My personal style and the gay dress code finally find harmony and balance. (Part 6/6. Start from the beginning here.)
Here we are folks, at the (temporary) ending. While I’m not naïve enough to think my style won’t change moving forward, I’ve never had a stronger sense of what feels like me. Recently, my sister had pointed out how I looked in my coming-out-as-bisexual Facebook photo announcement (btw I’m a lesbian, those were confusing times), mentioning how I was pretty (obviously) but something looked off. (It was probably all the eyeliner.) And she continued on by saying she compared it to a recent picture where “You just looked like you.” And that’s really—exactly–how it feels. Even better that it’s not just something I feel within myself, but that my sister could see it too.
I have a few more gay shirts now, not just the “Pico de Gayo” one, but I don’t wear them out too much anymore now that I’m back in a rural community. In fact, I accidentally wore the shirt to a Tractor Supply this summer, and my arms crossed over my chest the whole time, turning away from other customers if I passed them. Luckily, I was in and out quick. Likely, nothing would’ve happened, but Tractor Supply sure doesn’t have the same welcome as a college campus in the city.
My siblings bought me one of my favorite button-ups for my birthday, a salmon-colored shirt covered in white sharks and other marine life. As a men’s small, it’s still large and tragically dress-length, but my sister said, “It was just so you,” so I roll the ends and tie it up to make it Fashion and me.
I still love my sleeveless shirts–especially in the summertime–and started venturing into crop tops a lot more (and loving them). For a while in my Super Gay phase, crop tops almost seemed a little too feminine for me, which annoys me now that I even felt that way back then. And while my style still might lean a little more butch if we’re placing it on a scale, crop tops still find a spot in my summer’s regular wardrobe. I even own a couple of cropped hoodies now. Both resale finds (one of them even an Adidas find) that I couldn’t pass up.
I’ve also added a pair of shorts that aren’t so short—more mid-length—and if I had the money this year, I definitely would’ve bought more of those. They’re like my Favorite Jeans of shorts. Made for me. Built for my confidence. Embodiment of the energy I want to give off, always.
This year I did a Marie-Kondo-cleanout and tossed all my sandals apart from a pair of Adidas slides that I only wear when I’m camping. By the time I hit puberty, I didn’t like sandals so much anymore. I hated the way my feet looked—still do. Always manly (I know, ridiculous) with super large big toes. And honestly? Frequent ingrown toenails. I’ll spare you the rest. But yes, summertime includes a sock tan. I also scored a used pair of burgundy Adidas for $17, and they are probably my favorite pair of shoes I’ve ever owned.
My baseball cap collection grew while overseas, where I picked up a cap in the two major cities I visited outside the UK: Paris and Prague. Paris’ cap fashions a skull from the souvenir shop of our Catacombs tour, and Prague’s hat includes “the little mole,” an adorable Eastern European cartoon. Plus, I recently got a cap at the Jonas concert a few weeks ago. I expect to keep growing this collection.
My undercut thrives on still, and I never think about growing it out. After growing my hair all year, my mom gave me some long layers, which worked wonders to thin it out a little bit more (thank god) and gave me a good base for starting the curly girl method, which I’ve been doing since April. The curly girl method is kind of a bible for how to manage curly (or in my case, wavy) hair. I’m still trying to find my golden routine, but my hair has already made a lot of progress in terms of holding its waves and reducing some frizz. I’ve honestly never felt so confident and happy about my hair before! It’s made a huge improvement in my own self-image. I love wearing my hair natural and feeling great about it.
I’ve toned down my makeup use, even while I spent four months with my makeup-frenzied girlfriend. Mostly, I just stick to subtle eyebrows and always mascara. (As a ginger, both are a little on the lighter side.) And as I’ve began aging into my mid-twenties, acne usually only makes a noticeable appearance when I’m PMSing, so that’s the only good side effect of turning 24 this year. I also bought a pair of glasses–round, rimless (and thick because my prescription is very high). I wear glasses a lot more now, simply because the pair feels like me.
I think the last time I wore a dress was in 2017 (apart from a Halloween costume last year). I saved a couple from my clean-out, but even when events required a more formal dress code, I still opted for pants and my trusty blazer. I certainly look great wearing that, and I feel a lot more confident and secure. So, I can’t really justify putting myself in something that is going to hinder my ego.
As winter swings around again, I’m sure a few shifts will happen from the last cold season, but likely nothing huge. Probably more pullovers and less sweaters. Maybe some cropped long-sleeves. I’m definitely due for a shopping spree. But honestly? Finding my style caused a bit of its own identity crisis, and I’m glad after twenty years I look and feel the most like me I’ve ever felt.
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