Outfit Post: 6/6/13

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Top: Goodwill — Skirt: Gift — Flats: 6pm.com (Frye) — Locket: Hand-me-down — Bracelet: ABC Store — Earrings: World Market

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I feel like I’m getting more comfortable with wearing outfits that land firmly on the sweet/romantic end of the Great Outfit Continuum.

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I talked a little bit about my uncertainty re: “cuteness” a couple of years ago, and what it means to me to perform femininity with clothing that has strong feminine connotations. I’ve thought about it some more since then, and I realized that my main discomfort is really directed towards feminine clothes that also skew young, due to that fear of looking “childish.”

There are a number of reasons that we’re socialized to be uncomfortable with not-little-girls dressing like little girls, reasons which are more complex than I can really fully understand or elucidate. For me, though, it’s not only about visual dissonance of age vs. clothing; young girls don’t historically have a lot of agency in our society, and when I wear clothing that skews young or childish, there’s an unconscious fear in my brain that people will deny me agency because of it. Of course, that’s an ongoing problem with feminine clothing in general–see the rise of shoulder pads and power suits–but the addition of youth compounds things.

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Not that I necessarily want to wear clothing that reads as little-girl-y; it’s just something I’ve been thinking about. When an idea feels uncomfortable, I want to ask why and think about where that discomfort comes from. Why did I feel uncomfortable about going to work with unshaven legs? Why did I raise an eyebrow at short-shorts? What makes “age-inappropriate” clothing inappropriate? Pretty 101 stuff, but even when I don’t come to a solid conclusion, I’d rather think about it than ignore or avoid the discomfort. I want to recognize these moments and use them to my advantage.

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5 thoughts on “Outfit Post: 6/6/13

  1. I do love that skirt, in fact, I just got one very similar. I think I’ve been having very similar thoughts on it too. Full skirts are my favorite skirts, but I also skew very young looking. Then again, I got called “ma’am” today in a very serious tone, so I dunno. ;P It is worth thinking on though!

    • Mia says:

      This skirt is actually a big staple for me, but in the past I had a distinct tendency to–not dress it down, exactly, but definitely dress it away from the sweet/romantic elements. I’m beginning to embrace wearing more feminine-reading garments from head to toe, even though I still like to mix up the gender-neutral and masculine elements too. I can’t think of the last time I got called Miss OR Ma’am, maybe we’re just less polite here in California. I have gotten Sir’d a couple times since I started buzzing my head, which I am A-OK with.

  2. Oh this shirt is pretty. The ruffles are kind of offbeat, which makes them so much more interesting than the typical ruffled shirt.

    I think I probably always look too young, which is one of the reasons I tend to wear lipstick. And tend to be extra styled.

    However, I do get called ma’am with a good bit a regularity. Maybe I just have one of those really ambiguous ages.

  3. Funny, I wore something this weekend that reminds me of a dress I owned as a child, and it gives me great joy. Though, at 31, it’s practically impossible for me to look like a child. I just really enjoy pieces that are young and “girly” and then I sort of dress them up in a way that’s more mature.

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