Sharp Dressed Man

My mother and I could never shop together. Every year when it came time to shop for new school clothes we could never reconcile what I wanted with what was appropriate. My mom has always appreciated someone with a keen eye for fashion and fine attention to detail. She likes looking put together and classy and firmly believes people should not leave their houses in sweat pants or pyjamas. I agree with that, I had to get up and get dressed today, so should everyone else. When it came to fashion, I always aimed for functional and comfortable over stylish or gender appropriate.

I knew from a very young age that my clothes were one way that I could express my true self. I could wear jeans and t-shirts and running shoes most of the time but there were always fights and arguments when it was suggested that I wear something dressy or feminine. I couldn't articulate how awkward I felt in feminine clothing. I didn't have the vocabulary to explain that feminine clothes were contraindicated by my gender. All I could say back then was I didn't like them and neither I nor my mother could understand why.

When I was about fourteen my favourite piece of clothing was an old red and black flannel jacket that I had found in a field. My mom hated it and thought I looked like a trucker but I loved that soft male jacket and how it made me feel when I wore it. I felt the same satisfaction and happiness when I wore a shirt and tie for the first time. I wore that jacket everywhere and part of the reason I was so attracted to it I think is because it was definitely a man's jacket and wearing it made me feel good in a way I couldn't yet describe. The jacket represented something to me that I hadn't yet figured out: the clothes can make the man.

Fights over having to wear a dress or something more feminine was always a matter of decorum or expectation. Girls wear this, boys wear that. You can't wear that because people will think you are a boy or you can't wear that because it makes you look like a boy. I began to realize that my clothes could act as camouflage to a certain degree and allow me to navigate the world and be read as male. I could be a boy if I just dressed the part.

Recently my mom and I were talking about clothes again and she asked me what kind of things I wear. I have very specific likes and dislikes when it comes to clothes. I haven't really felt like I can wear whatever I want because things don't fit the way they should. Until I have surgery and a flat male chest I will never feel completely comfortable in my clothes. I often see clothes that I love and covet. Clothes I think will make me look classy and masculine but when I put them on they never look as good as they do on the mannequins. (yes I am sure the ladies experience this a well) My clothes are looking better though, now that I have some shoulders to fill them. While I am more self conscious of my breasts than ever, I seem to be the only one to notice my chest in every t-shirt, dress shirt or sweater. I am hoping that my disphoria will disappear once I have gone under the knife.

I have started to save pictures of clothes I like from the internet to help me establish my style. I can see a definite pattern emerging and it is interesting to see how my clothes reflect my idea of masculinity. Not only are my clothes a fashion statement but they also serve to reinforce the kind of man I want to be. Something my mom told me once is that if you want to be successful you have to dress the part. Sometimes dressing up a bit can improve your mood and looking good is halfway to feeling good.


Damon Wille said...

It was a pair of baggy jnco jeans for me when I was 13 or 14. They hid my hips. Thanks again for writing. I can completely relate to this article.

Ąŕєуąή said...

i too can relate here, lol! when i was 12 one of my adult male cousins was visiting with his children and he had left a large, black trenchcoat hanging outside on the coathangers on the doorstep... when no one was looking i took off with it and ran to the park in that jacket, swinging around with sheer joy with being in such a masculine item of clothing. i also did not know why this meant anything to me at the time, but now i do. and guess what? i now own a very similar black trenchcoat and i love it to pieces. i have even blogged about it, lol.

kudos to you, man, loving the blog.