Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Strip Down: Underwear For Tomboys

Let's talk about my favorite item of clothing, underwear. Underwear is very influential in self-confidence and is also worn as a fashion statement. We spend hundreds of dollars a year on something that only a few people will ever see. Why? Because underwear has the power to make us feel things. It can make us feel sexy, cute, spunky, naughty, masculine, feminine, risqué and/or attractive.

Being fluid in my gender presentation, underwear has always been a big deal for me. I remember hating how out of place I felt in girly underwear! Nothing was worse than when my friends convinced me to buy my first thong, it was so uncomfortable and made me feel ashamed of my body. I didn't feel sexy or even remotely attractive. It all changed when I bought my first pair of boxers (see me in my underwear at the end of the article), I finally felt confident. There's only one problem,  I have struggled to find masculine underwear to fit my curvy hips and bountiful booty. Luckily, more and more brands are coming out with gender neutral/ gender fluid underwear. This post is going to mainly look at masculine style boxers for female bodies as well as other queer underwear companies.

Play Out-
Finally! A gender neutral underwear company. Whether you identify as male or female, Play Out designs all of their underwear to appeal to all gender identities. Their underwear averages at a price of about $24.00 and they offer international shipping to countries outside of the United States.

They carry two main styles of underwear:
1. The Boxer Brief cut is slightly shorter and has a flat stitched front; in fashion, this cut pattern is most often designed for women or female bodies.
2. The Trunks are slightly longer than the boxer briefs, and offer a fabric pocket in the front. This design is most often marketed towards men or male bodies.

Note: Either design can be worn by anyone, but has special features to fit different body styles. 

Boxer Brief Cut

Featured in my article 5 Accessories Every Tomboy Needs, this British based underwear company was founded for queer women who struggle to find underwear that fits their style preferences. They offer a wide selection of fun prints with the average pair of underwear ranging in cost from $18.00-$28.00 and offer world-wide shipping. A special note to women of all sizes, they carry up to size 4X (size 22) in most of their styles!

One of my followers on Tumblr had this to say about FOCX:
"I’ve replaced all my underwear with FOCX. The quality is fucking amazing, and I mean, they are made for gay ladies as a segment, so the fit, the look, the feel, it’s all there!" -Homolesbians

Purple Yellow Contrast Boi Shorts made from a high-tec
breathable material. 

Let's Be Brief is a lesbian-owned company focused on comfort, quality, fit and style. LBB aims to sell gender neutral boxer briefs and briefs that embody a masculine look, paired with innovative style, to flatter sizes XS to XXL. They donate a percentage of sales is donated to support LGBTQ organizations each year. Prices range from $10.00-$25.00.

TomboyX, in addition to their tomboy clothing, also offers a super soft women's boxer. The boxers were fit tested on tomboys of every shape and size, all the way up to 4XL. The TomboyX branded waistband is silky soft and designed to gently hug you front to back, without gaping. . The price for a single pair averages at about $25.00, but there are different bundle deals that lower the cost per pair if you are interested in buying more than one pair. 

Underwear Tips:
-The tightness of your underwear should correspond to tightness of your pants. This keeps your underwear from creating awkward bulges in your pants. It also will be a lot more comfortable for you. 

-Try out different styles. I personally love boxer briefs that don't contain a front opening or pouch, they typically doesn't bunch up as much. I get most of my underwear at American Eagle or Aeropostale. I have also heard really good things from other queer women about American Apparel's underwear selection and fit.

-Invest! A good pair of underwear will last you longer than cheaper fabrics. It's smart to invest in underwear that will fit your body type properly. Underwear is something you will always need, so get some you love!

-Ask your friends about the underwear they like/dislike. Most of my underwear purchases were influenced by my other queer friends. They know what fits and what is not worth your money or time.

-Be comfortable! I preach this every post. What you wear should make you feel your best. No matter what kind of underwear you chose to wear, make sure that it makes you feel good about yourself. 

Check out me in my favorite underwear! 
Aeropostale Boxer Briefs
Champion Compression Short Boxers from Target

Also: Check out this super helpful underwear guide for queer women from AutoStraddle: Your Queer Underwear Guide.

Did I miss any of your favorite places to get underwear? Comment below or tweet me @askatomboy!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Affordable Androgyny

All these fancy designers that make custom clothes are wonderful and much needed, but there is one problem with buying niche clothing: MONEY. Being a junior in college, money is something I don't have a lot of. I rarely have money to buy groceries, much less $200 dress shirts. I pulled a Macklemore this week and went thrift shopping.

The goal: Find an outfit for under $20.

With the help of @pregohenry and the local Goodwill Store in Waverley, Iowa I was on the mission to find the perfect outfit for a more than perfect price. Thrift shops and second hand clothing stores are filled with tons of clothing styles and adventure.

Tip: Give yourself time! The key to finding that perfect shirt or pair of pants that fits is to look through nearly everything and try it all on! Unlike stores that carry particular lines and brands of clothing, thrift shops sizes are often inconsistent. My biggest struggle was finding a pair of pants. They sizes were vastly inconsistent, so don't be afraid to grab a few that may appear to be too big or small.

The Search
I started my search in the men's shirts section of the store. I grabbed anything that remotely caught my attention for more than a few seconds (it never hurts just to try it on). I grabbed several button-down dress shirts and a sweater vest. I looked at the men's jeans and slacks, but knew that my curvy hips weren't going to pair well with the shape and style of the pants I was seeing.

I moved on over to the women's pants section to look for the most neutral looking pair of pants. Specifically, I was looking for black and tan colored pants with no extra flare or design. I found several pairs of black jeans and two of tan ones. I stopped by the men's accessory rack, but only saw ties that resembled my grandfather's tie collection.

There were a LOT of duds. Many of the shirts I tried on were too big or small or had an awkward fit.

Tip: Do not get discouraged, you may not find that perfect item right away or every trip! I sometimes walk out of the store with nothing and sometimes I am able to purchase a large bag full. Remember that perfect finds are not guaranteed, but well worth the search.

The Results 

The turquoise button up, black jeans, and white undershirt were all purchased at goodwill. The bow tie was purchased at rue21! This outfit can be casually dressed down or more formal with the addition of the white bow tie. I found that buying the women's jeans a size bigger gave them a more masculine look by bagging a bit in the rear end and thighs. 

Turquoise Button-down: $3.95
Black Jeans: $3.95
White Shirt: $1.95
Bow Tie: $4.99
Total: $14.84

Overall, it was a successful shopping trip. I got an outfit I can wear out on the weekends or even on date night. 

Grab a friend and hit your local thrift store for some affordable androgyny! 

Bonus Buy: 

I couldn't resist buying these 1980 inspired windbreaker pants.
Send me your fashion questions and problems below or tweet me @askatomboy!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bountiful Beauty

Dear Tomboy,
I love men's style clothing, but I have one problem: my chest. As a larger chested female I find it impossible to find clothing that I can wear that doesn't either draw attention to my chest or look like a tent draped on my body.
Send help,
Bountiful Boobies

Dear Bountiful,
First thing's first, you are not alone! There are thousands of women who share in this same problem. If curvy hips and thighs weren't enough, you also got stuck with a chest that limits your freedom to dress in whatever you please. There are a few suggestions I have to help overcome the obstacle and get you headed towards a comfortable and confident dressing style. 

Balance Fitted & Loose
Too many fitted items draw attention to your chest area, and too loose gives you that "tent" look. A balance between the two creates a flattering fit that doesn't draw attention to the wrong areas. My suggestion for something fitted would be a women's plain t-shirt or tank top. Make sure the neck line doesn't cut too low, or the attention will be directed towards that area specifically. I love pairing a simple black (the most slimming color) v-neck under a men's flannel. Feel free to add a jacket or cardigan for another loose layer. 

Beware of Buttons! 
Button placement is everything when searching for the right shirt or jacket to fit your chest area. This is the tricky part because many men's dress shirts and jackets have button placement right in the middle of your ladies. This causes the dreaded button gap and draws attention back to the chest. My suggestion is to start off with a base layer of a camisole or tank top and then find a women's button down shirt that is made for bustier women or a men's shirt that you can leave partially unbuttoned. To give this look a more tomboy feel, try adding a men's cardigan with multiple buttons. Avoid getting one button tops as they often button right below the bust and fit awkwardly. Again try to balance loose and fitted items for the best results. 

Accessorize With Masculinity 
When clothing is impossible to find, accessories will always be there for you. I suggest taking a gender neutral outfit, such as loose jeans, khakis, or a crew neck and adding a load of men's accessories to your outfit. Men's scarfs would be great at covering the bust. Add watches, hats, ties, oxfords, glasses, or anything else you can find.  This isn't always the most ideal option, but it can bring that masculine flare to an outfit without drowning out the rest of your features. 

When all else fails, there are a handful of companies that custom make men's clothing for womanly bodies. Their items typically cost a pretty penny, but are a great investment. See my previous post on the 10 Tomboy Clothing Companies You Didn't Know Existed for a list of companies that specialize in this kind of custom wear. 

May the clothes be ever in your favor!


Check out how the always lovely @catherineEorr (editor/38DDD) "Balances a Fitted and Loose" style with confidence!

What other suggestions do you have to add? Comment below or tweet me @askatomboy