Tomboy Style, a History

June 10, 2011

Dear Any Man That Might Stumble Upon This Post, I am sorry. Very, very sorry.

You have been warned.

Over and out.


When I was little, really little, my mother dressed me in the expected darling, frilly, baby girl outfits. There were polka dots and ruffles and lace, Easter gowns and Christmas dresses and swimsuits with layers of fabric that stuck out from my hips.

While I write this I’m flipping through an album my parents made for my senior recognition at the sorority my last year in college. Containing photos of me from newborn through twenty-two, the transition is clear.

I started out in that ruffly swimsuit, waddling around at barely over a year of age. Turn the page and I’m wearing a red sweatsuit with…ruffles. Then a photo with Jill, my sister, her at 10 months and me almost three, wearing a red and white checked shirt with, yep, ruffles.

Me, in my big girl bed in all pink sheets.
Me, with pink ribbons in my hair at 3.
Me, in a pink, polka dot swimsuit at 4.

Me…uh oh. Here’s where it takes a turn for the worse.

Holding up a fish larger than my face, wearing overalls, at 5.
Running a race in miniature work out clothes at 6.
Donald Duck for Halloween.
Softball portrait.
Another shot at the lake, swimming with Jill. At 5 and 7, respectively. She wearing pink stripes and ruffles on her suit. Me, a full piece speedo.

Age 6, a Hawkeye sweatshirt and a sweat band.
Age 7, another running race.
Eight, another softball portrait.
Ten, basketball.
Twelve, last day of sixth grade, wearing an enormous white turtleneck and jeans.
Me, playing the trumpet.
Thirteen, paddleboating.
Pictures at fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen – all with a rod and reel in my hand.

At seventeen, the volleyball pictures begin. Ponytails and compression shorts.
Eighteenth birthday, smiling in a white, collared shirt. One that is probably two sizes bigger than I would wear today.

Prom. Yes! Here we go. At least I was wearing a dress. My hair looked a little fancy, though – since I had no earthly clue how to style it, I hired out the job. Oh, and another thing –

Dear 18 Year-Old Self,

Please, for the love of tweezers everywhere, take care of those darn eyebrows. Goodness sakes, girl.

Thanks for your consideration in this matter,

Finally, a couple shots at twenty and twenty-one. Embracing the curlyness that is my hair, wearing t-shirts that at least weren’t completely swamping my frame.

This is the longest introduction ever to say that – I was a bit of a tomboy. Or, uhh, I am a bit of a tomboy.

My poor mother. The battles we had while I was growing up over clothes. Special occasions were the worst. Especially occasions where a young girl was expected to wear – gasp! – a skirt. Or, heaven forbid, a dress.

The fights and the shopping trips were fierce, and bless her heart for finally finding something that we could both, albeit reluctantly, agree upon. I only really remember a couple, well-fought-over outfits. I’m sure there were dozens more.

Eventually, I came to accept and then love the fact that I wasn’t the girliest of girls. The more I embraced the non-girly, the more comfortable I became with incorporating the numerous not-so-tomboyish characteristics that I didn’t hate as much as I let on.

After twelve-ish years of adulthood, it’s just…who I am. (When does “adulthood” begin? 18?) I have perfected the mature tomboy. The look of a gal who wears t-shirts and jeans, but knows that the key lies in the accessories layered on after the fact. Someone who loves to fish and run, but only after getting a manicure and her eyebrows waxed. A gal who loves wearing heels, but only those under two and a quarter inches, so that she can still jog after a cab if necessary, and dance without rolling her ankle.

It’s a liberal and comfortable tomboy. Or, a conservative girlyness.


Perhaps because of childhood memories being forced to wear things I didn’t want to, or perhaps because of teenage memories trying to force myself to be comfortable in clothes I wasn’t, I tend to celebrate the days when my outfit might actually receive a passing grade.

Yes, I actually celebrate when I look decent.

* crickets *

Something that all of you are able to manage on a daily basis? Yeah, when left up to me, it’s a once a week type of thing. Tops.

My natural inclination on these rare, rare days is to snap a photo. We must document the occasion! We might not see this moment again! Hubz must have proof! Future beings of Earth must have proof! My MOTHER must.have.proof!


So I take the photo, then go on with my day. And then those photos sit in the dark somewhere, usually in the depths of my cell phone camera’s storage, never to be seen again.

Let’s dig one up, today.


Occasion: Meetings & interview with Vemma CEO
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Date: Umm, two months ago? It was a Thursday.
Time: All day – I would have to wear this outfit from 8am until I returned to my hotel 12+ hours later.

(Judge my iPhone not on the quality of these photos.)

photo 3Nude heels. They’re in style. People magazine told me so.
Beloved black blazer. Oh, how I love you so.
Levi’s boyfriend jeans. Comfiest.Pants.Ever.
White, GAP stretch tee. No comment necessary.
Orange FOSSIL watch. Ditto.

photo 4This. This is my uniform. It’s the basis of, shamefully, more than half of the outfits I wear when I have to look “nice.”

Sometimes the tee is different. I go graphic t-shirt when I’m feeling geeky, a tank of some kind in a non-cotton fabric when I need to dress it up a bit. Sometimes the shoes are different, but almost always heels. The baggy boyfriend jeans require them, lest I look like a slob.

The sleeves of this blazer are always rolled. Always always always and forever. It looks too formal and out of whack if they’re not.

The day that I took this shot, I found myself footloose and fancy free around 4pm, and took to wandering around Old Town Scottsdale. It was Scottsdale. It was 4pm. It was hot.

I ditched the jacket and threw on a brightly colored, airy, infinity scarf I bought in the teen department at Nordstrom.

T-shirt and jeans, plus accessories…a happy and comfy tomboy make.

Previous post:

Next post: