Clothes Shopping for Transmasculine Folks

I’ve had this post in my drafts for a while because while it is a post I’ve been wanting to make, I’ve never been fully investing while trying to write it. I think I’ve expressed everything that I wanted to in this one, however. So, enjoy! (two posts in one day, whaaat?)

Being honest, I love shopping. Buying new clothes was always such a fun adventure for me before transitioning, but now I’m finding it to be more and more tedious. Here’s my problem: I am a small person- I stand at about 5’4 and am pretty slim. In “women’s” clothes (and I say “women’s” with quotation marks because I believe clothing shouldn’t have a gender but alas, it still kinda does) I was a small, sometimes a medium. Now that I’ve started shopping in the “men’s” section, a size small is still too big of a fit for me. Being a small trans person makes shopping really difficult. The men’s section is designed for cis men’s bodies, not afab bodies, and I have yet to find a store for androgynous or gender neutral clothing for any body type.

The thing is, I just don’t feel comfortable in feminine clothes anymore. I find a lot of clothes designed for cis women are very form fitting and I hate the way they make me look. That being said, I also don’t want my clothes to be super baggy, which is where my problem with the “men’s” section comes into play- a “men’s” small is like a large on me. The t-shirts fall just shy of the top of my knee and the stitch that is supposed to sit on my shoulder hits way too low. Very rarely am I able to find masculine clothes that actually make me feel good. It’s kind of stupid, but when masculine clothes don’t fit me, I feel kind of invalidated. Like my body wasn’t made to be masculine; which leads into dysphoria and anxiety about not passing.

Packing my clothes this summer in preparation for moving back to university really made me realize how uncomfortable I am in feminine clothing. At that point, I only had about 4 t-shirts I felt comfortable in, and I didn’t want to pack ANYTHING else. Of course, I had to take my clothes with me to school, because what else was I gonna wear?

That summer I went shopping and found out West 49 has jeans that fit me. I bought three new pairs of jeans from there and felt really good about myself then. Throughout the school year I slowly began to rebuild my wardrobe with clothes I found that actually did fit me. They mostly came from West 49 and Bluenotes, but even then I hardly found t-shirts to fit. I found Forever 21 carried “men’s” sizes small enough to fit me, and so I bought all my clothes there any time I could.

Now, all my feminine clothes are in a storage bin under my bed, and I have enough masculine clothes that actually fit me. Shopping still kinda sucks, because I still have trouble finding clothes that will fit my body type, so I still experience a lot of passing anxiety in that respect. But my wardrobe is slowly filling up with clothes that really match how I feel on the inside, and I’m very happy with that.

Max

Are You a Boy?

Today at work a small child asked me: “Are you a boy?”

I’m writing this post because I’m not sure how I feel about what happened. When they asked, I felt the biggest burst of anxiety I think I’ve ever experienced. I answered with a very squeaky “yep” and walked to another section of the store as fast as possible.  I started to feel a little teary and I wanted to escape to the stock room. My heart felt like it jumped into my throat. I’m going to use this post to write down all my mixed feelings about being asked this question.

It made me feel very insecure. Why would they have asked me that if I didn’t clearly look like a boy already? I started to feel as though I don’t pass as anything other than female (a common thought of mine, unfortunately); which I don’t want. At all. But then I started to think about the fact that maybe I should be happy about it. At least they didn’t ask me “Are you a girl?” because that would have made me feel worse.

At first I was offended that they asked me; and that their mother didn’t say anything to them. On the other hand, though, if their mother had pulled them away and said “you shouldn’t ask people that, it’s rude” I would have thought that it was fine, that it was necessary. When this child grows up, maybe they’ll have trans friends. Or maybe they will discover that their gender is not was they were previously taught to believe- then, of course, they’ll want to be respectful and ask about their friends’ pronouns. Why would I want to encourage this mother to teach her child that it’s rude to ask someone a question like that?

I don’t understand why it had such a bad impact on me. When people my age ask me what pronouns they should use, I experience some discomfort, sure, but never to the degree that this child caused me. What is it about small children that can knock my confidence levels down so much? I wish I could have taken the time to confidently say “yes, I am. Thank you” or “No, but I’m not a girl either.” I wish it could have happened outside of work, where I could have sat down with them and explained it, because I believe it’s important for children to learn these things.

I’m not sure how I feel about what happened. I don’t know if I should feel good or bad, happy or upset. But I do know that I feel insecure, and that I’m sure I shouldn’t feel this way, but alas.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and listen to me rant about the weird feelings I experienced because of this.

Max