In 2017, five years after I came out as gay, I stopped wearing dresses. It was for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I was finally in a comfortable relationship (with my now fiancé) and for my mental stability, I needed to explore my gender presentation. I’ve struggled with labels for a long time, and while I definitely feel comfortable being a woman, being called “femme” (or worse, “a lady”) makes my skin crawl. Sure, I love a bold lip and I have long hair, but I also live in my men’s Tims and don’t shave my legs. I recently changed my Instagram bio to say “lil andro idiot in coveralls” because I thought it sounded better than the truth — my true gender is actually more like Brienne of Tarth.
In December of that same year, I found myself sitting on the floor of my closet, crying. I had a black-tie holiday party to attend and there was not a single appropriate thing in my closet or on the internet that made me feel like me. I tried on a long velvet dress and cried. I tried on a suit and also cried (though a little less, suits just don’t fit my curvy frame well). Through my tears, I frantically googled “floor-length black tie pants and top,” and accidentally stumbled upon my saving grace, my lifeline for the holidays: a Lulu’s black floor-length jumpsuit with a strappy back, a cinched waist, and slits up both legs.
When I slipped on my first jumpsuit, I felt empowered. I felt sexy and beautiful and like a bonafide lesbian who deserves to stand on this earth. The jumpsuit killed at the first party I brought it to, and skyrocketed my confidence. I went on to wear that jumpsuit to the next five fancy events I had, and you can call me an outfit-repeater all you want; I felt like the flyest fish in the sea. I felt like my gender finally shone through the layers of fabric I placed around skin, and I felt free.
This holiday season, I’m the proud owner of six jumpsuits — two of which are full-on Dickies coveralls that are my actual new gender. I feel so wonderful in my skin this holiday season, I actually debated wearing a deep V velvet dress that’s been sitting in the back of my closet for three years to the company holiday party. I quickly decided that would be a ridiculous thing to do and instead chose a green halter jumpsuit from Urban Outfitters with a pair of heeled Doc Martens and enough gold glitter to cover the streets of Brooklyn. I also texted my tailor to see if she could turn my deep V velvet dress into a jumpsuit.
The holidays are complicated for everyone, and for me, much of that complication stems from my queerness. The holidays are filled with polarizing, gendered traditions, and uncomfortable conversations with that one uncle you never see. The nuclear family is held up as the ultimate standard of holiday togetherness, but for many queer people, that’s not an option we have. And, if we’re being honest, I don’t feel the need to claim the holidays for myself or for queer people in general. I feel mostly okay allowing myself to live a bit on the outskirts of holiday cheer But I do feel grateful that the fashion gods decided jumpsuits were in. And I’m grateful that this year, I’m not spending the holidays crying in my closet (pun most definitely intended).