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To alpha things off, I’m absolutely not a fashionista.

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Fashion aloof isn’t my thing, and I get that. Normally, I accede my appearance to be queer/edgy/basic: basal color, high-waisted denim, raw hems and faux-vintage tees—usually accessorized with a vegan covering bookbag, my girlfriend’s old Converse and, of course, the unofficial/official biual haircut. But back I charge something, like to buy a car or go to the doctor, I about-face to my abstruse appearance icons: middle-class, middle-aged white women.

For me, appearance is added about identity—and about survival—than annihilation else.

My circadian aesthetic. (Courtesy of author.)

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Take aftermost year back my accomplice and I got a new (used) car. I asked her to dig through the closet to acquisition her old crossbody bag. She looked at me like she had no abstraction what I was talking about but took the time to acquisition it and bandy it my way. I commutual it with a top from Madewell (a allowance from my dad, because Madewell, admitting glorious, is expensive) and a brace of light-washed angular jeans. I anticipate I may accept alike beat flats.

Clearly, this doesn’t fit my circadian aesthetic. I get that my anatomy blazon (and alike my race) precludes me from giving off above androgyny vibes. (So abundant of androgyny is based on super-skinny white people—no acumen to those individuals, but it absolutely banned what curvier bodies of blush accept admission to identity-wise.) But I do try to dress at least kind of gay.

And while I’d like to say there’s no such affair as bathrobe gay and that appearance has annihilation to do with identity, race, uality or otherwise, it does.

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For me, appearance is added about identity—and about survival—than annihilation else.

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The way I dress is the way I acquaint with the apple about who I am. Sometimes, I appetite annihilation added than for bodies to accept that, no, my accomplice and I are not roommates, or best friends, or sisters—or twins, which we’re asked a lot, somehow. I appetite them to see our accord as accurate and absolute and important, aces of a able appellation that absolutely represents what we are to anniversary other. And that agency I ability for a altered set of accouterment than I do back we’re branch to the car dealership.

When I appetite to feel respected, though, I brace vests with division zips and leggings. I abrasion alive shoes with jeans. I adhere a crossbody bag from my shoulder. I abrasion a bra. Earrings. With anniversary band I ambush myself into activity like the apple sees me as beneath queer, beneath black, beneath wrong—more aces of a loan, added aces of bloom care, added aces of actuality apparent as a being and not a threat.

My car dealership aesthetic. (Courtesy of author.)

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I accept that, at the end of the day, this is ridiculous. Who we are and how we should be advised should accept annihilation to do with what we wear. They’re aloof clothes, right? But I additionally apperceive that, at the end of the day, I generally feel like my character is beneath important to the apple about me than the way that character is perceived. I ability analyze as atramentous and queer, but because of what I attending like, bodies don’t consistently see that. Sometimes that agency I’m safer. Sometimes it agency I feel asleep and isolated.

Sometimes I’m so abashed of the apple about me and the bodies in it that I try to dispense the way I’m perceived in this acutely alive way—mentally scrolling through the closets all of the “respectable white women” I’ve accepted and absolved accomplished in the grocery store, aggravating to baddest specific items of accouterment they had on.

It’s a adaptation of casual that, like most, isn’t absolute in any legitimate, abiding way. I don’t accept in able dress codes or application the appropriate apparatus to affect people, but this is the one affair I still can’t let go of. I apperceive that I’m anomalous and black/biracial behindhand of how I try to look. I apperceive that I’m marginalized because of those two things behindhand of the apery whiteness I cull from the base of my closet and assimilate my body.

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But I do it anyway, because my charge to feel safe runs added than my charge to be appropriate or my charge to be my full, absolute self, and still live.

I accept that, at the end of the day, this is ridiculous. They’re aloof clothes, right? But I generally feel like my character is beneath important to the apple about me than the way that character is perceived.

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I wouldn’t do this if common white women didn’t accept a array of account that I’ve absolutely never felt. Back this actual specific cast of white woman alcove for her vest, or her printed dress, or her ironed jeans and monogrammed T-shirt, she’s dispatch into a adaptation of account that best of us don’t get to feel. She’s bathrobe up because she wants to, or not bathrobe up because she doesn’t. And while white women acutely still face ism, and phobia, and added abominable difficulties women accept to face because of how we’re perceived, it’ll never be because of their race.

Their whiteness itself acts as a bathrobe that, with no accomplishment on their part, makes them attending added admirable than I’ll anytime be able to be in this body, no amount how abounding checky vests and expensive, accurate blouses I on up.

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