MORE THAN FASHION
CLOTHING AND IDENTITY
By Kai-Isaiah Jamal, 30 June 2020
There are some bodies, like mine, that cannot, and will not, live inside the binary that society expects of them. They are too much of a perfect shade of grey to reduce themselves to black or white. I want to wear clothing that reflects my shade of grey, clothing that feels good on the outside and the inside. The kind of good you can see on my smile.
When I have those days, I often get frustrated. I critique myself, wondering: why do I try to adhere to a heteronormative style that I don’t believe in? But I have only recently realised that safety is a privilege, and when you can’t ensure that 24/7, sometimes you do need to compromise things – in my case, it's often a crop tee.
I had always drooled over certain looks that in different states of my transition, I felt like I couldn’t wear. At the moment, when I wear really low baggy jeans, massive Air Force 1s and teeny-tiny crop tops, I feel most myself. But my style is a work in progress. My wardrobe and my transition are like long-lost twins separated at birth who find themselves stumbling into each other over and over again. Occasionally, they marry together and bring out a lewk that screams 'me'. I am learning to make love and peace and abstraction with them both.