Operation Girly-Girl

I mentioned a few weeks back that I was doing a personal project in April that involved “dressing up like a traditionally-gendered girl” every day this month. The project was meant to focus on two things that I would very rarely choose to outfit myself with in normal life: dresses and makeup. More details about the reasons for this project both in the post linked to above and the comments of that post.

Now, the month is over, and here is what I learned:

26 springI flat-out hate dresses. I only managed to wear a dress or skirt about a third of the days of the month. Maybe. Every single time, I hated it. They are just so inconvenient to wear! I have to think about where my legs are positioned all the time. I’m limited in my mobility because of my clothes. There are no frickin’ pockets, and in the rare case that there are pockets, they weigh down the dress and make it even more uncomfortable. I hate wearing my fitbit under my dress. I hate trying to coordinate the right leggings and shoes. Dresses and skirts just make me so irritated and frustrated! I can wear them for a nice dinner or concert, or like a costume, but otherwise, please give me jeans, shorts, capris, cargo pants, exercise clothes, corduroys, tank tops, sweatshirts, pajamas, anything else! Pic to the left was my favorite dress/skirt outfit of the month, and even that outfit was partly composed of clothes I would normally wear with jeans/pants, and got irritating to wear after about an hour.

Verdict: Dresses and skirts are pretty and fun to look at and/or try on, but absolutely do not work as actual pieces of Manda-clothes.

32 paint your petI have to say, this one surprised me. I’ve never worn makeup. Never. I was allergic to it as a child, with extremely sensitive skin, and therefore never learned how to wear it. I went through a phase of hate-it-because-I-couldn’t-wear-it, then a long period where I didn’t wear it on pure principle. I preferred people natural, sans makeup, and only liked makeup when used as costume-fodder (natural costume or otherwise). Before this project, I’d only worn makeup twice in the last decade – once at my sister’s wedding in the Middle East (done by a Palestinian salon), and once for a Halloween costume (2013, flapper).

Needless to say, I expected makeup to irritate the snot out of me. I expected it to mess with my skin. I expected to be annoyed with things like itches on my eye-shadowed eyes that I couldn’t scratch. I expected to get tired of the time it took to put the stuff on in the morning. I expected to think I looked like a clown all month.

NH selfieBut…but…I didn’t. That picture above, with the kitty-paintings? Tinted sunscreen, mascara, eye shadow, and lipstick. Ditto the selfie on the left. All very light, all barely noticeable, and honestly? I like the way it brings out certain parts of my face. There were only two days this month I didn’t wear makeup, and I can honestly see myself continuing to wear it going forward. I like the way it smells, I don’t mind putting it on, I enjoy playing with colors and trying new things, and I do actually like the way I look in it. Total shocker for me. I never would have expected this in a million years.

So that’s all. My project. With very unexpected results. Only don’t expect me to start wearing skirts and dresses any time soon. I am sooooo glad to be back to my normal clothes!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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22 Responses to Operation Girly-Girl

  1. chetney says:

    What an awesome project! I’m the opposite with dresses, I want to wear them everyday! Makeup is fun for me as well, I’ve been wearing it since I was very young (that I regret), but I like the confidence it brings me and that I can express myself in that way. Great post. Thoughts on doing more experiments?


  2. gricel says:

    The makeup looks great! I’m a minimalist with the exception of the occassional cat eye or red lip, but I recently started wearing brown liner to work (found a Pacifica pencil on clearance at Target) and my squinty eyes no longer look so squinty.

    Dresses are a pain, but I’ve given in to wearing them on weekends when the hot hot heat is on. Ugh, Florida weather just makes you want to give up on clothes in general.


  3. Kailana says:

    I am hopeless with make-up. I would need a tutorial on just where to start! lol But, I am glad you learned some things about yourself this month!


    • Amanda says:

      I’ve always felt that way too, though for some reason, it all seemed to come together this time. As long as I don’t touch eyeliner, ha.


  4. Lu says:

    Your makeup looks awesome!!! I like going a little bit more dramatic with the eye makeup, but other than that, I’m just as minimalist. It feels like putting on a piece of jewelry instead of something I absolutely have to do, if that makes sense? I wear eye makeup most days I’m not working from home and on the weekends when I’m seeing people other than Michael and our dog 🙂 As for pants vs dresses – I’m trying to make myself love pants!! I hate hate hate them, but they make more sense for my job, which can be kind of physical (working trade shows and events outside). I wear dresses as much as I can, but I have really had to buy more pants over the last year.


    • Amanda says:

      Interestingly, I kinda feel the same way about jewelry, except most of the time I can’t be bothered to put jewelry on either! Ha! Interesting to see what people feel with dresses vs pants.


  5. I’m terrible at dresses, too. I feel weird if I don’t wear some sort of shaper underneath, and that’s so uncomfortable. I think it goes back to being a kid and always wearing shorts under skirts for school. I feel naked without SOMETHING. That said, I think you look great in a skirt, but I understand how they can drive ya batshit crazy.

    Your makeup looks great, too! It’s really become a creative outlet for me. I definitely prefer BB cream and tinted sunscreen type products…especially for this time of year as we’re trending toward warmer weather. It’s easy to dress your face up or down. Fun stuff!

    I loved reading about your project, Amanda!


  6. What a fun project! I would’ve loved to see you in a dress/skirt in person CUZ it’s so un-Amanda!
    Cool about the make-up. Used to be I wouldn’t caught dead without doing my hair & make-up.
    Now the only thing I almost always wear is mascara with occasional eye shadow. I’ve always hated foundation–it felt to heavy and I had to be sure not to touch my face! I’ve tried BB cream a couple of times and still pretty sure I don’t like it. But mascara is a MUST–otherwise it looks I have 2 beady eyes in a pale round face! Ack! 🙂 Girly-Girl on!


    • Amanda says:

      The tinted sunscreen was not as bad as I was expecting. I do still think it gets a little heavy/greasy by the end of the day and then I’m ready to get it off, but it’s fine most of the time. I put it on very lightly, though, I suppose.


  7. I also hate dresses. I used to love them as a girl, but I just don’t enjoy them now. I think that part of that is my weight (I’m self-conscious about my legs), but I don’t know for sure.

    I rediscovered a love of makeup about 2 years ago. I love that it can transform my face and highlight the things I’m most comfortable with. While I do think I wear more than many people, I don’t think I ever overdo it. And it’s fun to play around with! 🙂


    • Amanda says:

      I don’t think my dress thing is body-image issues, because while I do have a lot of self-consciousness, I DON’T feel naked or self-conscious in a swimsuit. That’s kinda why I thought the dress thing might be exposure, and if I forced myself to wear them all the time, I’d get used to them. Nope.


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  9. Trisha says:

    I am not a fan of dresses either. As you say, they require too much work to wear. Make-up I only wear sparingly, some foundation and if I’m feeling particularly adventurous, some eye liner. I think that wearing makeup only very rarely makes for a bigger impact when you do wear it.


  10. Jeanne says:

    I wear a skirt almost every day. That’s what fits my body through most of its sizes. You’re right about the pockets, though. I try to match a jacket when I can, so I’ll have some pockets.


  11. Trish says:

    Totally with you on dresses/skirts. If I do wear them (which I do when I’m pregnant because they’re more comfortable), they’re maxi so I don’t have to worry about shaving my legs (which I HATE doing and rarely do) or how my legs are positioned.

    I don’t wear a lot of makeup–I do tint my eyebrows since they’re so blonde and wear a bit of shadow and mascara but that’s it. SOMETIMES I’ll wear lipstick but most times I’m too afraid it’s on my teeth. LOL! But I do think a little bit can go a long way! So…since I”m 21 days late commenting…are you still wearing a bit of makeup?


    • Amanda says:

      I never wore dresses when pregnant either! They just make me so uncomfortable! As for makeup – I do still wear it on most days. Sometimes it’s very light, sometimes I do something more dramatic, and sometimes I don’t bother. It feels good to have options.


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