Some Ramblings about Fashion
Some time ago someone asked me to talk some fashion over here. I was hesitant but… hey… these days something happened and I want to share with you a couple of fun things, some tips, and some experiences. This is gonna be fun because most of my audience is men? But I’ve got some tips for you guys as well!
First, I feel I must explain though that I’m not that much of a fashion geek. I mean, I do follow quite a share of designers, models, photographers, etc. on Instagram, but I can’t recite you the model line-up of Dior’s latest collection or tell you who works in which brands. I’m not a beauty/fashion influencer at all…
I do like style though. And I owe this to my mom. My mom is the most elegant, stylish woman I’ve ever known. I don’t wear the same style or clothes she does, because… obviously… but I do apply some ideas she always taught me… and… crap… emotional moment arriving… 😩
You guys know I’m trans. Believe me this is important here. My parents aren’t precisely the LGBTQ+-supportive types, especially my mom. In fact, we don’t talk to each other since I came out… we haven’t seen each other… and my heart aches just from even writing this.
But, my mom, even if she’s the more extreme conservative of both my parents, for some inexplicable reason always, always, always brought me along to buy her clothes, we sat together to watch fashion shows on TV, and was always teaching me the basics of everything when I was a child.
That last part is important, I guess… because her attitude changed radically when I hit puberty, my dysphoria became very, very obvious, and I insisted on keeping doing that same stuff with her…
So, when she stopped sharing feminity with me, I kept on on my own, in secret. A way I did was to observe women’s fashion very attentively… and my girl friends started asking me for advice. I guess they thought I was a closeted gay boy? Probably that was their thought, although there’s a detail that some did capture and confused them as hell… which is a great story for another time!
My point here is… despite my mom being totally, absolutely against me being a woman, she taught me all I know… and it’s sad… because I’d die for telling her how much I feel I owe her on this regard.
Back to clothes…
Clothes Are Easy
One thing I learned quite early is that clothes are easy if you think of them not individually, but as part of a look. I never buy anything thinking: “Oh, that shirt is cute!” Instead, I always try to think how I will combine it and what for.
OK, that seems harder than just grabbing what you like, but actually it’s super easy. What is a look made of?
- A top part
- A bottom part
That’s all. You may combine 1 and 2 into one thing if you like dresses (I don’t), but if you wanna create a look, you should be thinking in these 4 items.
Stacy London and Clinton Kelly’s Color, Pattern, Texture, Shine (CPTS) is a law. Make one single piece of clothing do only one thing. So, for example, now I’m wearing a dark cropped shirt (Color), a pair of jeans (Texture), and a golden necklace (Shine). No pattern, but that’s OK. The problem would’ve been if instead of the dark shirt I’d be wearing something like this which already has some shine in it… then I’d have to leave my necklace out of my look… because it’d be too much shine.
Of course CPTS is not a law, I was just kidding… but it’s a great guideline!
For you men out there, one of the most common mistakes you make when wearing a suit is precisely related to this: wearing a shiny/non-matte suit and a shiny/non-matte tie… is terrible… Or, wearing both a matte suit and a matte tie… The former is way over the top, the latter is way too boring. Spice it up!
Combining just colors with no patterns or textures involved is… hard. You need to really know about the wheel of contrasts, saturation, etc. My mom does use a color wheel to choose her looks; I know the trick, but I feel it to be way too complicated for an everyday look. Maybe for a very, very, very fancy dinner that might be worth… but no… I totally argue for CPTS for most situations.
And that’s basically my point: don’t try to do the wacky stuff you see on fashion shows. Those are shows, they’re meant to be for the cameras, the models wear each look like for 20 seconds down the runway, never to wear any of that again. Keep it simple, you’ll love it.
Know Your Body
So, let me tell you the story of the jeans I couldn’t buy on store and had to buy online. This was this week’s drama.
First, I frequently shop online, but it’s mostly for very specific stuff. Regular, simple clothing I always prefer to buy on store. Jeans fall into this category…
…except size 36, skinny/slim, mid waist, regular length jeans were nowhere to be found. LOTS of high waist, LOTS of Mom jeans, LOTS of weird cropped jeans… Or yup, the fit I was looking for, but not my size. I tried almost everywhere… and one day I ended up buying the coolest hat instead.
There’s stuff I can’t wear even if I’d die for being able to. Some of it has to do with not being a biological woman, but some is just body shape, skin tone… I’d kill to be able to use a lingerie bodysuit, but nope, I can’t do that for now.
On your body type, I love the idea of using clothes as a means to enhance your body. The reason why I wanted that specific pair of jeans is because I’ve got skinny, very delicate legs. I love to show them off and I love to wear jeans that sculpt their form… That’s also why I usually wear heels. I’m short, but I also want to pronounce my calves 😉
Conversely, I hide things I hate of my body. Like that stupid tatoo on my shoulder I have from a very bad decision. So I never use sleeveless shirts or tops, because even though the tatoo isn’t that bad… I don’t like it and I become insecure if I know it’s visible. It’s all in my mind, but you should take this stuff into account.
If you don’t like your bust, don’t show it… or push it up or mold it with a bra that makes you feel secure… Or if you’re a man, if you feel you’re shoulders are small, a nice jacket with a bit of a shoulder pad can make wonders.
We all have got insecurities and things we love in ourselves too. Instead of imitating others, always think first of what benefits you! Think of clothes as tools to get that effect!
This is so important, in my opinion. And my experience as a trans woman might be great here.
When I was still presenting as male I did own some suits and ties and very fancy stuff. For obvious reasons, I felt it all was just a costume and even if I tried hard to see myself in it… it showed so much that I was totally uncomfortable in any of that.
That same suit and ties would’ve looked awesome if I had been a man… because I would’ve owned it.
I own it now, with clothes that just feel mine. It’s not a “euphoria” thing, but just a feeling of normalcy… Like, OK, this is what is supposed to be. What I am supposed to look like.
I’m telling you this because I feel it’s valid for everyone. I’ve seen so many guys and girls faking it in fashion terms and… it shows. It shows the low self-esteem, it shows how uncomfortable you are wearing it… It’s awful to see from the outside. I’m not talking anything extreme, but for example guys using metal chains just to fit into their group and clearly not knowing how to make them their own. Or other girls showing way too much because of peer pressure and… feeling (and looking) terribly awkward…
Of course there are contexts that require a more formal attire, but mostly in our times… how many situations like that do you really attend in a year?
We live in a time in which we are freer than ever to wear almost whatever we like, even at our jobs. I understand that that wasn’t the case (especially for us women) for a long time, but now we do. OK, unless you work in some industry where some standardized uniform is required for some safety or convenience reasons… But for most of us, this is a time in which we can truly adopt the look that makes us look best both at our job as well as in our personal lives!
So I encourage you to find what makes you feel powerful and secure. If you think this is totally superficial… let me tell you, darling, it is not. How you see yourself will have an effect on how others see you.
You’re beautiful and deserve that beauty to shine. Believe this queen who’s writing this, because I can tell you quite some stuff about not seeing your own beauty… It’s all in you, my love. It’s there: you can make it shine, your way.