My heart was sent aflutter when I saw that Autostraddle released a redesigned Tomboy Femme t-shirt, and then things escalated pretty quickly from there, and look at us now, an entire gift guide for the tomboy femmes of the world!
Tomboy Femme, in my opinion as a person who calls herself a tomboy femme, is a specific type of style that is not quite femme, but not masculine-of-center. We’re not quite androgynous, either. You can find the tomboy femmes of the world shopping in every gendered section of a clothing store, but we tend to gravitate toward comfort over fussiness every damn time.
Because tomboy femmes tend to hang out in a gray area, we can be hard to shop for. But worry no longer! Here’s the perfect gift guide for the tomboy femmes in your life.
ClothingOkay, so obviously clothing is a good choice because as a tomboy femme (or maybe as a Taurus? hard to say), I find it equally exciting and tedious to shop for myself. What better way to begin than with this adorable new Tomboy Femme tee. Soft, loose t-shirts are the bees knees. I also love soft sweatshirts for layering, and this Girls pennant one is basically perfection.
Also knees o’ bees: BLAZERS. Literally the easiest item of clothing in the world – wear to work, wear out, wear over a dress, wear over a t-shirt and jeans. I’ve been drooling over velvet blazers this winter season, but if you don’t personally agree velvet is the best idea, go with a camel/beige color. It will keep the corporate feel out of the piece and transition into spring and fall much easier, making it a perfect year-round jacket. My favorite place to find blazers is J. Crew, and I know there’s a lot of strong feelings about J. Crew Factory, but whatever, it’s affordable and cute, so I still buy most of my J. Crew stuff from there.
With shoes, you cannot go wrong with oxfords, converse or short boots. I really love the Tomboy Toes brand because they’re made for smaller feet, and The Wingtip Commanders have a classic look but the rounded toe keeps them from feeling too masculine. For short boots, think about finding a pair with cute details, like the zippers on the side of these Rocket Dog boots.
Pair a blazer with the Tomboy Femme shirt, dark jeans, and ankle boots for a really adorable OOTD.
Basic AccessoriesHere’s where accessories gets tricky. Some tomboy femmes overload on jewelry to balance their menswear looks, and some tomboy femmes appreciate a more understated accessories approach. I’m of the latter camp, but consider the style of the human you’re buying for. I made a gift guide for Tomboy Femme Jewelry before!
Other accessories you should consider: belts, scarves and watches.
Belts: simpler the better. I prefer brown leather, and the vintage look of a braided belt feels timeless to me. I also think brown belts go with everything, always, and this is coming from a person who mostly wears black and navy. Maybe a belt is a weird present but listen, no one is expecting to open that box and find a sweet belt, so follow your heart on this one.
I think scarves are a pretty practical gift solely because I own 1000 of them and I still try to buy them whenever I’m at Target (a trait so strong that my girlfriend holds my hand when we’re passing through the accessories section and won’t let me stop). If you’re going to buy someone a scarf, go simple but well-made. When in doubt, go soft, warm and one color (or tartan). You can go knit or wool, I don’t think most people care as long as it’s soft. I love chunky scarves but consider who you are buying for.
Watches! Keep it simple. No bedazzled faces, no Mickey, no flair. I bought my gal pal a wooden watch for her birthday a few years ago and she gets compliments on it every time she wears it, so I’m feeling extremely partial to wooden watches. They’re just a tiny bit quirky but subtle, so they can be a standalone or layering piece. Apart from that, I recommend something with a slimmer band. I love vintage watches and finding one with character always works like a charm–keep it simple, though.
Accessories: AdvancedOkay, so maybe you want to gain some charisma points and give your tomboy femme something a bit more special than a scarf.
Think enamel pins, handbags and hats.
Enamel pins are an obvious choice. Everyone loves them. I love all of the pins that Autostraddle has to offer! Try to avoid buying enamel pins for any kind of chain store, because chances that they’ve ripped off an independent artist are HIGH.
As far as purses or handbags go, I think the more structured, the better. I tend to stick to structured crossbody purses that hold the essentials, since they go with every version of casual to slightly dressier/dapper. Unless you’ve seen them wield a handbag or they’ve specifically requested a purse, tread lightly here, soldier. I also sometimes just like to carry a small wallet, and these Hershel wallets are just the ticket.
Hats! Everyone loves beanies, so that’s always a safe route to go. Stay away from pompoms, we tomboy femmes have way too much dignity to be wearing that. I like a slouchy fit for my beanies, but you do you. I also like beanies that have a bit of character, like these clever sayings – who DOESN’T need a “Mercury was in retrograde” hat? For other kinds of hats, I’m in the dad hat camp, and I think they’re simple and easy and work perfectly for covering bedhead for the short-haired tomboy femmes out there.
Skincare & Fragrances & One CandleOkay, so let’s say you don’t want to buy your tomboy femme person a scarf or pin or sweater. Maybe you want to buy your friend or gal pal or Secret Santa partner something a little ~*~fancy~*~. That’s great!
This may be straying into lazy femme territory (just kidding the limit does not exist), but I don’t wear a ton of makeup and most tomboy femmes I know and see seem to appreciate the ease of bare skin, so my focus has switched from makeup to Good Skin.
Nice sheet masks are just about the easiest gift you can give. Also, anything with an animal face is a good choice. ANYTHING.
I’m all about oils and serums, which may seem weird but stay with me here. They don’t smell. Squalene oil works on my face, my nails and my skin, so it’s the ultimate tool. Also as an aside: oils are the best thing I’ve found for my rosacea! Being 30 and sensitive and fair-skinned is a fun adventure! This little bottle is so awesome and useful. Biossance is the brand I use because it has a darker bottle (I read somewhere it helps with evaporation but maybe some weird marketing brainwashed me) and it makes me feel a bit glamorous (even the rose oil doesn’t smell strongly at all). Argasn oil and cleansing oils are awesome, too!
Fragrance is a hard thing to pin down for other people because we all have different noses, it turns out. But here’s what I do know about tomboy femmes: probably not florals. They kind of scream I’m-Trying-Hard-Here. Go for subtle. I love fragrance bottle packaging and pick it out based on the label (like wine!) so even if they don’t *love* the smell, they might like the look of it, at least. Try to buy rollerball perfume when possible, it’s way easier to apply and isn’t as overwhelming.
I’m strangely obsessed with these Maison Margiela Replica perfumes because most of them tend not to be overpowering, and I really love Fantasies: Dancing on the Moon. Also it says “Gender: anonymous” and it’s style notes are “Mysterious. Sedative. Luminous.” which basically describes a damn good time, if you ask me. If you don’t like this price point, get a sample size of it! There’s no shame in that game.
Fresh makes some of my favorite products, like their Sugar lip line, so I trust their perfume not to be awful. It’s fresh (ha!) and citrusy but also has vanilla and amber notes, so the florals it does have are balanced well.
Also yes, a candle. It literally says tomboy on the label, what have you got to lose?
Thinking of buying gifts from the Autostraddle Store?
To get your deliveries in time for the holidays make sure to place your order by
Dec 13th—UPS First Class*
Dec 15th—USPS Priority Mail/UPS Ground*
*These dates are for domestic orders–we have no guarantee for international orders, so get ‘em in early heartstrings! ♡