15 Oct

Lately I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about my presentation, as it relates to my gender. My gender is neutrois, as I’ve talked about before, and I consider myself neutral-gendered. Masculine and feminine presentation don’t make me masculine or feminine, they’re just what I found striking while getting dressed. When I’m able, I want top surgery to make it possible for my body to be more neutral.

But there’s always going to be the issue of clothes. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out how to comfortably incorporate the feminine details I enjoy in clothes into my wardrobe. I’m in the awkward situation now of almost never being able to go to the store; if I buy clothes within the next year, it’s going to have to be online. (Look at the confidence I hold in my ability to learn how to drive!)

Some things would be easy to buy. T-shirts, which already comprise 85% of my closet. I either measure myself, probably already own a t-shirt from the company, or can measure a t-shirt that fits comfortably to figure out what size to buy. Unisex t-shirts are also easy to find with masculine, feminine, and neutral designs and details.

When I wear my binder, I can wear men’s shirts without them gapping in the front. But I don’t want to wear my binder every day. I worry about long-term binding and I don’t like to bind for more than five hours at a time, although that might be partly because my binder isn’t broken in yet.

So while I’m working and until I have surgery, I’ll need women’s shirts. I understand this. In some situations, I prefer the women’s shirt. (For example, the other day I wanted a warm long-sleeved shirt to wear around the house in the winter. I ruled out the men’s because they didn’t have the pink flannel I liked best.) The surgery will just give me more options, and I’ll be able to buy women’s shirts because I like the design, not because I need the cut.

Obligatory momentary pause while I go all starry-eyed imagining never buying a bra again.

But then there’s … dresses. And skirts. I don’t know how to feel about these.

I used to hate them. I haven’t bought a dress since middle school — my grandma made me wear one to my uncle’s wedding. I’ve donated all my old Sunday dresses. I can’t remember if I wore skirts as a child or not. In undergrad, I never bought them, but I rarely bought clothes at all, and I blanched at the idea that I was expected to wear them. Now that I’m more comfortable in my gender, and at asserting control over what I wear, I … don’t know. And since I don’t own any anymore, I can just try one on for a day and see how I am.

It’s been causing me a bit of anxiety lately, not having any idea of how to express myself in clothing. I don’t want to be stuck in the men’s section of the store any more than I want to be stuck in the women’s section. I like things people consider masculine and I like things people consider feminine.

At the end of posts I like to come to some kind of resolution, but I don’t have one here. I don’t know how to fix this feeling I have, this anxiety that I’m going to get trapped into another box that I don’t want to be stuck in.

I don’t identify with masculinity any more than I identify with femininity. I just pick and choose the things I like, and I’m not in a position now where I can go and things on. So I’m just stuck … wondering, and fretting. I don’t know what my wardrobe will look like over the years, or whether skirts or dresses would help me feel better, help me feel less boxed in. I don’t know how I’m going to pick out clothes or makeup or accessories that let me look the way I feel when I wake up not wanting to be very masculine or very feminine.

Probably, I’m lucky that overall I don’t really care about fashion: if I could wear sweatpants and unisex t-shirts every day I’d probably be fine. But I can’t do that. So I have to … I don’t know. I have to wait, and see. And waiting is hard.

But I know that I don’t want to be trapped in another box.


3 Responses to “Boxes”

  1. Tasha October 15, 2011 at 5:37 PM #

    I would say to wear whatever makes you feel like yourself. That can change. I like to bind and wear masculine clothes but I choose to keep my waist length hair. Other days I like to wear my slimmer jeans made for feminine people. For the most part, though, my wardrobe doesn’t really change much. I got for lots of t-shirts, hoodies, stuff like that.

    Actually, most days I try and bind because I hate having any indication of a chest, even though I have very little in the way of breast amount. Binding makes me feel like me.

    You could try buying one or two small items at a time, maybe a cheap skirt or something and wear it and see if you like how you feel in it.

    I don’t know if this would actually help, but it could be worth a try to go to a yard sale or a cheap second-hand clothing store and see what’s there.

    • ace eccentric October 15, 2011 at 6:56 PM #

      One of my problems is I can’t go to the store. Like I said, anything I bought would have to be bought online. I can’t try something on before I buy it. If I buy it online and don’t like it, I have to also return it online — which could be an extra $5-10 dollars just for shipping (and shipping is rarely refunded, so I’d have paid $10-20 for the chance to try something on).

      And since I can’t try anything on… I don’t know what makes me feel like myself. It’s a difficult situation. My living situation will have to change before I get the opportunity to experiment, and in the meantime, it’s just hard to wait. But thank you!


  1. Asexual and neutrois « an asexual space - October 30, 2011

    […] wrote recently about my presentation anxiety, as it relates to my gender, and uncertainty about incorporating the feminine details I find […]

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