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Linh Tran

(she/her)

If you asked me “What is the most worn out item in your closet?” the answer would be “My black turtleneck sweater.” It gives me a sense of security, professionalism, and class. I often pair it with a houndstooth blazer - an item that is so empowering to me. It makes me feel larger than my own self and that padded shoulder is the confidence boost that I need to no longer feel less than a man whenever I walk into a room where I am the only woman. However, you can see the design I sketched is not your typical outfit pairing that one would wear to a business meeting. I want you to see the difference in my choice of altering this outfit first, then hope you will see another side of me. People who just met me usually think of me as “mild,” “tamed,” and “vanilla,” but through seeing me in this outfit, I want them to know that I am bold, fun, interesting, and creative. 

 

The cropped turtleneck sweater, the removed sleeve, and my choice of not having anything covering my front, aim to shed off that “vanilla” layer that people might see me. The blazer has green patterns which embody the many outdoor adventures I have embraced in the Pacific Northwest. I have always felt the most alive when I am surrounded by the forest, because we - human beings - were the children of nature after all. 

 

As someone who tried over correcting herself to be hyper feminine in order to fit the male gaze for years, I felt the need to bury that closeted person I once was. Now, I have grown more confident in my identity as a gay woman, I have started to dress in outfits that not only allow me to feel comfortable with my body, but also to be playful, and expressive with my moods and the occasions. I no longer worry about fitting in with societal standards, especially the male gaze like I once did. To compensate for the loss of identity I experienced before, through this project, I want to show my most fundamental characters by appearing strong, sharp, confident, powerful, yet attuned to my artistic connection with art and nature - the things that make me ME.