I was at Macy‘s looking at some boots yesterday. No particular mission to accomplish, just browsing. I would only pull the trigger on a pair if they were black, had good arch support, were comfortable, stylish, leather, of good craftsmanship, and most importantly, had a heel that wasn’t too tall and was wearable throughout an 8 hour workday. A boot that would be versatile enough to go from lounging at a coffee shop to evening club wear without me having to bat an eye. And the final criteria? The boot had to hug the calf like Ugg Boots do…..
Needless to say, these boots are still non-existent in my wardrobe. And an incomplete wardrobe or outfit set bug me to no end. A real first world problem, I must admit, but also an important one for me as I waited 30 plus years to do this, to go after a wardrobe that not only looks good and brings out the best in me, but also brings out the real me, a wardrobe that tells my truth through glamour.
It was the weekend before Thanksgiving, and the ambiance was nice at the mall: Christmas music playing above on the ceiling speakers, complementing the decorations plastered everywhere.
I walked around to find an associate who could help, but that proved to be difficult with all the people shopping and only one attendant working. I finally got her attention and asked if they had my size for a Michael Kors boot I had found.
“I will be right with you miss, after I help this lady,” the attendant Arcelyn said.
She then turned to an older woman and resumed helping the elderly lady with deciding between a beige or black pair of heels. The elderly lady pulled out a dress that was predominantly black with an inner mesh lining that was beige colored.
“What color heels do you think match this outfit the best?” elderly lady asked Arcelyn.
Arcelyn turned around and started right at me with a smile.
“Why don’t you ask the Asian girl behind you? She seems to know her fashion.”
They both looked at me, and I blushed, unprepared for the compliment and the sudden attention I was receiving.
“I love your top by the way, very cute,” said Arcelyn.
Elderly lady agreed as she immediately followed Arcelyn with: “So do you have any suggestions on which shoes go best with my dress?”
“I think both pairs go with that dress, but I would lean towards the black heels. They go overall better with the dress. That dress is fantastic, by the way,” I said.
“Thanks,” said elderly lady.
“What’s the occasion?” I asked.
“I’m going with my husband to Yosemite, we are attending a wine tasting event up there. It should be fun.”
“Sounds like it will be indoors,” I said. “If you aren’t anticipating a lot of walking, I wouldn’t let comfort be the primary deciding factor on which pair you choose. Go with the one that makes you feel your best.”
“We might do some walking outside,” she said.
“It’s winter time, so if the ground is wet and the shoes are new, you might want to scuff the bottoms a bit so the soles will have better traction with the floor. Also, you might want to consider a slingback heel.”
“It’s always difficult to decide,” she said. “I’ll probably go with the black heels,” she said.
“Don’t you have a go to outfit, something you default to in case a formal event like this comes up spur of the moment?” I asked her.
“No, I usually go for comfort. I’ve always dressed simple, and my mom couldn’t get me to wear a dress until I was 18. You probably have no idea what that’s like,” she said in a complimentary tone.
I giggled inside, but didn’t say anything.
I was presented with a choice at that instant whether to make a big deal about my past, whether I should drag my baggage out or to take a non-affirming stance. I could have gone into a long diatribe about my trans history and identity, but instead I just reminded myself that I have been blessed with the option to disclose or not, and that not all trans women have that luxury. I could have even said something to the effect of: “My parents treated me like a tomboy for years, so I can relate,” but just blending in and being myself at that moment felt like the right choice.
So I simply chose to stay quiet, to just savor the moment.
I was being treated as what I always should have been treated as: a woman. And that meant everything to me.
I was relaxed, things were in balance, in harmony, and I was present and happy.
What an amazing start to my weekend.