FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Show Me Your Power Outfits

Hi, you’re looking sharp today! Welcome to the Friday Open Thread, where we lay out our feelings, hopes, and dreams, then process away in the grand tradition of our people.

I spent much of the past week focused on the U.S. midterm elections and you might have, too. It was a topsy-turvy ride full of big wins and small wins and heartbreaks and progress, and if you’re a wonk like me, chances are you’ve already rehashed it ad nauseam in the rest of your life. So I’m not gonna make you go there again! But I do want to tell you about something I did in recognition the next day.

I wore this.

Carrie wearing a red flannel over a shirt with a cartoon uterus giving the middle finger.

In case you’re wondering: yes, that is indeed a flannel over a t-shirt with a cartoon uterus giving the middle finger. And let me tell you, taking this getup onto the streets of Northern Virginia the day after the midterm was an experience. So many knowing glances! So many stink eyes! Either way, I was into it! Putting my political feelings across my chest on an important day made me feel a little more empowered. Which is, all told, one of the best things our clothes can do for us. So.

In honor of our newest quarterly issue, But Make it Fashion, I want to see and/or hear all about your power outfits, dear readers. What’s that one ensemble you have in your closet that transforms you? Makes you the most yourself? Gives you the biggest boost? How do you feel when you’re in it? Tell me everything (and share pictures if you can).

Let’s all celebrate each other looking our hottest and most powerful — since power started to look a little different this week.

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Carrie's body is weird and she's making that work for her. She lives in DC by way of Los Angeles and has a conflicted relationship with social media, but you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram anyway.

Carrie has written 83 articles for us.


  1. Crop tops, 100%. They make me feel sexy and seen. I feel in control of my body, which I don’t often feel. I love being a fat girl in a crop top. Plus openly displaying my tattoos. Again, they give me a sense of existing in my body. I have a lot of body image issues, and crop tops and tattoos help a lot!

  2. Carrie! *Giant fire emoji* for passionate advocation, for the ability to burn, and naturally for being hot af!

    This is my power outfit. It’s layered, revealing and quirky, just like me.

    I spent many years feeling powerless and undesirable in my marriage. Since we split I’m claiming back the power to be, to be comfortable in my body, and to celebrate the ways I can embody that power for myself.

    Here’s to us all finding our power!

  3. That’s one awesome outfit, Carrie. You look great!

    I don’t have any photos, but I do have a story to share and this open thread feels like it could be a good place. It would really help to have some queer cuties rooting for me as I try out what might become my new power outfit.

    I’m 31. I have multiple chronic illnesses and am longterm housebound because of extreme fatigue. After I told my doctor I was thinking about investigating mobility aids, she made a referral for me. On Thursday, I had a visit from a physiotherapist and got my first ever walking stick.

    Yesterday, I went for a very slow walk around the block and enjoyed some autumnal foliage. Today, I stayed in to save my spoons for a shower. It’s probably going to take a while to get into a steady rhythm with the walking stick, but I’m determined to try again tomorrow and over the coming weeks.

    If there’s a possibility that using a walking stick could help me get out of the house more often — or could help me build up strength — then I want to make the most of that possibility!

    • Yeah, you’re gonna look so elegant and distinguished! (Yes, my mental image of people with walking sticks always reverts to nineteenth-century dandy.)

      I have a friend who uses them and I’m pretty sure at least one has gilt filigree and/or rhinestones.

      Going for walks is one of my favorite things! I’m strolling with you in spirit. ?

    • Friend, I’ve used a rainbow cane for much of the past year and it is stellar and yes you should absolutely incorporate a walking stick into your look and you look great. ?

  4. Over the summer I discovered the power of muscle tanks. They show off my arms and my shoulder/arm tattoo in a way that I like while maintaining the “apathetic soft butch mechanic” aesthetic that I’ve been trying to cultivate. I’m going to try to find a way to wear them into the winter without freezing to death in Chicago. Suggestions appreciated.

    • I would probably die in Chicago winter weather, but I guess layering is the way to go. I picture you in a beanie and a muscle tee, a plaid flannel tied around your hips once you’re inside next to a fire. It’s a very soft butch image!

    • Chicagoan here. Layers are your friend. Lots and lots of layers. Plaid, flannel, waffle knit, down vests, quilted flannel jackets, Carhartt jackets.

      You could maybe put the muscle tank over a longsleeved base layer – that would hide your tattoos but I do love the look of waffle knit longsleeved shirts under short sleeved t-shirts – very soft butch auto mechanic.

      • I will take the base layer under advisement; it’s sounds very 90’s Grunge. I do own exactly one quilted/insulated flannel, that I stole from my dad when I was a kid (I thought it would make me look “country”).

  5. I’m very fond of how I look in my Lavender Menace tee. When I wear that, I mean business ! My francophone environment doesn’t necessarily understand what it says, but I’m sure they understand the swagger that goes with.

  6. I once read that all bisexuals have statement jackets. I don’t know if that’s true, but I definitely have one, and it’s my most prized possession.

    It’s a hand me down denim jacket that I embroidered with a dinosaur in a flower crown and a green handkerchief (it’s a symbol for legal abortion). I also added the feminist symbol and other patches (one that has two hearts and a band that says Sororidad, a rainbow, a diamond in the bisexual flag colors) and pins (Poe Dameron and BB8, Whatever Forever, my bff’s Drag Queen persona, and Orgullo in the freedom flag colors).

    I love that it’s so unique and unapologetically me. I love that friends can add to it by gifting me with patches and pins. The one time I thought I lost it I almost cried.

    Here’s me living my best life in Rome in a Canadian suit. As you can see, the jacket is a star on its own.

    • Y’all are both stars.

      brb, working on my own bisexual statement jacket™ (if this isn’t a real thing already, it should be!)

    • That’s a great concept and possibly explains why I have so many statement jackets. Extremely bisexual = extremely fond of flashy jackets? ? I’d buy it.

    • Can confirm the jackets thing, my queen-bisexual power outfits always incorporate a blazer. Partial to a blazer, bra top or crop top, tight pants, ankle boots, and red lip.

    • First, great jacket. Second…”all bisexuals have statement jackets”. Finally, something to explain my deep seated commitment to jackets despite living in South Florida. Feel so seem right now.

  7. I know it’s simple but this has been my power outfit lately. I discovered it when I was panic-searching my wardrobe for something to wear to a music video shoot (the visual aspects of the music business make me suuuuper uncomfortable) and it’s been my go-to ever since!

  8. I don’t have a power outfit – I don’t have a style. I’m boring. Plus I hate my body. My favourite T-shirt (which I’m wearing right now) is dark red and is L.A. themed because I pine for the opportunity to visit one day. It’s also actually a man’s T-shirt so meh.

  9. *lesbians who layer*
    I feel powerful when I bother to put a collared shirt under a sweater, or a blazer over anything. I like my giant scarves and I prize my leather jacket above all. See also: pointy boots.

  10. I have a black fuzzy-ish coat(well SoCal winter so not that thick) that I really like wearing. It’s comfortable, has loads of pockets(even fits my smaller camera w lens in the front pocket), and great for almost any occasion where the weather is 55F(usually at night). Put a couple of pins on there and I’m even more visible.

    How is everyone’s week going? Mines has been kind of long and with bit of mess. I found out this week a friend of mine did something major(control of their estate major) months ago without asking me. I compared it to uhualing, as in only known the person not that long for them to do that. I asked the online community I am part of what to do and they told me one that’s was a wrong because my consent was not asked. I didn’t realize at the time the person told me what they did, but yeah that is a violation of consent. So, I told them that I don’t think I can do what is asked. They were sad about it, but said okay will change it in the morning. I’m not sure what happend as the person really isn’t reply to my messages about that. Ugh. I also did selfcare for my self later in the night, which may have been a bad friend move, but not 100% sure.

    On positive news Cuties Coffee is pretty much safe for now. They had an final fundraising event Saturday(also they day they announced they met funding goals) night. It was a really packed & fun event as they had singers, poets, and gifts to hand out. I got talk to many cool queers and trans folks. Even saw the person I went on a date with last month from afar. A typical queer night. lol. They have another event this Saturday(can’t make it) and one on Sunday(will for sure be there). So, if you are in the SoCal area please stop by and support the place.

    I spent part of my Sunday at a car show with a friend that only featured classic French & Italian cars, though I am pretty sure 2018 Fiat & Alfa aren’t considered classic cars(yet). It was cool to see some of the quirky French cars of yester year and the is it a Ferrari or not Dino models.

    Autumn flowers, brings…?

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

  11. I am definitely among the muscle tank and flannel shirt ranks. (In the words of Our Lady of D&D, Marisha Ray, “sleeves are bullshit.”) But I recently invested in my first pair of Docs and although breaking them in is a chore, I feel like they’re going to make every outfit my power outfit.

    Because I’m genderfluid, I have power outfits in a lot of different flavors, most often soft butch but occasionally on the femme side of things too, and let me tell you. Black/dark lipstick has made a world of difference in making me the Unfriendly Hottie (TM) I’ve always wanted to be.

    I’m also crossing my fingers and hoping that my insurance will approve my custom wheelchair and power assist. It’s going to be electric blue and it will mean that I can have a life outside my house again, and I don’t think anything will make me feel more powerful than that.

    Also, now that it’s finally getting cool, I can once again assume my autumnal / winter power looks, because I am at my most powerful when I can wear winter clothes. Cardigans, jackets, beanies, flannel, jeans, etc. I am a big fan of layers. I will wear shorts over tights with boots in a second, and the next day wear jeans and a flannel shirt with a scarf and beanie I made myself. and JACKETS.

    I don’t have anywhere to upload my selfies or the energy to register for a photo hosting website, so I’ll just post the links to my instagram. #1 is Unfriendly Hottie Visits Alma Mater: and #2 is Winter Butch In The Mountains: and tbh there is an equal amount of my personal power in each of them, just in different ways.

    • Shorts over tights with boots? It’s a million-to-one chance, but it just might work. (Saw your instagram handle, couldn’t resist.)

    • I love both looks and Unfriendly Hottie is a brand that absolutely deserves to be trademarked. Electric blue wheelchair sounds phenom on all kinds of levels – crossing my fingers for you too!

  12. My power outfit depends on my mood: Dodgers t-shirts or shirt+blazer, no in-betweens! I’m pretty confident wearing them because I always feel extra formal or sport queer (but for real, every piece of clothe is queer if you are a queer wearing it ?)

  13. My power outfit is one of those long-sleeve shirts that’s made to look like it has a tee shirt layered over it but really it’s all one shirt, my favorite pair of jeans, and my calf-high boots. It accentuates all my curves, I’ve always loved the layered aesthetic, and it makes me feel damn sexy.

    In other news, life is going really well right now (knock on wood)! Got some really good data for my dissertation project, making good progress on a concept paper my adviser and I are hoping to get submitted before Christmas, I may have found an LGBT-specific venue to send some of my fiction to, I currently have a net positive cash flow, I’m really happy with some of the stuff I’ve come up with for my current burlesque solo choreography project, and my wife and I’s relationship is doing terrifically (turns out scheduling sexy is a *really* good idea). Hoping this will last!

      • Well, several things, but the last two major works have basically ended up being trans-lesbian-scifi-romances (well, one of them’s more of a coming of age story in the post-post apocalyptic future, and the other involves astronauts piloting an airship in the upper atmosphere of Venus, but that’s the general idea).

  14. Dressing up is fun now that I’ve got a better handle on my style and figured out what feels and looks good, turns out all I needed was a good power blazer.

  15. I like modifying normal clothes and making them show off my body. Makes other people uncomfortable, makes me look sexy. I especially like being sexy in flannel. ;3

    • Ack incomplete message, on road trip with loud lead foot father and my stubborn, anxious grandmother. 18 wheels went into wrong lane and evasive maneuvers cause my grip to fumble.

      I’ll be back later.

      But I leave with this: visitor center handicap stall was big enough my grandmother didn’t feel the need to leave her walker outside it!

      Made my day.

  16. I don’t really have a style thing going at the moment. I seem to have faded into the wallpaper a bit. Funny really, there’s nothing wrong, I just seem to have lost my centre somewhere.

    Oh well! Here’s to finding it again before I disappear down a hole.

    Have a good weekend everyone and a better week to follow.

  17. I am trying to get back to this. I have a great photo from a year ago when I felt so powerful. I had just changed in the locker room after riding my bike up a giant hill to work. A sharp plaid button up, slim cut slacks and ankle boots. I felt so good. Unfortunately I don’t have a lazy way to post it so you’ll just have to imagine!

    Then I got pregnant and my whole habitus feels weird and foreign now, and Im nowhere near fitting in my favorite clothes from last year. I’m just now regaining my former core strength after weeks of consistently doing yoga. I know I should feel proud of my body and what I have done but i just feel utterly uncomfortable in my skin right now.

    • *ETA I am not fond of leggings and dresses. But curvy bodies in the middle of weight fluctuations do better with these things than slacks and button ups. Especially with the bigger belly and boobs that come with this time. I know this is part of why I walk around feeling weird and discombobulated. I hope I can find something soon that fits me now, that feels like a power outfit.

      • It’s so hard to find anything post-pregnancy that makes you feel comfortable, let alone powerful. Honestly some days if I can wear something not covered in milk or baby puke that feels like a small win. It takes a long time to come back from pregnancy and feel good and like a real person again. It’s hard but try to give yourself the luxury of time and know that you’re doing great. And don’t forget that growing and sustaining and nurturing new life is fucking powerful on it’s own.

  18. I always feel my most badass in my PR Barbie get-up. I call this my “Can I count on your vote?” look.

  19. Bah! I’m on land, sweet stationary land, and I managed to delete my whole post with no back-up in the clipboard or on a word document.

    Anyway the non-binary with multitudes thing, all poetic and pretentious looking because I couldn’t remember the word spectrum. Multiple power outfits because I exist on a spectrum and am built like a chicken have 0 cold tolerance but am just fine wearing pants in humid 90 degree weather

    Masculine Spectrum(all I the have the energy to type at the moment)

    Fuck You Cold power outfit: long underwear, combat boots, deeply practically men’s jeans, fluffy monster olive green hoodie, studded brown leather vest, hunter’s camo beanie. End result I look like the spirit of Artemis and Robin Hood co-mingled to spit me into the eye of the 21st century Gulf Coast.

    Big Bad Bi Babe power outfit: combat boots, leather jacket, a well worn pair practical of jeans that used to be black but are now grey, propane flame box frame belt, and the pièce de résistance a black t-shirt with basically this

    design in the colors of the bi-pride flag.

    And I just want to mention my winter Femme Spectrum power outfit includes a classic Dana Scully worthy blazer, a dress that’s pretty much a past the knee sweater-vest over a white button up with a skinny black scarf I wear like a tie, and boots that make me feel like Julie d’Aubigny or Oberyn Martell.

    Summer one I look like I could be in the Craft possibly or a 90’s alternative musician.

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