Let’s Get Weird: Meet Your New Fashion and Beauty Editor!

Personal style photo

Hello and welcome to the first installment of Let’s Get Weird, a judgement-free place to talk about fashion and feelings! I’m Nora, Autostraddle‘s new Fashion and Beauty Editor, and I thought I’d start my tenure here by talking about my personal style and its function in my life before opening up the floor so you can talk about yours. Sound good? Great, let’s do it.

As you may have guessed from the photo above, my personal take on fashion is a bit all over the place; early and enduring inspirations include the fur bikini from Lil Kim’s “Crush on You” video, Bjork’s infamous swan dress (one of the best red carpet looks ever, and I will not budge on that), and most things Dolly Parton has ever worn. I tend toward extremes: solids or sizable graphic prints, black or super saturated colors, avant-garde or new money gaudy, etc.

Personal style photo

This outfit felt like the perfect way to introduce myself as someone who draws from all sorts of aesthetics: the punk in my creeper-esque boots, the rockabilly elements of my skirt, the humor in my “cringe” top (which acknowledges both how I imagine most people feel when they see me, and how I generally feel in public). You’ll notice more strange and disparate influences in future editions of this column, but a common thread is exercising my pretty high femme-ness while attempting to maintain distance from the patriarchal gaze.

Which brings me to the role fashion plays in my life. While I respect — and often envy — folks who view getting dressed simply as a method of avoiding an indecent exposure summons, I personally view it as an accessible, everyday mode of self-expression, a way to find one’s people (both friends and sex partners), and a tool for weeding out the wrong company (creepy dudes; I mean creepy dudes). The truth is, as a shy, awkward person of 5’2″, I feel safer and more powerful in pieces that are somehow alienating. As labels go, “off-putting femme” seems about right.

Personal style photo

Fellow over-the-top fashion weirdos can find similar pieces to my own below, but I also recognize my style isn’t for everyone — which is totally fine, and kind of the point! I’m looking forward to bringing you a variety of fashion and style pieces from writers who identify all over the gender presentation and overall-style spectrum, as well as writing about all different types of fashion myself.

Either way, tell me about your own style and to what ends you use it, and I’ll see you in the comments section.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Nora is a writer and shoot producer living in Brooklyn. Send her links to weird clothing and dog videos to nora [at] autostraddle [dot] com.

Nora has written 52 articles for us.


  1. “The truth is, as a shy, awkward person of 5’2″, I feel safer and more powerful in pieces that are somehow alienating.”


    • I’ve never thought about it that way but it’s 100% how I decide if I can pull off one more clashing pattern/color. “Will this make me more invisible/unattractive to random bus dudes?”

  2. Welcome, Nora! I really love your whole style. I’m femme, but I have to be super comfortable. I totally identify as Lazy Femme. I love wearing dresses because they are comfortable, or sometimes I wear a skirt or leggings with a comfortable top.

    I’m looking forward to reading more from you!

  3. “attempting to maintain distance from the patriarchal gaze” -also me

    Tomboy femme is my jam. I like dresses, but I have to be able to bike and/or walk >1 mile in anything I wear. I’m 5’9″ and the super short dress trend can go die in a fire.

    Also really concerned about reconciling my enjoyment of having cool clothes with my extreme opposition to capitalist consumer culture. So far my solution to this has been to donate stuff I no longer wear and try to buy second-hand as much as possible. If I could get clothes exclusively from yard sales, I would be really happy.

    • “super short dress trend can go die in a fire” – As a fellow 5’9 woman, you totally made my day!

    • “super short dress trend can go die in a fire” This summed up all my feelings back when I actually wore dresses

      Tall women unite!

    • I can’t relate to your short dress struggles, but totally agree with the secondhand sentiment!

  4. Welcome! Really excited about this column and what you’ll bring to AS!

    My style is mostly androgynous. Besides not being comfortable w skirts/dresses, I generally have a mix of femme and butch stuff. My general look is “inoffensive” in the sense that no boys flirt w me, and most people won’t notice what I’m wearing, which is more than fine with me ?

  5. My personal style used to fall somewhere in the goth/punk area and that’s still my preferred aesthetic. I like the layered look and it’s generally served me well as far as keeping douche-y dude-bros at bay (for the most part).

    But, my current style falls in the “too depressed to wear anything other than the same pair of pants all week and alternating baggy t-shirts” because I don’t have the energy to pretend to give a damn most days. Which happens periodically, but it’ll pass.

    • Oh Adie, I know this feeling well — it was pretty much my uniform from November 9 until, oh, a month ago. Thanks for sharing, and I hope you feel better soon!

  6. I’m excited to see more by you! I often describe my style as “mangled femininity;” I like combining brash high femme fashion with a sort of soft punk masculinity. I’m nonbinary and love to look alien and out-of-place— femininity without looking cis and not for male consumption.
    This seems like it’s going to be a really good column!

    • Oooooh, “mangled femininity” sounds great — I would love to see your look!

  7. Welcome! I’m excited to have some new and fresh fashion columns.

    My aesthetic is generally lazy femme and I also love a nice button down. I refuse to wear sneakers and prefer tall boots in winter and Birkenstocks in summer. Like I mentioned above, I love bright colors and patterns (I recently was in trouble when I had to have plain black pants and a white button up for a volunteering event, realizing that I don’t have any non-patterned tops at all. Oops.) Anyway, I love talking about fashion and I’m really glad you’re here!

  8. Like everyone else, I am excited about a) the identity “off putting femme” and b) new and fresh fashion articles.

    I’ve never really thought about how I would describe my style…I guess it would be mostly lazy / chapstick femme with some hippie and librarian influences. Which actually just kind of sounds like who I am as a person.

  9. I have never seen a stylish tattoo that doubles as a piece of fashion. Awesome.

  10. Nora, your clusterfuck of aesthetics is dope. Funny, I don’t put much time into what I wear but highly admire/envy those who show self-expression through clothing. My style is whatever takes the least effort, while still being visually pleasing. Also, it pretty much consists of all black (black shirts, black jeans, black boots, sometimes a black blazer or trench coat, even black lipstick on rare occasions), with a few strange items thrown in now and then to confuse folks (silver, metallic gloves, leopard print, creeper-ish looking platforms, a sweater with a dozen pumpkins, all with either googly-eyes or little bows glued on, etc.). Everything I own is from Midwestern thrift stores or estate sales. Bless all the old women that died for our sins

    • Thank you Rae — I totally take “clusterfuck” as a compliment, and it sounds like I would really love your style!

  11. I will join you in the Björk swan dress fight; creativity against mindless consumerism forever ?!!!

    • I always wondered why there was such an uproar over that dress, and then I looked it up today and discovered that she laid an actual egg from it on the red carpet. Amazing.

  12. WELCOME!

    I have no idea what to label my style / presentation, but my favourite thing to do is find items of clothing that straddle the line between hideous and awesome, and then pair them with other things in such a way that ideally they cause mild confusion in the people around me and delighted amusement inside my head. (But then I also spend a lot of time in drab hiking/biking gear or gym clothes, so it really depends on the day.)

    • I love that description of your style! I always think a little ugly makes things way more interesting.

  13. Greetings and such to you Nora.

    My style like my gender tends to fluctuate but the basic outline remains the same very neutral, cleans lines, bold in a stark kinda way, and free of frills. Even at my most femme I abhor frilly stuff on my person, even have an aesthetic called andro femme trying to cultivate further for when I feel femmey or feel a situation calls for it. I’ve only got a couple outfits that I feel exemplify the aesthetic. I should probably take pictures, description is hard.

    Right now I’m trying to transition from young adult of the tee shirt-pants-hoodie with tactical boots/flip-flops style to professional adult looking human without the uh professional income.
    Also I have to make considerations for bouts angioedema, can’t zip pants if you have puffy stiff hands.

    I think for a large chunk of my life my style was about feeling powerful and avoidance of others and a deeper exploration of self.
    Gothy and off-puttingly masculine, I’m not a tall person but I project height(still) with my resting ice monarch face and used to (purposely) project menace. Then it was about trying to be invisible and not menacing.
    Looking back on it I do see my anti-style ways as mode of self-expression, just a very uncomfortable self. But I still don’t like bright light colors, they make me feel like an exposed deer.

    I love box-frame buckles
    I “match” graphic tees with specific articles of outwear
    I’ll either die with my boots on, or these bitchin’ $200 dark rainbow grandma sandals I got for $30
    I sometimes class items on how well they could be adapted to a greaser/drape look
    I have 3 kinds of jeans: tinkering, respectable, delectable

    • “I think for a large chunk of my life my style was about feeling powerful and avoidance of others and a deeper exploration of self.” This definitely resonates with me.

  14. WELCOME!

    My sister coined the description artsy punk in reference to my latest style aesthetic. I went from strictly graphic tees, jeans and hoodies with the odd ultra femme hand-me-down or long skirt thrown in up until university, to slightly rocker/mishmash. Ultimately comfortable and semi form-fitting clothes that are aesthetically pleasing are my style. I usually pick individual pieces that catch my eye or that I think would fit the certain aesthetic I have in mind which varies pretty often.

  15. Welcome! Can’t wait to see more of this column :)

    I’m generally all over the Femme style spectrum, but last week I did create an Executive Alpine Bisexual look (blue shirt, green Austrian wool and velvet blazer, multi-colored polka dot silk scarf)to teach about Judith Butler.

  16. Welcome Nora! I can’t wait to see how your column will develop, but if it’s like your introductory photo it will ROCK :D!

    In general I alternate between lazy and tomboy femme, depending on what I have to do. I have an ungodly love for glitter, old-fashioned details and handmade jewelry, which I use to witch-ify almost every outfit in my wardrobe. This has been a huge step for me, because I had low self-esteem for a long time and didn’t feel comfortable in owning my quirkness… which is something, considering that now I look like the femme version of Magnus Bane!

    • Thanks, Bianca! I’m glad to hear you’re using style to step out of your shell. I have a few jars of body glitter I really ought to use more often…

  17. Welcome to Autostraddle Nora! :)

    My style is “dance-aesthetic lazy hard femme” -> read “dancer-aesthetic lazy” as clothing and “hard femme” as energy/attitude.

    Basically I wear black leggings. All day, pretty much every day. My excuse is that they’re comfy af and also I am prepared to randomly dance or stretch or do something random at any moment. However I’m prepared to branch out if something else meets those requirements ;)

    I also need to enhance my skills at alienating the patriarchy (and looking more queer in general) so I’m looking forwards to your column!

    • Comfort is important! I used to suck it up and wear pieces that didn’t feel good just because I loved how they looked, but I’m too old for that ish now. Leggings all the time sound wonderful.

  18. Welcome, Nora! I’m looking forward to this column and love the description of your style. The best way I can describe my style is “kinda lazy femme”. I like vintage-inspired dresses, high heel shoes, flowers, pin-up makeup but I also really like to be comfortable.

  19. So nice to meet you! I’m genuinely excited about queer fashion, and femme fashion at that!

    Idk if this is gonna make any sense at all but: I’m a Leo rising, Virgo sun, and Capricorn moon. So for my aesthetic, think hard femme/ styled librarian ? I can’t wait to see what you share!

    • Thanks, Jessica — I have to catch up on the astrological references, but I’m digging all the librarian influences in the comments!

  20. So excited! I’m usually “gothic hobo femme”, so I feel like I can learn something here.

  21. Welcome, Nora! Thank you for the shout-out to “folks who view getting dressed simply as a method of avoiding an indecent exposure summons” – I feel seen.

  22. This is great! I really like your aesthetic and the way you describe it.

    Also, I’ve officially already purchased something from this column (the “We are the weirdos Mister” tshirt), which says great things about you being an awesome fashion & beauty editor and v bad things about what your articles will do to my wallet….

    • Thank you, and sorry about that! I will try to keep the cute items to a minimum.

  23. I like your style! I would call mine ‘flapper/slacker’ with maybe a bit of bi-witch and some retro skater style now and again – kinda androgynous but also with skirts and dresses and hand knit sweaters and handmade gem necklaces, and only flat shoes, and usually could wear the same thing to work in the garden and then go to a bar later, with a swap of accessories. If it is not comfortable it will not go on my body. I also have things I have seriously been wearing for 20 years and never ever plan to stop til they fall apart for real.

    • Oh my gosh, you’ve got it all going on! And yeah, a few of my favorite old dresses are definitely held together by safety pins.

  24. I have the ‘creep’ version of that t-shirt! my favourite pieces of clothing tend to be described as ‘hideous/amazing’. i like lots of glitter and clashing and stompy shoes and generally looking as obnoxiously not-for-the-male-gaze as possible. also, give me your shoes.

  25. hi nora!
    my style is best described as “lesbian literature professor at the farmers market.” most days i look like julianne moore and annette bening in “the kids are all right” or frankie from “grace and frankie.” i rock a lot of “boyfriend”-ish jeans, chambray button-downs, random thrift-store shirts (like a muscle tee that says “whiskey business”) and solid tank tops paired with big artsy chandelier earrings, a thumb ring, and a pencil sticking out of a messy bun. bras are always optional, for ~political statement~ but mostly because it’s now staying in the 90s all day here and it’s just too sweaty for a tight, thick undergarment. skirts i only wear very occasionally because i bike everywhere and i can’t sit perched on a low tree branch or with my legs draped over the desk in a skirt.
    i’m floating somewhere around chapstick lesbian and very, very soft butch.
    basically i look exactly like what you’d expect a twentyish-year-old gay english major from san francisco to look like.

    • Hey Emily! I am so impressed with everyone’s elaborate style descriptions, and I love that one of your big considerations is whether you’ll be able to sit in a tree.

  26. High femme here. I once wore heels in a snowstorm (and now I laugh about it). Just bought myself white and navy suits, love florals and power clashing patterns. I joke that I have two favourite colours: bright and sparkly. I have a jacked with a gold spiked epaulette. I love fashion. Love your style too! Welcome!

    • Thank you! I don’t own snow or rain boots — I just trust my platforms to lift me above the soggy stuff!

  27. Welcome Nora! I’m looking forward to your posts and lots of fun fashion talk. I haven’t really thought before about how to describe my style, but I guess it’s like half lazy femme, half professional high femme, and half liberal arts professor (which is funny because I’m actually a nursing professor, but hey, a girl can only wear scrubs so often…) But wait you say, that was too many halves- I know, that’s the fun of it!

    • Hey Jenny! I like all three of your halves, though I am constantly running over to exciting print tops on thrift store racks, only to realize they’re scrubs. I’d go wild with those patterns!

  28. Welcome :)
    I wear lots of tracksuits and stuff because they make me feel comfortable & butch (or masculine anyway not sure what counts as butch) & I get called young looking (in a bad way) regardless of what I wear so I might as well enjoy wearing what I want to rather than forcing myself into makeup & heels/smart jackets & suits for the sake of the world.
    Which took a lot of doing over my twenties, because I used to think that you had to look a certain way, just like I thought everyone had to have a conventional job (which made me too stressed as an aspie with my own routines, I’m an artist/writer now instead and I work from home).
    Also my wardrobe is green lol. I mean not every item but…
    I haven’t comfortably worn a skirt – proper skirt, female skirt – since I was about 6 but I have worn kilts out of free choice when I was younger. Woollen things which were aimed at males. (I grew up around mostly Scots so that’s men’s formal for us)
    I’d love information all about what can code an outfit as queer, beyond just the obvious (to me as an AFAB nb butch person) thing of ignoring gender expectations. Lately I’ve been looking up what colours mean like lavender/violet and Oscar Wilde’s green carnations & (male I know and rude) what the handkerchief code means. As you can tell, I like queer fashion history :) And it might be cool to make our own modern day lgbt symbolism on AS which are specific/secret to us as AS readers & can be amended for all different gender/style presentations :)

    • Thank you for all this! I’m looking forward to working with and learning from contributors whose respective styles are really different from mine, so hopefully we can bring you some more material like the stuff you’ve been researching.

  29. Hi! Is that an American Girl tattoo? I really like it!
    My style floats between rural lesbian and weird vintagey dresses. The only uncomfortable thing I’ll wear is a corset. I wear a baseball cap when I do my truck delivery job because I’ve noticed folks are friendlier to me when I wear it. Very occasional perfume, pretty much no makeup ever, barefoot at every opportunity. I’m a sucker for shirts with pin tucks or lace on the fronts, but they’re usually not comfortable enough for long-term wear.

    • Thank you, but it’s actually my mom’s kindergarten shadowbox portrait! If I didn’t live in NYC, I’d be barefoot a lot more too.

  30. Welcome, and I love your style!

    I identify my style as “femme on bottom, tomboy on top”: eg. a men’s sweater with a skirt or skinny jeans with a boys’ buttonup.

  31. Damn, this sounds really cool and I can’t wait to read your posts. I would say I’m a minimalist femme with no time for frills, polka dots or patriarchal standards. Most often found wearing over the knee skirts which earned me the title of the longest skirt wearer in my school.

  32. I’m definitely somewhere between “Off-putting femme” (if I don’t see that on a tshirt in the autostraddle store asap, I’m gonna be raging) and lazy femme. My current favourite thing is doing amazing, super-femme makeup and then just wearing massive, baggy, form-hiding clothes. I look like a sexy, comfy lump and I love it. The male gaze doesn’t know how to feel.


    I wear dresses and lipstick 99% of the time so I think I would probably just be called femme by others but my style is mainly a result of lack of options. Finding anything that fits me right is such a chore that I almost have a uniform by now that I rarely venture out of. I would love to dress more androgynously. But when you break it down the looks available for my body type are unfailingly either matronly, or sexy, neither which I feel particularly comfortable in. Fml

  34. This column is so exciting! I do tomboy femme for work, with old navy slacks and second hand tops (buttondown plain or with interesting structural details, boys ts and sweaters), tshirts and comfy boys shorts or jeans with pockets that fit everything on the weekends, and sometimes dontmesswithmewannabepriestess – long skirts, high collars, and sleeves. I’m getting to a point where I have fewer and fewer clothing items, but I love what I’m wearing more and more, and that’s really nice.

  35. I jokingly called myself a glam rock lesbian to someone who asked, and it seems strangely apt. I wear a lot of vintage and not vintage wide legged palazzo pants, with really bold print button ups from the 60s-80s. I’ll also wear skinny jeans with a band t shirt with a fancy or velvety blazer on top. I’m also really into rompers/jumpers- facebook ads keep showing me a really expensive white jumpsuit with wide legs and a deep v neckline from anthropologie because I had showed it to a friend as an option of what I’d wear if I ever got married, haha.

Comments are closed.