Saturday, December 8, 2012

Home for the Holidays - A blog by Cupcake for Suddenly Fem




It’s that time of year again, when you can pull out your favorite sparkly heels and that damn good cocktail dress, or maybe it isn’t. Depending upon where you are in your personal journey, who knows and who doesn’t, and your holiday plans, the season can be especially stressful.  While you can opt to simply dub yourself the Grinch and hide at home until January 2, this option isn’t pleasant for you, your partner or your family. Given that, let’s run through a few hypothetical situations and how to manage them, with grace, dignity and hopefully, a fair shake of honesty.

The Family Visit and Dinner

If you have one of those families you only see once a year, they may not know and you may not want them to know. That’s perfectly reasonable and valid, but can add to your discomfort with the occasion. It may help to remember that most people aren’t terribly observant.
Plucked eyebrows, manicured unpainted nails and shaved legs aren’t likely to be noticed by your Great-Aunt Bertha. The key survival secret to these sorts of family visits is surprisingly simple. Get a hotel room or have your guests get a room. Private space means that, even if you’re wearing a suit and tie for dinner, you can be yourself after hours and reduces the risk of someone going snooping and finding those size 11 heels in the closet.

While the closet can be comfy for extended family outings, if some people know and others don’t, you may have more worries. First, unless your family is exceptionally dysfunctional, it’s fairly unlikely that your sister or cousin is going to tell Grandma that you enjoy wearing high heels.   If your family really is that dysfunctional, well, perhaps it’s time to plan a vacation during the holidays and just skip the dinner entirely. This is also true if you have any concerns regarding your physical and emotional safety around your family.

If you’re out or you’re ready to come out, in some ways, you may find these get-togethers of friends and family less stressful. There’s no big secret to keep, and no worries about being found out. You may be asked some embarrassing, inappropriate or even genuinely curious questions. Answer if you’d like, but feel free, particularly if the question is overly personal, to set healthy boundaries, even around friends and family.  When you’re newly out or you’re coming out to your family, consider having a few close, trusted friends with you for moral support and perhaps, hosting in your own home if you feel emotionally safer in your own space.

There’s another alternative to the family dinner or avoidance of the season altogether. You can certainly create your own family with loving and supportive friends, having a celebration you all can enjoy. Even if you do plan to spend tense days with relatives, consider planning a second celebration with the people who do support you as you move forward in your life, regardless of what you’re wearing.

Holiday Parties

While family dinners are one aspect of the holiday season, cocktail and office parties are another big event during the winter season. Like those dinners, they can be pleasant or miserable depending upon the context.  Try to limit the drudgery, smooth out social awkwardness and relax and enjoy your evening with these tips and tricks.

If you’re out at work and dress for everyday life, particularly if you’re transitioning, you certainly can dress up for holiday parties. Keep context in mind. Sexy party dresses belong at private gatherings, not an office party.  A knee length pencil skirt and sparkly top, a modest little black dress and strappy heels, plus larger-scale jewelry can go gracefully to the office party.  Even if you don’t dress at work, you can bring a little bit of personality into your evening attire. Opt for a brighter shirt or colorful accessories to dress up drearier clothes from the men’s department if you’re not going out in full style.

Parties with trusted friends allow you to pick your attire according to your own sense of style. Presumably, there are no worries about what the boss thinks at the New Year’s Eve party.  A sexy cocktail dress is appropriate for a semi-formal event. If you’re lucky enough to have something that requires full-blown red carpet glamor, consider a long gown in place of a short, fitted dress.  Plunging necklines and daring styles require a bit more careful construction. Pocket bra designs give you the security you need, regardless of how much skin you’re baring.

If this is your first time dressing to the nines, keep the following tips in mind. Replace a large handbag with an evening clutch, but stock your clutch with a few band-aids for blisters, lipstick, pressed powder, your phone, ID, credit or debit card, and enough cash for cab fare. If you are concerned about other hair, makeup or stocking emergencies, stow these necessities in a bag in the car, if you’re driving or your date is.

14 comments:

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Wow - I've never seen and article written about this subject. Helps me to hash it out and gives great ideas and advice

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