Dress for the Gay You Want
Allie (pronouns: She & They) is a Chicago based writer, visual artist, vegan, and TV sitcom enthusiast. With a degree in Comedy Writing and Performance from Columbia College Chicago they spend most of their time writing and illustrating comics that can be found on their instagram (@allieshapiro). Her visual art has been featured in coffee shops and cafes around the city of Chicago. When they're not creating, Allie can be found rewatching The Office and making crepes.
Coming out is an act of bravery. In this heteronormative world admitting to others - heck, admitting to yourself - that you’re not straight can be scary. As of right now there is no gay Hogwarts letter that comes to our door when we’re eleven to let us know we have been born magically and majestically gay. How great would that be, though? If you’re gay and having a day of low confidence remind yourself that you’re the hero in your story. You did the coolest thing for yourself that you could’ve done - you loved your gayness enough to tell the world. And that is beautiful. In fact, take a moment now to bask in the greatness and courage that is you. The hard part is over. You’ve realized your gay, you’ve come out to your friends, parents/the people who raised you. Now comes the best part: dressing as the queer dream you’ve always wanted to be.
When I came out I had no idea how I wanted to present my queerness through my clothes. So I did what many lesbians do: I conducted some queersearch (queer research) Which at the time meant a healthy rotation of The L Word and Ellen’s Sitcom (season 5 - even though earlier seasons are gay without being gay). I just wanted to see people like me living their lives and being proud of who they are. It’s wild how even in the past two years the representation has changed for the LGBTQIA community in media. There is finally a parity between genders and for the first time ever the amount of queer characters of color outnumber white characters (GLAAD “Where We Are on TV” Report). Representation is a privilege and the mere idea of gayness through positive influences and characters on television is still fairly new. We as gays deserve our version of “the Rachel” haircut that we can then copycat when creating our look.
Graduating from queersearch I buttoned my plaid shirt straight up to the top and stepped out into the warm gay sunlight. I wanted the other lesbians to know I was here, queer, and wearing my gay pin. But where is a baby gay to go when trying to figure out what clothes fit and feel the best? Clothing lines are typically so gendered and the two biggest issues I have found when experimenting with my look is 1. What do I actually like and feel good in? and 2. What is accessible to me? (size wise, financially, etc.) Both of these tasks become easier when shopping from companies that actually make clothes for queer bodies and are run by queer people. It’s almost like you’re just shopping - not feeling any imposter syndrome not making any compromises. Just as representation on TV is a privilege, so is seeing models and people who look like you wearing the clothes you want to wear.
If you need any extra motivation and encouragement today here it is. Your coming out should be rewarded with clothes that are built for you and make you feel like the professional you are. Don’t get discouraged by the heteronormativity that exists among the fashion industry. Your look and needs can be met with companies led by and designed by queers, they are out here, they are growing, and they are here to make you feel great. Don’t settle for clothes that don’t fit you right - straight people don’t, why should you? We at Dapper Boi strive for you to feel the best you can possibly feel and strive to provide the clothes to help you achieve this mission. So celebrate the gay you are today in whatever way that feels best for you. Because your visibility is important, your gayness is beautiful, and you matter.