Femme Resolutions For Age 25

I turn 25 tomorrow! Aaahh!

Birthdays, much like New Year’s Eve or the start of a new school year, always feel to me like a time of renewal and overhaul. I often make lists of goals and intentions for the coming year when one of these milestones rolls around, and this time is no different.

However, a lot of the intentions that came to mind for me around this birthday have been fashion- or beauty-related. It makes sense: I’m noticing lately, even more than usual, how massively my presentation can affect my mood and demeanor. So I’m setting myself the following style objectives for the year to come – all in the service of feeling good moreso even than looking good.

Fuck pants forever. Look. You wear pants if you want to. I’m sure they look great on you. But I just don’t think I can do it anymore.

Oh, I own a couple pairs of jeans, for those once-in-a-blue-moon spells where I want to dress like Shane from The L Word or a male British underwear model on his day off. And I certainly own plenty of leggings, which I layer over and lounge in. But by and large, I am a skirts-and-dresses girl, and pants can fuck right off.

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve sacrificed questing for the pair of pants that would change my mind on this matter. The closest I’ve ever come were some vintage skinny black slacks that made me feel like a chic German schoolboy, or some near-perfect skinny jeans from my local thrift shop. But pants never quite feel like me. They always feel like I’m playing a character. I find them uncomfortable both physically and mentally.

So this year, I will not shop for pants. I will not try to figure out how to shoehorn pants into my style. I will not wear pants, except on days when the notion of doing so actually excites me (a rare thing). I will rock my skirts and my dresses and I will not try to be somefemme I am not.

Big hair, don’t care. Now, admittedly, my hair is not “big” by everyone’s standards. Bigness of hair is a spectrum! But in recent years, I have mastered the art of making my hair as wide and wild as it can get. My routine involves curl-enhancing conditioners, DevaCurl gel, vigorous scrunching, and a Turbie Twist microfibre towel. When I do it right, it results in a fucking lioness mane.

I’ve noticed that big hair gives me confidence like almost nothing else. It doesn’t eliminate my social anxiety, but it overshadows it a little. Tossing my curls around feels flirty and babely in a movie-star kind of way, and I want more of it. So I resolve to wear my hair big and curly as much as possible this year!

Shiny boots, shiny heart. Black leather boots are a signature part of my look; I wear them almost every day. The ones in heaviest rotation over the past couple years are my Frye harness boots, Frye engineer boots, and L.L. Bean winter boots. They make my heart sing, the way their severe stompiness balances out my airy-fairy femme ensembles.

But keeping leather boots looking good requires care and upkeep. They need to be regularly cleaned, conditioned, waterproofed, and shined. With proper maintenance, a good pair of leather boots can last for decades – and I intend for that to be the fate of mine!

Every couple months, I give my precious boots a thorough cleaning with saddle soap, and then shine ’em up with mink oil. I also just got my harness boots resoled because four years of wear had ground the soles flat. They are looking so lovely, and I will keep ’em that way!

Lipstick love. Gahhhd, I feel so foxy in lipstick. Hot pink. Bright red. Deep cranberry. Intense violet. Whatever. I want it on my face.

But despite my love for lipstick, I often skip it, because I worry it’ll draw too much attention to me, or it just seems like too much work. So for the coming year, I want to make an effort to wear it more often. Like so many other things on this list, lipstick makes me feel better about myself – but only when I make it a priority in my getting-ready routine.

It helps a lot to wear formulas I know are gonna stick around with minimal reapplication necessary. Some current faves in that category: Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani, Maybelline mattes, and anything by Bite.

One new tattoo. I’ve had a couple tattoo ideas floating around in my brain for months now, and I wanna get ’em done. It’s just a matter of deciding to go ahead with it, sending some reference materials to an artist, and booking a consultation appointment. Aaahh, the very thought is giving me joyful heart palpitations!

I think I want to go back to Laura Blaney, who did my “good girl” bows. She made me feel super comfortable, and her work is stunning. I have a feeling she’ll be able to give me exactly what I want.

Do you have any fashion-and-beauty goals or intentions currently?

Top Toronto Spots For… Femmes

my friend Cadence's back with "queer femme" written on it

Gosh, I love when fellow femmes visit my city. I get to take them to all the cool places. We coo over sequinned fabrics together, weigh in one another’s dressing-room successes, and window-shop for pricey makeup we’ll never own. It’s always a rollicking good time.

Here are some of my absolute favorite femme haunts in this city o’ mine. You should check ’em out if you’re femme-inclined and are visiting T.O. for the Toronto International Porn Festival in April, or for any other reason!

me wearing a blue polka-dotted dress and sunglasses in a busy New York square
Rocking a Loveless dress in New York.

Retro clothing: Loveless BoutiqueThis splashy little shop on College Street is a rockabilly babe’s wet dream. They stock 1950s reproduction clothes in a blessedly wide range of sizes. I always stop by Loveless if I have a fancy event coming up that I want to look pretty for, because nothin’ makes me feel quite so foxy as a good fit-and-flare dress. The salespeople are also relentlessly nice and encouraging, in a way that feels closer to femme solidarity than ruthless salesmanship. So much love!

Vintage shopping: King of Kensington and Flash BackToronto’s Kensington Market is rife with terrific vintage shops, but these two are my faves. They stock plentiful vintage goods in categories that matter to me: pretty dresses, tough leather jackets, badass boots, gorgeous handbags, and a veritable rainbow of cashmere sweaters. Some of my most prized possessions from these places include a pair of red sparkly boxers, a periwinkle and lavender striped cashmere sweater, the most perfect red bag, and another cashmere that’s by Ralph Lauren and was in perfect condition when I bought it vintage for $40. Swooooon.

Alterations and repairs: JB Cleaner & TailorIf you need a button or zipper fixed, a piece of clothing taken in or let out, or any dry-cleaning done, this is the place I would loudly recommend! As far as I know, it’s owned and run by one lady, Tuyet, and she’s awesome. Every time I come in with a piece of clothing that needs fixin’ up, she has me try it on in her little changing room, and then she stands me in front of a mirror and whirlwinds around me, pinning and pinning until I somehow look hotter and shapelier than I did when I walked in. My alterations are typically done about a week later, and are always flawless. I don’t trust anyone else with my clothes, honestly.

me modeling some black patent leather Dr. Martens boots
I have had a lifelong love affair with Doc Martens.

Kickass boots: Dr. MartensWe are lucky, us Torontonians, to have an actual brick-and-mortar Dr. Martens shop on our Queen Street West. It’s a nifty little shop: the decor is colorful and punchy, there are comfy leather benches to sit on while trying on boots, and the sales counter is (inexplicably) an upright piano. Even if you don’t have a spare $120–250 to drop on a pair of nice boots, it’s worth dropping by the store just to screech at the tiny, adorable Doc Martens for toddlers. And a hint: if you’re ever in Toronto on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) and you’re on the hunt for some new boots, come here; they always have terrific Boxing Day sales. (I got my knee-high black Docs and metallic blue ones for about $200 total on Boxing Day once…!)

Lingerie: Secrets From Your SisterThis cozy shop in the Annex is a “boutique” and has prices to match, but hey, good bras are always gonna be expensive. I once accompanied a friend to her fitting here and I was impressed with the process: she was assigned a salesperson to work with, who measured her, asked her about her aesthetic preferences for bras, and brought her a whole bunch of options. After several rounds of accepting and rejecting various bras for various reasons, my friend ended up with two high-quality bras she loved. The whole vibe was relaxed, fun, and low-pressure. I don’t really wear bras, but if I did, this is where I’d get ’em!

beautiful blonde blogger Mia Moore trying on some skull-shaped sunglasses
Mia trying on strange sunglasses for my amusement at the Black Market.

Weird finds: Black MarketNot just for femmes: I usually take Bex here when they’re in town, and they’re a mostly-masc nonbinary queerdo! The Black Market carries a strange mixture of vintage clothes, eccentric deadstock, novelty T-shirts, and quirky accessories. I have some glittery dancewear from there, and I also love to pick up handkerchiefs there for flagging purposes. If your wardrobe needs a dose of fresh eclecticism, the Black Market is the place to go.

Hair: Avalon Hair Design. I have been getting my hair done by Paul for at least a decade. He always, always makes me feel like a queen. He’s pricey, yeah, but holy moses, what a pro. Fun fact: when I was ~13, an unfortunate incident involving chlorine caused my super-curly, thick hair to get irretrievably tangled in one section at the back of my head. My mom made a literal emergency appointment with Paul and he soaked my hair in leave-in conditioner and went to work with a comb. Not too long later, my hair was not only detangled but also more gorgeous than before. Paul’s official title is “Master Stylist” and that shit is no joke!

one of my thigh tattoos: a pink bow with the word "girl" above it
My “good girl” tattoos were done at Adrenaline.

Body mods: AdrenalineI got my thigh tattoos done here, on the advice on several friends, and I’m so glad I did! The staff are polite and professional, the waiting area is sunny and comfy, and I felt well taken care of throughout the process. They do tattoos and piercings, take walk-ins, and are right on Queen West (one of the trendiest shopping areas in the city), so if you’re in the mood for an impulsive body mod, Adrenaline’s a great choice.

Makeup and perfume: Sephora Yorkville. Do not bother with the Sephora at the Eaton Centre; it’s always a crowded nightmare. I find that the salespeople at this location are nicer and the vibe is more relaxed, so I can take my time perusing lipsticks, sampling perfumes, and so on. When you’re done here, you can trot down the street to MAC or Holt Renfrew for even more cosmetic funtimes.

Fellow femmes ‘n’ fancypeople: what are your favorite Toronto spots for gettin’ yer pretty on?

12 Days of Girly Juice 2016: 12 Femme Essentials

It’s December, and that means 12 Days of Girly Juice kicks off today! It’s my annual year-end series where I compile the best of the best from my whole year: everything from selfies to tweets to sexual encounters. Today we’re focusing on femme stuff – my favorite things that made me feel feminine, fancy and fiiine the whole year long.

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Hair

Bobby pins. There are some tragically unsung heroes of the beauty world – a really great hairbrush, a black eyeliner that is truly black, an eyeshadow blending brush that just works – and bobby pins are one of them. This year I used them for three primary purposes: to set my hair in pincurls (after creating the curls with a turquoise NuMe curling iron), to erect the front part of my hair in a triumphant pomp, and to pin bandanas into place so I could rock those rockabilly vibes all day long. I always carry bobby pins in my purse – they’re equally great if you need to pick a lock, scrub ash out of your bong’s bowl (#StonerLyfe!), or pin your bangs out of your face for an impromptu BJ. Soooo useful!

DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel. This is the good shit. I have so much hair-admiration for my curly-headed sex blogger friends – Epiphora, Suz, and Hedonish, to name a few – but my own curls have always been hit-or-miss, because taking care of curly hair is so much work. However, this year I found a routine that works for me and creates excellent curls when that’s what I want to do. After washing and conditioning my hair, I use a cotton T-shirt to “scrunch” the excess moisture out of it, and then I flip my head over and scrunch in a few dollops of DevaCurl gel. Once that’s done, I cram my gestating curls into a Turbie Twist to help them dry even more. After at least an hour of turban’ed time, my hair’s ready to be taken out and air-dried – at which point, it becomes gloriously curly. DevaCurl’s products are brilliant, and the Ultra Defining Gel, in particular, rocks my world. I can go multiple days without needing to re-set my curls because this stuff keeps ’em in place for so long. YESSS!

Bandanas. I have always loved the rockabilly look – I gorged my eyes on SuicideGirls and old Bettie Page photos from practically the moment I discovered the internet – and I’ve attempted to replicate it to varying degrees of success over the years. In mid-2016 I briefly dated someone who loved that look, so I’d sometimes dress up as his good little Rosie the Riveting, complete with bandana, winged eyeliner, and red lipstick. I adore that aesthetic so much that it endured in my life even after that relationship ended. I especially love the delicious subversion of “queering” this classic 1950s look by choosing my bandana colors according to the hanky code.

img_5218Cosmetics

LORAC Pro palette. I am an extravagant femme, and therefore, I own an excess of eyeshadow palettes. There are many I love for their outlandishness or uniqueness – the Sugarpill Sweetheart palette, for example, or the Wet ‘n’ Wild Petal Pusher palette – but LORAC Pro is my favorite and most-used one, by a longshot. With its eight glitter shadows and eight mattes, all brilliantly pigmented and wonderfully blendable, it’s simply the most versatile bunch of neutrals I’ve ever owned. Whether I’m doing an everyday look or going all-out glamour-femme, I’m likely to reach for my LORAC Pro palette.

img_5216“Sleepy Sloan.” This is the name Tynan gave to the essential oil blend she custom-made for me, even though its effects don’t have anything to do with sleep; it’s just a cute name. I still adore this fragrance as much as I did when she first blended it for me. There’s a drop of it on the collar of my shirt or dress most days I go out, because it comforts and uplifts me.

Revlon lipstick in “Fire & Ice.” I didn’t think much of this lipstick when I first bought it. It’s a classic red that leans slightly orange, which has traditionally not been my jam; I’m more of a blue-based-reds girl. But this color has really grown on me: it’s punchy, saucy, and assertive, just like me on my best and boldest days. Slicking my lips in Fire & Ice gives me an easy confidence, a high-femme swagger. A tube costs about $8 at any drugstore, an admirable value for such a potent mood-booster.

img_5220Bourjois Rouge Edition liquid lipstick in “Pink Pong.” My other lipstick favorite in 2016 was, naturally, a bright pink. As a diehard devotee of pink lipsticks, I have lots of favorites – Bite’s “Violet,” NARS’ “Schiap,” and Revlon’s “Smitten,” to name a few – but this cool-toned, velvety pink really stole my heart this year. It’s not as long-lasting as some other liquid lipsticks I’ve tried, but it’s not as drying, either. If you’re looking for a hot pink that’ll light up your face and make your femme heart sing, this is one I’d recommend.

Clothes & Accessories

Aslan Leather collars. I have two: a pink one Bex bought me for my birthday and a black one I bought myself. I love them both. They’re comfy, good-lookin’, and they signal a bit o’ kink without being too over-the-top to wear in public. Oh, Aslan, why are you so good to us?

img_5221My hot pink Kate Spade purse. The model is the New Bond Street Florence. I bought it on a deep discount back in early 2014, but at that time, it felt almost too brashly femme for me; I was shyer then, and less willing to dress in a way that would command attention. But this year, I really “grew into” my gloriously pink handbag. It’s also conveniently big enough for my beloved MacBook Air, so I tote this bag on work-dates, weekend getaways, and airplanes. It makes me feel equal parts businesslady and fancy femme, and really, what more can you ask for?

MeUndies. I’ve enthused at you about these brilliant underthings before; I won’t repeat myself too much. Suffice it to say: it feels almost sinfully gratifying to swathe one’s genitals in lush, comfy fabric that’s covered in ghosts, donuts, dinosaurs, or little dancing dudes. All underwear should be this adorbz and well-made.

img_4819My new glasses. Before 2016, it had been a couple years since I’d gotten new glasses with my current prescription, and it was time. I’ve been trying to be braver and more authentically “me” lately, instead of always reverting to the shy, compliant little girl I’ve been forever, so I opted for some bold-as-hell frames when I bought new glasses this year. One pair is blue, one is black, and they’re both huge and distinctive. I feel like a hot nerdy bosslady when I wear them, which means I’ve been wearing glasses more often instead of just busting ’em out when I really need them. Hooray!

9279227874_ddd0ab3a62_kFrye harness boots. Mine are the 12R style in black, and I bought ’em back in January 2013. Since then, they’ve become my footwear of choice for so many different occasions: parties, dances, loungin’, adventurin’, performing at porn galas… Whatever my schedule calls for, really! This year I wore them in MaltaRomeMinneapolis, Chicago, and Alexandria, among other places. These boots are such a signature part of my aesthetic that Caitlin said they felt like they were cosplaying as me when they wore a floral-print dress and boots. Here’s to plenty more exciting exploits in 2017 and plenty more stompin’ around in these durable, glamorous boots!

What were your favorite beauty and fashion items in 2016?