It started when I found a dress with the source code to Doom printed on it. I had to have that dress. I bought it and delighted in answering questions about the dress and the code. Piece by piece I built a wardrobe of code dresses, skirts, leggings, shoes, and t-shirts.
I use fashion to broadcast loudly that I am a woman in tech.
I use this wardrobe to normalize that a woman doesn't have to be in jeans and a black t-shirt to write and understand code. I wear code dresses and skirts when I present to show that it is okay to like dresses and code. I wear bright lipstick and eyeliner to say that makeup is allowed and it also makes my eyes and lips more visible to those in the back or attending remotely.
I make a point to wear some sort of code related item anytime I attend conferences and Meetups so I can be easily spotted. I answer questions about my earrings and purse every other week. I want people to realize they should not have to be "one of the boys" to be successful in tech, they should be able to be themselves.
My style has been described as
Kicking in the door to announce I'm here and asking "Does anyone have a problem with that?"
Making space for me at the table.
I was often the only woman in a room full of men. I got used to stares and subtle jabs of "Do you really belong here?"
I started to wear brightly colored lipstick so people would look me in the face when I was talking. It also had the benefit of everyone in the office knowing who I was.
When I wore code t-shirts I changed their stares from me being the only woman in the room to "What code is that?".
Fashion gives me the strength to be myself and thrive in tech.