Adventures in the Library

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I was going start this blog with this look, or one similar, as it’s a pretty standard, every day look for me, but I felt a bit like I was pushing the “male coded andro” forward and that wasn’t something I wanted to do. But I figure that as it is my everyday style that I should talk about it, and why I have ended up falling into the stereotype nonbinary box (if there is one?)

First and foremost I want to say that suits, waistcoats and tailoring in general are a real passion of mine. I love it. I have always loved it. I cannot remember a time when I did not want to wear clothes that looked that good, that sharp, that refined. If I could afford it I would wear well-tailored tweed all the time – well, possibly not all the time, but a lot of the time, I mean who wants to wear the same thing every day. That would be dull.

This love for male coded clothing is what, in many ways, pushed me to start exploring my own gender (there was a lot of other, somewhat more unpleasant stuff too, which I may possibly go into at some point, but let’s just stick with this single narrative for now). I looked to the likes of Annie Lennox, David Bowie, Victor/Victoria and saw this beautiful world of elfin, androgynous, suit wearing people and I wanted to be one of them. Look how I fell into the clichés! But it really helped. Dressing like this gave me armour, it gave me a safe way to explore my gender, it was something, that may not have been completely accepted but at least people had seen it before and understood it to a certain extent.

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Annie Lennox – goddess.

And so I went on exploring. I learnt to sew for myself so I could retailor men’s clothes and make my own to fit and it helped. It really helped. I found my feet and my confidence. It took time, it took a lot of self-doubt, a lot of questioning “am I trans?” “am I a tomboy?” “is this who I am?” which I’m sure every nonbinary teenager has gone through, but in the end these clothes, my shield against the world, allowed me to answer those questions.

Now, I’ve spoken before about my rejection of femininity, and that was an unfortunate side effect of this process. I felt, for some odd reason, that I couldn’t explore these ideas, could truly be nonbinary if I accepted the feminine aspect of myself. Whether this was through a rejection of my body or because I didn’t want to be gendered so swinging completely to the opposite end of the spectrum seemed safer, or because of the patriarchal nature of our society, I don’t know, but is something I regret. In writing this blog and my experiences, I hope to help people through these problems in some way, and possibly show them that being NB is not a rejection it as an acceptance. For me, this look, the Peter Pan, cute boi, is a safe space, and I genuinely love it. I love wearing these clothes but I don’t want people to think it is the only way to be NB.

Outfit breakdown

I know, you’re all – yes all three of you – wondering why this is called “Adventures in the Library” well the sad truth is this is what I wore to go and return overdue library books. Well, we must take pleasure in the little things.

It’s actually a relatively simple look, or at least I think so, but I own these clothes so I would think that. Shirt, waistcoat, suit trousers, boots and boot socks, coat, hat, scarf and some weird necklaces. Simple? Maybe.

First things first with this outfit, texture. The colour palette is pretty dull, dark greens browns and reds, but the textures of the fabrics make it pop. Not only that but they add depth and interest, which confuses the shape of the wearer. Well that’s the theory.

The shirt is brushed cotton, not an obvious texture to look at but gives a sort of devil may care attitude to the overall look. It’s not “smart” but it’s also not a casual tee. Doing up the top button adds to this and also hides the bust somewhat. Weird but true. Putting the herringbone tweed waistcoat over the top adds to the smart look but you’re not wearing a tie so you don’t look like your dad or headmaster. A button down with a waistcoat is really cool. That’s just the reality of the situation.

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Hmm, that herringbone.

Ok, next up trousers. I have no real idea what type of trousers these are. There somewhere between a 1930s adventurer and a pair of chinos and they are made from very fine corduroy. Charity shops are magical places. To be honest, the colour here is why I chose them. I didn’t want the trousers to take over the look, which something brighter or more interestingly coloured could have done – example, mustard yellow cords; great item but only goes with certain outfits. Because I’ve got the tall boots and the socks, the trousers are literally just there to be trousers, and no more. Of course they need to fit the colour palette of the outfit, jeans wouldn’t have worked, but keep it nice and plain.

Socks, another texture. Wool hiking socks. Super comfy, like so comfy. These are the best part of the outfit in my opinion, my feet were snug as a bug. Adding the layer here, and cutting the leg off below the knee you’re making your legs look longer and the cut of the trousers more interesting. I always find that wearing boots/long socks and boots, makes an outfit just that little more interesting and different. Or possibly like you’ve walked off a country estate. Neither of these is a bad thing.

Scarf and boots playing matchy-matchy. When you are wearing shoes of an odd colour make sure you match them up with another item of clothing. Gloves, scarves, hats. These are your outer pieces, as are your shoes so it’s a good idea for them to all work together. (Hey look, I sound like I know what I’m talking about.) That’s what I’ve done here. Same tonal range, so dark colours, but opposite side of the colour wheel, it really creates some dynamism within the outfit.

The coat is just a parker, but with this outfit, the smartness of it that is, it just helps make it a bit more casual and every day. If you wore this same look with a blazer or an over coat you would get a completely different feel. Possibly something you wear to dinner or out to the pub if you wanted to impress people just a little too much. But the parker keeps this as a quirky every day outfit.

If you want to add accessories, fun necklaces are always a goer and maybe a chunky ring.

If you like this look please let me know. If you like my random stories about my life as a nonbinary person let me know. If there are any looks you really want to know about, any styles you want to try or want me to talk about, then let me know.

You can now follow me on Instagram @lilistprince and on twitter @lilistprince. I will be posting daily looks on both of these, and chatting about life as a nonbinary person.

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‘Olly out.

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