Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Suit Up! Do's and Dont's for Professionalism

“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”               -Anne Sweeney (President of Walt Disney)

If there's one hard thing about having a female body, but dressing more masculine, it's finding the right clothes to look professional. As a business student, I find it hard to dress the way I want to dress and be taken seriously by potential employers. As much as I wish I could just go out and buy baggy men's slacks and a goofy tie, I know that the first impression is a major key to success in the 'real world'. In this post, I will give you some tips to help you feel confident in your style while still impressing your potential future boss.

There are several things to avoid when trying to dress professional:

  1. Avoid wearing ill fitting clothing for your body type. Most women typically have the problem of wearing too tight of clothing to interviews and work. This is the complete opposite of what I seen in the lesbian and androgynous community.  If you are like me, you probably love loose pants and loose shirts to hide those feminine curves. Loose is okay, but when loose becomes baggy it begins to look unprofessional and sloppy. I know that when buying men's trousers, you typically have to go up a size or so to compensate for bigger hips and a little more junk in the trunk. I would suggest finding a pair of women's slacks or dress pants that hug you just right without being too tight. Some good places to look are stores like JCPenny or Kohls if you are on a budget. It's okay to wear a men's dress shirt as long as it doesn't look like a tent draping over your body. 
  2. Don't get discouraged. Unfortunately, your style may not be everyone's cup of tea. Even with all the social progress in the past couple of years, there is always going to be some people that don't understand why you dress the way you do. Don't let those people get the best of you! Prepare yourself for rejection, but also prepare to explain why you stand out from everyone else. Explain why you dress the way you do or share an experience where it helped you achieve a goal. If you can prove you have the skills necessary to get the job done, you should have no problems getting the job. 

Enough of the discouraging dont's. Let's look at some things you can do to help you look professional.

  1. Invest! I know you might not have $800 to drop on a brand new suit overnight, but at some point soon, you should try to save up to get one custom fit to your body. There are several brands that were creating specifically for people like us. My personal favorite is Saint Harridan. This company was founded in 2008 by Mary Going when she couldn't find the perfect suit to get married in. The typical suit will cost your roughly $700-$1000, but that's a small price to pay to land a high earning career at your favorite firm. Now, you can custom order an entire suit online that is designed with androgynous females in mind.  
  2. Clean up. No, I am not referring to a massive cleaning of your living space. I am talking about looking your absolute best. If you have short hair, go get it cut a day or two before your big interview or meeting, it will keep you looking fresh! Even with longer hair, a trim or professional style will go a long way. I just went and got a hair cut today in anticipation of our school's career fair coming up in a few days.  You'll want to remove any distracting piercings for the day to make the best impression. 
  3. Accessorize. Sometimes its the little things that count most. Adding a bow tie or a little make-up can make you stand out to your employer. If you have certain features you love most about your body, accentuate them! Make-up isn't just a girly girl thing, it can help conceal blemishes and bring out certain facial features. 
  4. Be yourself. This is probably the most important one on the list. Above anything, be you. If you're not comfortable, you won't bring your best skills to the table. It's important to always be yourself and never compromise to anyone else's view of you. 
Best of luck on your next professional adventure! 

Pictures courtesy of http://www.saintharridan.com/

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Gender Fluidity

"Look! There's a boy in the girl's bathroom!" 

This phase has stuck with me since 2nd grade. I was using the restroom at the local race track when a little girl was alarmed by my short bowl cut and bib overalls. I ran out of that rest room at fast as I could and went crying to my mother. At 8 years old, I didn't fully understand gender identity. I did know that I loved wearing loose jeans and tee shirts. I despised having my hair brushed and begged my parents to let me get all my hair cut off. After that bathroom incident, I grew my hair out and vowed never to be mistaken for a boy again.

Well here I am now, 20 years old now back to where I was twelve years ago. As an out lesbian, I have experienced much adversity getting to where I am today. I currently have a short pixie haircut, often covered by snap-backs and beanies. I love the style of men's clothes, and eighty percent of my wardrobe is exactly that. I have struggled for years finding the style that I feel most comfortable in. I have felt pressure from society to look and act like a 'lady', but never found happiness in myself when I did. I can proudly say now that the way I dress reflects who I am as a person. I want to share my experiences, opinions, and style with you, the reader!

This blog's purpose is to essentially to discuss the fluidity of gender in the fashion world in terms of style and self identity. It doesn't matter if you are gay or straight, skinny or curvy, you deserve to be comfortable in the way you dress and present. As a Marketing major with a handful of years of retail sales and management experience, I believe I can offer insight on how to become the most happy with your style. It was when I wad a team lead at Aeropostale that I really harnessed my own style. I will be giving some advice on how to find clothes to best fit your body and style, as well as how to look professional without having to conform back to feminine clothing.  I want this to be a discussion, so I would love your feedback via comment, email, or twitter (@askatomboy)!

Unfeminine styles are hard to find, I'm here to help!