Closet Cleanout Guide

Cleaning out your closet can give your style a boost. It can also help you live more authentically.

Personal style is an evolution. We all have clothes that we used to love but no longer suit us. The ghosts of butches past stare back at us from the hangers and shelves of our closets. Oh, look, there’s sporty tomboy butch from college. And there’s awkward fat business casual (hidden) butch from my first corporate job. Many of the items we hold on to are no longer useful or they no longer represent the person we are today.

In this post, we’re going to go step by step (day by daaaayyyyy-ayyyyy for my fellow 90s kids!) through a closet cleanout. In just a few hours, you’re going to totally renew your wardrobe. And, because clothes are important, this closet cleanout project is going to give you the chance to live more authentically. Let’s get started.

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Now is the Perfect Opportunity to Be Indispensable

Our lives, culture, and society are changing with every day that passes right now.  As our world struggles to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the patterns and habits we are accustomed to are rapidly shifting.  For many of us, these shifts include major changes in our workplaces.  

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Shame is 2 Sizes Too Large

I recently headed to my local JCPenney store to take advantage of their winter clearance sale and snag some new sweaters. 

I thought my current sweaters were simply wearing out and stretched.  I thought their casual shape was just baggy, and I felt uncomfortable wearing them, and I wanted to get some new ones to replace them.  I grabbed my size (an XL) and headed to the ladies dressing room hoping I could dive in without anyone seeing me and telling me I was in the wrong area.

I made it in without incident, but was immediately disappointed: the XL was like a dress.  The sleeves were nearly 8 inches too long and the whole garment just bagged off of me. What the hell?  XL was my size.   

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Better Dressed Butch

I’ve been butch since birth. Sure, my mom bought me a blue dress with white polka dots to match her and my sister on Easter when I was about 7. That outfit even included a white, wide-brim hat and lacy white socks. My private school upbringing also meant wearing a skirt five days a week for the first 18 years of my life. Oh, plus Sunday for church. So that left my weeknights and weekend to express my (ahem) “personal style.” Let’s just say it was lacking. Actually, it stayed lacking until I was about 28 years old. My uniform consisted of ill-fitting graphic t-shirts (that I convinced myself were clever), jeans, and Adidas sneakers. Plus hooded sweatshirts in the winter. I know. Sigh.

Let me begin my embarrassingly weak defense by stating that I was a sheltered child. And I am not sure you know what it is like to grow up lower-middle class in a rural area. Oh and gay. I’m not throwing that out there as some special “look-at-me” card. I’m just saying that my struggle to find a way to express myself was deepened by the fact that I wasn’t even sure how to articulate my identity with words, much less with my clothing. Plop that down in a locale that is dominated by camo (and not the Nick Wooster kind either), flannel, polyester and Walmart specials, and you will begin to understand what I had to work to overcome.

The Achilles heel, though, is that I was fat. Not like, kinda chubby or a little chunky. More like, belly hanging over belt fat.  Also, really short. I’m 5’2″. Let’s all agree that short and fat is not the best foundation for winning the “best-dressed” award. Continue reading “Better Dressed Butch”

What is a gentleman?

“The appellation of Gentleman is never to be affixed to a man’s circumstances, but to his Behavior in them.”  

 ~Sir Richard Steel~

Butc(h)er is dedicated to the idea that anyone can be a gentleman.  If that is true and you don’t have to be a man to be a gentleman, then what exactly is a gentleman?  Defining what makes one a gentleman is like trying to hit a moving target because it is a little different for each person.

woman in tuxedo

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