Gendered Intelligence: Understanding diversity in creative ways

Clothes

We've asked young people who use Gendered Intelligence services for some tips on buying clothes that help you feel more comfortable in yourself.

Here are their ideas.

1) When it comes to clothes, it’s all about finding what works best and makes you feel good.

2) The best way to learn what suits your body shape is by experimenting and trying things on. However, being in the early stages of your transition and shopping for clothes can be a daunting experience. It may be a good idea to go with a friend or family member, who can support you if you feel awkward. If you want you can always give the money to them too and ask them to pay at the till. If you’re not up to this though, it's fine.

3) If you have the funds, it can be easier to shop online. You could also look in charity shops, where clothes are more affordable.

Of course the downside is not being able to try the clothes on before purchasing them, but some sites like ASOS have free returns which means you can order more things than you need in different styles and sizes to experiment and then return the stuff you don’t need. By doing this you will learn what suits your body shape!

4) Another good idea is to persuade your friends or youth group to organise a clothes swap - then you can swap clothes you no longer wear for new styles that you'd like to try.

5) When trying to figure out your body shape, another tip is to find people online who have a similar body shape to you, i.e height, weight, proportions. You can look at celebrities, Youtubers or even just people on your Facebook friends list and study their pictures and how they dress taking these factors into account. Consider how they emphasize their best features, then apply what you’ve learnt to yourself.

Shopping tips for trans men and transmasculine people

Not all trans men and transmasculine people are small but many are. Sometimes it’s hard to get small enough sizes in masculine clothing. Here is a list of recommended places for masculine clothes in small sizes:

Top Man clothes run very small so are good for smaller people.

• Boys section of shops like H&M and Urban Outfitters will have small enough clothes for smaller trans people.

• If you are bigger you could go to the Men’s section in most department stores and high street clothes retailers

• There is a trans clothing exchange that you may be interested in.

Shoes

With regards to shoes, some trans feminine people have slightly larger feet, which can make finding fashionable shoes quite hard. In recent years a lot of high street shops have begun to cater for larger sizes. Primark and New Look are very good, because they stock up to size 9 and also have shoes in wide fit styles too.

But obviously there is less choice for trans feminine people with bigger feet, but because fit is paramount (you only get one pair of feet your whole life and you don’t want to mess them up with bad fitting shoes) you may wish to buy a shoe that fits well even if you don’t like the design of the shoe and then customize them yourself to make them more your style.

For instance why not stitch a bow onto the front of a simple ballet pump shoe, taking a bland basic shoe from drab to fab very easily. You can turn that basic shoe (that fits properly) into something fabulous.

If you have smaller sized feet and wish to purchase more ‘masculine’ style shoes then this can be a bit of a challenge as shoes in the men’s department usually starts at size 6. You could look in the children’s section of shoe shops or find there is a good set of options in the more ‘masculine’ or gender neutral style shoes in the women’s sections.

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