I have always used fashion as a form of artistic expression. It should be pretty obvious that my tastes run to the feminine, but rarely if ever precious. I am a closet fan of Little Big Girl and Gothic Lolita type looks–mainly because they are so thoughtful and complete–no stone goes un-turned with that crowd. I am also well aware that what I consider “feminine” or “pretty” is a social construct that comes from a patriarchal system that holds the view that women must dress in certain ways to be attractive to men.
It would be untrue if I said I didn’t adhere to that quite a bit, because that’s the cultural soup I’ve been ingesting my entire life. Yes, I wear makeup, and yes, I feel better when I do. I prefer skirts because I am self-conscious about the size of my ass/hips. My sense of what is “flattering” is solid, but it’s a construct like anything else. The ability to step out of the demands of fashion and what is considered the “right” way to look at any given time is one I’ve worked very hard at in some cases, and have been forced to accept in others. For example, I had to give up high heels AND flats some years ago due to Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I now tend to find the really high heels that are popular now to be ugly and dangerous looking. My back hurts on behalf the young women I see teetering around in stilts. BUT, lest you misconstrue, I am in no way saying women shouldn’t wear them if they want to. Go for it. Just, remember that it’s not really a sexier shoe than any other–we just believe it is. It’s a construct.
And so, there are days when I feel less feminine, but still interesting and attractive, and can pull off a tshirt and canvas, military-style boots with a skirt. It’s like every once in awhile I get a peek behind the curtain and think, “It’s about how I feel about what I’m wearing! It’s not about anything else!” It doesn’t happen all the time, but the older I get the more aware I am of the artificiality of the rules and that I am not required to even consider them rules and can instead tilt at those windmills in whatever garb feels right.