damned_colonial: 18th century trousers, a crotch close-up, and the words "trouser fetish" (trouser fetish)
[personal profile] damned_colonial posting in [community profile] style_salon
So I've been thinking a bit lately about style and gender, and how I dress differently depending on how I'm performing gender at a given time, and that my styles are kind of different and even incompatible in some ways -- that is, my "masculine" style isn't directly related to my "feminine" style, and if you were to put them next to each other they wouldn't match. Does anyone else do this?


When I am going through a masculine phase I tend to dress down, very casually, and tending to signal sort of working class. Like, I wear workboots or sneakers, and buy hard-wearing work pants from a shop that sells mostly to tradesmen, and wear simple tshirts and hoodies and things. Luckily I work at a dotcom so that's just fine for my workplace.

When I dress feminine, I tend to dress "up" a bit more -- more tailored lines, nice fabrics, stuff with texture and pattern, nicer shoes, etc. It's easier for me to do "business casual" or even "evening party" in my feminine mode than in my masculine one. And if I have to dress up for something work related (presentation, interview, etc) I would tend to shift feminine even if I'm in a masculine phase, because I have more of those sorts of clothes in that sort of style (example: nice tailored jeans, fitted tshirt, cardigan, polished shoes).

I don't have any "nice" masculine clothes. Like, I really love the look of wearing a crisp shirt, tie, and waistcoat, but I don't own those clothes and feel like I'd have trouble shopping for them and wouldn't really feel comfortable in them. I don't know how much of this is because of my shape (short and curvy) but I suspect some of it is -- that stuff is just harder to do well at my size than it would be if I were taller and more straight-up-and-down.

What do you think?

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-18 05:57 am (UTC)
puzzlement: (Default)
From: [personal profile] puzzlement
I don't really play with gender performance overall, but I do have a distinct division in my wardrobe between "clothes that wouldn't be read as unusual on a man" and "very female-marked clothes".

I have for a long time wanted to have the option to dress up formally in male-type clothes and largely the reason I haven't is that, while tall (actually, perhaps tall enough that I'd have a little trouble getting even men's clothes off-the-rack), I'm also curvy, particularly so in the hips and butt. It's much easier to get, say, A-line skirts and dresses that naturally accommodate my shape than to think about how to get trousers, jackets and waistcoats tailored to be a good fit for both my waist and my butt and have the right length (a 36" in-seam is about right), and argh.

Now I'm thinking about a top hat. That would be kind of awesome.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-18 06:12 am (UTC)
puzzlement: (jelly)
From: [personal profile] puzzlement
A friend of mine, who is differently shaped from both you and me, wore a bright orange one with her wedding outfit (which was otherwise female-coded, although not particularly traditional). It was pretty great indeed.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-18 10:22 am (UTC)
pinesandmaples: Restaurant Manager James smiles with a wine glass in front of his face.  (Hotel Babylon: James giggles)
From: [personal profile] pinesandmaples
If you ever really need to feed the dressing up urge, Banana Republic and J.Crew always have good suiting sections with masculine inspired trousers available in women's cuts. It's not perfect, but it's a damn sight better than another dress. (Both stores also offer tailoring services...)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-18 10:06 pm (UTC)
puzzlement: (geomag)
From: [personal profile] puzzlement
Just in case anyone is passing through and wondering where I do get pants in AU, I get them from Vertically Blessed. It's all more-or-less feminine coded, but with 36 and 37" in-seams (and quite a range of sizes, most stores assume that tall women are bottom-2%-slender) I can't be picky. I think the Ethyl label they have is imported from the US.
Edited Date: 2010-06-18 10:08 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-20 03:57 am (UTC)
pinesandmaples: Text only; reads "Not everything will be okay, but some things will." (theme: reflection)
From: [personal profile] pinesandmaples
Most stores in the US define 33" as their "regular" inseam. Tall at Gap, J.Crew, Banana Republic, and Old Navy clocks in at 36". Those are my go-to stores so I usually recommend clothing from them anyway.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-18 09:10 am (UTC)
jest: (beaubrummell)
From: [personal profile] jest
I do this all the time! (but in a mainstream way that nobody else would really notice.)

When I'm dressing masculine, I wear my doc martins, jeans or combat trousers, racer back t-shirts, and my ten year old battered leather motorcycle jacket. If I have to dress 'nice' masculine I wear my grey wool trousers with suspenders. I suppose these clothes could just as easily be considered feminine, but there's a masculine head space that I get into when I'm dressing that way that I really enjoy. Kinda cocky and confident. It's nice. Because I have a small, flat and rectangular body, I suspect the clothes are more tom boyish rather than actually masculine. Luckily I am only vaguely employed, so nobody gives a damn what I wear.

My feminine clothes are way more in the girly way. Really pretty dresses with lace or a ruffle or polka dots, etc. Cute little decorative flats (no heels because I don't wear shoes I couldn't run in if I had to.) It definitely creates a different headspace. Generally when I'm dressed this way, I expect people to be nice to me, and to underestimate me.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-18 08:17 pm (UTC)
tiferet: cute girl in pink dress captioned "not all bad girls wear black" (Default)
From: [personal profile] tiferet
I don't do that regularly--I have casual feminine, princess, business feminine, and a masculine style that Dear Edward would approve of--but when I actually need to wear jeans and a black t-shirt and combat boots for practical reasons I have some hypermasculine accessories (mostly bought in the Castro) that I love wearing with them. A really heavy necklace of steely looking beads, a bicycle chain wristlet, that sort of thing.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-19 01:49 am (UTC)
jack_of_none: (Fantômas joue et gagne)
From: [personal profile] jack_of_none
I very much love men's formal wear, but like you I'm very small and curvy. I would love to occasionally be able to try out a more masculine presentation, but it kind of feels like the effort involved is too high for it to be worthwhile right now, because of my extremely feminine shape. I do wear menswear-inspired women's clothes, like waistcoats cut for a feminine shape and crisp collared shirts, but I don't really give off a 'masculine' vibe (ruffles and lace tend to be involved, and while that might have been manly wear at one point in history, it is no longer).

I have kind of the same aesthetic for feminine clothes as I do masculine ones -- old-fashioned, slightly more formal, ruffles, lace, white/black/grey or jewel tones, occasional vaguely goth-y/cute things like wide horizontal stripes in black+grey or black+dark color. If anything I think my more masculine clothes are more 'formal'-looking, if only because masculine tends to mean 'button-down shirt and vest' in my wardrobe.

I do have a top hat, though, and a very nice one...I have to confess I haven't worn it in a long time, since last time I went out alone wearing it I got a lot of negative attention (kind of a dumb reason to stop wearing my favorite accessory, but I'm shy). I would really like a nice bowler or fedora, but it's hard to find them in my head size (I'm very small).

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-22 08:22 pm (UTC)
sofiaviolet: drawing of three violets and three leaves (Default)
From: [personal profile] sofiaviolet
I think my favorite instance of gender shenanigans in clothing was when I wore my docs and a flannel shirt to a performance called The Femme Show.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-25 02:02 am (UTC)
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
From: [personal profile] melannen
I tend to mix masculine and feminine in the same outfit - men's flannel with a broomstick skirt, men's jeans with a nice blouse, work boots under a sundress, feminine jacket with a fedora (and I tend to think that even when I'm at my most femme in dress, I'm still mixing, because I don't wear makeup or do anything in particular with my hair. And when I'm at my most butch in dress, I tend to wear it in a way that emphasizes my female shape and body language.)

When I think about my "dressing up" clothes in those terms - hmm. With business-formal ('interview clothes') I look for clothes cut for a female shape but in masculine colors and fabrics and with minimal trim - wool, tweed, twill, blacks and heather-grays and brown pinstripe. I want to not look like a peacock or a sexbot but still look like I'm dressing for who I am - too many of the 'male-cut' women's suits just look ridiculously camp without looking at all like menswear. Actually, my very favorite suit ATM is a brown pinstripe that's androgynous without being masculine; it's a sort of Asian-ish design with mandarin collar, loose trousers and long jacket that completely flattens out my curves while not being so loose I look like I'm hiding, and still being unmistakeably not something a businessman could wear.

(I would also like to say that there is nothing quite as awesome as a short, curvy woman in three-piece suit that fits her.)
Edited Date: 2010-06-25 02:04 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-25 02:44 am (UTC)
ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (dressing my best)
From: [personal profile] ajnabieh
(here via [personal profile] sofiaviolet)

I wish, wish, wish I could get a masculine-styled suit to wear for work. I have one of my father-in-law's old suits from the 1970s that's reasonably close to fitting me, and if I had any cash I'd get it altered. But, yeah, at this point in my life, when I have to dress up, I'm doing it femme, because it's just easier to get clothes that fit my shortish, curvy body when I do.

(Well, okay, I pulled this off for teaching every once in a while. That was worn with jeans and a dramatic belt, and loafers. Oh, I miss those loafers.)

That said, I do think my feminine and masculine styles match each other: I like tailoring and neutrals with pops of bright color/patterns in the blouse/tie/accessories, and I have a fetish for stripes. (I mean, okay, one might be able to say that I dress like the protagonists of a certain 90s-era supernatural investigatory show in their middle seasons when they finally got a good wardrobe budget, but, um. I have no comment on the subject.) The exception is when I go high femme, I go all the way out. Like, seriously. It's really about the performance at that point, and I really enjoy giving a good performance.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-05 09:15 am (UTC)
jeshyr: Blessed are the broken. Harry Potter. (Default)
From: [personal profile] jeshyr
One of the totally legendary things about getting less sick is that I can actually wear stuff which is not selected with "comfortable to lie in bed in" as it's only reason for being.

I haven't got so far as having an actual decent set of clothes yet, but I have a pair of jeans and some pants which are almost like cargo pants and some "nice" black pants and I have unpacked my collection of waistcoats although it's too bloody cold to wear them yet.

Going to have fun building an entire wardrobe from scratch!

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