How many times have you stood in front of a jam-packed closet and muttered to no one in particular, “I have got nothing to wear?”
My eighteen year old is famous for tossing one outfit after another into a pile, rejecting each one as inappropriate, out of style, ill-fitting, wrong color, etc., etc. A week after a shopping trip, she’ll pleadingly tell me that she doesn’t have “anything to wear” and needs to go the mall. I cannot muster much sympathy for her and I look at the mounds of clothes overflowing from her laundry basket.
Several months ago, Hunter decided to clean out his closet. This gave new meaning to the statement, “I have nothing to wear.” Anything that came from the girls’ department or was remotely related to Olivia’s wardrobe went into the giveaway pile. Skinny jeans, leggings, capped sleeve t-shirts, cowl-necked belted tunics, skirts formerly worn to shul, spaghetti-strapped party dresses, 3/4 sleeve cardigans…well, you get the picture.
He really had nothing to wear with the exception of some jeans from Aeropostale’s young men’s department and a few boxy souvenir t-shirts from camp and charity walks. So, off we go.
Do you know how difficult it is to shop for a teen FTM transboy who wants to look male, has a girl’s body, needs to camouflage said girl’s body and by the way, wants to look cool and stylish?
“Those jeans look great on you.”
“I hate them.”
“They fit perfectly. What don’t you like about them?”
Voice getting louder, he tugs on the back pockets, furiously trying to get the jeans off. “I don’t like the way my butt looks.”
Apparently, the problems are universal.
He tries on pair after pair of jeans; different styles, cuts, brands, sizes, until we meet with success. There is an art to finding just the right ones. The ones that mask any sign of feminine curvy-ness, the ones that hang just right off the rear end, the ones that make him feel like a guy. Period.
Maybe I shouldn’t get into this now, here, in this moment, but let me just say that replacing a trans boy’s wardrobe also involved the items that you don’t see. I was really ok shopping for the jeans, the shirts, the socks — it was the under “stuff” that jammed me up. I really had a hard time putting the “briefs” into the cart. But, I did. For Hunter. It’s what he wanted, what he needed to feel male, to help overcome the body dysphoria.
You know that expression, “clothes make the man?” Well, it has never been more true for us. The right clothes boost self-esteem and improve self-confidence. No longer is our son trying to hide behind extra large t-shirts sweats. He is finding his style while discovering himself.