It Takes Guts — So Dress Them Right

| Apr 11, 2011
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The Artist D

When they asked me, The Artist D, to write about fashion I thought what a lot of people may be thinking. What do I know about fashion!?  At times I would agree that asking TAD about fashion is like asking Salvador Dali to host a show on The Food Network. Then I got to thinking about it all. I have had my fair share of fashion experiments as a surreal artist and member of the transgendered community for over a decade. I grew up as a girl trapped in a boy’s body. I had to struggle through the uncomfortable journey we all did. Like the cheap eye liner from the drug store that you may have stolen because you were too embarrassed to buy it yourself. Right up to the endless experiments with lipstick colors.

Let’s face it, no matter how much you snub the mainstream you cannot get around the fact that there are ways to dress that make you fierce and fabulous, just like there are ways to dress that will make you flop. And it’s never pretty and always a disaster when a woman inside a man’s body inside a dress flops. Which is enough to convince me that I can share my op-ed with you when it comes to fashion. I’ve done the do’s just as much as I’ve done the don’ts.

Divine in Pink Flamingos

We’ve come a long way from the platform Goth boots and endless yards of bad prints. At least I hope we have. While I was mainly of the mindset that I was a woman trapped in a man’s body, my humble beginnings actually centered on being a drag queen in New York City. I rocked the gold lame’ purchased off the racks of the Salvation Army and my blue synthetic wig bought at the Spencer’s half price post-Halloween sale. Back then I thought silver lipstick was the way to go. Picture a mix between Divine, Anna Nicole and Dr. Frankenfurter, then you may be able to identify my drag persona I called Krystal McQueen.

What it took to be me back then was guts and that’s exactly what I had a lot of — a gut. That’s right a beer gut, bay window, belly, middle-age spread, paunch, pot, spare tire, a tummy. Call it what you will many sport a large oft protruding stomach. It is what it is no matter if you think you’re stuck with it, cursed with it or blessed to have one. It’s not easy to mold our middles and we often end up disregarding it when it comes to fashion. Perhaps one of the top rules of dressing to impress is never disregard any inch of you. Just because you pretend it’s not there doesn’t mean it will go away. Everyone sees it so you’re going to have to address it. The question here is how to address it right!

So, now that we know you’ve got one, what are you going to do with it? Some take the easy way out and invest in a corset made of corrugated iron. Just remember, wearing a corset is just like wearing a push-up bra. I hope whoever is there when you take it off isn’t surprised to find what lies underneath! Aside from that, it is god awfully painful depending on how corseted you need to be. I’ve seen miracles happen. The 48” waist can easily be transformed down to nothing, but are you willing to have your lungs crushed for a weekend of svelte living?  It’s not who you are and that’s the point. Dress what you have and be proud of what you have. No matter if it’s temporary or something that may not be going anywhere, we work with what we have when we have it.

There are other options for those who prefer not to have to drink martini after martini just so they don’t feel the pain of a tight corset. (That or those pointy-toed shoes, we’ll get to that later!) Dare I suggest you actually work with your bloated midsection instead of work around it? I can and I will! Wrap it up in clothes that fit.

Marilyn Monroe

A nice dress without a cinched waistline may be the way to go for some. The Marylin Monroe dress (a la The Seven Year Itch) with a higher waistline helps draw attention up to the V neckline and your fabulous faces. Truth be told your body’s shape can wear plenty of things so long as it doesn’t end up looking as if you have stuffed yourself into a sausage skin! For those with maximum curves a dress cinched under the chest can provide a favorable style. Personally, I dislike this look on me because I lose all shape completely and look like I’m wearing a curtain. On the other hand it gives a person straight lines and a flowy Greek goddess deal happening.

If you’re an Audrey Hepburn wanting to work pants or trousers then do the obvious and take your cues from Audrey! Try some mid-rise pants which fit flatly against your stomach rather than a low rise hippy cut which leaves you hanging. As a general rule never wear anything that makes it appear that parts of yourself are literally pouring out uncontrollably. Stomachs are one thing but muffin tops are a whole other.

For those larger size 20+ types it’s best to embrace what you have. Do not pick the clingy materials that show every curve and crease. Color is all of our best friends. You know the subtly of dressing with black can help sculpt things gentler than compared to dressing like the Chiquita Banana dancer.

The Artist D

I was once 130 pounds just as I was once 300 pounds. While I prefer what clothing they made for me at 130 pounds, I rarely ever stuffed my 300 pound self in something that simply didn’t fit. You take this advice whether you love your extra pounds and the curves you’ve got or wish they weren’t there. Learning to dress well for an extra large stomach doesn’t mean you hate yourself. It just means you can respectfully address.

Relax, be yourself and stop trying to overdo it. No matter which way you do it!

When in doubt a light jacket often comes in handy for giving some straight lines directing your fans eyes up and down to all the right places. There are plenty of dresses and jackets that don’t remind us of potato sacks.

It’s all common sense. Remember, just because it looks good on the mannequin doesn’t mean it looks good on you! We make our biggest mistakes in fashion (and almost anything else for that matter) when we try to do something just because it looks good on somebody else. Wear your clothes, don’t let your clothes wear you. If someone is cutting off circulation or making you spill out all over the place it’s time to reevaluate the wardrobe.

Visit The Artist D online at her website.


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Category: Style, Transgender Opinion

The Artist D

About the Author ()

The Artist D is a true raconteur and provocateur! He has been performing online since the mid 1990s. A relic from the cam show age before MySpace was any space. Author of In Bed with Myself, an autobiographical tale of transgenderism and Internet celebrity. Executive Editor of Fourculture Magazine and host of The Artist D's Fabulous Show. Panelist and commentator on Fourthought, a weekly live stream.

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  1. ronnierho ronnierho says:

    Well, it’s about damn time you joined us! 🙂
    Welcome aboard!

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