Clothing Privilege

This piece by John Scalzi about why he can wear generic clothes (mostly) says a lot about privilege in a very tangible way:

My systematic and personal advantages mean that nearly all disadvantages posed by someone judging me on my appearance are temporary and light. This is also why I find it amusing to post deeply unflattering pictures of myself online (see the one to the right as an example); I don’t have to worry about the negative side-effects of doing so. People who actually are judged on their appearance, and for whom that judgment will have a material effect on their life, don’t have the same luxury to be unconcerned as I do. What’s interesting and amusing to me is a matter of stress and anxiety for others.

which, coupled with this piece about poor people and brand-name clothes, really does explain a great deal of why people dress the way they do:

I do not know how much my mother spent on her camel colored cape or knee-high boots but I know that whatever she paid it returned in hard-to-measure dividends. How do you put a price on the double-take of a clerk at the welfare office who decides you might not be like those other trifling women in the waiting room and provides an extra bit of information about completing a form that you would not have known to ask about? What is the retail value of a school principal who defers a bit more to your child because your mother’s presentation of self signals that she might unleash the bureaucratic savvy of middle class parents to advocate for her child? I don’t know the price of these critical engagements with organizations and gatekeepers relative to our poverty when I was growing up. But, I am living proof of its investment yield.

Makes you think about your own clothing choices, and even how they change: at work, around friends and family.

So how is all of this gendered?

Kids’ Fashion

It’s a rare thing for me to post anything about kids, but I keep going back to my friend Jill’s blog Supergoodybag because it’s so pretty. It’s fashion for kids and Jill has a really great eye for gender neutral clothes that are still cool.

She’s also styled Beyonce, if you need more recommendation.

She is on Facebook as well, of course.

No to Urban Outfitters

So Urban Outfitters was selling a card that said:

Jack and Jill went up the hill / So Jack could see Jilly’s fanny / But Jack got a shock / and an eyeful of cock / Because Jill was a closet tranny

Classy. Someone brought it up (and snagged a copy of the image) on reddit, and then HuffPo picked it up.

Sadly, this doesn’t surprise me at all: the fake hipster of UO is already well-known, and despite how much you might like their stuff, their owner donates your green to guys like – Rick Santorum.

So no UO for me, no matter how fast they try to disappear this one.

Apology from OUT!Wear

The letter and apology from Maria Nasca of OUT!Wear:

14 July 2011

To our LGBT Community;

Please let me begin by saying it was never my intent to alienate our community or promote hate in any manner. Believe it or not, I had no idea of the gravity of this very political issue and the hurt it would cause. As a businessperson working in this community for the last 17 years, I have received many amazing inquiries, ideas and suggestions via my website to design and produce many products that I now currently sell.

As of late, I have received many inquiries to design and develop the WBW line of products for my customers. However, I was not as informed about this issue as I am today. It was an emotional reaction/business decision and NOT an informed action to develop this line further, and for that I truly apologize. No articles of the product line have been produced, and I have made the decision to discontinue it in the spirit of repairing and healing any damages that may have occurred as a result of this uninformed decision.

Please do not interpret my silence up till now as anything other than needing time to take this in, educate myself and create a thoughtful and respectful response. Continue reading “Apology from OUT!Wear”

Am I Really Writing a Post about Bras? Well Yes I Am.

Bras are actually the kind of thing I get asked about quite a lot because I work with women who weren’t dragged to Macy’s by mom the first time she noticed they had visible nipples, like I was. (Believe me, some things trans women should be thankful for.) I really like this queer guide to bras: great for butches, ladies with smaller breasts, and there are some useful lists, like this one on the kinds of bras it’s good to have in your possession:

1) A racerback (or convertible, which is good ’cause it also goes strapless in case tube tops come back)
2) For under white shirts, a bra that matches your skin tone
3) Regular black bra for everyday use
4) Sports bra for sports and/or gender panic

A blog post about bras that actually uses the term “gender panic”: excellent.

Similarly, she explains the differences between types of bra cups: Demi-Cup, Balconette, Contour Cup, Soft Cup, Padded, Push-Up, Minimizer, Molded Cups, Plunge. I’m partial to demis and Balconettes, myself. She mentions that they’re good for skinny girls, which is not exactly accurate: my feeling is that they’re better for certain kinds of breasts, but you’ll only know once you wear them. I find they’re sexy and create enough cleavage but not too much: I don’t wear pushups unless I need somewhere to rest my chin.

Continue reading “Am I Really Writing a Post about Bras? Well Yes I Am.”

Thai Tomboy

A new clothing store catering to tomboys and FTM spectrum people has opened in Bankgkok.

“At first people probably thought it was crazy,” said Supamas “Jean” Sirimoungkalavanit, owner of Tom Chic shop. “It was quite understandable to get such responses because tomswear was something new to them.”

“People often misperceive [sic] that we want to be like men,” she says. “We have a different taste, lifestyle and identity, and so tomboy clothing is different from what men wear.’’

Indeed what we categorize in the states more often as lesbian chic than tomswear does have a unique aesthetic it has quickly spread to tween boy idols and throughout the fashion world. And though Sirimoungkalavanit tries to make it clear that her shoppers do not necessarily want to be like men there is certainly an aspect to her line that many trans-identified people can relate to.

How cool is that?

Breeching the Girls

Aha! Finally, an explanation that makes sense:

Just as boys were once clothed in dresses, they were also once swaddled in pink. Historically, in many European countries, pink was the dominant color for boys, and blue—the official hue of the Virgin Mary—was the popular girls’ color. (emphasis mine)

which appears in an article by Brian Palmer at Slate about gendered clothing for young children, and whether or not Shiloh isn’t just a trendsetter (or retro, depending).

(Which forces me to admit: I was surprised the author of the article is male. Ah, gendered expectations always bite in the end.)

Crossdressed Protest

It’s kind of amazing, the idea of Iranian men wearing traditional head scarves to show their allegiance to the insurgence, but that’s what they’re doing.

Thus the new protest also speaks to the societal aspect of Iranian women being forced to accept a dress code, according to Dabashi.

“Proud to wear my late mother’s rusari, the very rusari that was forced on my wife in Iran, the very rusari for which my sisters are humiliated if they choose to wear it in Europe, and the very rusari that the backward banality that now rules Iran thinks will humiliate Majid Tavakoli if it is put on him — He is dearer and nobler to us today than he ever was.”

In a speech before his arrest, Tavakoli played on the theme of the day’s historical significance in light of current anti-government protests.

“We Iranian men are late doing this,” Dabashi said. “If we did this when rusari was forced on those among our sisters who did not wish to wear it 30 years ago, we would have perhaps not been here today.”

(thanks to Jade Catherine for the tip)