Fashionably Femme | Kendra
Welcome to Femme Features. Femme Features is a blog series featuring femmes from all nooks of the LGBTQIA community. These rocking folks are activists, educators, bosses, parents, entrepreneurs, and all sorts of amazing human beings. Join us as we explore femme identity as so much more than a label, but truly a way of life.
Meet Kendra, nerdy femme extraordinaire. From music to Star Wars, and even to dogs, Kendra is dedicated to loving every aspect of her life with an intensity that only those in the nerdy community can fully appreciate.
Kendra | Nerdy Femme
All my life, I’ve had body image issues. At least, all of the life I can remember thinking about my body as a thing that would be seen, something that might actually be separate from my own inner identity. Something that would serve as an interface between the intrinsic me and the world at large. Granted, when I was 5, my body image issues extended no further than “knees look weird, I don’t wanna wear shorts so I don’t see them”, but I think it’s safe to say that I have developed outward in all respects from there.
I began making decisions about clothing pretty early, much to my mother’s chagrin (in that my decisions were contrary to hers, and usually involved me with a pair of scissors cutting off some offending part of whatever article of clothing was bothering me at that moment). Then, as now, most decisions are in the vein of “not that”.
Almost as soon as I hit puberty, I began receiving negative commentary from my mother about what I chose to wear. Exasperated exclamations about how quickly things no longer fit followed me around like a bad smell. I detested shopping with her, both because of her jabs, and because her sense of style died sometime before I was even born. I have never cared for the irony of someone wearing an appliqué vest calling my outfit “tacky”.
Now, being a petite woman who teeters on that strange precipice between the “regular” and “plus size” sections, I find that in my efforts to avoid having a style foisted upon me, I forgot to determine one myself. I’ve existed within a “tshirt and jeans” mentality for so long that deviations seem odd. And working in a place with machines and knives and sawdust means that this is the unofficial uniform, so I don’t really get much of an excuse to explore all the possibilities.
Still, every now and then, I feel the joy of finding a piece that makes me immediately go HELLS YEAH. Things that make me feel like my body isn’t just an inconvenient vehicle that constantly demands tea and dill pickle sunflower seeds. Usually, these are dresses or skirts, with fun patterns or slinky fabrics. I use them to influence my mood; a twirly circle skirt or a-line puts a smile on my face, while a form-fitting number lends me the confidence for a nice sashay in some heels.
The day I saw an online article about a woman who had made some nerdy office wear, my mind just about blew open. Until that moment, I had seen the venn diagram of nerdwear and work wear to be two separate circles (at least for feminine presenting people, who are less apt to opt for ties). Even with my work clothes being what they are, I put myself on a mission to merge my love of cute with my inner nerd.
This outfit, I feel, is a prime example of success. Thanks to Her Universe, I’ve got a source for bomb-ass bomber jackets like this BB-8 one, and thanks to Hot Topic (and friend Rebecca), I was able to acquire a truly cozy R2-D2 sweater. The fact that the two can be worn at the same time is no small amount of joy for me. The skirt was a Kohl’s find, and the heels are so old that I no longer remember their origin, other than that their maiden voyage was a choir trip to New York City. This outfit is something I use to signal to the world that I am a HUGE F&%KING NERD and also HELLA CUTE, and I intend to find it some siblings, which I will then wear until they are all threadbare and refuse to hold together.
By that point, I hope I’ll have an entire closet full of replacements.
Kendra’s nerd-inspired fashion is a testament to all of us who discovered our style late in life, even those of us who might still be looking for it.