easy way to buy items discreetly, no way to interact with others of the same inclination. You felt very “alone”, and wondered if you were the only one.
(C). The world has changed considerably over the years but there are still many people that are either reluctant to, or will not accept, diversity. Please tell us about any personal experiences that you feel able to share.
(J). I haven’t personally had any issues while being out and about dressed – indeed, I’ve had doors held open for me by men on more than one occasion! That’s always met with a smile and a softly spoken “Thank You”. Someone once said to me that I dress in a very “age-appropriate” manner – I’m about four months from being 60, so I’m not going to try to dress like a 30 year old woman! My approach is a “common-sense” one: do the things a woman my age would do. I do a lot of observing how women my age behave and learn from that.
One thing that comes up often is the whole “bathroom” issue. I’ve had lovely brief conversations with ladies in there while washing my hands! One of us girls told me that there were two cardinal rules for the bathroom. Firstly, do whatever you’ve gone there to do, use the facility for the intended purposes, don’t do anything weird. Secondly: make sure your feet are pointing the right way! I do have a little bathroom tale over on my own blog at https://missjoannefitzpatrick.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/the-perils-of-automatic-toilets/
(C). Moving on to our mutual love of retro style lingerie. I am sure that our followers would like to know your reasons for favouring “traditional” underpinnings.
(J). Simple answer on that: Mother. Although she stood 5’11” and weighed about 8 stone, she was never without her girdle, and she stuck with stockings until the bitter end. As I mentioned earlier, my beginnings were with her clothes, and I’ve stuck with that style ever since. There’s just a certain elegance about girdles, corselettes, that sort of thing. I love the look and feel, and there’s a certain feeling of being “put together” when I’m dressed. I feel confident and am able to present confidently.
(C). Which garment do you consider as a favourite in your lingerie wardrobe and why?
(J). Favourite has to be the Rago 9357 open corselette – I own all five colourways! I find it to be a very comfortable garment for all-day wear, plus it looks great! I was going away for an overnight, and had packed my mocha and black one, which I showed to a lady I worked with at the time with whom I had shared my “secret”. Her eyes almost popped out of her head, and she said “That is SOOOOOO sexy!”. I think she may subsequently have bought one or two for herself 😊
(C). You live in California; not an area known for its cool climate. Presenting as female whilst wearing traditional foundations must prove challenging at times!
(J). It’s a very good question. I’ve never felt “uncomfortable”, even on hot days, although I’ve lost a few pounds on occasion! I’m a great believer that if your shapewear is uncomfortable or indeed, painful, than you’re wearing the wrong size and/or the wrong garment(s). I’ll write separately in some more detail about just what goes into my overall presentation. (See below “What goes in to being Joanne” *.)
(C). The view of @Rations2R_n_R is that retro and vintage outfits are best complimented by appropriate foundations. I am sure that you agree. Please tell us your reasons and how you would encourage others to follow your example.
(J). I’m a great believer that if you’re going to do something, you should do it fully and properly. Example: let’s say you’re going to a 50s event, and you have a dress from that era’s style. You shouldn’t go bare-legged, women from that time wouldn’t have. And, say a gust of wind were to come along, it shouldn’t expose a thong! The presentation should be fully consistent with the era, so it should be brassiere & open girdle (or corselette) underneath with full briefs or a mid-thigh leg, and proper stockings.
(C). Although to many of us a somewhat tedious debate, there are those that are new to retro underthings, who will ask “knickers over or under a suspender belt”? I know our views agree on this but I should like you to share your opinion on this matter.
(J). Ah, the perennial question! I mentioned knickers with a mid-thigh leg: that’s what Mum wore, and she was always a “knickers over” lady. I’ve gone both ways, but have settled on under, since I think it gives a nicer look, but is less convenient for the Ladies’ Powder Room 😊. At the end of the day, it’s personal preference.
(C). Please tell us your favoured retailers for vintage style lingerie and hosiery and why?”
(J). The only “bricks and mortar” place I’ve ever heard of having Rago product on display around here was an “adult store” (so a friend told me…..honest!). I shop online, mainly at AmericanShapewear.com, who carry the full range. I usually get my briefs at HerRoom.com – I look to find ones in the same colour as my girdles and corselettes, and they have a great selection in all sizes. As for nylons: no chance of finding them in stores. I get my “everyday” ones (Berkshire SexyHose, they have a pretty lace top) at EssentialApparel.com. For something like seams or fishnets: eBay!
*”What goes in to being Joanne“.
…the whole “process” of becoming Joanne. It’s quite involved!
First thing to understand is the terminology. The word “Transition” is often mistakenly used in connection with crossdressing. “Transitioning” is what someone who is undergoing a sex change does. When someone like me goes from male to female presentation, we “Transform”.
It’s also a very common misconception that male to female crossdressers do so because they want to have “relations” with other men and/or ultimately wish to undergo a sex change. The vast majority of us are heterosexual males. One thing to add is that in an online discussion I was reading recently, someone hypothesised about a “magic pill” that would turn us into women for one or more days, and most would try it!
When I first started going out and about, I quickly realised that I wanted to have the “full feminine experience”. That, for me, includes wearing a latex vaginal prosthesis to hide my “man bits”. If someone were to take a sly peek up my skirt, they’d see the proverbial “camel toe”! I’ve adapted mine to work in conjunction with a men’s “athletic support”.
I’ve also recently taken to wearing something to give me a bit of a bum! In common with many men, I don’t have much in that department – I’m sure you’re familiar with the excellent Corsetiere.net site where Ivy Leaf mentions that an experienced corsetiere could tell from the measurements that they were a man’s! If you’re so inclined, you can read my review of the product I use at https://missjoannefitzpatrick.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/joanne-reviews-caboost/
I also get a full (Well, all the bits that the salon will do!) waxing every few weeks. I love to feel smooth, especially as I put my nylons on 😊
Makeup is something that many of us find challenging. Most shops will do a “tutorial” in return for a minimum purchase (US$50-75). They’ll sit you down in a chair for a couple of hours and work with you to find an ideal “look”! One thing I emphasise is that there is no “one size fits all” solution for cosmetics: everyone has different needs.
“Everything you wanted to know about crossdressing but we’re afraid to ask. ❤️”
Thank you for your enthusiasm Joanne in a most informative and honest chat. I am so pleased, and grateful, that we got together.
I send my best wishes to you for the future.