Cute and Casual (Don’t Judge a Nonbinary Person by their Cover)
The way I see it, there is this idea that people need to look a certain way to be seen as a certain gender. Society dictates these ideas of dress and appearance to code as binary people. Men or woman, boy or girl, 1 or 0, it’s an odd dichotomy that traps the world is state of stagnation. To say that a person is one way purely based on a socialized idea of appearance is unnecessary and deeply boring. We are, after all, books that cannot be judged by our covers.
I feel this is why there is an assumption that nonbinary people will look a certain way. People love to put a little box out for you to sit in so they can go “yup this one looks right I can validate it” and that is wrong on so many levels. The idea that any gender should look a certain way to fit into society’s fixed view of who and what they are means that many people do not feel free to present themselves in way that they like and those that do are seen as, at best, “unfashionable” or, at worst, “ugly”. This is obviously ridiculous. No one is ugly, and no one is unfashionable, we are simply ourselves, expressing what we want to express.
It may seem odd that I have chosen such a conventional outfit to talk about this topic but I actually felt that for me, and for the way I present myself, this was a perfect choice. I often dress in a very unconventional manner, and often people are more likely to accept my identity when I’m like that then when I’m “dressed down”. Just because I’m not wearing a binder and a pair of breeks today does not mean I have suddenly stopped being NB. Yes, I have opted to look more feminine, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I am still NB. My clothes have nothing to do with my gender. If I have decided one day to conform more to society’s feminine ideals that is not because I am a girl, it is because this outfit looks nice and I wanted to wear it. That’s all there is to it.
There is an obsession with gendering appearance, judging if someone is a man or a women with a glance, and that is incredibly damaging to everyone. For the trans community is has created the idea that you need to “pass” to be accepted, which is blatantly wrong and unfair. Not everyone has access to amazing plastic surgery or even to the hormones that they might need, that doesn’t make them any less the gender that they are. Not everyone wants to present according to the traditional norms of gender either but that doesn’t make them any else the gender they say they are.
And thing is this is programmed into us and it will take a long time to undo that way of thinking, so don’t feel bad if your first thought of someone is not correct, what’s important is that you catch yourself and don’t make assumptions, don’t say awful things, but instead maybe ask that person’s gender just a “I’m sorry but what are your pronouns”, listen and learn and try to deprogram yourself just a little. Don’t be like “well you don’t look nonbinary” or something like that because we don’t know other people’s minds and we cannot be the ones to decide these things for them.
That got a bit deeper than I was planning if I’m honest. And I’m not sure if I managed to write it out well or convey it properly but I tried.
Honestly this is a crazy simply outfit. I think I wore it in June last year and it was oddly cool for summer, but still I didn’t want to go for loads of layers, just in case. I actually really like cool summer days because you can wear such a range of outfits but still don’t have to put a big coat on over the top. It makes life so much easier haha.
The top is one I’ve had for literally years. I got it in Zara and a while back I would have said it would be hard to find something like this now but tops like this are back in fashion! It’s pretty great! I love the wide neck on this because I think it makes it’s more interesting and makes your neck look longer which a round or turtleneck jumper won’t do, plus it’s more summery. So if you want to create a more spring/summer time look go for a more open or slash neck type top and for autumn/winter you want polo/turtle/round neck, at least if you are into that sort of thing and matching your outfit to the season. It’s not everyone’s thing.
Anyway! The stripes are cute and give a “nautical” type feel to the look, which again is cute for summer and this top is actually cropped so, even though it’s tucked into the trousers so it’s got a cute vintage vibe which I obviously love.
If you like this too, I think you’ll be able to find something it like on the high street but otherwise Depop is a great go to for this things. I do love that app.
The trousers are linen peg trousers that I got in Marks and Spencers last summer season. Again, such an easy wear, I think I spent a lot of last summer wearing them because they are so chill and look good with pretty much everything despite the mustard colour. I also have a pair that’s striped but they are harder to wear unfortunately.
I think peg trousers are pretty much a go to for me when I want something quick and cute to wear. They’re high waisted, which I love, not too tight, but cut nicely and flatter pretty much every shape (no seriously, I mean it, everyone should wear them). They can be smart or casual, dressed up or just chilling out with friends. I would recommend that everyone have a pair in their wardrobe. I do think it’s a shame that they seem to be going out of style in favour of lower cut waistbands (boo!) but you can still find them around, especially in places like Marks and Spencer, Zara and Next. Or again go online, eBay, Depop, and most good vintage sellers will have something good there for you to find.
This whole outfit is built with favourite pieces of mine, because the shoes are right up there as well. I love monk straps, and I love these ones even more because they have a creeper sole and they were a fiver from a charity shop! The things you can find!
I do think modern takes on traditional shoe styles are one of the best things that is happening in fashion right now. It means you can get a good, comfy, proper shoe but it still looks great. Silver Oxfords, glitter covered Brogues or a styled up Monk Strap are making it fashionable to be comfy and I am all about that!
The bag is just my “day out” bag. It’s a canvas and leather rucksack that I got in a very good amazon sale (£40 instead of £200! Yes please!) but these sorts of bags are very in at the moment, you can get them in Fatface or Accessorize or any hipster, vintage store you want to stick you head into. Really good for carrying around a book or two.
Over all this is a really simple but classy look. It’s not a big statement or a “look at me” but it’s also not blending into the background. I actually worried on the day that I would feel “too feminine” but I didn’t. It wasn’t the clothes that defined my gender but my gender that defined the clothes.
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If you want more please check out my last articles:
- The Little Lost Prince and How They Learned Their Clothes had Memories
- Bags of Personality
- Let’s Talk about Gender Presentation and be Empowered
- The Doctor’s New Clothes
Written by Holly Rose Swinyard