I’m writing this article while the emotions and recollections are fresh in my mind. I feel it’s too important a subject to let slide down my long list of things to do, so here goes.

 

This morning, I was reading through the status updates on Facebook when I came across a trans woman who sounded so desparately sad that between the lines I could see her ending it all. The gist of her posts was that because she had received negative comments about her appearance, felt she would never look like anything other than a man, and as a result she’d never get a job. Loads of people posted encouraging remarks, offers of help, but she just wasn’t listening.

I can’t blame her, she seemed to be consumed with self-loathing and wasn’t able to see the wood for the trees. It was heart-breaking.

And amidst all her comments there was one she received that stood out for me, and I wondered how important and discouraging it had been for her.

I went back to get the exact quote, but the entry has disappeared from my timeline, so this is the gist:

“If you dress like that how can you expect an employer to give you a job?”

Now, none of us that were part of the Facebook interaction know how she was dressed at the time the comment was made, and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment, so instead let’s look at what could be a typical scenario.

Perhaps she wasn’t dressed appropriately for a job interview. What could she do about that? Well, for starters, many women’s retailers have online stores that group clothing styles together like “Casual”, “Officewear” and “Special Occasion”. Checking out the Officewear section will help to provide ideas. Of course, if the job is for say an outdoor pursuits instructor “Officewear” isn’t going to be the place to look.

But going deeper than that, she could have her natural colouring analysed to find out what colours suit her. Notice I didn’t say what colours she likes. Often colours we like don’t suit us and can, in fact, produce results that make us look ill! That would be step one.

Step two. She could have a style consultation to assess her body shape, which would lead to finding out what type and cut of clothes suit her. And also, she’d discover which fabrics suited her too. Fabrics, believe it or not, can make or break an outfit.

Getting the outer style right has a massive impact on inner confidence (trust me, I’ve seen it happen many times) and it’s not about spending lots of money in designer outlets – Matalan, TK Maxx and Primark will work just fine if you know what to buy.

Now although all that would help this young lady, if she isn’t kind to herself and doesn’t find self-acceptance, then the outlook doesn’t look rosy.

And if my experience would help anyone here’s a few of my thoughts:

  1. Don’t go out expecting to pass, unless you honestly believe you do – it only leads to massive disappointment.
  2. Do your best with what you’ve got and be happy with that.
  3. Fake it ’til you make it – hold your head high, and keep telling yourself you have as much right to be out there as anyone else.
  4. Don’t go it alone, get support from others – lots of us who’ve been down this road want to help.
  5. Confidence will grow.

I did look at the pictures of herself she’d posted and thought if she was having issues with her appearance then there would be no hope for the rest of us. Okay going by the photos, and you have to bear in mind photos have colour casts, she looked to me like her dominant colouring type was “warm” and her lipstick was “cool”, and the tops were too light given her colouring, but these are details which can be changed very easily.

All I can say is I hope she finds peace and resolves her issues – I did offer to have a private chat but she hasn’t taken up my offer yet.

If anyone feels they could benefit from colour analysis and style advice please check out the Colour Me Beautiful website which has a directory of image consultants based in the UK. I’m listed under “Derbyshire”. The CMB image consultants are a very (TG) friendly bunch.

Alex is a personal stylist, image consultant, nail technician and photographer.

Image credit: Newsone.com

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