When I first started buying female clothes it was such a thrilling experience to finally allow myself the freedom to actually do it, it was almost overwhelming. At the time, it really didn’t matter that the clothes didn’t fit all that well, and that they didn’t really coordinate with each other to create outfits. All that really mattered was that they were female and that I had bought them for myself. This was more than twenty years ago, when I was in my early twenties and it was such a newfound freedom that I was fairly giddy with the excitement of it all. Not a sexual excitement as many cross dressers are prone to, but an excitement of unbridled freedom. Freedom of finally allowing myself to do something that I had longed for the vast majority of my life.
I very clearly remember this time in my life. It was so new, so fresh, so different from anything else that I had experienced before. It sounds ridiculous that clothes could be so important, but it’s true, they were. I began to collect clothes like trophies. The more of them I purchased and filled my closet and dresser with, the prouder I felt. It bcame more than a bit of an obsession for me. I would plan entire vacations around different outlet malls where I could spend quality time shopping. My wife and I would plan our days by which stores I wanted to go to, how long we could stay on our feet, and how long she would tolerate my need to go into every possible store.
I would come home with bags and bags of clothes. My trophies would be laid out while I tried them on again before hanging them in my quickly filling closet. This went on for many years. Over and over, visiting more and more stores, buying anything that appealed to me and that I could get over my head or up to my waist. It took me a long time before I realized what was happening; I was searching for something. But I didn’t even know what I was searching for.
And it is difficult to find something when you don’t even know what it is that you are looking for. I thought that maybe it was the right dress, the right top, or maybe the right pair of shoes. If only I could find the right type of top, then I would look the way I thought I should. If only I could find the right dress, then I would feel the way I thought I should. Maybe if I allowed myself to buy that hundred dollar pair of boots, then I would feel fulfilled. Maybe those one hundred fifty dollar pair of skinny jeans would give me the look that I was going for.
I thought that what I was searching for was the right look; that I was trying to find my style. It can be very difficult for gender variant people to find their own style, with years of fear and hiding, coupled with vast amounts of shame and guilt, it doesn’t exactly make for easy shopping trips! I thought maybe that was all that was going on; I was working through my feelings, trying to figure out all of these wacky women’s clothes. I would buy clothes, hang them in my closet, then never find the right time to wear them. They would languish there, slowly collecting dust while I tried to match them with the right top, or the correct season, or some such nonsense. Often clothes with tags still attached would get donated to make room for my newest trophies.
Things slowed down eventually and my outlet mall vacations greatly decreased in frequency. I stopped buying clothes that I would never wear. I began to find things that would coordinate with each other and I figured out how to make some decent looking outfits. And I was convinced even more that my frivolous, wasteful shopping had all been an attempt to find my style. But recently I was packing for a weekend trip with my wife when I told her how bummed I was not be able to bring along more of my friends. Friends being clothes, by the way. It was around then that I began to get a better idea of how much my clothes have meant to me.
I don’t think that I have ever been searching for the right pair of jeans, or the right skirt, or the right outfit. I think I have been searching for an identity. Which is really kind of a strange idea. I mean, I have always been me. I have always known myself. But in many ways, I have never been willing to share who I am with the world. And because of that unwillingness, I hid a part of me so well that I think I lost it. Through lots of shopping, lots of trying on clothes, lots of clothing purchases, all of it, every single bit of it combined together has helped me to find a part of me that I had lost. And for that I am grateful.
This is a new thought for me, a different thought, a weird thought. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense, even to me. What I do know is that I no longer shop like I used to. Instead I am super selective and generally will only add things to my well combed-through closet if it actually works well for me. I like my clothes more than ever, but the drive to purchase random clothing items simply because they are sold in the women’s department is no longer present. I appreciate my current wardrobe. I am proud of the collection I have cultivated. And yes, even though it sounds more than a little weird, yes in fact my clothes are some of my best friends. For it is only through them that I have been able to find myself.
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Hi, I’m Nadine Spirit and I have been a lifelong gender non-conformer. I have always understood that I am a bit different than most but it was not until sometime in my thirties that I came to understand that I am transgender. While I spend most of my time presenting as a male I am always presenting in a gender non-conforming manner.
I started my blog, Unordinary Style, with the idea of being able to show a stylish side to those who identify as transgender. Since that time my blog has evolved into showing my personal style, discussing a wide variety of transgender topics, as well as posts about my personal life. My personal style continues to evolve as I attempt to continually push myself to pick stuff off of the racks, take it into the dressing room, and try on as much as I can. I am a firm believer in ignoring tag sizes, never paying retail prices, and due to a terrific allergy – that nickel should never be in any jewelry!