Clothing Quandary

I am not a fashion blog, but clothes and how they make me feel have definitely played quite a large part in my exploration of my identity. The photos I choose to share are usually from days where I am feeling positive – the photo proof that for a few moments I actually felt happiness in who I am and what I looked like. I think most of us want to look or at least feel cute some of the time; other times we want to feel strong and confident, and I spent years berating myself for trying to wear something that made me feel sexy or attractive for a while. Oddly though, my favourite thing to wear is actually my 3/4 length bright red winter coat, it has black duffel buttons and a red belt to help shape a little but it does nothing flattering for me, and it does not help me blend into the background, but I just love it!

All of which is just my way of trying to say that clothes are important. Society judges us by what we wear, and whether we admit it or not we judge others by the clothes that they wear – assessing them and their skillsets instantly without realising it – if you don’t believe me try and imagine going to a nice restaurant where your waiter or waitress is wearing a boiler suit, or taking your car to a garage where the mechanics are wearing suits and ties tucked into their shirts. You would be thinking it was a gimmick, because society has given us all of the unwritten expectations around what people should or shouldnt wear.

Obviously gendered clothing also falls into that category and is the bane of my life right now, but that is a separate theme!

2021 started in Scotland with more lockdowns to try and help slow the spread of the newer Covid mutations, but this time I have both early teenage children with me. My son has been fairly oblivious to my clothing choices so far, even though I have been careful there have been times where I have worn my black socks with lovehearts on the bottom or I have walked through and realised that I am in my white and pink pjs under my dressing gown, I can be subtle and he has not noticed.

My daughter on the other hand pays attention to clothes, she is still very much finding her way of expressing herself and varies between baggy hoodies and old school grunge with a wee bit of goth princess thrown in. Our shared love for cosplay and my willingness to let her express herself and create clothes out of old garments is a fun thing to bond with, but it does mean that unlike my son she would notice the socks and pj’s instantly. She already discovered a freebie Pride bracelet that I had accidentally left out so I gifted it to her.

I have her with me for the duration of the current Scottish lockdown, she was here when it was announced and asked if she could stay, of course the answer was yes – for me my family is complete again for a little while.

With my darling children around 24/7 I have no time other than bed time to spend any time dressing and I am starting to feel it – the lack of time as DeeDee is frustrating because I feel stifled. A friend suggested that I start feminising my wardrobe – perhaps swapping sweatpants for yoga pants and wearing womens hoodies instead of mens hoodies.

I like the idea, but it is harder than it sounds. I am still not out to most of the people I know, so wearing obviousky fitted tops or obviously female joggers is not an option yet. I am torn between wanting to express myself and knowing that I can’t. There are some options and at some point I will have to start oving into eyebrow raising territory either to prepare people for coming out to them, or because they know and I can wear what I want.

There is also the part of me that does not want to look awkward and androgynous, I am not some svelt waif and I love flowy and flared dresses so skinny jeans and form fitting tops have never really been my thing.

Slowly altering my wardrobe from male to female clothes sounds appealing but expensive. I am already wearing brighter colours with my socks and tees so it is not too much of a stretch to start wearing more feminine hoodies without them needing to be bright pink or sparkly, but is it worth doing all of this only to come out to folk and be able to wear what I want anyway – I mean I will still wear jeans, tees and hoodies. Just not all the time. Either way if I can get away with never having to wear a shirt with a choking tie ever again I will be pretty content!

Clothes are an important part of who we are, they tell others about our personality long before we actually speak to them – that’s why pubs and offices both have dress codes even though they are for totally different reasons.

So how do I find more ways of expressing myself openly and yet stay the right side of the fence for now? (Not by underdressing which I do to a smaller, hug proof extent anyway) that is my quandary and one which will either resolve itself and become a non issue by me socially transitioning, or help do some of the groundwork for me by readjusting others perceptions of me like the proverbial frog in hot water.

Stay safe and take care

XX

4 thoughts on “Clothing Quandary

  1. The last time I wore a choking tie was for my sister-in-law’s funeral. She had been one of the first people I had come out to, and supported me from the beginning. During the last two weeks of her life, she was hospitalized. Although I was then living my life authentically 95% of the time, I had not yet come out to the rest of my in-laws – well over 100 Irish Catholics, counting cousins. As I, at that point, had purged my closet of all male attire, except for one little-used outfit of suit, shirt, tie, and clunky men’s dress shoes, Had I worn that to visit her in the hospital, I think I may have raised as much suspicion as I would have, had I worn a dress. In order to avoid meeting other family members at the hospital, then, my visits to her were only by telephone. During our last conversation, we both cried over that, and she seemed more upset about my dilemma than she was about being at death’s door at such a young age.

    There was more choking me than just the tie, as I stood before all of the people in the church to deliver the eulogy. This was not supposed to be about me, at all, but I knew that Annie would have been happy to see the real-me at the pulpit. This, of course, was not the right time for me to make a grand reveal, so I could only include, within the eulogy, some “hidden messages” that only she would understand.

    Hidden messages. As transgender women, we can be consumed by them and we can be choked by them. The real ties that bind are those with our loved ones. As much as we believe we are protecting them in doing so, our hidden selves serve more to choke relationships. I decided, on that day of Annie’s funeral mass, I had to finally breath freely. Although I still have that suit of clothes hanging in the back of a spare closet, I will never wear it again, and my last gasp for air will not be choked by that striped tie – or what it represents.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow Connie, I’m honestly not sure what to say to that memory other than thank you for sharing it with me. It was very moving and emotional for me to read, you are right about the damage that hiding ourselves can do, hopefully I won’t have to for too much longer.

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      1. DeeDee, much of what you write reminds me of myself when I was younger. When you mentioned the choking tie, I immediately thought of my late sister-in-law and her funeral. It took her death to give me that final push toward transitioning, and also to realize that I should have done so years earlier. By the way, the next time I attended one of those large family gatherings was at the funeral of my brother-in-law a couple of years later. Although word had spread to the in-laws, this was the first time I appeared before them. There was no negativity toward the “new” me, and, in fact, my niece (daughter of my late B-I-L) talked with me for five minutes thinking that I was an old girlfriend of her dad. Finally telling her that I was actually her new Aunt Connie was the easiest and most fun (even at a funeral) coming out I’ve had!

        Take your own pace, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find that you will have wished you’d done things sooner. Life is fragile and can be cut much too short.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “…but it does nothing flattering for me, and it does not help me blend into the background, but I just love it!”

    Ah, the rub between what we love and what suits us. That does seem familiar šŸ˜

    Yet, looking at things another way, of said coat makes you feel good about yourself, that confidence may well shine through.

    Liked by 1 person

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