Setting My Own Style Agenda

Setting my own style agenda is something I’ve thought about every day for years. Even as a child, a preschooler in fact, I would peruse the most current issue of the Montgomery Ward catalog to see what the men were wearing. I would then imagine myself in said outfits, usually with some lovely lady by my side.

My primary reasons for transitioning have been about a perceived masculine body, especially a masculine sounding voice, wearing men’s clothing as a man and having sex as a man. All three of these motivators have been with me for as long as I can remember.

In the past my clothing styles have been more staid, I think. Rather than focus on what makes me happy or on details I believe reflect my inner person, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to master all the details of men’s dressing. One of the factors of successful male dressing is understatement. Elegant men should be the picture frame, if you will, while elegant women are the picture. I explored that vibe for awile. But, frankly, I found it rather oppressive. I’m not a particularly understated person by nature! I’m tall and opinionated and also intensely private about some things. So the whole grey flannel suit with black shoes thing ended up not working for me.

I’ve been fortunate to have a disposable income that allows me opportunities to spend money on clothes. I’ve explored a variety of looks, including the whole workwear thing of a few years ago. I tend to settle on the clothes that I’ve had made for me, what the British call bespoke. This should come as now surprise, since they have been sewn to fit my body, which is tall, long-limbed without much muscle mass. That means shirts that fit in the sleeves - a 36 1/2 with a left arm 1/2 inch longer than the right - are voluminous through the body and neck. Yes, I’ve spent considerably sums of money on these clothes.

Yet I know the most expensive clothes I’ve owned are the ones I never wear. So over time, these bespoke clothes become far less expensive than off-the-rack cheaper” clothes. I realize for many people they choose to spend their money elsewhere. Completely cool. For me my masculinity is inextricably intertwined with clothing, nice clothing that fits me.

color photo of jay sennett in brown sport coat

Today I awoke to very wet and cold spring weather. I decided to wear my bespoke brown wool spor tcoat with a linen shirt and linen scarf. Now right away I’ve committed several fashion crimes by mixing linen and wool. At my age, though, I don’t really give a shit about those rules. I want to have fun and create a style of dress in which I comfortable and expresses who I am. So I decided to pair this jacket and shirt with jeans - no belt - and my green suede superga sneakers. Oh, and my silk pocket square, too.

The net result of these fashion crimes is that I feel great, feel like myself and have just been having a grand day, despite the weather. I’ve also been lucky to receive some very nice compliments about my overall appearance. Ones like, you look snazzy” vs. “those shoes are great.”

My style agenda is now about feeling and looking good. I realize I will create some fashion crimes. But, as I said earlier, I don’t. My style agenda is about me. I think clothes are fantastic and represent opportunities for personal expression almost unparalleled in societies such as ours, where brands tell us who we should be. I’ve also worked hard to create this fabulous, wonderous body of mine.

My style agenda celebrates this transsexual body, my life and my choices.