3 LGBTQ+ Students on How Their Identities Shape Their Style

3 LGBTQ+ Students on How Their Identities Shape Their Style

For many, style is a vehicle for our identities. As the saying goes, we are what we wear. This statement holds true to almost anyone who puts a conscious decision into their style choices, but it’s especially true for those who take pride in their identities.

Oftentimes, society assumes queer style means dressing in an androgynous manner or, to a larger extreme, only wearing clothing that’s typically assigned to another gender. However, just as sexuality and gender are a lot more complicated than these faulty assumptions, the things we like to wear do not necessarily have to fit into this rigid box. Nonetheless, queerness and style can be heavily connected and not follow these stereotypes, especially for those who love fashion. To contextualize this further, I reached out to three fashion-obsessed LGBTQ+ individuals and chatted with them on how their own identities have shaped their style. Here’s what they had to say.

Emily Ciavatta

Monmouth University, Class of 2018

How would you describe your personal style?

I would describe my personal style as thrifty, current, and uniquely me—all in one. Cheesy, I know!

Do you feel that how you present yourself is crucial to your queer identity?

I don’t think my outward presentation and my queer identity are necessarily mutually exclusive. Sometimes I feel like what I wear or how I present myself is stereotypically “queer,” and other times, I don’t feel that way. But being queer is all about being authentic to who you are, and I like to think I do that when I get dressed in the morning.

On a day-to-day basis, how do you showcase your queer identity through your style?

Anybody can wear whatever they want, but I especially love pieces that you would be surprised to find in a stereotypical men’s or women’s section of a clothing store. However, that’s not to say I dress androgynously every day. Some days I’m more feminine; others more masculine. It’s all about how I’m feeling that day or at that time in my life.

What piece of clothing makes you feel like the truest version of yourself?

My wide-leg black trousers that I thrifted from Goodwill because I feel super confident in them!

Ellenina Iacobucci

Georgia State University, Class of 2020

How would you describe your personal style?

I would describe it as rushed, vibrant, and vintage. I buy almost all of my clothes from thrift stores, and I like to alter them in some way. I try to focus on finding vintage pieces with fun patterns and interesting color combinations. I’m always running late and in a rush getting dressed, so I’m often just throwing stuff together.

Do you feel that how you present yourself is crucial to your queer identity?

I don’t feel that how I present myself is crucial to my queer identity; but I do feel like my queer identity is crucial to how I present myself. I have certain grooming habits, like keeping my nails short and unpainted, keeping my body hair intact, and covering my body in tattoos, that I feel are rooted in my queerness. I also feel like my [fluctuation] between feeling slightly masculine or hyper-feminine in the way I dress is influenced by my queerness.

On a day-to-day basis, how do you showcase your queer identity through your style?

Being feminine with a very “womanly” body means that to many, I don’t “look gay.” Sometimes, I feel like it’s difficult to signal to other queer women/femmes that I’m also a queer woman, and when I’m somewhere like Pride, I struggle with trying to make sure I don’t look like a straight cisgender woman. In those situations, I try to queer up my style by either dressing more masculine or provocatively, and in a lot of ways, this action is because I’m internalizing stereotypes of queerness. This is a habit I’m trying to break out of.

Finally, what piece of clothing makes you feel like the truest version of yourself?

My ripped, denim, knee-length, high-waisted shorts make me feel both like a little boy in the ’90s and a trendy millennial chick. I feel like I’m striking the perfect balance between my masculine and my feminine energy in them.

Nathan Sweet

Binghamton University, Class of 2019

How would you describe your personal style?

I would say my personal style is very fluid. Some days I’m in all black-and-white; others I’m dressed in very bright and colorful unique pieces. Most of my wardrobe is thrifted, and I shop mostly in the women’s section.

Do you feel that how you present yourself is crucial to your queer identity?

I do feel that how I present and dress myself is a big part of my queer identity. Self-expression is such an important thing. Before I came out, I wasn’t comfortable expressing my true self, and this caused a lot of identity and mental health issues. How I dress isn’t the only way I express my queerness, but it is a huge part of who I am and how I carry myself on a day-to-day basis.

On a day-to-day basis, how do you showcase your queer identity through your style?

Every day, I don’t really try to make my outfits “queer.” I just try to dress however I feel that day. Society has molded our perception of clothing and how we dress to think that anything that challenges the norm is automatically queer. This means that, [in my opinion], society tries to say that being queer isn’t normal.

Finally, what piece of clothing makes you feel like the truest version of yourself?

My favorite piece of clothing that I have is definitely my longline fur coat that I thrifted. It was one of the first pieces I found when I started to explore dressing in more of a queer fashion, and I resonated with it a lot. It also gave me the confidence to buy new pieces that I typically wouldn’t wear.

Opening image by Ellenina Iaccobucci.

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