On Learning To Love My Butchness
Chloe Rome is a social justice activist and lover of all things queer. Though not a fashion blogger, she loves putting together outfits that showcase her masculine of center style and showing representation for plus-size butch women. She has been working in the non-profit industry for the past 6 years, and is a soon-to-be law student at Loyola Law in Los Angeles. If she's not hanging with her dog, she's at a brewery or enjoying some time outside. We got to ask Chloe a few questions about her life as an activist and community ambassador!
WHAT ROLE HAS CLOTHING PLAYED IN YOUR JOURNEY?
Clothing has been such a big part of my journey, which is something I never thought would be the case. Growing up, clothes were merely what I needed to put on to get through the day. I performed the role I thought I needed to, mirroring what I saw on other girls my age. I was numb to the concept that clothing could make you feel good and more like yourself then not.
It was a long process for me to realize that I preferred to dress in a more masculine of center way. And when I finally started to make conscious decisions about what I wanted to wear, I realized I had a style. I realized I cared about clothes and how I looked. And not only that, but I liked how I looked! All of a sudden, I liked who I was. I liked this body and the person I saw when I looked in the mirror. That was a radical departure from how I had felt years before, and is something I really cherish. Over the years my style has continued to evolve and grow, and with it, my confidence.
When I found Kirrin Finch, it opened up my whole world. It had previously been so hard to find button ups that fit my hips and chest, not to mention that were well made and stylish. My partner always says that she has never met anyone who feels themselves as much as I do because I am constantly checking myself out in the mirror, usually in a Kirrin Finch shirt, and saying “damn I look good.” I feel incredible when I wear a button-down that fits me perfectly. I feel like I belong in this world and this body. My butchness doesn’t feel like a burden anymore, it feels like a gift.
I feel incredible when I wear a button-down that fits me perfectly. I feel like I belong in this world and this body. My butchness doesn’t feel like a burden anymore, it feels like a gift.
Brands like Kirrin Finch made me feel like I belonged. They gave me a style and an aesthetic, and the tools to love myself. I walk through the world with confidence and love because of brands like Kirrin Finch. I wish I could tell 19 year old Chloe that she was going get to love herself so much. She wouldn’t have believed me, but still.
WHAT HAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE BEEN FOR YOU IN YOUR STYLE JOURNEY?
It has sometimes been a struggle finding clothes that come in my size as a fat, masculine of center woman. Today I’m at work wearing Dapper Boi jeans, a Kirrin Finch button down, and TomboyX underwear... and I feel amazing. But a few years ago I was so exhausted trying to find clothes that fit and made me feel good. I honestly held back my butchness because it was easier to perform femininity. It was just so hard and made me feel awful. Like I didn’t fit in this world.
Even today, I see a lot of “feminist” brands that claim intersectionality, and then only go up to a size XL or 18. You cannot claim to be intersectional if your brand does not include fat people. I know for me personally, I felt left out of many LGBTQ style conversations because so much of the butch and masculine of center depictions centered around very thin folks. I can’t tell you how many times I googled “plus size butch” or “fat masculine of center” desperately trying to find brands or options for me and my style.
I can’t tell you how many times I googled “plus size butch” or “fat masculine of center” desperately trying to find brands or options for me and my style.
Thankfully there has been an effort to include size diversity and there are brands out there working to make sure there are clothing options for all. My journey was hindered by the lack of options for my size, and it’s incredibly frustrating to see some companies continue to resist size inclusivity.
IN WHAT WAYS ARE YOU A COMMUNITY AMBASSADOR?
I have been really fortunate to work for many incredible organizations doing important work for the communities that matter to me. As a queer Latina that walks through the world with more privilege than others, I have committed my career to working for marginalized folks through advocacy and policy work. I spent the 2016 election as a member of Planned Parenthood's Election team, and here in LA I worked at the LA LGBT Center. My advocacy work has centered around women, LGBTQ folks, people of color, and women experiencing homelessness.
I most recently had the opportunity to work as the policy specialist at the Downtown Women's Center here in Los Angeles. Focused exclusively on serving women experiencing homelessness, I had the privilege of working with many women who had transitioned out of homelessness, and who were ready to tell their stories. I had the chance to media train them and give them them the tools to become their own advocates; I got to watch them complete interviews on television, at universities, and with elected officials.
No matter what role or organization I'm at, I have always believed in harnessing my privilege to advocate for those who need fighting for.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?
I will be starting law school at Loyola Law here in Los Angeles in August. I hope to be able to work for criminal justice reform from inside, and continue to be an advocate for folks who need someone in their corner. And I already know that I will be rocking many of my Kirrin Finch button-ups in class and interviews.
Thank you so much, Chloe, for all of the work that you do and for sharing your story with us! We wish you the best of luck in your next chapter, and are positive there are great things in store for you!