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Thread: Crossdressing boutiques of old

  1. #1
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    Crossdressing boutiques of old

    I hope I am posting this in the right forum. Does anybody remember the days pre-internet, where possibly the only place to find a size 11 or 12 pump was Payless? And then I discovered crossdressing boutiques. The first one I ever ventured into as a young person was Lee?s Mardi Gras in the meat packing district of ny. A combination of fear and excitement as I purchased my first pair of black patent size 13 pumps. Since then, I have been to glamour boutique in mass, one in Chicago who?s name I cannot remember, and one on Staten Island. Each time I was scared to death, probably even More than shopping in mainstream Places. Nobody ever really batted an eye in the mainstream places. a few times, I would have a sales clerk (female) comment... at least you are in style, is this for you? Oh, I love to dress them up...we get a lot of folks like you in here (Payless) .. you need to come on tuesdays when we replenish stock. Size 12 and 13 sells out quickly! Is this a gift? Is this shade for you? I think they always know. ;-). As for the shops catered to us? At least there was no ambiguity.

    Ahh. The memories..

  2. #2
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    As I teenager going to school in Manhattan I frequented a stamp collecting store. A long the way I noticed the store front of Michael Salem's Boutique. Every time I went to the stamp store I would slowly pass the store. I never had the nerve to stop and look. I never had the nerve to buy anything fem as a teenager. Of more interest was two women's shops in Queens (Broadway & 32nd Street) on opposite corners. The windows were adorned with mannequins wearing women's under garments; bras, girdles, slips or dresses. One conveniently had a bus stop in front of the store. I had no need to take the bus, but I'd stand at the stop "waiting" while I gazed at those mannequins. It took several decades but I now have many bras, long line bras, girdles and slips. My size 12W or 13N have come from Payless and with some rare exceptions from ebay. In fact I have five pairs of unworn heels from Payless still in their boxes. I did buy some in person at Halloween.
    Last edited by Stephanie47; 12-02-2020 at 12:34 AM.

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    Hi Gwen, The only place to get any Crossdressing information was some Adult magazine stores,

    I sal an add for a store down in Manassas VA, Fashion Fantasy I drove down there from Baltimore a few times,

    That's Where I got my first pair of breast forms and Corset ,
    Then I found out about Payless and their size 13 ladies Hi-heels & Boots,
    I now have 160+ pairs of shoes from Payless

    The Sears & Montgomery Ward surplus stores was a place to get clothes & Lingerie,

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    The store in Chicago is "Skyscraper Heels". Great store. Every size.

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    Silver Member Rogina B's Avatar
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    I have two pair of Calfskin heels that I bought from Skyscraper almost 15 years ago. New heel tips over the years from rough sidewalks,but still going when an outfit needs them. In Waltham Mass,we had Vernon"s....Complete clothing store where a person could browse and try on for hours.This was the 70's and Vernon passed away sadly.Glamour Boutique,Florence's Fashions,Janet's Closet,still going..but struggling ...
    It SURE is my hair ! I have the receipt and the box it came in !

  6. #6
    Silver Member Kay J's Avatar
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    I guess i am pretty lucky have no problem finding pretty heels or flats in size 8 1\2!

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    Aspiring Member Lacey New's Avatar
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    Back in the early 90s I made the trip to Fashion Fantasy in Manassas VA and found crotchless pantyhose and panties. Should have bought more.

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    I remember Michael Salem’s advertised in the back of the girl fashion magazines like glamour

    [SIZE=1]- - - Updated - - -[/SIZE]

    Yes, there were a few magazines dedicated to us back then

    [SIZE=1]- - - Updated - - -[/SIZE]

    I saw that store. Never made it there. The one I went to sold clothing and wigs, etc

  9. #9
    Senior Member Maid_Marion's Avatar
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    I remember that the local Payless had the shoe section right at the front of the store. I had no idea why they did that until I came here! I went there to buy snack food.

    Marion

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    I visited Jim Bridges and Lydia's in Los Angeles when I flew out there for work.

    I'd arrange my flights to I'd get there early enough to zip up for a makeover and a little shopping.

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    I can't say I ever bought anything form any "Crossdresser store" of any kind except my breast forms.

    One look at the prices compared to the exact same items at a "Woman's clothing" store was all it took to see that these stores were taking advantage of Crossdressers fears and anxieties. And marking up woman's clothing at an outrageous amount because now "it's for a crossdresser".
    Last edited by Robertacd; 12-03-2020 at 09:36 AM.

  12. #12
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    I've never been to a CDer boutique. Mainstream dress stores work perfectly for me. I do miss Payless shoes, even though their largest shoes only worked for me part of the time. One outlet had an assistant manager who specifically ordered the larger styles with me in mind and enjoyed seeing me try them on. She disappeared before the store did and i miss those days. Now my only reliable source for shoes is Torrid.

  13. #13
    Sallee Sallee's Avatar
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    I remember very well my first venture to Lee's Mardi Gras Boutique What a great store it was. As was her magazine "Drag" I still may have a copy somewhere. The visit was a great experience and Lee was wonderful. Bought my first pair of falsies and padded panties. The panties were great comfortable and pads for hips and butt. I use to get comments on my shape and the support group would ask my secret.

    [SIZE=1]- - - Updated - - -[/SIZE]

    Lee's Mardi Gra Boutique was a great store I remember well my first visit and how welcoming Lee was. Got my first set of forms there as well as hip and butt pad panties Both were great and did the job well. I would get comments on my shape at the support group I addended. Her magazine "Drag" was a first also and it had no porn in it.
    Sad that she passed so young.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Sallee

  14. #14
    Silver Member Rogina B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robertacd View Post
    I can't say I ever bought anything form any "Crossdresser store" of any kind except my breast forms.
    Some of us were speaking about 30 years ago....Different from now...
    It SURE is my hair ! I have the receipt and the box it came in !

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    I have been doing this for over 40 years myself.

    I stand by what I said.

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    Post There was fantasy Lingerie that was open 24 hours,7 days a week

    They had everything like a electrolysis machine,larger size women's clothing,dancer clothing,shoes heels, fetish wear and customs,smbd stuff and anything for dancers,smbd, Transitioning MTF/ftm.there partnership with Centurion meant even the expensive items could be purchased there.



    Living near or in Hollywood California you could go to Lydia's, Jim Bridges salon,then Glamour boutique which where all specialty stores for crossdresser/TG .yet they still had women dancer stores that carried size 15 women dancer shoes and could make any shoe you wanted
    Last edited by sugababe; 12-03-2020 at 10:38 PM.

  17. #17
    Exploring NEPA now Cheryl T's Avatar
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    I went to Lee's in NYC a few times long ago.
    It was about the only place that catered to us and had all the "specialty" items like forms and padded panties. I was sooo nervous the first time I went there (I think I was like 20). Everyone there was so casual and helpful that you felt right at home immediately. You could try on whatever without feeling weird.
    Now the "market" has grown and almost everything they carry is available in mainstream. There's really no need to go to them unless you want something really unique.
    Wear what makes you feel Confident !

  18. #18
    Aspiring Member DebsUK's Avatar
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    I went into Transformation (or, the exploitative evil empire as I now call it) near Kings X in London. I did a makeover there when I was first emerging as trans, which was fun but later I realised it was grossly expensive and that I could buy an entire wardrobe fr the same price. I was at university in Colchester for years through under and post grad courses but only when I left did I find out there had been a cross dressing boutique all along called Altered Images. I was gutted

  19. #19
    Aspiring Member Angela1954's Avatar
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    The few crossdressing stores I went to early in my journey seemed to only carry clothes that would be used for partying; not for causal or business wear. While they were less expensive the quality was, in my opinion, substandard. I'm lucky that I'm small for a male, 5ft 6, 135-140, 28 in waist, so I can shop at women's stores with no problem.

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    Member Helena's Avatar
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    Like Debs I visited the Transformation shop at King's Cross, and the prices seemed very high and I couldn't afford to buy, thought it was just exploitation and said to myself I would just buy from everyday high Street shops and Department stores.

    They did persuade me to try a corset, which was a great experience.

    The staff and the other customer were the first people I ever admitted this part of me too.

  21. #21
    Septuagenerian member Carole's Avatar
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    Like Helena and DebsUK I also have visited the Transformation stores here in the UK, Bury, Euston London, Birmingham and Bristol stores. Yes, the prices were inflated and apart from 'specialist' items, cheap and tatty IMHO; I bought my first set of forms in the Bristol store. My first visit to a CD specific store, wayback in the mid 70's, was to CoverGirl, a small shop on Upper St Islington London. No sales pressure and a friendly staff who had no problem with you exchanging items if necessary, sadly long gone.
    Carole

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    Growing up I was aware of Michael Salem's and Lee's from crossdresser magazines, but was never in a position to visit either. In Toronto the store in the 80's and 90's was 'Take a Walk on the Wild Side'. Overpriced with limited selection yes, but accepting. They still exist but seem to have fallen on hard times as men openly shopping for lingerie, shoes and dresses at women's stores has become more mainstream than it used to be.

  23. #23
    Aspiring Member DebsUK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carole View Post
    Like Helena and DebsUK I also have visited the Transformation stores here in the UK, Bury, Euston London, Birmingham and Bristol stores. Yes, the prices were inflated and apart from 'specialist' items, cheap and tatty IMHO; I bought my first set of forms in the Bristol store. My first visit to a CD specific store, wayback in the mid 70's, was to CoverGirl, a small shop on Upper St Islington London. No sales pressure and a friendly staff who had no problem with you exchanging items if necessary, sadly long gone.
    Tf are all about exploitation. Their whole shtick is "We're the only ones who can help you. Have a cup of coffee and buy these awful plastic shoes for ?100 because nobody else understands". I'd say they did more to set back the TG community than they did to bring things out in the open, as that doesn't work for their business model, like a dealer campaigning to keep smack illegal because legalising it means their revenue stream stops overnight. I think I wrote a skit based on Mr Benn a few years ago on here which dragged Transformation which I'll look up and post a link to. Also, don't even get me started on the snake oil crap they sell for "breast development" and "feminisation" in the form of potions and creams. You'd have just as much feminising effect scrubbing your chest with the contents of your cat's litter tray. The clothes they sell are just plain awful as well. It's either fetishistic tat or something your granny wouldn't wear because it's so out of date (or both in many cases) and coming with an eye-watering markup.
    I suppose I'm fortunate in that I'm a small male, so can buy female clothes and shoes off the peg on the High St, but even the products they sell specific for crossdressers, like falsies or waist clinchers, can be bought elsewhere online for cheaper and are better quality. This was also the case back in the day when I did my makeover there, but I didn't know better.
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  24. #24
    Aspiring Member kayegirl's Avatar
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    Another UK member that used Transformations, in Bury, and another very disappointed reaction. Over priced and grossly over rated. There was one good thing to come out of it. Whilst there I met a customer who in the course of conversation, recommended this site. Tried it that night and enrolled straightaway.
    But being fair, they were no different from any retailer that targets a specialist market. Golf shops are just as bad, charge a small fortune for a polonium shirt that can be bought for a fraction of the price elsewhere.
    Larger size shoes are the only difficult items to source, but things are slowly getting better.

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