Category Archives: Fashion/Style

Secret Lift – Facelift Without Surgery

As the years go by, our appearance changes.  Sometimes the change is barely noticeable and sometimes it’s a little more dramatic.

I keep feeling like the years are not being kind to me but when I look back at photos that are 10 or 15 years old, I become aware that I really haven’t changed all that much.

I have a few age lines, very few actual wrinkles but the thing that has bothered me a little for the last few decades are my jowls.  That droopiness in the cheeks beside my mouth.

I had read about how to minimize the look of jowls, had discussed it with a makeup professional and learned the basics of using the medical tape solution.  But getting the effect “just right” was always a challenge.

So at a recent conference I attended, the topic came up in casual discussion.  A friend (thanks Cynthia!) recommended a product called Secret Lift so I thought I’d give it a try.  “Easy to use and very adjustable” she said.

Her suggested supplier was  Cosmesearch.  Upon investigating, I discovered they had  two versions.  The “original” and the “pro” version.  I ordered the original, and in a shade for those of us with dark hair.

SeleenaK_3021What It Is

Secret Lift  is basically two elasticized face-lifting bands with barbs on the ends and a hook to connect both sides and a bunch of adhesive tapes with a hole for the barbs.  There is also a single lifting band for the neck.

How It Works

While looking at yourself in a mirror, place your index fingers on your cheeks just in front of your ears and gently push your cheek back or up.  Note the effect.  Move your fingers up and down, forward or back and watch the changes to your overall face.  This is basically what Secret Lift does.

My Experience

I spent a minute or two trying to determine my sweet spot while looking in the mirror.  That sweet spot is the spot on my cheek that will give me the most flattering look when pushed back a little.

Once I found that spot, I wiped the area with rubbing alcohol to remove any lotions or skin oil that might negatively affect the adhesive tapes.  Before attaching the tapes, I pushed the barbed end of each of the two lifting bands through the small hold in the tab  part of the tape.  Next I peeled the backing off the tapes and pressed them to my face in the spot I had previously determined to work best.  Getting the tapes in the right spot with the lifting band attachment tabs pointing in the right direction wasn’t easy for me and will likely become easier with practice.  I think I was very close on my very first attempt.

As instructed, I pressed firmly and  rubbed the tapes for 30 seconds.  I didn’t connect the lifting bands together to attain the lift just yet.  Instead I went ahead and did most of my makeup.  When I was almost done, I pulled  the lifting bands together at the top of my head and noted the effect it had on my face.

Pulling too tight looked gave my face a stretched look; not tight enough minimized the effect, but somewhere in between I found the right amount of tension.

Wig cap, wig over the lifting bands and a quick touch-up to my foundation and powder and I was all set.

How did I look?  I looked marvelous! It really did knock a few years off my appearance!

The manufacturer’s short instructional video can be found here.

Now I didn’t go into great detail about the lifting band connection but suffice to say the bands are easy to connect and there’s a lot of adjustment.

The kit also contains a lifting band for a neck/jaw lift.  I’ll try that at some point too and will report back to you on it’s benefit.

That first day, I wore Secret Lift for about 5 hours and was mostly indoors in a very controlled climate.  The next time I used it was while attending an outdoor garden party.  It was a very warm day and I was outside into the evening; about 9 hours in total, and the bands stayed where I put them and there was no issues with the adhesive.

I removed the adhesive tabs when I got home and they had been quite kind to my skin.

The cost of the kit was around $20 including shipping from their Amazon checkout.  The kits included three lifting bands (two for the face and one for the neck) and 40 adhesive tapes.  So that’s 20 wearings when using it for the face only.   Tape refills are $12.95 for 40.

Although the product sheet shows women with their hair pulled back wearing Secret Lift, I can’t comment on how detectable the adhesive tapes would be.  But for a shaggy, hair-in-the-face girl like me, no one would have ever suspected I was wearing it.  And it’s comfortable.  After 10 minutes, I really wasn’t aware it was there working it’s magic.

Just how perceptible was my overall change created by Secret Lift?  When I came down from my makeup room, my darling spouse raised her eyebrows and gave me a “wow! You look fabulous!”

Note:  Next time, I’ll likely try Secret Lift Pro.  The tapes are permanently attached to disposable bands.  About double the cost per unit as the originals and less available adjustment but I do expect them to be even easier to use.

The Ultimo OMG Plunge Gel Bra

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I’ve been looking for one of these bras for a long, long time – I just wasn’t willing to pay the UK price (converted to $US and then to $CDN), plus shipping, plus import tariffs without knowing if it would work for me.  But I recently found a listing on eBay and it was in my (rather small) size too!

These bras are designed to provide maximum cleavage (hence the name OMG!) and add up to 2 full cup sizes.  They would typically sell in the UK for the equivalent of around $50 USD.  So I was thrilled, and quite surprised, to find a listing that included,  not one but two, new (with tags) 34AA’s in black.  I bought them both for $9.95 USD plus shipping from New England.  Not that England, this one!

20140715_163136After examining the bra and trying one on, the reason they work became very obvious.  First off, there is no stretch to the band.  If you’ve ever worn a vintage bullet bra, you’ll know what I mean.  It fits tight enough that it will remain exactly where you position it and no flesh can escape past the band.  Had I known this, I would have probably looked for a 36 but by adding one of those bra band extenders, it became quite comfortable.

The cups contain quite a lot of liquidy gel and, although it can move around in the cup freely, gravity tends to cause it to fill the lower part of the cup.  The gel feels cool at first but warms to body temperature quickly.

When I tried the bra on, the third brilliant feature becomes obvious.  The cups are attached quite close together compared to most other bras.   In my case, this pushes a little of the fleshiness that’s just in front of my underarm into the cup.

Update:  It appears Ultimo has discontinued the liquid filled gel bras in favour of an OMG version with regular padding so the discontinued gel bras are on sale!

I’ve never been one to use tape or any type of banding to create cleavage and this bra does a wonderful job creating cleavage all by itself.  So I’m able to wear it with no added “enhancement” at all.

Does it add two cup sizes in my case?  I would say it does not, but it does create ‘plus two cup’ cleavage.  Not ideal when a busty profile is desirable but for the small-boob low cut top look, it’s perfect.

Emma Clark’s MaxCleavage.com‘s “Oomph Guide” rates this bra a “3 – Maximum Cleavage Boosting Power” and I agree.

My breast tissue has only recently grown to the point where I could even consider wearing just a bra so this is my first experience with this type of bra; I’m sure there are other mega cleavage styles out there that work on th20140715_163003e same principle.

The OMG is heavy compare to a standard padded bra;  in my case, 255 grams compared to 60 grams for one of my standard padded bras.

So if you’re a a small-breasted woman or t-girl (or even a large breast person, I suppose) looking for some serious cleavage enhancement, maybe give something like this a try.

Consider going up one band size if you usually wear your bras tight, but be prepared for something quite impressive.

I’ll add a couple more photos to this post when I can so you can see the profile effect but regardless how impressive it  looks from out there, the view looking down from up here is fabulous!  *giggle*

The La Perla Mannequin Controversy

The high end lingerie retailer La Perla got in trouble recently for using an extremely thin mannequin in a New York store.  Both a customer and a Truth in Advertizing advocate complained, and within hours, the mannequin was removed and an apology issued.

Here’s an article about the drama in British Vogue called La Perla’s Mannequin Drama

Even a Facebook post by my favourite lingerie blogger asked the question “Do you find this mannequin offensive?”

Woah.  Wait just a minute there.  If this was a large body style mannequin, could we even ask that question?  The world would freak.

And what about if you have a body type just like, or similar to, that of the thin mannequin?  Vogue, a top lingerie blogger and a lingerie brand has either acknowledged or has entertained the concept that your body type is offensive?  They just can’t do that.

Forum discussions included reader comments about the Holocaust, eating disorders and starvation.  In my opinion, it’s no different that discussing a plus sized mannequin and making references to low self-esteem, junk food or lack of healthy lifestyle choices.  Not true and fair!!

If you read my nonsense, you know I’m not a big fan of critical correctness but sheesh.   When those who are super sensitive start getting hypocritical, I feel the need to speak up.

Truth in Advertizing dude,  which body-type segment of the buying public are you trying to protect?  Ye Who Is Addicted to Lingerie, your “No Body Snark” rule might have bend a little by the way the article and controversy was presented.

And La Perla, you’ve disappointed this girl.  The body type you’ve allowed to be deemed offensive is the exact body type some of your customers possess.

Or did I totally miss the point?

Photo credit: Twitter/Michael Rudoy

Could I Blog Professionally?

I wish I could but I just don’t think my writing skills are up to the task.

My favorite lingerie blogger in the world, The Lingerie ASeleenaK_5435_cropsddict, is looking for additional staff.  She  appears to be doing very, very well  and therefore needs to expand.  And the coolest part of her expansion is that she’d consider transgender writers!

Cora, the Lingerie Addict herself,  has always been a friend to the LGBT community.  She has zero tolerance for trans hate and understands the often unique needs we have at the lingerie counter.  So the possibility that she might select a staffer from the TG world is very exciting!

If I thought I had even a slight chance of filling the position I’d apply, but I think you all cut me a lot of slack here.  I just don’t think my writing skills are ready for prime time, and my lingerie knowledge is likely a little shallow as well.  But if you have the time, the talent and the expertize, you absolutely should apply to be part of her wonderful team.

Hopefully I’ll be updating this post in the near future to tell you that a TG blogger is part of the TLA team!  But in the meantime, if you care about lingerie, subscribe to The Lingerie Addict.  Your lingerie will fit better, you’ll save a tons of money and you’ll wow them when your daywear comes off!

Update: Sadly, I’m not longer recommending the Lingerie Addict.  I’m of the opinion that racism and racist rhetoric runs in both directions and I no longer follow this blogger.  I just got tired of listening to her complain “why are the no women of color ..” appearing in ads or getting modeling assignments.  Marketing staff go to great lengths to present the most marketable image and if that doesn’t involve women of color, why must it be considered a racial snub?   Good bye, and  good luck. You’re as racist as those you hate.

Anklets

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Ankle bracelets, or anklets, have been around for centuries.  The ancient Egyptians may have been the first to wear them.

Still in use today, they seem to fall into a couple different categories.  Casual anklets, often made of leather or rope straps, often braided, and adorned with heavy beads (or not) are worn causally and always on bare legs.  They add a lot of sexiness to shorts, sandals and even beach wear.

A finer, dressier, more glittery version adds the finishing touch to a glamorous outfit.  Similar to necklaces, these tend to be gold or silver, with small beads, rhinestones, pearls or a combination.

In eastern cultures, anklets are commonly worn on both ankles.  In western culture, one ankle is typical.

Which Ankle?

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There are lots of opposing opinions regarding the meaning of wearing an anklet on the right or left ankle.  Most are centered around a person’s relationship status and sexual availability.  But, from this girls observation, the right ankle is most common in the western world.  Does it mean that most women who wear ankle bracelets are sexually available to others?  Possibly, though not likely.  Yet I can’t help but think that on some level, overtly or deep inside, a certain sensual mindset exists in those who make the effort to adorn their ankles in this way; though it’s most likely about how it makes us feel and not so much about telling the world who and what we are.

Over or Under?

For those of us who wear sheer hosiery, the second “controversy” relates to wearing anklets over or under our nylons. I’ve read tons about this and, again, opinions vary greatly about what’s proper, what’s sexy and whether over or under is more likely to ruin your fine hosiery. Some feel that the anklet should always be worn touching the skin; others feel it’s beauty is less obvious when worn under nylons. Some say that wearing under will ruin your stockings quicker while others say wearing over is a recipe for disaster.

I can only share my experience on this and let you make your own decision.  I wear mine over my nylons … always have .. and have never ruined a pair of ultra-sheer expensive stockings from wearing mine that way. I do choose bracelets that feel nylon-friendly though, and prefer types with a lobster clasp for this reason.

Regarding sexuality and anklets, are you a “naked sex” girl?  If removing your stockings in the heat of passion or as foreplay is you or your partner’s thing, wear your anklet under your nylons. If your stockings remain on when things get hot and sexual, over is the way to go!

Maybe that’s a more appropriate and relevant anklet “signal”, and for some of us, totally important. If she’s wearing her anklet over her nylons, she doesn’t plan to remove her stockings no matter how hot and heavy things get!

Now that’s the kind of thing fantasies are made of .. don’t you agree?

StockingStore Short Strap GarterBelt

shortstrapgarterbelt2012-02-26-02.08Those of us who prefer to wear our nylons “butt high” can rejoice.  Stocking Store has just the garter belt for us!

At the recommendation of my friend Eric, I ordered a black and a white 8-strap garter belt from Stocking Store.  Satin, adjustable waist, adjustable garter straps, metal clasps .. perfect .. and when they arrived I was pleased to find that the garter straps are very short.  Yes, there is some adjustment in the strap length but the shorter the strap, the less adjustment possible.

I do have some skirts that are still too short for stockings but these garter belts hold my size long or size opera stockings firmly in place.  No more removing, shortening and re-sewing the garter straps on brand new garter belts!

I’ve worn and washed (hand wash, of course) mine many, many times and they still look new.  Made in the USA and at $39.95, a good value, in my opinion.

The strap configuration is not exactly symmetrical. The front, front side and rear side straps are an equal distance apart but the very back strap is quite close to the rear side strap.  If I could say anything even slightly negative about this garter belt, it would be that the rear strap is a little too forward.  It’s not easy to get the garter tab into the keyhole of a pair of fully fashioned nylons but this is mostly an aesthetic thing,  and something only a stocking connoisseur would notice.  But they do manage to keep everything nice and straight and are not prone to the dreaded seam-twist-to-the-outside.

Product number is #VB204S

You can find them here:  http://www.stockingstore.com/Short-8-Strap-Garter-Belt-p/vb204s.htm

The Magic of High Heels

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Yes, it’s no secret to women of grace and style. We can’t adorn our bodies with anything that has greater significance.   They’re a sign of affluence, fashion sense, power and sexuality.

High heels have been the defining wardrobe accessory for centuries.  There’s evidence on ancient Egyptian murals that heels have been with us since 3500 BC.  And they’re not leaving us any time soon.

“Nothing has been invented yet that will do a better job than high heels at making a good pair of legs look great, or great ones look fabulous.”
– shoe designer Stuart Weitzman –

But what’s considered high?  That has changed over the centuries.  Today, according to women’s shoe manufacturers like Gucci and Jimmy Choo,  today’s high heels are anything over 3.5 inches (8.9cm).  Most regular high heel wearers would agree with that definition, while those who rarely wear heels might consider a two or three inch heel to be high.

There has been a lot written in the last 20 years about the health concerns related to long term high heel wear but I think I understand the real story behind the alarm.  Allow me to give my opinion, which may differ from the others out there, and will definitely differ from the medical professional-turned media personality.

Let’s look back to the 1940’s and 1950’s.  High heel wear was quite common  among almost every demographic and occupation.  Stay-at-home mom’s wore heels to church, shopping as well as any event that required even a slightly dressy look.  Flight attendants, office workers, school teachers, almost every women in the public eye wore heels.  Yet there is no clear indication today that mature high heel wearers  from that era suffer more foot anomalies than women born before or after them, or even non high heel wears from the same era.  The warnings we hear from Podiatrists always make reference to today’s styles, today’s quality, today’s construction .. and in my opinion, that’s where the problem lies.  Not with high heels, per se.

“Yeah, but I do it backwards and in heels!” – Ginger Rogers –

 

Does it fit?

For those old enough to remember, feet were carefully measured in shoe stores to 220px-Brannock_uspat1725334-fig1determine accurate length and width, and only then was the correct size determined. Shoe store staff used something called a Brannock device for this purpose. And even if you shopped at the same store regularly, they would always (re)determine your size before allowing you to try on new shoes.  Foot dimensions do change, usually related to health issues, the aging process etc.

It was not unusual for a shoe store to have to order less common shoe widths for customers who needed a narrow or wider shoe.  But when you eventually left the store with a new pair of heels, you knew they fit you well.

Quality

Back in the high heel heyday, it was almost impossible to purchase heels that weren’t made of leather.  Leather was then, and is now, the best material for footwear of any kind.  But in those days, the quality of shoe leather was substantially better than anything available today at a modest price point.   It took a little while to “break in” a new pair of heels but as we wore them, the shoe contoured itself to our feet to some degree.  Today’s polyurethane heels only lose strength and rigidity with wear.

My Thoughts

So, in summary, I’m not so quick to believe that simply elevating the heel causes damage to our feet.  Other factors, as I mentioned above, certainly have a role.  I only wish the nay-Sayers would provide a little more detail to their analysis instead of simply painting all types and quality of heel with the same brush.

Consider not worrying so much about the height of your heels  but instead buy the best quality shoe you can afford.  Let me repeat that in different terms. When looking at a new pair of heels, let their construction beyour biggest health concern .. not the height of the heels.  Yes, the man-made $30 stilettos can be tempting,  If you just can’t resist them, wear them in moderation, but do own a couple pairs of versatile quality heels.

“It is all very well for so-called sensible people to recommend flat heels and short skirts, but most of us prefer not to be sensible.” – Anna Held, Polish-born stage performer

And to the other t-girls like me out there, we’re in a bit of a dilemma these days.  High heels do wonders for the shape of our legs and make our feet appear noticeably smaller simply because they use less “real state” .. toe to heel length shrinks as the heel height increases.  They also adjust our posture in a very positive way. But many of us don’t wear them because the “average woman” does not.

I’ll leave a discussion of current women’s style (or lack thereof) for another discussion but since people in general, and women in particular, are getting taller in stature as the years go by, adding a few inches to our height doesn’t always make us the tallest girl in the room.  The smaller steps we take when wearing heels is quite flattering and if we learn how to walk properly in heels, the fact that we’re wearing them isn’t all that obvious.  But enter a room teetering, stiff-legged and everyone knows you’re not what you appear to be.

“You put high heels on and you change.” – Manolo Blahnik –

There’s no other accessory that can do so much for our overall look.  A pair of stilettos instantly dresses up a pair of jeans,  is the finishing touch on your most glamorous outfit, adds a professional, successful air to your business suits and helps you to appear as confident as you are.   And the “click click click” when you enter a room tells everyone that you mean business.

Be safe, be sane and enjoy your heels!

(the preceding comments are my opinions only and are not intended to replace sound medical advice.  I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play one on TV, although I have been known to wear a nurse’s uniform in the bedroom)

Update: 03/25/13

I just found a wonderful podiatrist who understands the need to wear heels and has suggestions to minimize the long term risks.  Dr Emily Splichal’s Catwalk Confidence and Stiletto Recovery Program is worth looking into if you’re as high heel obsessed as I am.  You can find her at Midtown Podiatry in New York City or on her Catwalk Confidence website.  Lots of good information there!

Here’s a short video clip from an appearance on Oprah where she discusses and illustrates how to walk in heels.

additional information:

8 Must-Have Lingerie Items

Okay, so Elle Magazine here in Canada just came out with an article on their Fashionism website entitled “8 Must-Have Lingerie Items”

Here’s what they had to say:

Must-have lingerie

Sexy pieces every woman should have in her lingerie drawer.

If you want your lingerie to sizzle all year ’round — turn up the heat with some super-salicious pieces.  ELLE Canada visited hot lingerie shop, Avec Plaisir, in Toronto, where sexy celebs like Mariah Carey and Catherine Zeta Jones head for their unmentionables.  We chat with owner Vasilia on how to build the perfect lingerie wardrobe.

  • Demi-lace bra For those low-cut items that give just a glimpse of décolletage, you need something that’s flirty and stands out.
  • Bustier Bra  A bustier gives you lift and sex appeal. “It’s perfect for under a jacket,” says Vasilia, “or any item where you want to show something off. La Perla makes some beautiful ones.”
  • Well-fitted corset No ladies, corsets aren’t just reserved for the 18th century or weddings. Corsets cinch the waist and enhance curves, plus, due to modern technological advancements, you can actually breathe in them.
  • Long Gown A flowing knit gown is a no-fuss approach to sleepwear but still exudes a sex kitten look. “Comfort and sexiness is what all women want,” explains Vasilia.
  • Baby Doll Innocent and va-va-voom at the same time, a lacy black baby doll will bring out the inner romantic in you. ” It’s so comfy and playful,” says Vasilia. “and oh-so-flirty.”
  • Strapless Bra Set A must! It’s the turn-to bra in the summer or for that perfect cocktail dress and every woman needs one. “Getting the whole set, complete with flirty panties and sexy garter makes it extra special,” explains Vasilia, “especially if only you know they are under there!”
  • French-seamed stockings The best way to describe a pair of well-made French-seamed hose — sultry. Vasilia insists it’s “a must-have.” Bonus: The seam up the back is like a magnet for a guy’s eye.
  • Fish net stay-ups A slick pair of fish net hose never goes out of style and nothing gives more definition to your legs. “It’s worth investing in high-end stockings,” says Vasilia, “they complete your outfit and make you look very polished. Opt for a pair from Wolford, they’re worth the investment!”

For more information, please check out www.avecplasir.com or call: 416-922-7702.

(Unfortunately, the original article is no longer available)

I’m bringing this to your attention for a couple reasons.  First off, it would appear that corsets, seamed stockings and fishnets are becoming more and more mainstream.  Good?  I think so.  But what’s left for those of us who would like to continue to dress on the edge?  Wearing latex to the PTA meeting?

And what’s all this about comfort?  It’s not important to all of us.  Remember what “Fernando” on SNL used to say (with his sexy Spanish accent) .. “Darlings, it’s better to rook good than to feel good!

And secondly, I did notice there were two things on the list that I don’t even own.  And not surprisingly, they’re the two most mainstream items on the list, in my opinion.  A baby doll and a long night gown.

Sooooo .. if mainstream girls are gonna start wearing the stuff that are staples in my wardrobe, I’m going to start wearing their things!

Anyone want to send me a baby doll or a long gown? I really don’t want to freak the ladies out when I strut my tranny self into the type of lingerie store that specializes in them.  I promise to wear them for you and will do a photo album or two for my site. *giggling*