For roughly a decade, I have been socially transitioning.
While I don’t consider myself an expert, I would like to assume I have enough knowledge to spread information to
those who are currently struggling with their hair and their clothes, the stereotypical things that may be getting them
“clocked” in public.
Without further ado, here are just a few tidbits I’ve learned in the past ten years…
H A I R
It may be a pre-testosterone trans man’s natural inclination to head towards short hairstyles, as short usually equates to masculinity. And while that is correct, I raise the prospect that masculinity is not the same as “male-coded”.
Because there are plenty of masculine women, and women who embrace their masculinity as well as their femininity.
So, how would a trans man stand separate from a masculine woman?
One way to do that, is to think of male-coding oneself over simply aiming for some arbitrary masculinity maximum. To do that, we need to discuss face shapes.
There are many shapes, yes, but stereotypically an XX-born person will exhibit rounder features, specifically when it comes to the cheeks and the jaw. This is important to understand for our equation on how to reduce female-coded appearances.
Because, see, there is a formula to follow:
Round + Sharp = Accentuated Round, Accentuated Sharp
Round + Round = Muted, Neutrality
Well, what do I mean by this?
I mean that transmasculine people, who are concerned about their face shape, should rarely – if ever – cut their hair to be short, cropped, and sharp. The sharpness of a, say, pixie cut, accentuates the roundness of the face. It is its opposite, making it stand out further against the hard edges of the cut. Whereas a rounded cut, alongside a rounded jaw, will mute the overall roundness into neutrality.
I found I passed with far more frequency when I had longer, albeit messier hair. When I had gotten pixies and masculine cuts, I had only made my jaw stand out that much more, made it obvious that my face was round and female-coded in society. But, when I had longer hair, it blended in, making everything seem more male-coded.
Sure, I was mistaken for a ten year old boy when I had been in middle school, but at least I was a boy in their eyes.
C L O T H E S
The next topic follows clothing. Similarly to the hair section, which loosely suggests one stop going against the grain
of their natural body’s shapes and, rather, go with it, I’ll be saying a near-copy of that in this section, too.
Because, like with hair, many trans men want to jump right into male clothing. But, pre-testosterone, it may dwarf
them, may make their wider hips seem even more wide, may accentuate things that shouldn’t be there in the first
place. So, using the same formula above, we can figure out what clothes work best.
The last thing you would want to do, if trying to become more male-coded, is to accentuate the curves of the hips and
the lack of broadness in the shoulders. Things such as skinny jeans, tapered jeans, or even straight-leg jeans will do
a transmasculine person dirty. They make the curves of their thighs and hips more obvious despite being male
clothes, therefore making them appear female-coded to society.
However, a neutral pair of, say, “mom jeans”? Of straight-leg women’s jeans?
Don’t get me wrong, I know it may be severely uncomfortable to buy those things for someone who is trying so hard
to not be that. But the women’s jeans were meant to work with bodies affected by estrogen, so the straight-legs will
blend with the curve, accepting it but not accentuating it too much. It will allow someone to have the simple box-
shaped body over, perhaps, a pear-shape from men’s straight-leg.
However, another option – though rather expensive – is the athletic fit jean. These, like women’s jeans, are meant to
accept the curve of someone’s body but, instead of XX hips, it is this time the XY athletic hip. Muscle-bound athletes
are going to be bigger than those that aren’t, may have a more rotund leg and butt. But that’s what a pre-T
transmasculine person may have, too. Athletic fit goes a long way in order to hide hips. But, even then, sometimes
there is nothing better than a straight-leg women’s cut.
As far as the top half of the body goes, though, the rules tend to fly out the window.
The only objective is to make the hips in-line with the shoulders. Or, rather, make them seem equally as wide, and to
match your torso with that same width. One of the best ways to do this is to wear flannel shirts. Not buttoned, but
open and simply over another shirt, preferably a dark tee.
This will hide the curve of the waist and ribs, hide the chest in the darkness of the T-shirt if one is pre-op, and will also
help the shoulders to fall in-line with the hips. Clothing like the nice, comfy hoodie may feel safer, but they tend to
have an elastic at the bottom which can hug the hips, making them seem wider (again, round + sharp or, in this case,
tight). Oversized hoodies simply make someone dwarfed and small, giving off an air of femininity and female-coding
in our society, unfortunately.
So, next time, try the flannel, jeans, dark shirt combo. It may just work…