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"Dannielle, how do you stop yourself from getting angry about people (strangers, etc) making assumptions/comments about your gender presentation in public?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

A few months ago I was apple picking (DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT) and a 6-year-old referred to my gf and I as “you and the girl.” Which, I KNEW was because he knew FOR SURE my gal was a gal because dresses and long hair, but he had no idea what TF I was… like was I a boy or a girl and how would he even ask and was it worth the time? He decided to just bypass the whole issue and move on bc the point of his conversation was, if my gf sat on my shoulders, she could easily reach the apples without needing the apple-picking-wire-tool. THAT WAS THE POINT, THE POINT WASN’T TO HAVE A LONG CONVO ABOUT MY GENDER. This six year old knew that and moved on without question.

Later talking about it, I thought it was pretty cool. He didn’t need clarity because it didn’t matter. I was a person and he wanted to talk to me and he didn’t give a fuck what I was peeing with, you know? (BC when you’re six, that’s all gender is, that’s it)

Gender, of course, is not that simple. HOWEVER, I felt I needed to start there because it wasn’t anything I’d thought about. I’d only thought about my experiences being referred to as the wrong gender in so many situations. I’d only thought about feeling uncomfortable and destroyed because I can’t dress the way I want or feel comfortable without being mis-identified by people who know nothing about me. AND THIS IS ALL BASED ON WHAT I’M WEARING AND HATS… it makes no sense and I hate it. I do get angry, I get VERY angry, especially because it isn’t about me. It’s about the thousands of people we talk to every day who go through what I’m going through. People who struggle even more with their identity and don’t know how to react. People who struggle and don’t know how to talk about it, who talk to, why it’s okay to feel comfortable, ANYTHING. People who don’t live in big-progressive-city-bubble like me. I get sad for my own feels, yea, but I get way more sad for all the other humans with feels.

I try to bypass those feelings by paying attention to all the positive shit that’s going on. AND I try to be a part of that positive. I like to have conversations with people close to me, or people I work with and let them know my stance on gender. My stance is confusing, because gender is confusing. BUT THE POINT IS, you can really get into someone’s brain and make them start to live life in a more inclusive way if you simply bring up the idea that (1) you don’t always know someone’s gender just by looking at them and (2) you don’t ever NEED to know someone’s gender… Honestly, why do you have to say “ma’am can we borrow your salt” when you can just say “excuse me, can we borrow your salt?” It’s a small change, but if we all made it, the world and the people around us would feel a lot more comfortable. We are lightyears ahead of where we were 20 years ago. And “progress” is an active word, we are in motion, currently changing how people think and act and speak. We can’t expect the entire world to change over night, we can just try as hard as possible to continue making that change. And I think we are doing just that.


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"So I’m agender, and I’m going to a wedding. I need formal wear, but neither dresses nor suits work for me. I was thinking of just wearing a waistcoat over a dress shirt and pants, along with a tie, but I’m worried that it won’t be formal enough. Are there any other formal clothing options that might work, or should I just go with the possibly informal outfit and hope for the best?"

- Question asked by Anonymous and answered by Anita Dolce Vita as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions.

Anita Says:

Your question really hits home for me because my partner is currently in the same boat as you. While she identifies as female, she presents as androgynous. (Gender identity and gender expression are two different concepts. They can be related, but do not have to be.) She is filled with dread whenever we get an invitation to a wedding, graduation, or any other event that calls for formal attire because, like you, she does not want to wear a dress, but also feels that suits are too masculine. Conversely, I get super excited for formal events because I love dressing up and I can never turn down a good excuse to shop for a new dress. While I’m happily pursuing stores in search of the perfect dresses and stilettos and chandelier earrings, my partner is following me around, depressed that she cannot find anything to wear. Sometimes, she gets so stressed that it takes the joy out of attending formal events for both of us, because I feel sad and worried when she’s unhappy at the event and the days leading up to it.

Recently, she and I have been throwing around the idea of having a commitment ceremony. Once again, the issue of what she could wear reared its ugly head; It is truly frustrating that clothing options are so limited, narrow, and binary!!! She and another reader inspired me to write a piece on androgynous wedding attirefor dapperQ. This piece may be a good starting point for you. But, as I mentioned to the reader who submitted a similar question, providing individualized wedding attire recommendations is a bit challenging without knowing the general theme of the wedding (colors, setting, flowers, etc.), the level of formality (black-tie, casual, etc.), location (outdoor, indoor, beach, ballroom, city, country, etc.), season (winter, summer, etc.), and your personal style (preppy, street Goth, hipster, etc.) I’m going to give you a few options based on style. I’ve also created a Pinterest mood board to give you a ballpark visual idea of these recommendations, as well as some pattern, color, and texture inspiration.


You mentioned you were going to wear a vest. However, in my opinion, a good blazer or sport coat can be just as formal and gender-neutral as a vest. (Check out dapperQ’s post on the difference between a sport coat, blazer, and suit jacket.) The typical preppy uniform might look something like a button-down shirt under a navy blazer, paired with tan dress trousers and brown dress loafers. But, you can infuse your own personal style in this traditional, preppy template by adding unexpected touches. For example, if you’re comfortable going bold, wear a button-down with a unique pattern or interesting color, like plaid or hot pink, under your navy blazer. Additionally, instead of wearing a necktie or bow-tie, I recommend affixing an eye catching brooch or collar bar where your collar buttons at the top-center of your shirt. An anchor brooch could really drive home a preppy, nautical theme.


There is much debate about what exactly constitutes heritage style (think tweed, corduroy, patterned knits), but the aesthetic is definitely popular now and one you can use as inspiration if you want to stick with a vest rather than wearing a jacket. Opt for a herringbone vest and, as I suggested above, let interesting patterns and colors tell your style story. I personally really like the combination of tweed vests and red or burgundy colored dress trousers. You can go sans tie and add some cool accessories like a vest pocket chain/watchcollar chain (antler collar chains are a fun option for a heritage ensemble), or a stylish lapel pin. Oh, and socks! Don’t forget that you can get a lot of style mileage out of a good pair of patterned socks.

High Fashion

Musicians, artists, and cool hunters can be pretty good at bucking classic styles. If you are bold, fashion-forward, and like to draw outside the lines, you can get really creative. How about a black blazer or vest paired with a leopard print button-down, teal trousers, a collar chain, a homemade lapel pin, and studded dress shoes? Or, go all out power-clashing in a long, tailored black vest, a pair of plaid dress pants, and a polka-dot or stripped button-down? After all, it’s a wedding…not a funeral.


Click through to read more about Anita and our other Second Opinions panelists!


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"FIRST DATE HELP?! I’m super panicking, I have a date in a week. With a girl. Who I’m actually into. What do I wear if I’m not super feminine? WHAT IF IT’S AWKWARD? How do I keep myself from canceling like I always do?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

As far as what to wear. JUST FEEL COOL. It’s like, if you try to go too nice or you try to look like you’re not trying too hard or you try to look “super cazsh” (abbreviation for casual?) you’re just going to be uncomfortable and wondering what she’s thinking about what you’re wearing. You won’t even hear a single story she tells because you’ll be like “SHE JUST LOOKED AT MY SHIRT I THINK WHAT DOES SHE THINK ABOUT MY SHIRT.” So wear what you feel good in.

Keep yourself from canceling by reminding yourself that it isn’t actually that big of a deal. If it’s the FUCKING WORST NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE. It’s 3 hours. THREE HOURS. And tbh, if it’s the worst, it probably won’t be more than 1 hour. That’s 1/24th of one day. That’s 1/168th of a week. That’s 1/8,675th of one year… IT’S NOTHING. By the time your 40th bday hits, you will either (1) not even remember the shitty date, (2) love talking about the time you went on a ridiculous date with someone you never saw again, (3) have a really good friend who you tried to date once, (3) STILL be super in love with the person you went on an awkward date with… YOU KNOW?

Be comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing. Go on the date because why the fuck not?! Don’t cancel because the first step in keeping yourself from canceling, is to keep yourself from canceling.  Have a blast and maybe watch an episode of COSMOs to remind yourself that life is fairly meaningless, nothing matters, and you’re just here to make the most of it and have a nice time. Plus shout out to getting some kisses, maybe?!

Kristin Says:

Ummmmm, I feel like our work here is done?!

FINE FINE, I will add three things.

FIRST: this person is going on a date with YOU. That is because they are interested in you. Wake up the day of the date, and pretend that you are hanging out with your best friend that night. Dress accordingly. This person took interest in the person you were before you were worried about impressing them… so, in the words of the Jersey Shore or Autostraddle or someone somewhere, the first step is always you do you.

SECOND: If it gets awkward, tell a story about how you wrote into Everyone Is Gay asking what to do if it got awkward, and THEY said to bring a deck of cards and play Spit. (Bring a deck of cards, and learn how to play Spit). Then, do that. You’ll fall in love, and it will be great.

THIRD: Print this out and put it in your wallet and every time you want to cancel look at it and remember what Dannielle said:


If that doesn’t work, picture me doing this:



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"Do you have any clothing tips for a female-bodied person who wants to look like a guy? How can I find pants that minimize my hips (just covering them up only makes it worse) or shirts that make my minuscule shoulders look a bit broader? AND WHAT ABOUT FANCY CLOTHES?!"

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Anita Dolce Vita as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions.

Anita Says:

Congratulations on embarking upon the journey of developing a masculine wardrobe that affirms your identity.  Finding masculine clothing that fits female bodied individuals is undoubtedly a struggle and you are not alone in this struggle. How you dress does impact the way you think and feel, thus, it is important to find clothing that empowers you.  I’m here to provide you with some suggestions to guide you through this journey. Some suggestions will be exciting. Others will be frustrating. But, hopefully, many will be practical methods that you can employ so that you can achieve a look that makes you feel great! So, let’s get started…

First, let’s acknowledge an unfortunate truth: The fashion industry designs off-the-rack (as opposed to custom made, a.k.a. bespoke) clothing to fit their image of “ideal” body types, most of which are unattainable and do not represent a diverse range of shapes and sizes. This is true of both menswear ANDwomenswear. Menswear blog posts and magazine articles addressing reader concerns that menswear does not fit properly reveal common fit issues. Experts often advise that readers know their proportions, get clothing tailored, and/or invest in bespoke apparel. In fact, James Sanders (known as the Fat Fashion Guy), a fashion editor and writer on style and culture, published an article on theHuffington Post  discussing the dearth of plus-size specific men’s fashion blogs at a time when menswear blogs are exponentially increasing in number and popularity. And, The Handbook of Style: A Man’s Guide to Looking Good byEsquire magazine writes:

Are you a ‘drop six’? If you are, you’re a suit maker’s dream: Your chest is six inches larger than your waist. You can wear anything. Sadly, most of us don’t live inside those ideal tailoring measurements.

Well just grrrrrrrrrrreat! If the menswear fashion industry is failing to address the needs of a wide range of male bodied individuals, how do female bodied individuals stand a chance at finding menswear that fits?

Ready to throw in the towel? Don’t! You CAN do this. Know that building your dream closet will be a labor of love. It will take work, and for those who dislike shopping, not finding their dream wardrobe in one day, one week, one month can feel overwhelming. You are a work of art and your body is a canvas. You’re not going to produce a wardrobe masterpiece overnight, but you can use these tips to make the journey less daunting.

1. Know a few things about boys and menswear sizing

Menswear sizing is usually stated in inch measurements, and Americans accustomed to shopping in womenswear departments often do not know their body measurements because womenswear sizes are typically denoted with arbitrary numbers (e.g., 2, 22, 14, 6, 26, etc.). First things first, let’s get you started with basic measurements.

Measure around your natural waistline, keeping the tape comfortably loose.

Stand with your heels together and measure around the fullest part of your hips.

Wrap the tape around the fullest part of your chest or bust, including your shoulder blades, then drop your arms to your sides to measure.

Measure around the middle of neck. Allow room for your index finger to fit between the tape and your neck for a comfortable fit.

With the appropriate shoes on, measure from your crotch to your desired pant length.

Once you know your measurements, take a look at the boys and menswear sizing chart dapperQ put together, keeping in mind that brands and styles within brands have some variability with respect to sizing, which brings us to my next word of advice.

2. If first you don’t succeed, try on and try on again

You will probably have to try on LOTS of clothes before you find brands that best fit your unique shape. dapperQ’s store guide is a great place to start researching brands that offer masculine clothing for female bodied individuals.  More specific to your fit question, dapperQ also published a piece on masculine trousers for curvy individuals that you may find helpful.

In addition to trying on for size, try a variety of patterns, colors, and cuts to create illusions. For example, those who want to create an illusion of a broader shoulder may want to consider trying on structured jackets with shoulder pads; shirts and ties with horizontal stripes; and slimmer fit pants that make the body appear more “V-shaped.”

Experiment with different brands, collections, cuts, shapes, patterns, colors, and textures. Just get in that dressing room and start experimenting.

3. The tailor is your new best friend

Whether you want your pants hemmed just a few inches or you need major alterations on a suit to accentuate and/or minimize the appearance of different areas of your body, a good tailor will help you achieve the perfect fit. When purchasing an article of clothing that you intend to get tailored, be sure that it fits the largest portions of your body and get any excess material taken in. It is easier for a tailor to remove and take-in fabric than it is to “let-out” or add fabric. For example, if you are having a very difficult time finding trousers that hide your hips, you may need to go up a few pant sizes and then have the tailor make some adjustments so that they fit just right.

4. Invest in formal attire

A great suit is a wardrobe staple. You will be wearing your suit to job interviews, work/work related events, weddings, holiday gatherings, etc.  dapperQ’s three part suit manual on Autostraddle is a fantastic place for suit novices to start. (You can’t advocate for what you want unless you know what it is that you’re looking for.) Here’s Part IPart II, and Part III.

I advise purchasing at least 1-2 great suits. (If you can afford two, get one in a lightweight fabric for warm weather and one in a heavier fabric for the cooler months.) Then, get them TAILORED. Details Men’s Style Manual: The Ultimate Guide for Making Your Clothes Work for You states, “Just because you’re buying a suit off the rack, doesn’t mean it won’t require a fair bit of tailoring.” Your budget for investment pieces should include an amount for tailoring and alterations.

For suits, our readers swear by J-Crew’s Ludlow line, the Butch Clothing CompanySaint HarridanKipper Clothiers, and Men’s Wearhouse. You may also find great menswear dress classics at Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Ratio.

The cost of a tailored suit can add up pretty quickly. To save some money, you can also shop for deals at off-price retailers and thrift stores and have inexpensive finds tailored. I recommend reading “Fat-Booty Butch Buys A Suit on A Budget,” an inspiring personal account about tailoring an inexpensive suit to fit curves.

5. Find emotional support

Some of the most frustrating and painful shopping experiences that masculine women, gender-queers, and trans* identified individuals commonly report are that sales staff are disrespectful, unhelpful, and dismissive and that other customers give cold stares and evil eyes. When answering a reader question about which dressing rooms dapperQs should use, I recommended a few helpful tips, including bringing along emotional support. Your buddies will not only help you with fashion advice and keep you company during the daunting task of finding a pair of jeans, but can provide emotional support and serve as witnesses when shopping situations are less than ideal.


Click through to read more about Anita Dolce Vita and our other Second Opinions panelists!


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"I just got a crazy promotion at work. I’m super excited about it, but now I have to wear FANCY clothes. Everyone I work with is amazing, but we have clients from all over and I’m worried because I’m a lesbian and I prefer mens fancy clothes, I’ll make them uncomfortable… help?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Here’s the thing.

If you got promoted and all of a sudden had to start wearing a taco costume, you’d feel uncomfortable and you wouldn’t be able to do your job JUSTICE. This is basically the same thing. You should wear what makes you feel comfortable.

THIS IS THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT LIFE. The way you dress / the way you feel in the clothes you wear is so important. It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, if you feel confident and comfortable you will BE CONFIDENT AND COMFORTABLE and people will respond to that.

Clients from all over will be like “That CHEESESTICK was so in the game! WE’LL TAKE IT!” (that was me assuming your name is CheeseStick and assuming you sell vending machines). There is no way they’ll say “Wow, cheesestick was so cool and knew exactly what was up but OH MAN DID YOU SEE THAT BUTTON UP.” …. that doesn’t even make sense. OH AND PS: Everyone you work with is down?!?!?! Come on!!! You got promoted because YOU (and that includes the YOU that wears men’s fancy clothes) YOUUUUU are the best human for the job.

Feel good about the clothes you put on your body and you won’t even have to think about how great you are at your job, it’ll just flow naturally.

Kristin Says:

F*ck to the YES.

I love love love love love the point Dannielle made about the fact that YOUR ASS GOT PROMOTED BY BEING THE HUMAN YOU ALREADY ARE. *fist pump**headbang**sprinkler dance*



You wear what you’ve always worn, which are the items that make you feel comfortable. If you put on clothing that makes you uncomfortable OR a taco suit, you are going to make everyone else uncomfortable as well bc you will not be able to be your badass self.

There’s a quote from olden times that I think will really resonate here:


I am so f*cking happy for you, and anyone out there who doesn’t buy your vending machines because of your button down can SUCK IT, because the rest of the world is going to hoist you up on their shoulders and be like THIS PERSON IS MY FAVORITE VENDING MACHINE SALESPERSON IN ALL THE LAND and your house will be covered in trophies and you’ll get a button down sponsorship from JCrew and the person who didn’t buy the vending machine will be super sad and apologize anyway.

This is awesome.
You are awesome.
Send us a picture of your first meeting as a promoted human so we can share with the universe.

PS: Have you guys heard of Kipper Clothiers? If you are in the market for fancypants/badass clothing, they make custom suits and are pretty awesome.