The way a person dresses is a huge part of how they express themselves, especially if that person is a part of the LGBTQIA+ community or is not gender binary.

While I identify as feminine, I’ve been locked in an eternal struggle between femininity and masculinity. I absolutely adore how open actress Lea Delaria and model Jenny Shimizu are about their butch style, but I can’t help being drawn to the tight-fitting, short cut clothing advertised on storefronts. I wish I could commit to being fully butch, but somewhere in me is the fashionista my 6-year-old-self hoped I’d be. Over these many, confusing years, I think I’ve found my balance. Masculine, but not quite butch. Hopefully, through this article, someone who is feeling as conflicted as I used to will find some useful tips and maybe even some comfort in the fact that there are more of us.

Let’s talk about Forever 21. I know, I know, they’re not the most ethical company, and their clothes are known to be low quality–but hear me out! Their men’s clothing is perfect for the everyday masculine woman, and it’s far better quality than their “female” clothing alternatives
. Being a Large-to-XL in women’s, a medium in shirts generally fits me. If you have bigger hips, trust me: don’t even try to find pants there. Their men’s pants are not very friendly with the thigh-and-hips area. Despite that, if you’re looking for any bowties, button-down shirts (as pictured), faux-leather jackets, beanies, or blazers, Forever 21 and similar retail stores are your friends.

Just because we would rather be masculine doesn’t mean we can’t wear make-up. Make-up is not gender-exclusive, contrary to popular belief. In a continuous attempt turn my Gerber baby face into the suave, androgynous lady-killer I hope to portray, I like to make my eyebrows thicker, eyelids darker, and lips lighter. Whether or not it interests you, don’t discount makeup as strictly feminine.

This is the part where Queer Voices turns into a much better, more queer Cosmo. Let’s talk about what’s in right now. Fall is rapidly approaching, as all of us student are dreadfully aware. Prepare yourselves for pumpkin spice everything. Do you know how right now minions are on literally every product? In just a few weeks, those will be pumpkins. Then after that…. Santa. Besides pumpkin spice, fall comes with many fashion switches that are already taking effect. Bright, neon and pastel colors are out. Dark, rich colors are in. Say goodbye to your jeggings and invest in some high-quality denim, dark and light. Acid wash is iffy, I’d avoid it, but it’s not as bad as Crocs. Please, I beg, kiss Crocs goodbye. Replace them with their more hot, more popular cousin: Jelly Sandals! I snagged a pair from American Apparel for $40, and they’re worth the price. Keep in mind fashion trends, while fun to follow and nice to keep in mind, shouldn’t define what you do and are merely suggestions.

Lastly, don’t be weighed down by gender norms and labels. Just be you. If you want to wear short shorts, loafers, and a varsity jacket, please do so! In fact, I think it’s really fun to combine feminine and masculine aspects within an outfit. In the end, dress in what makes you happy.