In our current world, many LGBTQIA+ identifying people can feel a lot more at ease with their sexuality when seeing celebrities and those in the public eye be more comfortable with themselves too. Harry Styles has been pictured many times wearing dresses, or clothing typically considered more 'female', but what makes an item female? Harry often wears creative and fun stage outfits, as well as in photoshoots for magazines. Billy Porter has said regarding "Harry’s journey to dress-wearing, claiming he himself “changed the whole game” of gender non-conforming fashion." Items of dress can only be gendered once worn, so an item on its own can simply be a garment, and it shouldn't be restricted to who can wear it, despite the gender.
Harry Styles says himself that has been influenced by David Bowie, who many would class as a gay icon who has inspired so many gay, lesbian, and transgender people to be more comfortable with who they are.
"I think with music it’s so important to evolve—and that extends to clothes and videos and all that stuff. That’s why you look back at David Bowie with Ziggy Stardust or the Beatles and their different eras—that fearlessness is super inspiring.” - Styles with Vogue, December 2020.
Boundaries of dress and expression are being blurred, and there is no reason for anyone not to wear what makes them feel most themselves. It is the same for women who want to dress more masculine, there should be nothing holding them back from doing so too. Outfits and their many combinations can be put together for many reasons, being from fashion: style, comfort, creativity, and self- awareness.
Clothing and makeup can be an outlet for expression, and many people may be identified in their communities by the way they dress or express themselves visually. No one should say what they think someone should wear, it is all personal choice and a way of voicing their identity. It can make someone more comfortable if they look on the outside what they feel inside.
Just a few decades ago, people raised their eyebrows if women wore trousers! Can you believe it? But now it is the opposite, and some may still be curious if the opposite gender wanted to wear a more feminine type of style of clothing, but they must educate themselves and accept that is who they are, and that is what may make them feel closer to their preferred identity.
Kris Roberts, a Mindless writer explorers how he "was raised, like so many of us, to understand that women’s clothes are for women, and men’s clothes are for men. But that was always something that never sat right with [him]." His article is very interesting and covers sexuality and clothing, you can read it here.
Experimenting with Fashion
The idea of identifying with fashion can often be confusing for many in the community, but it can be fun to try out new things, seeing what suits you, seeing what makes you feel good. It could be a different shorter haircut, injecting more colour in your wardrobe, or experimenting with makeup. It can be a fun journey. A new look should bring happiness and joy, feeling like an extension of your true self.
Straight women wear makeup to make themselves feel more confident and happier, so why can't men do the same? It can make you smile seeing a shimmering eye shadow look! I know a good application of highlighter can make my day, especially when I see the little sparkle hitting the right light, you just have to carefully avoid looking like the tin man. There is even makeup targeted at straight men called War Paint, providing a very masculine name to a stereotypical feminine product. They aim to discreetly cover blemishes or imperfections on male skin, as we live in a world of highly scrutinised people, where many feel there is increasing pressure to look 'perfect.'
Throughout the 20th century, many of the top fashion designers were gay or bisexual, but this wasn't often spoken as openly as it should have. It isn't fair to highlight one part of their career, and not celebrate them as the gay person they were, who has influenced so many people with their work. Their identity shouldn't be shunned. Many of the gay or bi designers can be listed as: Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Norman Hartnell, Halston, Calvin Klein, and Gianni Versace. We often know more about the items they have created and sold, more than the person they were. Some had speculations about their sexuality, but others, like Yves Saint Laurent, were openly gay. He and his partner sold their impressive art collection, where the proceeds, a staggering 300 million euros, were used to set up a foundation for AIDS research.