Spring is my favorite season. The days here in Seattle become noticeably longer, plants burst from buds into infinite shades of green, and the weather can change from hail to sunshine to rain in ten minutes. It also heralds a change in wardrobe from winter browns, darker reds, grey, and black to the bright yellows, pinks, and greens of spring.
Last week I began to rotate my wardrobe by packing my winter clothes into a storage bin. During this process I realized there were many tops I hadn’t worn at all since the winter before. This puzzled me as they still fit well and were basic styles always in fashion. It took me a while to realize they all had three things in common: they were gray, bought pre-full time, and pulled double-duty for me in boy and girl mode due to their somewhat androgynous styling.
I bought them with the intention of being able to use them pre- and post-transition. Many trans people buy clothes before and during transition that are passed along or donated after hormones have done their magic to change the shape of the body. It’s just part of being trans and transition. A new wardrobe can be a large expense and shopping at thrift stores before and during transition helps minimize the cost for clothes that many only fit for a few months.
But I’ve been on hormones for over three years and while I’m still filling out at the edges somewhat, these clothes I hadn’t worn still fit. I know this because I tried them on.
So why hadn’t I worn them?
After thinking about it, I realized they reminded me too much of my pre-transition phase and they also didn’t fit into my evolving style. I found them uniformly dull.
My pre-transition phase felt like it lasted a very long time and as I considered each article of clothing in turn, memories welled up. My ex scowling at this one. My frustration at waiting for my body to fill in and make that one fit better. The top I didn’t buy because it was too femme and this was the consolation prize. The stress of buying that one hoping the clerk wouldn’t smirk at me.
Of course I didn’t want to wear these again!
Relieved at my understanding, it was easy to put them in my donate pile and not look back. With this newfound understanding I culled through all my clothes, casting away items with too much freight.
The biggest surprise for me? It felt like a larger milestone to me than when I donated my guy clothes. Getting rid of the guy clothes was a checkbox—I had no more need for them.
This was something different; it was moving on from an era where I felt forced to live a half-feminine life into one of being fully myself and having all of my clothes reflect that.
Farewell, pre-transition clothes! May you find another life to help across the threshold.
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