He Said/We Said: Holiday Boston Style

In dapperQ‘s nearly 25+ editions of He Said/We Said (HS/WS) we have yet to feature the androgynous and masculine queer fashion represented in Boston. We have covered New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and even Toronto, but never Boston.

Boston has the dubious reputation of being an unfashionable city. (This is not why we haven’t shot there.) Yet it’s also home to some of the most fashion-forward queer style blogs, such as Qwear and Fit for a Femme. Furthermore, during Boston Fashion Week, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston hosted VERGE, a queer fashion show that originally debuted at Brooklyn Museum during New York Fashion Week. Over the past few years, the mainstream fashion industry has hailed androgyny as the hottest “trend” (again) and is co-opting other aesthetics along the feminine-masculine spectrum that are mainstays in queer style. So, with Boston’s most fashionable queers setting the tone for the city’s fashion scene, Boston now has claim to be taken seriously as a burgeoning fashion influencer.

That said, we thought it was high time to let Boston dapperQs provide us with some holiday and New Year’s Eve style inspiration for our long running HS/WS project. For a quick refresher on the HS/WS series, check out creatress mastermind Anita Dolce Vita‘s plan behind the HS/WS magic:

“The models fashion their very own looks – I give the inspiration, they give the interpretation. They come to the shoot camera ready: hair, make-up, their own clothes, accessories and props. I didn’t want the series to reflect how to recreate menswear from an individual stylist’s point of view. It’s always a wonderful surprise to see what each model came up with and all of the different translations of the same inspiration.”

Photographer Jenn Márquez, along with Anita Dolce Vita, selected the Fendi Fall 2015 menswear collection as inspiration. Here’s what Márquez had to say about the inspiration and overall experience:

“Because inescapably I know what it’s like to be part of a minority group, I always root for the underdog, and look to help anyone who champions for people who lack recognition and resources. After learning what dapperQ was all about, I was instantly drawn to their quest of empowering the queer community, through providing a supporting platform that beckons self-expression, and it’s accentuated with fashion.

Creatively, I love all things dapper, the style parallels my compulsion for having all things neat and tidy. Location, then, played a small role. The backdrop is a blank canvas on purpose, to call attention to what is in front.

Collaborating with all the models was of course great, and more because it’s admirable to meet individuals who are comfortable in their own skin. That kind of self-empowerment is simply kick-ass!

I selected the Fendi collection because I loved the colors and because they simply have elegant and beautifully tailored wear.”


Inspiration

Fendi1


Interpretations

Group-2

From left to right: Phuong Ta, Renee’ Vallejo, Sonny Oram, Alexandra Shad, LJ Johnson, Olivia Z.


Sonny

Sonny Oram

Gender pronouns: they/them
Age: 27
Occupation and awards: Founder & Editor-in-chief of Qwear: a style website for people who transcend social norms through fashion performance and gender expression. | dapperQ of the year, 2015
Outfit: Blazer, thrifted, no label. Tee-shirt, Zara. Scarf, Gap. Ring, Ready to Stare. Pants, Buffalo Exchange (Zara). Shoes, Poste (from Scotland). Yarmulke, gift from my old Rabbi, who got it when he was a kid. Hair by Julio from Troy Anthony’s Barbershop. Outfit styled by myself and Ru, Qwear’s Fashion Director
Outfit sobriquet: 3 Shades of Winter
Song that best describes your look: “My Favorite Things” by John Coltrane

Whose wardrobe (celebrity or otherwise!) would you raid?

Durimel Twins

Where are your favorite places to shop?

Thrift stores, Topman, Everlane, Gap, inheriting things from friends

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

I need my watches. I just feel strange without them.

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

It took a lot of courage for me to do this photoshoot. It’s the first one I’ve done in a year, since top surgery, and also since outgrowing all my clothes but not being able to afford new ones. I found creative ways to feel handsome through thrifting, finding items my old roommates left in our apartment, and the generosity of brands sending me gifts. And of course, a sharp haircut. This photoshoot gave me a new lease on confidence for the next phase of my life and wardrobe!

What were some of your favorite moments from the shoot?

Getting to know other dapperQs in Boston and getting my makeup done by the talented Phiphi Liang, leaving me feeling very pampered and handsome.


Renee

Renee’ Vallejo

Gender pronouns: They/them/theirs
Age: 22
Occupation: Senior at Tufts University, ‘16
Outfit: Scarf, Primark. Jacket, Urban Outfitters. Bow tie, Macy’s. Button-down, H&M. V-neck, Primark. Pants, Primark. Shoes, Marshall’s. Bag, Primark.
Outfit sobriquet: Self-Liberate
Song that best describes your look: “Bet You Can’t Do It Like Me Challenge” by DLOW

Whose wardrobe (celebrity or otherwise!) would you raid?

I would have to go with my bois Zahyr and Van from bklyn boihood. Zahyr has all the shirts and hats I would definitely borrow and never give back (love you bro!) Van and I always joke about the struggle of finding pants that go over our hips so I would definitely hit up his closet and cop some pants. (The booty don’t lie!)

Where are your favorite places to shop?

Right now I would have to say Primark is the only store I have bought clothing from in the last couple months. It’s right up my broke student alley AND the clothes are everything I need. (Their pants go over my hips!!)

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

Call ya boi bougie, but I simply cannot do without my earrings. I have eight ear piercings and I must be wearing an earring in each one or else I will feel totally naked and literally be upset. Some of us need coffee and some of us just need to remember to put on our earrings in the morning.

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

I consider home to be anywhere, anyone or anything that allows me to feel comfortable as who I am. Having the opportunity to participate in this shoot was like another door opening to welcome my authentic self into its space. Modeling isn’t only a passion of mine but like a getaway because when I’m on stage, I’m on stage and nowhere else. Being in front of a camera is something that I really enjoy 1) because I only get in front of cameras that genuinely want me there and therefore I want to be there and 2) I always know that the camera is capturing me as who I am.

What were some of your favorite moments from the shoot?

My favorite moment of the shoot has to be the group shot. I had met some of the models prior to the shoot, but never have I modeled with them. It was such an amazing experience to come together and all have fun. There was this one instance when Jennifer [the photographer] wanted to take a picture with us so she had to put the camera on the timer. We were trying to figure out as a group if were smiling or smizing and by the time we decided on smiling the camera had already taken the photo so we had to do it over; probably the most honest laugh I’d had in a while.


J

Phuong Ta

Gender pronouns: They/them/theirs and sometimes he/him/his
Age: 30
Occupation: Student at Tufts University | Aspiring Educator interested in College Access and College Transition
Outfit: Coat, H&M. Jacket, Maschio. Lapel pin, Harrison Blake Apparel. Shirt, ASOS. Tie, courtesy of suitemate. Pants, Maschio. Socks, Topman. Shoes, ASOS.
Outfit sobriquet: Sunday Best Outsider
Song that best describes your look: “Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake

Whose wardrobe (celebrity or otherwise!) would you raid?

Menswear bloggers Danielle Cooper and Ariam Sara Geffrard.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

ASOS, H&M, Zara, Topman

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

I got into fun patterned socks lately. Never underestimate how much a pair of colorful socks can brighten up your day (and your outfit)!

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

I’ve been inspired by the brilliant works showcased on dapperQ for a long time, so it was an honor for me to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said. In a world where mainstream media and clothing lines still do little to acknowledge and validate my experience as a gender nonconforming/trans masculine person, a series like He Said/We Said creates a much needed space for folks like to me to express our unique takes on fashion and also celebrate our very existences. I appreciate the creativity and authenticity of every individual ever participated in this project.

What were some of your favorite moments from the shoot?

This was my first shoot as a model and dapperQ is my all-time favorite source for queer style inspiration, so the whole shoot was my favorite really! It was a pleasure working with Jenn the photographer, Phiphi the makeup artist and other models. They were professional and supportive in creating a fun and affirming vibe for everyone, which helped the shoot go very smoothly.


LJ

LJ Johnson

Gender pronouns: They/them/theirs
Age: 34
Occupation: Primarily, I’m a Social Worker. I work with children in acute mental health crises. I provide individual, group and family therapy to latency and adolescent aged youth. I’m also a Chef Spouse, which is a whole other career in itself.
Outfit: Coat, OBEY [Vegan]. Merino Wool Sweater, H&M. Shirt, Gap. Tie, Bridgton. Pants, H&M. Boots, Novacas [Vegan].
Outfit sobriquet: Just Add Glitter
Song that best describes your look: “Pressure Drop” by Toots and The Maytals

Whose wardrobe (celebrity or otherwise!) would you raid?

Christopher Myers, Restaurateur. His style is effortless, always modern with some classic elements incorporated. Oh, and pocket squares for days.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

I rarely shop for clothes. My best items of clothing are gifts, separates from my mother-in-law during the holidays. Thanks Randie!

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

I cannot live without my red flannel from high school! I got it at the Salvation Army Superstore, and it has been a weekend staple in my winter, spring and fall rotation ever since. It is timeless. I have been wearing this flannel since the 90’s and it’s still in style. I love it.

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

It’s great to be involved in a project showcasing queer fashion. It’s important to me to be able to find spaces featuring clothing I want to wear, on queer and genderqueer individuals. Plus, it’s my wife’s lifelong dream to be married to a model.

What were some of your favorite moments from the shoot?

I was pretty nervous about the shoot. We were in this studio overlooking the ocean and it was bright and sunny out that day. It was nice to take a few moments to look out over the water and chill out. Jenn let me help her test the lighting prior to the shoot so I had some practice before my solo shoot. She was great with her direction and made me comfortable.


Olivia-2

Olivia Z.

Gender pronouns: She/her
Age: 27
Occupation: I work in international security with a focus on counterterrorism and cybersecurity. I just finished my Master’s degree at Harvard University and will be serving as a Presidential Management Fellow at the State Department in Washington, DC. Prior to graduate school, I worked on conflict management programs in Pakistan and throughout the Middle East. On the fashion side, I am a model with Maggie Inc.
Outfit: Shirt, Sweater, Jacket, Pants – all Zara. Shoes, Madewell.
Outfit sobriquet: Man of The Hour
Song that best describes your look: Maybe not exactly for this look, but in general “Short Skirt / Long Jacket” by Cake

Whose wardrobe (celebrity or otherwise!) would you raid?

Really just give me a Saint Laurent Le Smoking suit and I’m set. Anyone rocking one of those on a red carpet is an instant favorite.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

Cos, Zara, Asos, All Saints

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

My decade old leather moto jacket. And leather pieces in general. They take up a (maybe excessive) amount of space in my closet. But it’s so soft and comfy and lasts forever!

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

Though I identify on the feminine side of the spectrum, I feel most comfortable when my outfits are more androgynous. Sometimes it can be hard to marry the two. Working with dapperQ was a great opportunity to have a comfortable space to bring out that side of my style. I also love how dapperQ recognizes the connection between fashion and expression — that it can communicate parts of your personality and identity, and can evolve as you do.

What were some of your favorite moments from the shoot?

It was great to have such a comfortable and welcoming environment for the shoot. Everyone was so nice! Our photographer Jenn Márquez is one of my favorites to shoot with. It was great to get to work with her again. Having my girlfriend (Alex) on set wasn’t bad either [winks].


Alex-2

Alexandra Shad ShadLav

Gender pronouns: She/her
Occupation: I graduated from Wellesley College. My passion is working in health care in the creation of health strategies and creative problem-solving techniques to better serve vulnerable populations. I was on the medical team for Johns Hopkins in their recruitment of medical examinations for the first-ever study of sex workers and HIV/AIDS in Armenia (my grandparent’s country), then also in several countries throughout the Middle East. More recently, in one of Boston’s busiest homeless shelters located in the Combat Zone, I work in both the medical care clinic and in a rehabilitation program directed at serving Boston’s homeless, all of whom are battling issues of addiction, mental illness and/or histories of incarceration.
Outfit: Coat, Cos. Scarf, Banana Republic. Shirt, Macys. Pants, Banana Republic. Socks, Express. Shoes, Aldo.
Outfit sobriquet: You Used to Call Me on My Cellphone
Song that best describes your look: “Flawless” by Beyoncé

Whose wardrobe (celebrity or otherwise!) would you raid?

Batman’s. I think dark, durable, militaristic suits sewn together by the threads of justice would fit me well.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

All Saints, Zara, H&M, any vintage or thrift shop.

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

I love wearing pieces given to me by special people in my life – I never take them off. My dad’s dogtags from Vietnam – wear those all the time. Or my girlfriend gave me a threaded bracelet on one of our first dates, it was tied on my wrist way too loosely, but I keep it just like that because I get obsessed with wearing the things people I love give me, just as they are.

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

Fashion is instant language. And when there exists no language for you to express yourself, you dare to create your own. Not fitting into the rigid cookie cutter standard of beauty, that language becomes especially powerful when you present your genuine inner-self outwardly, because it both represents you and something larger than you. It was an honor to have been asked by dapperQ to participate in this project – love to Anita and everyone at dapperQ for creating this platform for those with way too much flavor to fit into just another regular cookie off the shelf.

What were some of your favorite moments from the shoot?

The overall vibe for the day – everyone at the shoot was just really excited to be a part of this project. Jenn Márquez, the photographer, made everyone feel at ease in front of the camera and encouraged everyone to play with their look. Also I had fun trying to play on those wobbly white blocks without breaking my face.

Credits:

Photographer: Jenn Márquez. On Instagram.

Makeup: Phiphi Liang


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18 Comments

  1. Yes finally! So glad to see us “on the map” Haha. We have way more style and fashion here than people think, it’s time they see it! I have the best clients coming in for a Dapper cut or fresh take on the androgynous look. We know how to rock some style 🙂

  2. Olivia…smart, attractive, and stylish. I mean Portland isn’t that far from Boston, right? No, yes…no? Fine. 🙂

    That burgundy leather jacket and cashmere sweater is just too much though (in a good way). Texture.

  3. ” I work in international security with a focus on counterterrorism and cybersecurity. I just finished my Master’s degree at Harvard University and will be serving as a Presidential Management Fellow at the State Department in Washington, DC. Prior to graduate school, I worked on conflict management programs in Pakistan and throughout the Middle East. On the fashion side, I am a model with Maggie Inc.”

    … well shit I feel like such an underachiever now. AND my fashion sense is a mess too. Can I take some life lessons from this lovely person ?

  4. im not even into women like that but my lesbian friends told me i got to go see that alexandra chick’s photo in this article. Hahah okay gotta admit, girl has me all sexually confused now for sure like dammmmnnnnn girl.

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