A while ago Amanda, a friend from Surrey Swans, mentioned that she’d been along to an evening ladies wear event at the House of Fraser store in Guildford. A few weeks ago (Thursday 31 August 2017) I went along to the Womenswear re-launch event at the store. Amanda plus over a hundred other people went along as well.
I heard about this particular event from Chloe, the manager of the House of Fraser store in Guildford.
I’d been given contact details for Chloe by Amanda who’d been chatting with Chloe who had asked if anyone from Surrey Swans might be interested in coming along to the store for a Personal Shopping Experience.
Several emails and telephone calls later Saturday September 16th 2017 between 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm was set aside for myself, Amanda, Paula, Susie and Chloe (not Chloe who is the store manager) to partake in the Experience. I’ll write a bit about that separately.
In a way, the Womenswear re-launch event was a kind of a prequel.
I wasn’t working on the day of the re-launch event, so had decided that it’d be a piece of cake to get to Guildford by 7:30 pm.
As the day approached, I checked the calendar again and noticed that the builders were due to be re-engineering the bathroom during that week.
This realisation released a cat amongst the pigeons.
Tuesday evening planning.
Windsor to Guildford, according to Google, typically takes 50 to 80 minutes.
An optimistic Andrea thinks … to be there by 19:15, she’ll set off by 18:15.
The house will be builder-free before 18:15.
Makeup needs to begin by 16:45.
This could be challenging.
14:15 is nail polishing in the builder-free lounge.
16:15 select skirt, blouse and shoes. Transport these from the wardrobe where they are to the bedroom. Together with hair, boobs, bra and tights. The hallway is unoccupied.
16:40 shaving begins in the en-suite shower room. The door is closed. Occasional bangs from the not-too-distant bathroom.
The challenge begins. From round about now a visit from a builder could result in blushes.
Panties. Bra. Breasts. Tights.
An unexpected sound.
A turn of the head … the bedroom door quietly closes.
The sound of builders leaving.
Time to go.
The drive to Guildford is uneventful. The car park on Leapale Road has plenty of spaces at 7:20 pm and evening parking costs £1.
A short walk to North Street.
Amanda is at the end of the line of people at the store entrance. We chat as we with just a few minutes.
The escalator takes us up a few floors where a glass of prosecco awaits.
We sip and chat.
Although I had received an information leaflet that described what would be happening, there is a sense in which I have no real idea of what to expect.
Over a hundred people. Almost all are ladies. Just one or two accompanied by men.
Seats lined along the side of the aisles in an L shape. Each with a goodie back of cosmetic samples.
Seats are taken and the fashion show begins.
The clothing is gorgeous.
A few hours to browse the shop, meet people and sample wine and gin.
I meet Chloe, the store manager. And also Veda and Julie who are to be involved in the Personal Shopping Experience.
And other people as well.
We have a look at the personal shopping suite.
I browse and collect ideas for September 16th.
The alarm goes off as I made my way to the ladies washroom. But no one panics.
All too soon it’s 9:30 pm and time to go home.
I loved the evening.
Another step along the way.
It was really a pleasure to meet people who were happy to go out of their way to make trans people welcome.
No one attending the event paid any undue attention at all. A few hello’s. Polite chit-chat.
Just an evening out.
In a way uneventful. Just as it should be.
Yet, in its own way, hugely significant for me.