Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Boudoir - a tribute

Today is the anniversary of one of the biggest milestones in the evolution of my feminine side: it’s ten years since I first went to the Boudoir dressing service in London. 

It was so important because this was the first time I had ever had proper hair, had makeup done professionally and the first time I ever really looked like a woman.

Naturally, it was only when I got the internet at home that this whole emergence thing became a real possibility. In the heady days before Facebook, Google, Wikipedia and WiFi broadband, intrepid webonauts would “dial up” their service and launch their electronic craft upon unknown seas of networked wonders. Who needed YouTube when you could watch Hampsterdance endlessly? And who needed a blog when there was Geocities?

I digress. In those far-flung days I remember tentatively typing the one word, “transvestite”, into a search engine and feared for what might happen when I pressed the Enter button.

Acrtually what happened was a lovely site popped up at the top of the list. It was for Nicola Smith (here she still is after all these years ) and her fantastic photos kept referring to the Boudoir. So, eventually, nervously, I rang the number and made an appointment through Sean for November 15th 2004. Yes, I was nervous all right. But I just felt that it was time to really start the process of being myself.

So when I got there Sean showed me in and I met the famous Jodie Lynn and her cat Spike and, to cut the story short, she did her thing, doing my makeup and putting a wig on me. It took at least 45 minutes and I can’t see a thing without my glasses but when I put them on and looked in the mirror I was stunned. Nobody ever forgets that moment when they see themselves as the woman they want to be for the very first time. I was there for 3 hours but it made a profound difference to the whole way I saw my transness.

My coming out then didn’t happen as planned because almost immediately after this visit I got into a long-term relationship. When I was back to progressing my femme side it was early 2008. I had lost two and a half stone, was determined to get out in the world and needed good advice and assistance. So I went back to the Boudoir and discussed my needs, which were clearer now, in more detail. I spent the whole afternoon there. Jodie talked me through the makeup process, put long nails on my fingers, and I tried five different outfits and different wigs. She advised me what clothes would work better on my figure and with my size. (And what’s more, since this was also a treat to myself just before I became redundant at work, she advised me on running a small business, advice which has been of great help.)

Later that year went to the Boudoir a third time and I knew what I wanted. Again, Jodie talked me through the makeup, I suggested what I wanted to wear and the kinds of hairstyles that I was looking for. She even abandoned her standard TGirl wardrobes and lent me some of her own clothes. And it really came together. I felt that my image was how I wanted it. A few days later I returned and bought one of the wigs off her, went to Charles Fox and Mac to get makeup, and practised a lot at home as I got up the courage to venture out in the real world.

Although I’ve not been back since – in many ways I’ve felt that I had found what I wanted (although I must do a professional photoshoot there soon) – I think these three sessions were the best time I have ever spent in my entire life. And it’s nice to bump into Jodie from time to time, at the Way Out Club, Pink Punters, Magic Theatre or Sparkle, where she’s always with ‘her’ girls.

Jodie (and Spike the cat, sadly departed now) was professional and considerate and I had no difficulty explaining and discussing what I wanted. Some say that the Boudoir has a ‘production line’ quality so that everyone ends up looking the same but the fact is that if you just go there and say “make me look like a woman” Jodie will do her wonderful work on a face she’s never seen before and can only guess at. If you discuss with her how you perceive things, then you can get a look that works in a way that particularly suits you. Some people say it’s expensive. I'd sat it’s a professional service and it’s the best money I have ever spent.

2004: overweight & unsure
Here’s my transformation:

Full length

spring 2008: slim and experimenting
Autumn 2008: confident

And my close-up:

2004: I was so thrilled to see myself like this
Spring 2008: Cute, but not sure about the brows
Autumn 2008: I know this is now me

And a bit of fun to round off when I asked to look like a teenage girl of the time (this was definitely the fashion in 2008). This is a real tribute to Jodie as it shows how a middle-aged person not blessed with female looks or form can be made to look like a sixteen year old girl:

The joy of being young (and female)

So an infinity of thanks to the lovely Jodie Lynn for those amazing transformations that not only changed my face and presentation but my life as well. And thanks to Nicola for first alerting me to the existence of the Boudoir.

Sue x


  1. I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

    American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

    This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.


  2. Thanks for your insights into the Boudoir Dressing Service in London.

    I'm sorry you've not had a good experience with American women. Since there are over 120 million American women of marriageable age, I guess you must have been directly involved with a representative sample to arrive at your conclusion. It would be helpful to know, though, what countries the right kind of woman does come from as I'm sure you'll have made thorough studies in many of the other 200+ states and territories where women are to be found.

    Wishing you every success in your love life. Sue x

  3. An hour later, and your blog's loaded, so I can comment. Ah, the good old days, were even rural broadband speeds seemed futuristic! :-) [ ISDN, was that 2 x 64k? Anyway, enough nerdery ]

    Is (was?) the dressing service of its time, or are they still popular? They seemed a little of out of my price range, being out in the sticks, but if you don't move in that circle, can you make a call on it? [ French shrug goes here ;-) ]

    As to a formula, hmm, well. Perhaps with only X number of wigs, a palette of so many colours (foundation especially) and a make-up routine that you know works (for the male face), perhaps it is easy to make that statement. Buuuut, in the shots I've seen of the make-overs, they all pretty much seem to be well done and while I think you can spot a pattern, I've not seen any looks and thought: "wow, that's been troweled on"

    By strange coincidence, I was talking to an American friend - y'know, one of those from the Colonies ;-) - who said he'd bumped into Jodie at a recent trans do, over there. If she's branching out, good luck to her.

    PS: The photo of you in 2008 is, if I may say, very much your look. <3

    PPS: Could you take a look at my new blog? It's Most of them seem just regular nice people. Indeed, many of them don't go around spamming blogs. ;-)

    1. I think that for those who aren't out and about, either at all or under their own steam, or for those who are unsure or are just starting out (like I was), dressing services like the Boudoir come into their own and the women who run them (as far as I can tell, they're all run by women) provide a vital service. They also provide some chance to socialise with other TGIrls. Jodie, for instance, organises regular trips including makeover to clubs, shows, Royal Ascot Ladies Day, Las Vegas and other events.

      It's my opinion, Lynn, that you yourself have long since surpassed a need for such a service as your own style is, to my mind, contemporary, feminine and flawless. I don't think anyone can teach you anything. In fact, I'd be ready to trust the Lynn Jones Dressing Service Ltd any day. Now there's a hint for when the day job gets too much.

      Sue x

      PS Reading back, I'm surprised by my sarcasm on the previous post. I'm not usually like that. But, hey, I'm still only a very amateur baby troll by the standards of modern broadband-fired social networking!

  4. Ah, that famous and much photographed window in Seven Sisters. The business has moved twice since the last time I visited, and is now in Docklands.
    Must be over six years ago now that I visited the Boudoir. I only went twice, but it kick-stared Demelza's existence. I do my make-up differently to the way Jodie taught me, but the fundamentals are as she taught me (in particular, less-is-not-more approach to foundation when covering beard shadow).
    And, as you say, the first time of looking in the mirror is when the inner woman comes to life (tempered by the fact I saw my least favourite sister looking back out of the mirror). Long may she ease T-girls into this world.

    1. Thanks, Demi. I remember your post on Angels at the time very vividly and I recall commenting positively on it. You also went with Saffy as I recall. I think Jodie's tips on makeup are outstanding and, like you, I still apply her fundamental rules, especially on the foundation.

      The arched window at the Boudoir is as famous as the arched window on Play School. And didn't we learn a lot through both windows!

      Sue x

  5. A non-Boudoir girl here! Looking back to 2002 I think it was, the UK Angels were a set of very busy girls and they used to give awards for various things, one of which was make up services. I believe Jodie came first (and continued to as long aas the awards were given). I happened to live close by the person who came second! Had things been different I may well have become a Boudoirette. There was always a certain formula for professional M2F makeovers, after all most people on a first visit have no idea how they could look, but Jodie's girls always looked super. And Jodie continued to support the TG community in a very positive manner.

    It is wonderful that we can meet people who can take our dreams and turn them into reality!

    I have enjoyed seeing your photos, Sue - a few are completely new to me.


    1. Thanks Nikki. I think as much as anything it's the strong support to us that Jodie and other dressing service owners give us that's as important as the look. Sue x

    2. Come to think, it was Jodie who put me onto Angels. A bit of mutual backscratching? No, she was right, Angels was a good site at the time and was another pillar of support helping me into the world as a TGirl, and Angels rightly had good things to say about Jodie. Sue x

  6. I haven't been to the Boudoir - due to an accident of location I was a Tran$formation girl! But the service they provide is equally valuable and amazing: I saw myself as I could be for the first time, and I've never looked back...
    And you're still such a babe today, too! Soooo jealous... (giggle) xx

    1. Flattery will get you everywhere! I think you've just confirmed how dressing services are so vital. Transformation (rightly or wrongly) has ended up with a reputation for being impersonal ripping people off, whereas the services run by one or two people tend to be well thought of. Sue x