Thursday, June 7, 2012

Behind the Seams: Why I Wear Dresses I

(While I've shared a lot about my personal life with readers here on the blog, in some regards I've made a conscious effort to keep the focus more on fashion overall and less on my thoughts and experiences on the deeper whys of my journey in freestyle fashion. The thought behind that was to try to present this blog more as a fashion blog than as a political or social agenda. With that in mind, there are still some topics I feel I should probably cover here both to answer questions that readers may have and to further illuminate on the whys and wherefores of fashion freedom in general from my own perspective. If that type of thing is of interest to you, may I present the first in the new series "Behind the Seams"...)


Why do I wear dresses? Frankly, it's not a question that I often ask myself, or have made too much effort to answer. When I ask myself that question, my immediate response is, "Because I want to." and I'm often content to just leave it at that. Sometimes, though, particularly when I am bored, or if I read hateful comments made about my sartorial choices, I'll try to fill in the blanks a little further. Let's get into that.

The first reason that comes to mind is one of pure aesthetics. That is to say, that for as long as I can remember I have been absolutely enamored, enraptured, and dare I say it, enthralled with the look of the clothing made for women. On a purely visual level, I simply love dresses and high heels. When I see a dress or pair of shoes that I like, there's a feeling that I get in my chest that's impossible to explain, but I'm willing to bet that any fashionistas reading this will understand what I mean. This goes back as far as I can remember. I remember seeing all the pretty clothes that the girls at my school would get to wear for special events, while I was stuck wearing a pair of khakis and a polo shirt, which just seemed so incredibly drab and boring compared to the lovely styles, fabrics, and colors enjoyed by the opposite sex.

It's a thought I've never managed to shake, and to be honest, I don't want to. To sum it up as plainly as I can manage, there's just something so incredibly attractive to me about a beautiful outfit, completely separate from the attraction I may feel to the woman who is wearing it. Following that line of thinking, however, is where it starts to get curious.

The clothing that I wear, the outfits that I put together, are clothing that I find attractive. When I see a great outfit on myself I find myself thinking, "Yes, that's hot!" Then there's a realization that the outfit I'm wearing is an outfit that I would find attractive on a woman, and then it gets a bit muddy. When I get dressed, I don't really consider other people at all (well, that's not entirely true, I do consider Mrs. Spookshow, who, for example, has banned sequins), but rather dress to make myself feel good. I don't know why, but when I see a beautiful girl with a rockin' outfit, I'll want to wear that style. When I see a sharp dressed guy, I may appreciate the outfit, but I'll often find myself thinking, "Yeah, but that would look better with a skirt!" I've heard the saying tossed around that women often dress for other women (because let's be honest, chances are most men don't care or even notice that your belt coordinates so well with your shoes), and for whatever reason it seems that I'm just doing the same, ha!

 The most common negative comment that I hear is that my clothing choice is (you guessed it) gay, because clearly, the only reason anyone would wear a skirt or pair of high heels is to please and attract a man. I don't believe for a second that most women truly factor that in when they get dressed every day ("Which of these prints is most likely to land me a boyfriend today?"), and to really believe so seems very sexist to me. Of course, we all know how  much gay men are attracted to women, so surely me wearing a skirt is a clear signal that I'm interested in men.

Stepping beyond "Because I want to" the most simple answer becomes, "Because I like the way it looks." A part of me has just always loved the aesthetics of the clothing marketed towards women, and I want to wear the clothes that appeal to me. So, to those who take issue with the freedom of my sartorial choices, just remember, it's got nothing to do with you, it's all about me.

(That's the first reason I wear dresses. I'd love to know your thoughts, so leave me a comment below and let me know what you think. If you'd like me to elaborate on anything I wrote here, feel free to ask away. Reader interest will determine if I continue with this new series.)

30 comments:

  1. More than a month between posts! Glad to have you back:)

    I totally get what you mean by that feeling you get when you see some form of attire that pleases you aesthetically so much. And those things are different for everyone - why should any of us be limited by traditional gender associations? If women now have the freedom to dress in masculine styles, men shouldthe freedom to dress how they like as well, and everything in between, without definition, just makes it all so much more interesting.

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    1. *sigh* Yeah, I've been a bad blog daddy. :(

      Thanks for chiming in again here, Thursday. I've found that clothing can be a lot of different things for people. For some it's self-expression, others art, for some (most?) it's purely about practicality, and hey there's even some folks that don't even like wearing clothes, eh? Anyhow, my point is that everyone is different and as a society we should embrace that. It certainly does make things more interesting!

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  2. I can't think of a better reason for wearing what you want other than "I like it and it looks good"! I really hate the "that's gay" attitude to dude's wearing skirts, etc. Even if it is, why is that a bad thing?! Silly humans.

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    1. Absolutely agree. It always irks me when people use the word gay as a negative exclamation.

      And yep, because I wanna is usually all the reason I need to do something, ha! Thanks for the input, Robyn!

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  3. Because I want to/because I like it/because it looks good is all the reason you need! I don't get up in the morning and think "do I want to wear the brown pants? They are a 6.5 on the masculine-feminine scale and I really wanted to be nearer an 8." I just think they work with my green tshirt.

    :) Geeta

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    1. I definitely agree, Geetabix. Over the past month or so I seem to have received a lot of attention at various spaces all over the internet. Some of that response has been good, though most of it seems to be negative. My aim on this blog has always been to promote individuality and having the courage to be oneself, but I also wanted to try to humanize the idea of fashion freedom, if that makes sense. Basically, my hope is that by creating the dialogs that I have here, someone who sees sartorial choices such as this without that context can come here and see that I'm not really some giant weirdo or perv, thus perhaps hoping to open some minds a bit. In light of that, I felt it was time to get a little more personal with this post.

      Not sure why I've rambled on about that here, as I'm not sure it relates much to your comment, but there you go, ha! Thank you for taking the time to comment here! I appreciate it!

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    2. Heh, but that is in fact what happens for me most mornings :) "How masculine or feminine do I feel today? Which of my clothes matches that best?"!

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  4. MsSpookyshow.

    Though we differ quite a bit in our presentation, we definitely match in how we feel about men and women's fashion choices. I am one that does the Fem/androgynous look, as in not only do I wear the clothing, I do the hair makeup and jewelry as well. What I don't do is the padding or other shape modifying things (aside from wearing a waist cincher. When in my garb I do not "act" feminine, but instead I act like myself. This look is what attracted my now Girlfriend, and gain several female admirers at the Goth clubs I go to.

    Like you I do not feel clothing by itself has a gender. I also don't feel make or hair styles are with gender (though yea, some I wear are "feminine") Makeup was worn by both genders in ancient time. Eye shadow was worn by male and female egyptians, and why males in our culture are forbidden from accentuating their eyes I can only think of it having to do with how males are utilitarian for the most part. My GF loves how I do my eyes, and that was one of the first things....after my legs, that she noticed. LOL

    I love this blog, and it MAY inspire me to start my own. I work in a fairly conservative industry that even my simple daily wear (leggings with a variety of boots and tops) would be viewed in a negative light.

    I hope soon one day blogs like yours, will be much more common and the clothing stores will just have the "clothes" section opposed to men and womens.

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    1. I am so sorry Micheal Spookyshow. I went by your flikr handle. I LOVE the fact you put your "male" name as your name here says so much about your view.

      My handle is rather "male" though not "normal", I consider it the name of my more creative self.

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    2. Haha, you know I didn't really notice the typo before you said. Anyhow, no worries, ha!

      Your online presence on Flickr was a huge inspiration to me to post my own sartorial exploits there, which eventually led to the founding of this blog!

      I heartily agree with your comments here, of course. In fact, I'll be covering this topic a bit more in depth fairly soon, I want to want to write an essay about the difference between gender and sex, and how that relates to fashion specifically. I've actually experimented with a more androgynous / femme look in the past, but eventually moved on. Perhaps someday I will post pictures of that here, ha. When it comes to men wearing clothing outside of traditional norms, there are many different approaches. The important bit, anyways, is that people find what is right for them and just do it.

      I'm glad you find inspiration here, now take it and run with it! Let me know if you do decide to start a blog, as I'm always looking for more fashion blogs to follow!

      Thanks for posting this, Pythos!

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  5. AnonymousJune 07, 2012

    Please continue the series! I enjoy your blog and am glad to read your reflections. Clothing is gendered, and gender is political, whether we like it or not.

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    1. Thank you, Anon. I'm glad you enjoy the blog!

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  6. "I want to" is a perfectly valid reason to answer any whys about the way you dress, but it's also a valuable experience to think about WHY you want to, so I'm glad to read your musings on the matter!

    I've been thinking about the whys lately--I'm getting a buzz cut tomorrow, and as a cisgendered woman I definitely expect some interesting reactions when I go back to work on Monday. Of course, I may be jumping the gun and I'll get entirely positive reactions, but hair is such a charged part of appearance, particularly female appearance, that I can't help but anticipate confusion (if not outright negativity) from some parties. Even though "I wanted to do it" will probably be all the reason I give anyone who asks, it helps me know more about myself to think about the whys, and my own feelings about gender essentialism. Your thoughts help move my thoughts along, so thanks, Michael!

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    1. Thanks for this, Mia. I think a buzz cut will look amazing on you (actually, I've already seen it on your blog, so I know it does, ha!)! I think it's really important for people to step outside the "norms" and express themselves how they want to. There may be some haters occasionally, but you know, haters gonna hate, eh? Anyhow, I'm glad that you find some inspiration for moving your thoughts along here.

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  7. AnonymousJune 14, 2012

    Dear Sir. I have just run across this blog and I wanted to tell you that I think it is fantastic and that you are rad! Keep it up.

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    1. Aww, thank you, Anon! I appreciate this.

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  8. Mark from Brisbane Australia.June 14, 2012

    Yes it has been a while since your last pics on your web, well I totally agree, there should not be anything to do with gender regarding clothing, I also agree that one day, one day things will be tones better for us men, better in the way that we'll have the freedom to wear a skirt or dress or trouses if we wish without being called a pervert, sure I'm gay butthe problem is because of all the so called drag acts that have ruined it for a lot of us men out there who would like to wear a skirt/dress, even bodysuites with tights, I totally agree if a woman can look masculine in certain clothing, I can't see why men shouldn't be able to look a bit feminine too.

    For me as a boy groing up in Australia I would see what was on offer for women and silently think, if only there was something like this for men, and I mean not just in shirts, jumpers, jeans, shorts, underwear, even swimwear, I would think I wish men and boys were able wo wear what women wear, like skirts, dresses, shirts and jumpers and swimwear, because the so called swimwear that's out there for men I find frankly is very booring, that's the same with other clothing, like jeans, shorts and shirts and so on, sadly when things do change for the better for men, you and I in this day and age will be long gone before we ever get to experience anything like that, but if you keep doing what you are doing, you will go a long way to slowly change people's opinions about clothing and gender, I agree it's time to blure that line, even remove it all together.

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    1. I'm optimistic that the gender stereotypes are slowly eroding. There will always be people who don't get it and don't like it, but largely I think a lot of people understand that it's nothing to get to worked up about.

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  9. I so very much agree with you. I myself come from a point where I first wondered if I am transsexual or a transvestite (which I still can't realy define). By now I pretty much know that I just love dresses, expression of ones self with clothing, color, design and style. It gives me some sort of validation, a way to feel pretty and admirable. Also I can remove myself from the stereotype of "how a man is supposed to be" that still lingers in peoples heads.
    I myself would like very much to read more of your texts and thoughts. I find much of myself in them and sometimes discover new perspectives. You definitely are one of my Internet-Heroes ;)

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    1. Thank you for the compliments, Ruolbu! I appreciate it. I think it's really important to just be yourself, whatever that may be, so just get out there and rock it!

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  10. Not that I think that is much of our business the "Why" part. But to me it just means that you are so comfortable and confident in your masculinity that you don't see as a threat to it the use women clothing.
    You, my friend, are not motivated by the fear of question, and that is absolutely great. Hopefully more men will be inspired by your blog! =D

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    1. Thanks, Mariela! Indeed, this blog is all about getting people to step outside their fear and live their lives to the fullest, whatever form that may take.

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  11. I agree with this very much and would love to give women's clothing a shot but I am still in highschool and my mother is a very traditional person and I don't have a job yet :-( But hopefully things will change soon. In the meantime I plan to keep an eye on your blot because I support those who have the courage to be themselves. Good luck!
    Ps I looked at some of your lice and u look great keep it up!

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  12. I love wearing women's clothing and I don't care what other people think about me, but I don't feel comfortable wearing dresses and skirts unless I also am clean shaven all over and have makeup, a wig, and jewelry on so I don't wear dresses and skirts as much as I would like. I am bisexual and MTF and I am open to having sex with men, but these days most gay men reject any potential lover that is not masculine enough, and several have rejected me based solely on the fact that I used to be a drag queen or own dresses. I am puzzled as to why I have to butch it up and deny my true self just to get some dick. My last boyfriend dumped me for going to the grocery store in a dress and both of us had performed together as drag queens. His new bf dumped him because of the dresses in his closet. So I got back together with my ex wife who can at least tolerate my cross dressing.

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  13. You are an amazing human.

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  14. Hello Michael! I just wanted to say that I really appreciate the thing you have going on here with this blog. I've been struggling with my desire to wear women's clothing literally as long as I can remember (I've always hated that goddamn Green Day song "King for a Day," but the first few lines pretty accurately describes my past with this topic), and it's mostly the fact that I fear being judged about it. I feel slightly different about it than what you talk about on here, I suppose putting myself more in the "androgynous" category although I don't feel the need to wear women's clothing ALL the time, just occasionally, but when I do I'd rather go the whole way than just looking like a man in a dress. Just my own preference, of course.

    Anyhow, I'm glad that you're putting yourself out there giving people like me more of a reason to go out and do it themselves. :)

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  15. I admire your confidence. If you enjoy wearing "female" clothing, of course you should! If people feel the need to judge you for it, they clearly need to find better ways to occupy their time. Why should anyone be disturbed that you enjoy dressing a certain way? People are just so appalled if anyone strays from what they consider to be normal. You're awesome and you ROCK those outfits! :)

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  16. I found your website today and have been reading your essays. I totally get the bit about wanting to wear clothes you find attractive on people you find attractive. I am a straight female, but boy do I want to find a lovely fitted three piece suit to wear.

    I enjoy wearing fun clothes and my style has never fit into what anyone would call popular. Sometimes I get flack for it and sometimes people get my gender and/or orientation wrong. It doesn't particularly offend me if strangers assign me the wrong label, but it does make me wish for a society that didn't place so much value on tiny boxes and appearance placing us in those boxes. It's nice to see other people who wear what they want and damn the consequences.

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  17. I love this. Your blog is a delight. And if women can wear pants, why can't men wear skirts? Seems like a non sequitur to me. Do what makes you happy; it certainly isn't hurting anyone else :D
    - Lex

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