Tips for Beginners

If you're new to the Cafe, please grab a seat by the potted palm, settle down with a nice big latte, and tell us a little bit about yourself. Please also look here for forum principles and rules.

Tips for Beginners

Postby Pdxfashionpioneer » Sat Sep 10, 2016 10:07 am

This is an invitation to our more experienced members to add to this thread to help our new members get started. If we compile it in one spot I think we'll save everyone a lot of time and effort.

The first thing to understand is that the first time is the hardest for ALL of us. And most of us, even after we've told you that "The only thing to fear, is fear itself." Still occasionally get butterflies in our stomachs at the thought of going somewhere we've gone a dozen times before, let alone at pushing the envelope yet another notch. But as we keep telling new members, while we come up with lots of things to be afraid of, there's really no reason to be afraid.
That said it's best to start slowly and work your way out into the world, because half of the battle is building up your own confidence. If you can just ACT like your walking to the corner, going to the grocery store or getting gas in a skirt is the most natural thing in the world, nearly everyone will respond in kind. Similarly, if you act furtively, like you have some reason to be embarrassed at how you're dressed, people will take you up on that invitation as well. Think of it this way, about half of the world's population goes out and about in skirts all the time and no one things any the less of them for it. The fact they happen to be women is entirely beside the point. When they wear pants no one thinks about that either; why should it be any different for you. So don't be embarrassed that you start slowly and carefully -- you'd be foolish to do otherwise because every town is different -- the fact is we all have started that way and that the crucial thing is to start.

Next you have to find a style. If you look at the Pics and Looks section you'll see that members of the SkirtCafe wear and look good in a wide variety of skirts and dresses. So pick a style that suits you and try it out! Many members have found it works well to start with the simpler styles that look like pants that the factory forgot to separate into two legs, such as denim skirts, because they look so much like menswear. Like I said above, the crucial step is to begin and in a place and manner you can feel reasonably comfortable and confident in and then build on it. Once you get comfortable, don't be afraid to push your own boundaries because that is how you will find a distinctive style.
Another plan is to look around at what women your age are wearing and try to imagine how it would feel to wear the clothes that appeal to you. Window shop, look in magazines, catalogs and online. How do you think women discover their styles?
Speaking of which, ask the woman or women you're comfortable talking to about personal matters for their advice. Especially if you like the way they look and dress. Most women seem to get a kick out of seeing me in a dress so don't be afraid to ask for expert advice.
When you're looking around for that elusive personal style, resale and thrift stores are a great place to look because all kinds of things wind up in those shops and they are great bargains so the unsuccessful experiments don't cost much. And in thrift stores you're usually supporting a good cause.

Look online for the standard dress sizes and where your measurements put you. Then realize they're only a starting point. Especially the more expensive brands of clothes go for "vanity sizing." That is, their 10 could be a standard 14 or who knows what so that the buyer feels thinner in it. The brand carried in department stores generally run true to size, but reviews on the store's website can tip you off to the clothes that don't and sometimes just the cut or style can make a big difference. For instance, a sleeveless dress with generous armholes might work better for you in a smaller size especially, like many clothes are it has a little spandex or elastane woven into the fabric. Remember, you won't fill out the bodice like the fitting models did.
So you might think that skirt sizes would be more consistent. HA!! They're the WORST for inconsistency. When you go skirt shopping bring along your tape measure so you can measure the waistband on the hanger and multiply by two. If that number is close to your waist size or wherever you expect to wear the skirt, try it on. That's right, try it on. The staff will have no qualms about telling you where you can do that. Remember, they are there to help you make a purchase you will be happy with, not to enforce social norms. The latter is bad for business. ;)

Above all else, don't forget that we're practicing that manliest of mantras, "No guts, no glory!" Or, to be more specific, "It takes balls to wear a skirt!" Yes, most of us have been told that at least once.

Good luck and welcome to the café!
Dave, the PDX Fashion Pioneer
User avatar
Pdxfashionpioneer
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 791
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:39 am
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Re: Tips for Beginners

Postby oldsalt1 » Sat Sep 10, 2016 6:44 pm

The best place to start buying skirts is a thrift store. These may not be the quality of clothing you want but you can usually pick up 4 or 5 different skirts for under twenty bucks. I never had the nerve to try them on on the store. most thrift stores don't do refunds but can usually get an exchange. after that KOhl's is a good place to look is there is one near you. Especially because their summer clothes are on sale and you can pick up skirts for around $10 . I I have gone thru over 20 skirts exchanging and returning before I was more confident about size2 etc. I finally started purchasing new, both on line and in the store.
User avatar
oldsalt1
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 1040
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:25 pm
Location: Long Island, New York

Re: Tips for Beginners

Postby moonshadow » Sun Oct 09, 2016 3:34 am

Even to this day, I do still occasionally get butterflies, especially if I'm going into an establishment that seems a little "red". Why just today I stopped at a little out of the way gas station in B.F.E. wearing one of my flower skirts, decorative top and granny sweater, the gas station had one of those little eateries off to the side, and my reason for stopping was I had to pee.... As I walked in, I noticed ALL of the older men who were sitting around telling tales stopped their discussion and fixed their eyes on me....

The "tip" here from me is when in these situations... SMILE! Always SMILE! It doesn't have to be a big goofy smile, just a casual grin. Make it known that you are comfortable and above all confident! Sometimes it helps to give the "man nod" as you walk by, maybe with a subtle "how are ya?". As you work through your visit you'll find that your smile becomes genuine as you have "mastered" this particular situation.

In my situation today, after I finished in the men's room, I purchased a bag of chips. I find it polite to make a purchase after using an establishments restroom. Remember, when you are wearing a skirt in public, you are representing a small but growing number of men who are aiming to show society that we are not monsters. Always represent well, be polite, be courteous. Making a purchase also gives you a chance to make actual contact with another human being, that being the checker, and perhaps maybe even other standing in line. Be kind and pleasant. If something funny happens, laugh! Remark on the weather or something to that effect. Say hello, and wish them a nice day on departure. This may be their first encounter with a man wearing a skirt, and lets face it, in those parts the only thing they've probably been exposed to was most likely the hate speech that we call "news" around here, they naturally assume we're going to make a scene, peep on little children in the ladies room, act like a victim, make unreasonable demands, etc...

Lets set 'em straight fellas! 8)

And just know, if you should ever find yourself here in a skirt... know that they've seen it all before.... ! :lol: (that's where the story behind this post took place)
-Moonshadow
The Eccentric Moon (skirt/dress photos)
My clothes do not regender me, I regender my clothes!
User avatar
moonshadow
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 2689
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:58 am
Location: Terra

Re: Tips for Beginners

Postby crfriend » Sun Oct 09, 2016 12:01 pm

To add somewhat to Dave and Moon's commentary, confidence in ourselves is key in being successful at this -- and I'm not referring to cockiness or bravado here, but rather the very quiet unassuming comfort that we know what's going on at that it can be handled with grace and aplomb. Getting cocky or strutting makes us look more like "rebels without a clue" than potential role-models.

So, keeping confidence in mind, it's worth noting that one must be comfortable in his clothes -- and his skin -- before undertaking this because it's going to challenge a lot of what you already know. Guys have modern casual down pat, mainly because it's so hard to screw up: Blue Jeans/Dockers/khakis, &c and polo shirts tend to all come in "safe" colours and have the same standard of drabness to them. With skirts, one gets outside that territory and does so with sometimes bewildering an even frightening speed; this needs to be understood and tamed before one ventures out. If you are visibly fighting your own clothing you're going to look like a prat and draw unfavourable attention. The key here is to make it look effortless -- as if you're putting the same amount of energy into managing your skirted rig as you would a pair of dungarees. It's a learned -- and learnable -- skill; take the time to master it, but beware the old adage that "practice does not make perfect -- practice makes permanent." If you repeatedly practise a flawed piece, you'll commit the same blunders, time after time, in performance.

Master colour and how it works. Don't bother with trying to memorise by rote what colours go with what and what shades can be used in different situations. Learn instead colour theory and why it works; that was you'll have a tool you can use at any time and with any set of colours -- and you'd be surprised what you can put together and have look good that your mother would never have thought of.

Understand that a competently put-together outfit may well consist of more than simply what's visible at first glance. What's visible on the surface is what we want to project; everything else consists of tools and tricks used to achieve that. Some enhance line; some enhance the level of control one has of the overall outfit; some change the apparent shape of it; others are subtle but important appurtenances. In this category I'm speaking of things like tights/hosiery (sheer or opaque, and in various lengths, styles, textures, and colours), slips (which provide an important degree of friction control and improve the was the outer garment moves, especially is hosiery is being worn), petticoats ("slips on steroids" which are used to provide both hem-control for very long/full skirts and also to provide more flare than the skirt might have on its own), and even garments that might knock down some of the flabby spots that we all seem to have and which also seem to multiply with time).

"Style". Once the break is made with trousers, the possibilities grow exponentially as far as creating a "look" that we want to cultivate. There's length, texture, fullness, colour, and a whole raft of other choices that become available. Personally, I have resonances with neo-Victorian/Steampunk so trend down that path; others have very different resonances, and that's good. But follow your resonances; you'll likely have more fun on that path than others, and that fun will translate into confidence out and about. If you're not certain about things, buy cheaply and experiment until you do find something that resonates. Note that different styles require different toolkits (see above); what works for a neo-Victorian floor-sweeper is not going to work on a thigh-length skirt, nor would the reverse work.

Laundry. Pay attention to the care instructions. If you can't comprehend the modern pictographs, print out a large annotated copy and hang it about your washing-machine and dryer. If the little pictographs are so small that you can't read them without magnification, get a magnifying-glass and keep it near the washer. I've screwed skirts up in the past by not paying attention, and sometimes they can't be recovered to like-new condition. Note that this may mean doing your own laundry. Get over it; men can do laundry and still retain their manhood.

Have fun. Lighten up and enjoy things. This cannot be stressed strongly enough. If you're not enjoying it, that's going to show -- just as strongly as your expression likely changes from a Friday afternoon following a dismal week at work versus a warm sunny Saturday morning with the promise of a glorious weekend. (Unless you work weekends, that is. In that case substitute the appropriate days.) The point is that if you regard dressing up as something to be endured you're not going to enjoy it. Period. If it "seems like work" you haven't found your resonance point.
Retrocomputing -- It's not just a job, it's an adventure!
User avatar
crfriend
Master Barista
 
Posts: 8484
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:52 pm
Location: New England (U.S.)

Re: Tips for Beginners

Postby oldsalt1 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 2:12 pm

On your first trips out don't go to the places you use on a daily basis. Just in case things don't work out right. Its ok to check out where you want to make your first venture. I started with gas stations in the early morning hours. Used the last gas pump and almost hid behind my car door. My first real trip with contact with people was a burger king 15 miles away. I checked it out 3 times before I finally went in. I even made sure I had almost exact change so there wouldn't be long contact.
START SLOW don' t rush it Enjoy
User avatar
oldsalt1
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 1040
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:25 pm
Location: Long Island, New York

Re: Tips for Beginners

Postby crfriend » Sun Oct 09, 2016 3:09 pm

oldsalt1 wrote:On your first trips out don't go to the places you use on a daily basis.

This has been elevated to the status of gospel, but from personal experience I don't think it's an absolute. Each individual needs to contemplate how and where he wants to "break the news", and he has to do it on his own terms based on his own experience.

Certainly I wore skirts around the house and yard simply to get used to the (very different) feel and to learn the basics of motion and control that the garment requires. But beyond that, I merely dove in and lived my normal life in the same manner as before save for the skirts. My first time out in public involved quite a few of the local places I tended to go to and obviously involved a good many of the locals. Sure, I was nervous, but tried not to let on -- and things went perfectly well. The point here being that I had taken the time to get comfortable with the alternate style and to be sure of the basics. Yes, it took guts, and my ex- was impressed that I handled it as well as I did, but all in all it wasn't all that stressful -- certainly it wasn't gut-wrenching or agonising.

So, it's possible to start wearing a skirt in public once you're comfortable with the basics, but you can also start out where you are comfortable and where you're known. That's rewarding in and of itself.
Retrocomputing -- It's not just a job, it's an adventure!
User avatar
crfriend
Master Barista
 
Posts: 8484
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:52 pm
Location: New England (U.S.)

Re: Tips for Beginners

Postby moonshadow » Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:21 pm

To continue on laundry:

Most of my skirts are what we would consider "delicate", although there are a few rough and tumble ones in the mix.

Generally, I try to separate all clothes by whites, blacks, and colors. I may mix darker colors in with blacks, but I generally NEVER mix whites as even the slightest bleed can show. I only have two skirts that are white as the driven snow and I typically wash them separately of everything else.

I have a few "Indian" skirts that bleed like a stuck pig when placed in water, so I tend to just hand wash them in the sink and let them air dry. I have a little rack in the wash room that I allow skirts to dry on.

All of my skirts I generally wash with cold water and cold rinse. Generally if a skirt requires a cold/cold washing then it's best to let them air dry and NOT use the electric dryer. There are a few skirts that tolerate warm/cold washings and I may place them in the dryer as I don't have a clothes line and my air dry rack has very limited space.

I have one skirt I purchased at GoodWill for $4.00 that was dry clean only as per the tag. As it was close to black, I through it in with the darks and washed it on cold/cold and let it air dry. The sky didn't fall, and it seems to look the same as it did before I washed it. Sometimes it's just the chance we take.

I typically watch the cycles closely and try not to let garments sit in the washer or dryer too long.

Generally my skirts may get two or three wears before they get washed. They just don't seem to get as soiled as my other clothes. My tops (blouses, tanks etc) I generally wash after every wearing as they tend to absorb my body odor.

Tops, like skirts can be delicate, however as I have no pure white tops, I generally wash them all with the colors in a cold/cold cycle.

If you have a front loader then I don't think you have to worry much about tearing clothes up as there is no agitator. My front loader died last month and being a little low on funds, replaced it with a used top loader with an agitator. I recall watching the machine run it's full cycle to ensure it wasn't ripping my skirts and blouses apart at the seams. The washer does have a gentle cycle which I used.

I learned that "women's" clothes, like the women they are designed for are generally tougher than we give them credit for! :D

To summarize, with everything but the most DELICATE of garments, just run them on a gentle cycle - cold/cold. Avoid the electric dryer if possible, though many skirts are just fine to run through one. Some electric dryers have a low/no heat option. To me that defeats the purpose of using one. Just hang them on the line and help save the planet.... 8)

* * *

Regarding the first place to wear a skirt:

Carl makes a good point about learning to "tame" the garment and how it flows as you move about. I recall my first outing in my Macabi I choose to hike the Channels State Forest in Virginia. It was a good choice as there wasn't many other hikers. There were periods where I walked a good ways without seeing anyone and it allowed me to experiment with how the skirt functioned. By the time I reached the summit I felt pretty comfortable with how the skirt behaved, and that same afternoon wore it in a K-Mart. I recall an old man snare at me and shook his head.

These days I'm sure people do that all the time, but you'll find as you get used to it you'll no longer notice it and train your brain to block it out. You'll literally think the world is less hostile.

Avoid watching cable "news" networks, they will make you think the whole world if out to get you. :wink: You don't need that kind of jab at your confidence at this level.

Trust me... it's not as bad out there as the television makes it out to be.... Many have remarked at my quick pace in becoming comfortable with wearing skirts in public. It should be noted that I have no television service and receive no reception in this holler. Just sayin.... :P
-Moonshadow
The Eccentric Moon (skirt/dress photos)
My clothes do not regender me, I regender my clothes!
User avatar
moonshadow
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 2689
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:58 am
Location: Terra

Re: Tips for Beginners

Postby Sinned » Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:30 pm

On the face of it the skirt is such a simple garment albeit with an almost infinite range of possibilities in terms of accessories, colour, material, pattern, style and so on. But WEARING a skirt is so complicated. Many times I have changed skirt three or four times before being satisfied with the match to jacket, shoes, tights, top and I can finally go out the door. With trousers I would just put them on add a top and socks/shoes and out the door. No thought of the overall look. So be prepared for such angst - it's perfectly normal.
I believe in offering every assistance short of actual help but then mainly just want to be left to be myself in all my difference and uniqueness.
User avatar
Sinned
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 2363
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:28 pm
Location: York, England

Re: Tips for Beginners

Postby partlyscot » Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:38 am

I like this idea.

I think there is an argument for wearing a skirt in private for a while, and then moving into the public domain a bit carefully to start. Apart from other considerations, we men have not been brought up to consider the fact of the skirt, and it is different to wear. Have you ever seen a little girl completely forget she is wearing a skirt and unconsciously scratch herself, or leave the skirt tucked in when returning from the washroom, or pull up the skirt by accident? Yeah, they can get away with that and look adorably cute. Grown man doing the same? Arrest and conviction is on the cards there! I nearly hooked my skirt above the waist a few weeks back, lifting a bike over an obstacle in front without realising I had hooked the pedal on the hem, noticed just in time! And skirts can knock things off tables and the like. They aren't constrained close to the body like pants. It's just a matter of practice.

Getting comfortable with the day to day realities just makes it easier to behave naturally around people, which is key, I think, for acceptance. These days, I pretty much make a point of behaving (as much as I can) exactly as I would when wearing pants.

I do still have small failures of confidence, it's going to happen, don't let it get you down. Think about it afterward, and try to make the changes that will allow you to proceed.
partlyscot
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 587
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:05 pm

Re: Tips for Beginners

Postby Happy-N-Skirts » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:11 am

I have skirts shortened to just above the knees. I like them to resemble shorts so they are not as noticeable and I like the unlimited stride while hiking. The downside is when getting in and out of a vehicle or sitting in a chair and not exposing everything.

I always have a tee shirt to sit on while driving as the seats are nylon. I simply roll up the tee shirt and bring it inside the restaurant or wherever I will be sitting, and then place the tee shirt over my knees as I would a napkin. No one has tried peeking under the table. I choose parking spaces where I am not likely to have anyone catching a look up my skirt. I use the door as cover and either rotate my legs and place both feet on the ground, or just be careful of my surroundings.

It is something I never considered before wearing a skirt in public.

Happy-N-Skirts
Happy-N-Skirts
Distinguished Member
 
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:39 pm

Re: Tips for Beginners

Postby Sinned » Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:13 am

Maybe it's my couldn't-give-a-sh*t nature but I couldn't do with carrying around a T-shirt in order to "cover up". What are you going to expose - a quick flash of underwear? A flash so brief most wouldn't even have time to notice. Forget it and when sitting either cross your legs or keep your knees together - simples. I think that you worry to much about something that is rarely going to happen, Happy, enjoy life more and remember that 99.999% of people are not deliberately trying to look up your skirt. The rest are perverts and you can't do much to dissuade them from trying. :wink:
I believe in offering every assistance short of actual help but then mainly just want to be left to be myself in all my difference and uniqueness.
User avatar
Sinned
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 2363
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:28 pm
Location: York, England

Re: Tips for Beginners

Postby Caultron » Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:40 pm

In restaurants the tabletop will generally provide enough protection. High-top (barstool) tables are a little trickier but still manageable. Keep your hem down and either cross your legs or keep your knees together.

Wear dark tights or dark briefs. That way, everything gets lost in the shadows.

Kilts are easier to sit in that other skirts because the apron drops between your legs. Other skirts stay flat across the top.

Going commando (regimental) can be enjoyable but I don't recommend it except for skirts that end below the knee. And even then, beware of slits in front or back.

But don't let all this keep you from going out. If you need the t-shirt for a while, and it's working for you, just do,it.
Courage, conviction, nerve, verve, dash, panache, guts, nuts, balls, gall, élan, stones, whatever. Get some and get skirted.

caultron
User avatar
Caultron
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 3305
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:12 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ


Return to Introductions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest