It's amazing how shopping has changed over the past 50 years. When the three catalogs above were published, most people either shopped in stores or placed orders from print catalogs like these. The internet was only a dream then, and no one could have thought that one of these stores would be dead, another on life support, and the third having been rescued from what should have been its death.
- - - - - -
As I've mentioned before, I have an almost complete feminine wardrobe in my closet. I tend to use it as much as my male wardrobe, as I am out en-femme around 50% of the time these days. What I would have given to look like the girls in the Ward and Sears catalogs. But that was not a choice for me, as no one really understood the faintest thing about the nature of being transgender, nor would I have been able to express this in the language I had as a child.
I can't say that my brain is either masculine or feminine. It is somewhere between the two stereotypes. And as such, I can move in both worlds and be comfortable in them. And yet, I'm not at home in either. As a male, I don't enjoy the role expected of me, where I have to be the sole provider, the tower of strength, the stoic who can bear whatever load is dumped on him. As a female, I can not fully understand how women bond with each other, as I was not raised in a way to depend on others for much of anything, save on a transactional basis. In many ways, I'm an outlier, and it's just as well.
- - - - - -
When the print catalogs come in, I often look at them - even though the merchandise in each online store doesn't change much over time. The staples are the same, although the mix will change each season. Yet, the offerings change over time. Women are choosing a more practical wardrobe, and both skirts and dresses are being reserved for both office and formal wear. The exception to this tends to be in the summer, where it's always nice to have a nice breeze under one's skirt on a hot summer's day.
Yes, it's an almost guilty pleasure I now have. But I enjoy it when I can become Marian, and would love to be able to do so 24x7 one day. Until all my ambivalence is gone, I'm grateful not to be a person who goes "Ready, Fire, Aim!" It's much more important to me to get this decision right, than to transition without being absolutely sure that it the right thing for me to do.