From the time I entered kindergarten until I graduated from high school, I wore a uniform. I wasn’t a big fan of how it looked, but it made dressing in the morning very easy.
Once I went off to college, I had to pick out an outfit everyday, and it was exhausting. I didn’t do much in the way of fashion, but I still didn’t want to look as though I never changed my clothes. I ended up creating a uniform of sorts — generally jeans, black Doc Martens, and a solid colored v-neck of sorts. I had probably a dozen different v-necks in a rainbow of colors. It evolved a bit over the years — now I wear polos instead of v-necks — but it has remained surprisingly constant (or perhaps not surprisingly, given how inept I am with fashion and how little I have in the way of personal style).
Especially during the last half of my college years, I really missed my uniform. Not the clothing itself (navy pants, white Oxford shirt, and navy sweater with the school name embroidered on it), but having a uniform. Wearing a uniform meant, for the most part, that I didn’t need to worry about what my clothing said about me. I didn’t need to have personal style. I didn’t need to worry about whether the message my clothing was sending — femmey or preppy or something else. Was it too casual? Too dressy? Was it too girly or too butch — did it make any kind of gendered statement? I just wore the dang thing, the choices — for the most part — taken out of my hands.
I still don’t really have a sense of personal style. I realized that over the past two years or so, most of my clothing choices have been aimed at disguising my body. My polos are mostly looser and slightly structured; my jeans were loose just this side of being baggy. I really only started wearing skinny jeans of any sort since living in Chicago — I like how they look, and I’m tired of worrying about whether they show my hips or not.
I’m optimistic that after top surgery, I’ll be able to explore fashion a little more. I won’t be basing my decisions around how my shirts hang over my chest and whether they cover my binder. Between surgery and T, I’ll look more male myself — I won’t need my clothing to do that for me. It might bring on all kinds of pink, sequined stuff. I’m kind of excited to see what will happen. I’m pretty sure there’s a pink, sequined bowtie out there with my name on it (figuratively, of course — I don’t think there’s room for my name in sequins on a bowtie).