Feeling sexy as a trans person is hard sometimes. One of the things that helps me personally is to dress up, to look good. I take a great deal of satisfaction in showing up to an event done up, knowing that I look great, and in the feeling of power that comes with that.
Finding items that make me feel this way is challenging though; I love things like corsets and strappy tops, but I have no boobs. I love tight pants and jock straps, but I have no dick. Plus, I don’t wear real leather, which is the main material in most kink stores. The cost of custom-ordering things is out of my budget, and the price of dressing up is often being called a woman – sometimes out of nowhere mid-scene. The price of dressing up is that my usual anxiety about how people view me is turned right up, as most of my event clothing is coded as female/femme by the cis.
When I find companies like Oxyd Creations, a small, Montreal-based company that makes fashion and kink gear out of bike tubes and repurposed bike gears and chains (all 100% vegan!), my interest is definitely piqued. So I got my hands on their suspenders and their strap on harness with gears and chains with a little help from my friend Rae, who talked me through my anxiety of “how do I ask for what I want when I haven’t done it before to prove that I can??”.
It’s easy – sometimes – to put on clothes and feel good about yourself, about your gender. It’s harder to walk out the door and have faith that you won’t be misgendered when you’re feeling vulnerable, when you’re trying to engage in kink or sex or pick someone up. If they get you wrong, it may just hurt and ruin your evening. But you’re risking much, much more than that and you know it.
I choose what I wear carefully. Some days none of my clothes feel right, other times everything feels perfect but nothing feels safe.
I want my kink clothing to be as adaptable as possible. The price tag is often high, opportunities to wear them few, and gender is far too complex for me to want many pieces that are only for play.
That’s what I love about the suspenders!
Suspenders can be classy as heck. My cousin got married last month and I wore these suspenders. A lot of people commented on them – partly because they look great, but partly because they are clearly unique. Between the gear in the back where the straps join together and the rubber of the bike tube, these stand out.
I felt good in them. They were a way to feel connected to who I really am while surrounded by family that knows a false, cleaned-up version of me. They were a conversation-starter, which helped as family weddings can be pretty awkward at times and they helped me skirt the endless “oh, what do you do?” questions.
When Halloween came, they were put to use again, this time for my Ringmaster costume. They took an old, overdone costume that I had forgotten to fix up since last year and improved on it.
As soon as I put them on (photo on the left), I went from feeling like I might as well stay in to feeling good, confident, like I pulled something together nicely.
And again, the verdict was in. “You look so cute!” exclaimed one friend, followed rapidly by “oh my god those suspenders!!”
If this sounds vain, there are a few things you should know. First, I am. Second, vanity is an underrated way for marginalized people to reclaim some agency and bodily autonomy. And finally, I fully believe that more people should be vain, as it’s just knowing your worth, value, and/or attractiveness, which is an amazing quality to have, especially for trans people who are constantly denied that by the large majority of the world.
They can also be dressed the heck down, matching nicely with both gay leather and queer fairy vibes. They’re a perfect compliment to my kink boots and, when paired with these shorts and socks, make me yearn for a page boy hat (my baseball cap was the closest I could get) a proper riding whip, and a cutie strapped to a St Andrew’s Cross in front of me. Don’t ask me to explain where that fantasy came from, it’s just what I immediately wanted upon looking in the mirror.
When it came to the strap on harness, I have to admit that I initially wasn’t super interested. It looked great, but I have several harnesses already that I barely ever use and so, while I really liked how the gears and chains changed this design, it wasn’t until I discovered that it also doubles as a chest harness that I really became excited about it.
Give me a second here. I know, you think that sounds neat, but trust me when I say that you have yet to fully grasp the significance of this, especially for kinksters.
We meet up at a play space, party, or night out. We know each other, you’re familiar with my toys. You see the harness around my chest and spend the evening wondering if I’m going to move it to my waist and fuck you with it later, or if I’m just going to tempt you with it, making sure you’re distracted all evening. You know which one you’re hoping for, but you know I like to keep you guessing.
This time you flip the harness so the o ring is in the front (this works better for flat-chested people).
This time you either get a wonderful view of their ass as they take your cock, or maybe they’re facing you, genitals teasingly close yet just out of reach of your mouth.
I’m going to stop there, because I’m not reviewing this as a harness just yet (you get that on November 19!), this is about it as a chest piece.
It took me a bit to figure it out. I wanted to pair it with another top, but nothing I owned seemed to work. T-shirts were boring, collared shirts bunched oddly, my tank tops just looked bad, button-ups seemed way too busy…it was a bit frustrating.
As it turns out, it pairs excellently with crop tops (such as the one in the above image) and dresses, but it also matches my favourite plaid, which I’m extra-happy about as this shirt is one of the few pieces that simply always feels right, no matter my gender feels. It’s comfortable and makes me feel good and sexy on its own, with this chest piece added I feel even better!
So I love it, there’s no denying that. That said, there are a few aspects that I’m less keen on.
The first time I tried it on I wasn’t wearing a shirt, and when I looked in the mirror I was hit with a huge wave of “this looks like I should/do have boobs” and I felt suuuuper let down by this. Feedback has reassured me that other people – at least my friends – don’t agree with me on this, but I still feel more confident in it with a top on underneath.
Depending on your size and flexibility, this may be hard to get on on your own. I’ve found that I can slip my arms out of the straps and push the harness down my body far enough that I can loosen the chest strap and remove it, but I’m decently flexible and an hourglass shape, so this may not be an option for you.
And finally, the straps.
If you’re shaped like me, your hips/thighs and your chest/shoulders are vastly different dimensions. If I was just using it for my chest or my hips and didn’t care how adjustable it was, I’d trim down the excess strap, but that defeats a lot of the appeal for me. As a waist harness, the excess is smaller and easy to tuck away, but as a chest harness you need to get a little more creative (in the above left photo, the excess is tucked behind where the dildo goes, in the above right it’s tucked down by the armpits). Not a big deal at all, just one that I hadn’t anticipated.
At the end of the day, both these pieces leave me feeling tough as heck and as if I’m ready to take on anything – a dungeon, a family get-together, a queer dance – and they do so in a way that makes me feel good about my gender, my body, and how I’m perceived (as long as I’m wearing a shirt).
They are comfortable, have amazing attention to detail, and the chains and gears take a nice design and make it incredible. I’m extremely happy with both the suspenders and the harness (which is already packed in my bag to accompany me on my upcoming two-month adventure).