Women's Style

How I Explore Androgyny In My Self-Presentation

Questioning, Gender Fluid, Stories, In Transition, Women's Style, Men's Style, Non-ConformingAri Utria

Androgyny is defined as the combination of both masculine and feminine characteristics—an expression of gender ambiguity.

It’s worth noting that androgyny is by no means a modern concept, though if you look at the current trends among many celebrities, you will see that the notion of blurring the gender lines when dressing oneself has become increasingly popular.

The MTF Swimsuit Guide: Tips & Tricks For Trans Women

Lifestyle, Women's StyleMonica Prata
Image by

Image by

Whether you identify as trans or cis, swimsuit shopping can often be a loaded experience—and for good reason! The idea of bearing your almost-nude body to the world is a vulnerable experience by definition. 

And yet now that it’s finally hot out, I think most of us are ready to get outside to enjoy the sun and swim. Each summer, I inevitably get tons of calls and emails from clients who are transitioning from male to female about what women’s swimsuits to buy— and not to buy—in order to look high femme on the beach or by the pool.

As far as I’m concerned, online shopping is a great way for anyone and everyone to avoid the discomfort that tends to accompany trying on skimpy suits in fluorescently-lit fitting rooms. 

Below is a guide to women’s swimsuits for trans women who are looking to feel more femme and flirty when headed to the beach or to the pool. . Along with each photo, I’ve included short explanations of why a given suit is a “do”...and even included a couple of “don’ts” at the end for comparison. PS: Don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

1. Swimdress by Gottex

Nordstrom Rack

Nordstrom Rack

If you’re non-op or pre-op and are looking for more coverage down below, this black Gottex swimsuit is an ideal choice. The ruching at the lower abdomen and pelvic area will conceal a bulge, while the ruffle adds volume to the hips and a feminine flirt.

2. Bandeau Bikini by Kate Spade

Nordstrom Rack

Nordstrom Rack


This Kate Spade bikini is great for those with athletic figures. The horizontal lines exaggerate the width of curves at the chest and hip area, adding a sense of feminine softness and creating the illusion of a fuller bust and hip area. It’s great for somebody that has an athletic figure. If you desire more fullness in the bust, you can always ask your local tailor to sew soft cups in the top for more volume.  

3. Underwire + High-Waisted Bikini by Ted Baker

Nordstrom Rack

Nordstrom Rack

This Ted Baker suit has several great features for trans women looking to feminize their figures. The high-waisted bottom conceals the tummy, and its coverage can also conceal a bulge. The bottom also creates the illusion of a curvier physique, while the underwire bikini top adds fullness and volume, perhaps to a newly developing chest. You can always sew half cups in the lower half of the cup to give more lift or volume.

4. Halter + High-Waisted Bikini by Issa de’mar

Nordstrom Rack

Nordstrom Rack

This Issa de’ mar bikini is similarly curve-enhancing. The halter cut of the top breaks up the upper body to give the illusion of more narrow shoulders. The high-waisted bottom and higher-coverage bikini top shorten the look of the torso. While many trans women look to one piece swimsuits for more coverage, they often find they don’t fit as well because of torso length. For those who are especially tall, I think it’s better to opt for a high-waisted bikini, as it gives coverage and sex appeal.

5. Bikini with Ruffled Briefs by Jessica Simpson

Nordstrom Rack

Nordstrom Rack

If you are tall, low- and regular-rise swimsuit bottoms will inevitably elongate the torso. That’s why higher-rise bottoms, like the ruffled briefs on this Jessica Simpson suit, are a better choice for those looking to feminize their body. In general, this suit is striking without being gaudy. The underwire top gives an opportunity to add cups or forms (and also gives support if you have implants or significant breast development). The flirty floral pattern on top and bottom adds a sense of softness to the bust and hip/butt area, which, by default, also minimizes focus on the thighs and waist. The ruffled bottom is modest, giving extra coverage, and sexy all at once.

6. Halter One-Piece with Ruching by Magicsuit

Nordstrom Rack

Nordstrom Rack

The eye-popping turquoise of this Magicsuit one-piece makes this an appealing choice for summer. The ruching is great for concealing a tummy or slight bulge, and the extra fabric on the bottom helps accommodate those with longer torsos. The gathering of the fabric near hip and butt area helps give more volume, thus feminizing the body shape. The halter top breaks up the width of the body, and already has soft cups in it. If someone wanted to add adhesive breast forms, they would stay in place. Plus, of cleavage isn’t necessarily expected with the sleek yet modest cut of this suit.

Finally, below are two examples of suit types to generally avoid if you’re looking to visually feminize the look of your body.

String Bikinis

Nordstrom Rack

Nordstrom Rack

String bikinis, while notoriously sexy, are also notoriously unflattering for every body shape, I think. The narrowness of the strings barely offer any coverage, and exaggerate even an ounce of body fat—on anyone! String bikini bottoms are always super low-rise, so if you already have a long torso, it will look even longer in a suit like this one. The skimpiness of the halter string ties also tends to highlight the width of the back. Showing the most skin isn’t always the sexiest.

Torso-Lengthening One-Pieces

Nordstrom Rack

Nordstrom Rack

While some one pieces with flirty details like ruffles or ruching can give the illusion of curves, those that emphasize the verticality of the torso (like this one!) will emphasize the body’s more masculine, vertical shape.  

Coming Out: The Perfect Time To Revamp Your Space

Women's Style, Male-To-FemaleRex Rogosh


One of the first things I like to emphasize to any client is that personalizing one’s space is a gender-neutral endeavor. Many people get hung up on the idea of having a “feminine style” versus a “masculine style”—yet I also know many cis women with stereotypically “masculine” vibes in their homes, or cis men who prefer a more traditionally “feminine” look.

It’s totally natural for people to want to incorporate certain reflections of their identity in their personal space—and for many people, gender identity plays a huge role in self-expression. Though of course, there’s no universal rule for what the correlation is, or should be, between gender identity and aesthetic style. Personal space is, at its core, personal.

That said, I understand that tapping into personal style can be easier said than done—especially during a periods of transformation (of any kind, really). That’s why before I launch into specific tips about how to reclaim your space, I want to address a few misconceptions…

Just because you’re transitioning doesn’t mean your style is going to change.

The things you surround yourself with should feel authentic. If you’re MTF and you still want to surround yourself with sports memorabilia and other hegemonically “masculine” things, go for it! You may find yourself feeling a certain pressure to feminize or masculinize your space—but the only right answer is what feels right to you.

Changing your color scheme may not be your first priority.

Going with things that are comfortable for you is the best piece of advice for anyone revamping their space. If blue is your favorite color and you find that there’s not enough blue around in your home—definitely incorporate more of it, regardless of your gender. The idea of blue-versus-pink as the man-versus-woman distinction is a reductive construction form the Victorian age. It’s 2016…and we’ve learned a lot.

The person you want to become is not the person you are now—so be present.

Decorating is a process of being in the present, and of reflecting who you are in the moment. If you are MTF and are noticing a desire for a little more softness in your space, maybe you choose a softer fabric for your sofa throw pillows. Maybe you change the pattern on your bedding from one of geometric shapes to softer lines. Change is a process, so don’t try to force anything.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I want to share some of go-to tips for redecorating during your transition, or really for anyone going through a big change in life.

I strongly believe that revamping your surroundings can bring in the sense of a new fresh era—and I’ve seen it prove to be incredibly empowering for many clients who are transitioning. Here is my X-step plan for bringing in some fresh vibes…

1. Recognize that the past is still part of you.

This first step is more of a mental preparation than an actionable tip. But it’s an essential step in the process—and influences the subsequent steps in the process...

The one thing I always remind all of my clients is that our past is our past, and it’s never going to go anywhere. Trying to complete erase the past can prove to be quite anxiety producing and often makes people feel like they’re trying to erase themselves.

2. Go through your possessions, assess how they make you feel, and devise a reasonable plan of action.

I’ll begin here by telling a personal story. Recently, I went through a bad breakup, and found myself feeling pretty uneasy when digging through wedding photos. I thought, “Maybe I should throw these photos away.” The photos showed me an array of good memories, and yet all I could feel were the bad memories that happened afterward so I felt like I wanted to get rid of them. Fortunately, my current partner advised me to recognize that I didn’t like how I felt with them in my space, but to simply box them up and then revisit them later.

When you’re starting a new chapter, you may want to make some room for new memories, which may involve re-evaluating the things around that make you think of old memories. For most people, going through pictures is a big part of the process.

If you’re transitioning for instance, you may find you want to replace pictures of yourself with newer pictures, or newer pictures of friends if dealing with your own image feels too tough.  In both these cases, you’re not trying to erase the past, but simply moving forward in your new life

Finally, when I say to “devise a reasonable plan,” I mean to underscore that sometimes feelings can make you want to act rashly. Because remember: you can always put things in storage.

3. Ask yourself, “How do I like to live?”

OK, I know this sounds like an awfully big and general question, but here’s what I mean…While I’d be happy living in a squeaky-clean glass box, other people I know feel safe and comfortable surrounded by knick-knacks and old mementos. So figure out what your style is. Here are a few guiding questions to help you:

*Do you like to entertain?

*Do you prefer alone time to social time?

*Do you like being stimulated in your space?

*Do you want to prioritize feeling blissful and serene?

Really look at how you live, and see how it maps onto how you want to live. Maybe you’ve always been someone who loves alone time, but you want to entertain more. Take account of that! We can will into existence the life we want to live by the way we surround ourselves with things.

4.  Don’t underestimate the power of your favorite things.

It may sound cheesy, but it’s really important to surround yourself with things that make you happy. So to begin, get curious about the kinds of activities, colors, smells, and so on that make you happy. Are you happy when reading books? Or watching sports? Or riding your bike? Find a way to incorporate elements of your “favorite things” into your life. Maybe you decide to display books in a corner of your living room. Whatever it is that makes you happy, let it be a part of your space.

5. Consider your wardrobe, and how it might be able to influence your home.

Color always affects people—and yet many people claim to be “afraid” of color when it comes to decorating. I find it fascinating that I’ve met so many clients whose wardrobes are filled with bright colors, yet who claim to only want white walls and beige couches. That’s why I always ask clients to look at their wardrobes as inspiration for their space

For people who are transitioning, they are often experimenting with new ways to dress—so this question can be a bit tricky. Regardless, though, I find that there is always some style or color or pattern we subconsciously gravitate to. So spend a little time with things you like—your favorite sweater, blanket, cologne, make-up kit, or whatever it is that makes you feel the best among your possessions—and find a way to incorporate an aspect of it into your space.

Above all, there is no correct answer to the question of how to revamp your space or your general style during your transition. But one thing is for sure: bringing in a few elements of newness is a powerful way to introduce some fresh vibes.