In your life there has been heartache and pain, and you weren't sure if you could face it again. But you can't stop now – you've traveled so far... it's time to change that lonely wardrobe of yours.
If you are gender non-conforming or a non-binary individual, shopping trips can be thoroughly disappointing and exhausting. The unnecessary gendering of products that literally everyone needs can be angering, The lack of clothes that fit your body and are affordable can be discouraging, and the amount of questions you may have to answer about who the product is for or if you are in the wrong section is enough to make you lose it.
Here is a 5-step guide for dealing with an industry that insists on being problematic.
Denial is now your best friend. Use it. Own it. It's not going to be like last time. No one is going to ask you for irrelevant personal information. That shirt you've wanted is going to be there, in your size, and on sale. WILL IT AND IT WILL BE. Sometimes you've got to fool yourself a bit but it'll be worth it.
There are a lot of dumb things in the world and shopping centers seem to attract a ton of them. Whether it's the sales attendant who is obviously watching you or the other shoppers who are giving you weird looks, experiencing anger while shopping can often be expected. The key is to not let it take control of you – let it motivate you. Be confident. Be fierce. Be you. People won't know what to do or say to a person who so obviously does. not. care. what. they. think.
As with all things, you are going to win some and you are going to lose some. Pick your battles like you pick your dodgeball team. Get the big guy and a few small fast ones. No matter where you go or what you do there will always be prejudice and ignorance. Today for you, tomorrow for me.
All of this can be exhausting...especially when all you wanted was a new pair of pants. It's not fair and you shouldn't have to deal with it.
The great news is that people around the world are fighting for social justice, they are fighting for security, they are fighting for happiness, and they are fighting for right to be who you are. Your security. Your happiness. Your identity. You are important and who you are is worth being proud of.
So we have to accept that nothing is perfect. That people are not perfect. That stores, shopping, and the fashion industry are. not. perfect. But as long as there are people who are willing to up about their own lives, their experiences, and their struggles, we can work to improve it all for the next day.
Ashleigh Bingham better known as “Bing, ”creator of I Dream of Dapper, is a dapperwear Tumblr style icon. She contributed to popularizing the long-haired "queer pomp" and is known for her daring pattern mixing, complimentary rich colors, lapel pins, wild thrift finds, variety in neckwear (featured in her "50 Days of Dapper" project), & ability to write about Harry Styles. In the past, Bing has contributed to Autostraddle, and has been featured on DapperQ, S Moda, Hudson, Buzzfeed, and included in the top 10 of a national menswear online competition. With a tendency to mix fashion with satire, Bing aims to explore fashion as a tool for self-expression rather than an industry.