Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

Since I was a kid, I was referred to as a “tomboy” (read: baby lesbian). Maybe it was the fact that I was raised with two hyper-feminine women in the form of my mom and twin sister, or maybe it was the fact that I always prioritized comfort over looks, but most of my childhood was spent in a t-shirt and jeans. Flash forward to a decade later, and I’ve fully embraced my tomboy style for day-to-day ventures. I wear sports bras, practically live in muscle tees, and I sleep in jeans (and no, I will not be shamed out of it).

But sometimes I’m feeling particularly feminine or I want to dress up, and after four years of mock trial a blazer just won’t cut it. That’s when it’s time to break out the few feminine pieces I own.

Unfortunately, I usually run into a few problems. I hate the texture of lace, I’m uncomfortable in skirts, and I chopped all of my hair off a couple of years ago. That leaves me, well, lacking when it comes to being able to dress traditionally feminine.

Throughout the years, I’ve found a few ways to work around this little problem that, if you’re like me, you’ve no doubt encountered. Luckily, I’m here to help. So, without further ado, here are a few ways to dress non-traditionally feminine:

Make Use of Accessories

Girl With Fringe Earings 2
Anna Thetard / Her Campus

I cannot emphasize enough how much accessories make or break an outfit, and they’re often overlooked. A simple white t-shirt and jeans can turn masculine, feminine, or anything in between depending on what kinds of accessories you pair with it.

For a feminine look, jewelry is a must. Necklaces, rings and piercings can add a subtle flair to an outfit that it didn’t have beforehand. It’s also never a bad idea to accentuate your outfit with a tote or handbag or a good pair of sunglasses. When it comes to femininity, I’ve found that the more accessories, the better.

Wear Tight Clothing/Find A Flattering Cut

One of the main things that sets a feminine outfit apart from one that’s more androgynous is how much it highlights a person’s form. Try not to wear too many layers if you’re attempting this form-fitting look. Instead of wearing baggy hoodies and sweatpants (guilty!), get something more form-fitting.

It doesn’t need to be something that covers nothing and looks like it was made for a chihuahua instead of a person. Find the kinds of clothes that you’re already comfortable in, and make small changes. For example, for me, instead of wearing a unisex black crewneck, I’d get one that was made for women with a v-neck. Simple things like the tightness and cut of the clothing can make such a huge difference when it comes to embracing your femininity.

Wear the Right Shoes

I’m not quite sure why men are so obsessed with shoes nowadays. Despite the jokes in almost every chick flick I’ve watched, I’ve never met a woman more obsessed with shoes than the the guys I know.

That being said, a simple change to a more feminine shoe can change an outfit. For example, instead of wearing chunky basketball shoes, pairing your outfit with something like Converse or Vans can give it a more feminine touch, especially if you find one of the beautiful shoes with embroidery. And, for you gay girlies, keep wearing Doc Martens. At this point, it’s the only way I can identify y’all.

put on Light Makeup

hand sanitizer, lip gloss, face powder, and aquaphor lip balm
Original photo by Lily Oneal

Yes, yes, I know that makeup is a very traditional feminine piece. But you don’t have to go all-out with blush, lipstick, eyeliner, the works. Women possess the very unique ability to shapeshift (with the use of makeup, of course). By using concealer, contour and highlighter, you can accentuate the feminine features of your face. You’re going to want to do this by making your nose look slimmer, and by softening your jawline. Even this small touch can add an extra bit of femininity to your features.

Do Whatever You Want

At the end of the day, femininity is unique to each person. I am very much a woman, but if you looked at me in my day-to-day life, you probably wouldn’t guess it. That’s because, for me, femininity is something that doesn’t need to be expressed on the outside. Instead, it’s much more about my experiences, my shared connection to the women around me, and my deeply-ingrained love of romance novels.

So, the main way to dress feminine is by expressing your femininity however it resonates with you. For my mom, it’s red lipstick and hoop earrings. For my sister, it’s dyeing her hair blonde and painting her room pink. And for me, it’s wearing hoodies while kicking ass.

Jessica is a first year English major at UCLA. She loves both reading and writing, having even published her debut novel "The World Above the Waves" in 2022. When she isn't delving into literature, you can find her playing d&d, listening to music, or wherever either her twin sister or girlfriend are. She's so excited to be a part of the Her Campus team.