Find Your Fit: The NB Parent Ready for a Personal Style

Find Your Fit is a style advice column helping real queer people find the masculine, butch, and tomboy styles that make them look and feel hot.

Hola Mika,

This email has been sitting in my drafts for nearly a month now and today I decided I just gotta do it.

I’m a 30 year old nb latinx person from Australia trying to figure out a style. I had a kid two years ago and have really struggled working out my gender after that. My body changed a lot in ways I did not like and I’ve been trying to come to terms with my identity as a person, rather than just my kid’s mum.

We’re coming into summer in Australia and want to expand my wardrobe past tshirts and shorts. I tend to stick to black shirts but am trying to include more colour without feeling too feminine, but at the same time I am trying to be ok with things that are traditionally viewed as feminine, so basically I have no idea what I’m doing or what I want.

My style icons include Ashlyn Harris, Keiynan Lonsdale and Hector Bellarin (all three of these people are way more out there than I am). Other icons that you’ve covered a few times include Ellen Page and Harry Styles, also I love your style too .

Part of me wants to feel more grown up with how I dress but another part of me is happy looking like a 12 year old soccer kid.

Thanks!
Ella


I’m so happy you finally decided to hit send. This is one of my favorite submissions of all time!!! I used to check out all three of your style icons for a period of time, specifically for summer clothing, so this is perfect. I think I have a good idea of what you’re going for because we actually overlap a lot in terms of the masculine/feminine balance; hopefully these looks can get you closer to where you want to be.

Coffee Run

1 / Shorts
2 / Tee
3 / Overshirt
4 / Sneaker
5 / Bag
6 / Chain

Inspo:

Thank you so much for giving me soccer people to draw inspo from!!! As a soccer gay, I have a vast collection of soccer players with dope style and haircuts I literally stalk every single day, and Ashlyn has been one of them for a long time. Her fits are a really cool mix of skate, street style, and formal wear. My favorite type of fit she puts together usually involves something you’d wear on a hot day (it helps she lives in Florida).

Styling:

I think based on your images that you have already a pretty solid foundation in terms of basics, so I just want to expand on that with you and walk you through how you can put together your typical fit (t-shirts and shorts) in a more personalized, edgy, non-traditional way.

Some summer days it’s so hot you literally cannot bring yourself to wear pants, so the question is how do you pull off a simple outfit without it being plain? The key is in how you layer. Layer different pieces with different textures and use elegant colors as the base. Using blacks/greys/whites in some of your pieces will move you away from looking like a 12-year-old boy, and give you sharpness. Then to retain that boyish edge, try adding some edgier tones/prints to the sneakers, overshirts, jackets and bags.

I started here with these short shorts from ASOS; I’m not sure how short you are but you want them to hit you about a standard short length. If you’re a little taller I think you’ll be safe also, because judging by your selfie you’re fine with shorts of about this length. My favorite thing about this piece is the fabric; it gives you breathability and brings in that sharpness from the typical athleisure wear look. Another key thing with T-shirts and shorts is contrast; ff you wear tighter shorts, try wearing a boxy top or an oversized tee; if you wear baggier shorts, then try wearing a tighter top. In this case I picked this tee from ASOS, if you have any old band tees or vintage-looking ones, these edgier/washed out tees will work great as contrast to the shorts. Every time you wear black try wearing a washed-out tone or like, 95% black. Since you have black hair this is an easy way to avoid flatness; I do the same every time. Overlay an overshirt or flannel if it’s windy or not extra hot.

I picked these ADIDAS sneakers because they are flexible with many outfits. The pattern will add a pop if you wear a lot of black. Ashlyn never leaves that house without accessories, so get some simple thin chains to add dimension to your fit and a bag if you need it.

Date Night

1 / Jacket
2 / Tee
3 / Pants
4 / Sneaker
5 / Ring
6 / Chain

Inspo:

Keiynan is perfect for the feminine/masculine balance I think you’re trying to accomplish. Just like Ashlyn, he knows how to mix formal wear with street/edgier pieces. I think the difference with him (besides not living in Florida) is that he tends to go a little harder on the accessories. Because you specified that you think he goes a little more “out there,” I wanna reel it in a bit and give you an outfit you can wear when you want to bring in color, and also wear pants.

Styling:

This fit kinda builds on the previous, but instead of focusing on layering I want to talk about contrast. Usually when you’re mixing up casual pieces with more ‘formal wear’ the shoe and jacket are key to balancing it all out.

For this fit I want to start with the trousers. Patterned trousers are definitely very in at the moment, so I picked these blue ones from ASOS. The pattern is delicate enough that it grounds the outfit and just adds that bit of pop we want. Pair these with a simple white tee; I’m not sure what kind of fit you want but if you can get something with just a little bit of texture that would be ideal, and if you don’t like texture then something that isn’t stark white. You can either tuck it in, french tuck it, or wear it out.

The shoe is really what will decide whether your fits are more formal or more casual. If you go with a simple clean white shoe, you retain the formality but you bring the outfit as a whole to a more casual level, which allows us to go a little more crazy or edgy with the jacket and consequently where you can wear this fit to. I picked these sneakers from ASOS because a) they’ve been in my cart forever b) the embroidery adds a touch of femininity, color and detail without generally making the whole outfit “feminine.” For the jacket I picked this one from ZARA because you can layer denim like this with anything; it’s super flexible yet very unique. Add some accessories (chains, rings, bracelets) to finish up the look.

Friday

1 / Shirt
2 / Pants
3 / Vans
4 / Socks
5 / Chain
6 / Sunglasses

Inspo:

Hector is the best for fashion inspo because he’s always exploring trends. I think just like Ashlyn he has a little bit of soccer/skate/street pieces to his fits, so I want to put together a look that brings in a bit of that but that you can wear all day or night long if you don’t want an outfit change.

Styling:

Right now there’s a trend around clashing prints. I want to give you a bit of that edge while keeping it real in terms of what a non-soccer star can wear every day (unless you are and if so, my apologies). I started this fit with the shirt; I wanted to give you something a bit more classy as a pattern instead of all the leopard/wild stuff people are wearing right now. This mustard/purple stripe shirt should do the trick, wear it tucked out with these tapered crop pants from ASOS. These pants are supposed to fit more like chinos, so I also want you to think of them that way in terms of shoe pairing. The side stripe will give you some formality but the crop and the way you tuck your top will, again, define how casual your fit is. If the pants don’t expose your ankles, cuff them a bit so you can show them off. You can wear these when it gets colder with a hoodie (maybe a mustard one) and really get that street/formal balance going. Since it’s summer time, a pastel/light colored sneaker is your best bet. I picked these mint Vans for you; you can also try pink if you are feeling brave! The gum sole will tie it in with the rest of the fit, so you can really go wild with color choice. Wear some accessories to add that final touch; I picked these sunglasses from ASOS for you because when you’re still working up the courage to experiment with the actual items of clothing I always recommend you start with your accessories (that’s what I do)!


For help finding your fit, write to mika [at] autostraddle [dot] com with a little about yourself, your personal style icons, your size(s), and three or four selfies in your current favorite outfit(s)!

Mika is a venezuelan art director, designer, stylist, and recognized funny friend. He has previously worked at the Walker Art Center (MPLS), 2x4 (NYC) and Rumors (PDX). You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram or check his website.

Mika has written 28 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. I feel you. Our summer does not joke around! So. For what its worth. My take:

    A good deodorant (not that spray bullshit) and maybe a lightwieght purfume to mask the sunscreen (spray this in your hair or on your shirt so it sticks and isnt under the sunscreen)

    Lightweight cotton button ups (floral options also work) to go over togz [HnM, Myers, secondhand stores] I have noticed also that these can be more a like a sleaveless thing in some ladies sections if you are having a ‘mommi’ kind of day [uniqlo]

    Lightweight cotton or linnen shorts or pants (either gendered section of the store as long as it has pockets, bags are just asking for sweat patches) [Uniqlo, Lowes, Rivers] – this might be a good place to experiment re: gender fuckery. aka shorts with a more femme cut or more flowy or a bow as a belt or a print

    Calico or canvas shoes if you dont want to wear thongs, they will absorb sweat and then dry off in the breeze rather than leaving your feet sloshing in sweaty sneakers [kmart usually has some for under 10 bucks, which is a good price point because they will die by the end of beach season regardless of how much you spend] – there are more and lesss frilly/floral versions or these… but remember to put sunscreeen on your feet if you get a style with cut outs or lace texture. But also maybe floral or punchy visible socks, either with or without converse shoes.

    Accessorise with hats/visors/sunnies (I like a starw fedora for summer), everything else is just asking to sweat / chafe / burn you like a seatbelt. But also maybe accessorise with an excellent beach/pool bag and towel. I like a statement towel such as an adult superhero hooded number or something very rainbow. But also your beach/pool flannel for straight after dry off in the evening is also a gay accessory of note. I supect than some kind of fabric tote will be less sweaty than other bags, maybe you could put your enamel pin collection on it rather than on the jacket you wont need for the next 5 months. Also, tbh a rashie looks queer af on an adult, so.

    Another queer accessory of note which does not have to mean instant sweat is haircut / colour. Maybe this means a very butch look with a tiny flower tucked behind one ear. Likewise; something GAY attached to your keys? A pocket knife? a unicorn? A bottle opener that looks like a cat? An excellent book??? A lanyard for your bus/train/ferry card /ID/ cash (I loop it though the front belt loops of my pants and then put the card end into a pocket which looks very very queer, can also be worn tucked into the upturned sleave of a bonds tee like they used to do with cigarette packs)

    Sometimes I use a hip flask as a waterbottle, and can confirm that this is a LOOK, but also, not adequate for more than a half hour activity. but you could probs find some excellent waterbottle choices around at this time of year. But also, an adult witha zooperdooper in public knows how to have fun.

    I have recently seen a lot of very dressy looking boardies and also some floral numbers. so????

    Also also, consider a lightweight cotton shirt that has long sleaves that you can roll up or down re: driving and not getting sunburnt etc or adapting to aircon vs no aircon

    Ditto, breathable gloves for driving in re: sunburn while driving

    Also, a bushfire evacuation plan is a sexy af lifeplan for queers. so do that too.

    • just here to confirm that linen buttonup shirts from uniqlo in the Australian summer are, indeed, excellent. i really like their cuts – i often get clothes from their “women’s” section (they fit my shoulders better; I don’t like baggy shirts) and I don’t feel dysphoric in them as they don’t tend to be cut in a typically feminine way (lots of darts, ruffles, etc)

      • SAME. I feel like if you don’t understand that the lightweight cotton / linnen is as much about sweat drying capacity more than anything else then you don’t understand aussie summer.

  2. Those Keiynan inspired sneakers and the Hector pants? I NEED THEM? Also yay for Southern Hemisphere FYF! I usually get so excited about the looks you put together and then just go “Well, I hope I remember this in five months when the weather finally catches up to that season”

  3. Hey Mika I really love this series! I’m a big fan of the pants you usually include, this time I’m feeling those blue ones on the Date Night outfit. Do you have any tips for sizing when it comes to people with wide hips? I like the pants you post but I know they’re not necessarily cut for bodies like mine.

    • Hey Bee!

      absolutely,

      before I started T, (and even now a bit still) I had wide hips also.

      Just like with blazers you gotta make sure they fit you first and foremost in the shoulders, with pants you want them to fit you in the hip/waist area first, everything else can be customized.

      Whenever i fell in love with ‘dude’ trousers I’d get them to fit me in the waist and then go get them hemmed and/or tapered with a tailor. That’s always an option. Until this day if the pants fit me in the waist, my tailor charges me a total of $34 for a taper and hem. So it doesn’t have to be super expensive. I still have to do it with pretty much every pair of pants outside of jeans I get.

      If not, usually certain styles are also listed for “womens” on ASOS which I clearly list a lot here. Also you can do the plus size section of ASOS ‘men’ if the ‘regular’ sizes are still not covering you.

      Wildfang has a lot of trouser options that usually are on trend that cover people w hips a little more also

  4. Mika – you have really outdone yourself and I’m not just saying it because this is my submission. Honestly I was pretty petrified to send this in, but I am so glad I did.

    The night after I sent it I dreamt you suggested a Tottenham jersey so imagine my relief when I saw the post and all three suggestions are exactly the direction I’m after. I think the most valuable advice you’ve given is about how small things, accessories, layers, clashing patterns can make An Outfit, rather than just some clothes I’m wearing.

    I’m probably borderline gushing right now so I need to wind it down but I can’t tell you how much this means to me. Having my kid was the best thing that ever happened to me and I love her so much but I’ve really struggled with my own identity since I got pregnant. I didn’t realise I was nb until I had been shoved into this box of what a pregnant person should look like and until I was told ad-nauseum told how amazing pregnancy is and how I should feel about it. I felt so uncomfortable when my body changed and when the only clothes that were designed to fit were dresses or floral. I’ve come to terms with mostly since then but I my confidence took such a hit I still haven’t really recovered from it.

    I love all three looks but I especially love the date night option. The whole thing is exactly something I’d put into a cart, think about for a few days, and then decide not to buy it because I don’t think I can pull it off. This post was exactly what I needed to give me that push.

    Thank you again.

    • Ella – I had a rather difficult day yesterday and woke up to an email about your comment. Thank you so much for sending your submission and letting me put together something for you. I appreciate you and the trust you put in me so much. I’ve been in a similar place as the one you described and it brings me joy to help you get that push you needed. I’m so happy you enjoyed the looks, this is why I love doing this column.

      cheers,

      xx

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