Growing up, I loved being outside, climbing trees, building weird contraptions to attach to my bike to see if I could get it to fly like the Wright Brothers. My heroes were Indiana Jones and Ripley (from Alien), and as many of my nearest and dearest know, I jumped off of my roof with tennis ball halves glued to my sneakers, convinced I would bounce like the Gummi Bears. NOTE: This theory is incorrect!
Despite the common stereotype, a grown up tomboy can present in all kinds of ways. We are not all sporty folks, eschewing every aspect of femininity. Tomboys, as with most gender identities and presentations, can be as nuanced as they like. I build furniture, hate wearing dresses, am unapologetically outspoken, and keep my hair in a pixie cut, but I love ruffly blouses and elaborate necklaces (an illustrative reduction, but you get the idea). Dominant culture didn’t help with this integration process much.
As an adult, I spent the better part of my twenties reconciling my inner tomboy-ness with a genuine love of aesthetics and womenswear/fashion, finding inspirational icons from other times that more aligned with my sense of myself (Katharine Hepburn, Jean Seberg, Lauren Bacall, Julia Sugarbaker).
As a tomboy bride, I BARELY wanted to wear a dress, let alone something that looked like to me like a cupcake.
The wedding industry, and pop culture in general, is so bossy about what everyone’s experience of gender is. Hey, Wedding Crap Culture! Not everyone is a pile of princess fantasies! And stop telling all humans to lose weight! Stop counseling us all on up-dos!
“What will your wedding day hair be, Michael?” It will just be my hair. It’s short and sits there on my head quite well.
Basically, I ended up scrapping traditional wedding sites and advice all together in favor of finding a solution that fit with my gender identity and expression.
I’m a Scorpio rising; nobody puts me in a corner—gender or otherwise. But enough about me.
Good news! Just like you don’t have to wear white, you also don’t have to wear a dress, nor do you have to wear a floofy dress. Nor does anyone have to wear a tux, formal suit, etc.!
Some wedding and non-wedding idea boards for wedding fashion for a small sampling of tomboy “types”…*
(I have absolutely no idea how anyone pictured below actually identifies in terms of their own gender. I am not making assumptions about people, but I am noting kick-ass styles that I enjoyed looking at and thinking about).
For Feminine-Fancy Tomboys: Pants!
You can change elements to make this type of outfit as formal or casual as you like.
This is an actual bridal pants suit. I’m a fan of the jacket.
I had a friend who wore a tux to her wedding. BOSS!
For the Outer Femme/Inner Tomboy: Alternative Dresses!
This cut and pattern perfectly complements the tattoos!
Simple asymmetry, y’all!
A little flair.
This dress would make the perfect black wedding dress.
For Butch, Butch-ish, and Dapper Queer Tomboys: Suits and Other Options!
I know this is a repeat, but I like it so much. Tuxedo shorts, bowler, garter belt.
Tailored striped suit, non-traditional black and red palatte.
[Above and Below] Perfect for the casual garden party wedding. Photos by Bex Wade
You know, the wedding industry is really operating on a factory farm model when it comes to making money by putting everyone into homogenous gender categories. It’s much easier to use advertising and dominant culture to squeeze everyone into one of two camps than it would be to try to make money off of heterogeneity. Imagine how many variations of a product line you’d need. Imagine the loss in manicure income! Heavens.
List of Enjoyable Resources and Idea Spots:
- Fuck Yeah Fat Positive
- Fuck Yeah Alternative Brides
- East Side Bride
- Dapper Q
- Queer Fat Femme Guide to the Net
- Saint Harridan
- Tomboy Style
- Butch Wonders
- Fuck Yeah Chubby Fashion
- Jodhpurs and Sons
- Make Your Own Dress From a Vintage Pattern
*Because some folks from last week’s post thought that I was making literal suggestions for purchase when I posted what was meant to simply be an idea board, I want to make it clear that any products/styles that I posted are just supposed to get your creative thinking juices flowing—a little dose of inspiration. I’m not in any way saying “YOU DO THIS NOW!” My whole trip with weddings is individuality, so go forth and compile your own idea board! It’s fun. I have several going for any given life event at any given time, including retirement.