“People will stare. Make it worth their while.”

Harry Winston

Fashion. What a funny word to refer to the industry that produces garments we don’t (actually) put on our body. Style, the word that has such weight, other’s determining, really, whether (or not) you have it. 

I really enjoy thinking about words. Not just individual words I use to try and appropriately convey what I am saying but choosing words that are less common because there are so many, I will probably never get the chance to use. I like to weigh their appropriateness and placement; how meaning is impacted by word choice and whether the identification works.

Fashion, for instance has a varied definition:
noun    

  1. a popular trend, especially in styles of dress and ornament or manners of behavior
  2. a manner of doing something

verb

  • make into a particular or the required form

The word still refers primarily to an enactment of some kind: behavior, manner of doing something or make into a required form as in, I am fashioning this argument into what I need it to be. Style is also defined as:

noun

  1. a manner of doing something
  2. a distinctive appearance…according to which something is designed

verb

  1. design or make into a particular form
  2. designate with a particular name, description or title

It appears that the words we use for our vestments refer also/more to our general performance and bearing in this world than just our clothing.

I can gently reassure you now that this is not going to be a dossier on how we need to reconceptualize the words around our clothes for the betterment of marginalized groups. Nope, today is a lazy Sunday, I can smell a special pound cake baking and it’s a gorgeous day.

I am thinking about clothes, because I kind of always think about clothes. My reason for reflection is spurred by duderroo’s presence here this weekend, and him finally sliding into his Christmas tights the world tells him he is not suited to wear. A part of me can understand why tights are not an appropriate article of clothing for anyone who is not conscious of how, sculpted they are. I will not lie, duder’s bum looks like a work of marbled art in the soft green, penguin covered pants. If he wanted to wear them to school, my issue wouldn’t be with the fact that they are “girly”, it would be that his bum is just too amazing for this world to handle right now, because he has no idea of how cute he is. As a child.

It is interesting watching someone (very slowly) form a relationship with clothes. Mine has always been somewhat distant, because it was always more important that clothing be comfortable and blue or grey than any thing else. The only time I can recall being interested and independent with my clothing acquisition was when I turned sixteen and turned into a dedicated Goodwill shopper, and terribly expressing my inner self through size forty men’s polyester pants, long-john tops underneath t-shirts with logos on them. I also sadly sported a Karate Kid type bandana folded over my brow, accentuating my cow-licked hair. Disastrous. I also have fond, and validating memories, of my mother taking me to Bluenotes and delving into the men’s section for jeans and shirts that weren’t…. just right.

I suppose I have always felt a bit like Goldilocks with my clothes. I tried to avoid cultivating an awareness of my physical self. I was a big kid, both tall and chubby, with big eyes and a big personality. I think I started curving my shoulders in grade six. I had to go to my parents to get me a bra. My wardrobe was quickly adjusted when I was called out for my armpit hair peaking out of my t-shirt on a class trip. These instances all form the ‘style’ we end up having as an adult.

I completely gave up on my sense of style from age nineteen to probably thirty. I just tried to find clothes that were comfortable, didn’t irritate my skin or draw any attention to my DD breasts. I gained a ton of weight around nineteen, taking a solid 160 lbs lil’butch to a rather uncontrolled 290 lbs unhealthy, sick and self-loathing Eeyore. I was also working in a farm setting, in a rural town, so my work and leisure clothes were one in the same. Date night? Clean dickies and a flannel shirt.

When I figured out my diet, etc. I finally started finding that clothes that I didn’t consider were beginning to look ridiculous on me. I couldn’t pull off sized forty polyester pants as a 36” thirty-year-old. And then, my friends, came the moment my red sea parted. I got a breast reduction, lost the remaining weight and started finding myself rather attractive. I am lucky in that my physical attributes work with my GNC self and I could probably rock a dress as well as I do a suit, if all I had to do was stand there.

My sister is the one who has instilled, over many years, the confidence to dress androgynously. I appreciate her patience with my…subtly. I spent many years aggressively adopting Le Chateau formal wear into my closet. Thankfully I worked with someone once who referred to the Le Chateau blue (once my favorite shirt) as an ‘Teenage-Axe-Spray-Color’:

While I was not comfortable with his bold patterns and color choices, and may never wear his chosen combinations myself, I can now appreciate his honesty for what it was. I needed to start dressing like the adult I was.

I am now in a few Facebook groups that help direct masculine of centre, female bodied people towards non-judgemental stores that have amazing clothing. Many MOC/GNC people are finding so much confidence to stride out into this world dressed in a way that makes them comfortable. I am fifty percent of the way there. I think being in a less risky space would facilitate more suits and ties. I did bust out my mane of hair on a Toys’R’Us adventure this weekend and it was amazing! Unfortunately snow then descended and I had to don my toque.

Many adults are, and have, used clothing to express themselves and make a socio-political statement. Billy Porter is a fantastic example of this.

His tuxedo dress nearly blew the lids of conservative minded folks. Honestly, when I first saw the picture, I didn’t even register the fact that someone with facial hair was wearing a dress. I did not know who he was and so my brain just made no assumption. That’s how I roll. I love seeing women, feminine or masculine expressing, in a suit and nice shoes. I love drag and gender play, 18th century theatre and their laws against women acting, so men in dresses was absolutely common.

I would like to live as a day as someone who enjoys fashion and dressing. Maybe, especially, a feminine identified woman who planned a spa and shopping day, and I end up crashing it hogging the experience for myself. Not because I don’t think people wouldn’t facilitate this experience for me but because I don’t experience the inner joy and satisfaction that others seem to experience. Which is why I want to possess someone else.

Anyway…

I think our world, bending and fluctuating with clothing and accessories is becoming a much more beautiful place. I love hats and have started following @diane_keaton because of her love of gigantic hats and absolute joy over the ones she finds. I think it’s lovely certain, very secure men dove into the RompHim craze and wish more had come of that. I personally am not into tights because I don’t like how revealing they are but wouldn’t blink if I started seeing male server’s wearing them like their female counterparts do. I think that would probably be incredibly liberating for some people.

Does fashion or style concern you? Are you someone who enjoys clothing or have you yet to find your look? While I may live in my sweats, baggy jeans and hoodies I love dusting myself off and slipping on a shirt and better jeans with my belt, leather shoes and a jacket. I am hoping my brain gets comfortable with color and I can get a little more adventurous.

Me, trying on a monochromatic look.

What is your sense of this? Do you like what you wear, does it make you comfortable and bold? Are you dressing to make a point or to be heard at your job? Do you feel constricted by the options available for your body?

Thankfully, we have many people we can look to, Instagram influencers and the like. I, personally only plan on adopting this amazing suit, barring any complaints from my love.

I’d say appropriate for most occasions?

“When you don’t dress like everyone else, you don’t have to think like everyone else.”

Iris Apfel

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