Oh hai, I’m Liz, and I want to talk to you about fashion. For instance: I look good in high heels but they hurt my feet and skinny jeans sit too low on my hips. I know. Big fat first world problems. But what can I say? I like to think about what I wear. A lot. Also what you wear. And everyone else. That’s right, I care just a little too much about fashion. Believe me, though, you’ll care soon too. I know, it’s scary. Fashion? What? Are you saying I can’t wear my Chucks and American Apparel hoodie every day forever ever? I understand your trepidation. Fashion is hard, and sometimes people who talk about it are annoying and intimidating. Also, you might be sitting there squinting at my user icon wondering “Is this chick even remotely qualified to be writing about this?” What great questions! Luckily I have answers for them.
First of all, let’s get real: flannel is a fashion statement. Birkenstocks are a fashion statement. Alternative hairstyles are fashion statements. And that’s AWESOME. Life would be so damn boring if we didn’t get to wake up every morning and costume ourselves in new and interesting ways, and those things all fit that description. However, even something as simple as dressing can start to get complicated if you’re a lesbogay. There’s all this weird pressure to “dress like a lesbian,” because otherwise you’re “dressing like a straight person,” which is weird because you kinda just wanna dress like you. Moreover, the undeniable truth is that many of us also want to telegraph our queerness to other gay women. But what if you want to wear 50s style dresses and make sure other women know you’re gay? Is there a kind of queer fashion that isn’t based in combat boots or flattops? And what if you also work a 9-5 job where you’d rather not start a lengthy conversation about sexual orientation with your 65-year-old male boss? Well, I guess you’d be in the same position as me.
So for me, fashion matters. Sometimes it’s goofy, sometimes it’s a complicated reflection of our inner selves and sometimes we just want someone to tell us how we’re supposed to wear those goddamn infinity scarves. But regardless of how you slice it, we are all affected by the fabric we choose to wrap ourselves in. Well… except nudists. Nudists can ignore my writing.
In conclusion: fashion matters and I’m going to write about it here at “Liz’s Latest Thing.” Am I qualified? Hell no. I’m a research tech in a genetics lab. Luckily, I’m completely self involved. I spend nearly all of my time thinking about making sure other people see me the way I want to be seen, which means I spend a lot of time online shopping and reading magazines. Okay, and full disclosure: I’ve done a lot of costume design so I am a tiny bit qualified when it comes to the structure/color/fabric part. But that’s not the point. The point is that I’m writing about style for young queer women without a stake in looking “butch” or “femme” but who are interested in looking “hot” and “awesome.” Because no one else is and I always wish they would.
Of course Autostraddle already has awesome fashion coverage on a variety of fascinating topics, and therefore I’m excited to join a team that includes such wonderful writers and guest-writers and am going to do my very best — which is pretty damn good — to bring something new/consistent to this very stylish table.
But seriously, the infinity scarf… do I just loop it twice around my neck? Really? That’s it?
First of all, AHH SUPER EXCITED FOR THIS. Second of all, I think you have to put the scarf around your neck, sing Free In You by the Indigo Girls, wrap it again, and awkwardly decide that that’s how it’s supposed to look.
Wait. I love that dress. Where did you get it?
I bought it in a boutique in Shenzhen, China. I really liked it too until this guy went up to me and asked “How many polyester eggs had to die to make that dress?”
To which I hope you replied “how many assholes had to die to make your face?”
That is the best comeback. To anything.
ha! seriously amazing comeback, and a most excellent way to end my work week.
Hey nice to meet you. I’m excited to read more about you and your style!
Hello! I am very excited about your column also.
I often feel the similarly: Yeah, sometimes wearing baggy pants and plaid with hiking boots is cool, but what if I want to look hot/awesome? On some days I feel a lot more confident and sexy in girly (read: slutty) clothes, or silly clothes, or fashionable clothes, but if I’m going to a gay-related thing, I feel weird pressure to dress gay so that people will know I belong, that I’m part of the club too.
But I like fashion a lot. I like fun fashion that makes me laugh to myself all day.
Yay! New writers are always awesome.
Also I wanted to say in the second picture you look like Zooey Deschanel for reals. (And we all wish she was gay, now don’t we?)
I was going to say she looked like Katie Murphy from Sick of Sarah, but I see Zooey Deschanel too now you’ve mentioned it.
This is going to be fun! I ‘m so glad to hear that’s I’m not the only weirdo obsessed with finding the perfect way to tell people what I want to tell them with my clothes.
“But what if you want to wear 50s style dresses and make sure other women know you’re gay?”
OMG this is actually a problem for me. I usually wear a 40s – 50saesthetic, and while I’m really comfortable in it, absolutely everyone assumes my straighthood. And a conservative straighthood at that! If you have any helpful hints, I would be so grateful. Because seriously, it impedes picking up, which is making me sad.
Also, I like your dress :)
Actually, sometimes I find that 50s style stuff can look really gay if you go super over the top. Especially if you have tattoos. It starts to get in to that so-straight-it’s-gay territory.
Me too! I mean how do I convey I love vintage and I love girls in the same outfit? C’est impossible.
I’m excited about your column Lizz. I think rockabilly can look kinda gay with all the tattoos and stuff but I’m not really into that style on me (and I’m totally scared of needles so tattoos are out).
I mean I pretty much carry super gay books around all the time and pull them out and read them but still everyone thinks I’m straight.
“I mean how do I convey I love vintage and I love girls in the same outfit?”
I thought about hanging a big I’M QUEER sign over my frocks, but I think it would ruin the aesthetic ;)
Ooh. I like that sort of style too and I agree that if it’s over the top it looks gay. That is what I hope, anyway. Like, going super old-fashioned femme… that must be a kind of lesbian stereotype, right? I feel like straight girls don’t have to worry about whether they look butch or femme so they wouldn’t be strongly in one of those categories. I don’t know.
fashion is fun. SO FUN! expression! identity! good feelings! sexy feelings!
sorry… I am too excited to form actual sentences. were I a small dog, there would be tail wagging and a puddle.
Nice tip! I might give it a go sometime, I usually look fairly natural in my 50s gear if that makes sense. I probably wouldn’t do it on a daily basis, b/c it’s not really who I am, but I could see myself having fun with so-straight-it’s-gay for a night out :)
Great article. Since I have no sense of fashion at all, would love to read your column
Yay for fashion, yay for dresses because without it, we would be all hot ass messes!
Lizz, thank-you for this and can’t wait for your next article! Please write again soon! I found that your attitudes on fashion are very similar to my own. I am naturally more of a girly lez (some might say very girly, I don’t know), and I like wearing dresses but my choices tend to change day to day based on mood, practical considerations and how I feel like I want to present myself that day. On a given day I may regale myself in a nice dress and makeup and on the next day jeans, flannel shirt and boots and no-makeup. My friends never know what to expect from day to day and frankly, I kind of like it that way.
You mention about the 50s dresses and I had to smile. I often wear 50s style dresses around the house on the weekend. It just makes me feel happy and my girlfriend thinks its funny. Maybe I am just trying to create the gay version of the Lindsey and Harriet show!
I will never ever be able to pull off those stupid infinity scarves. Is my neck too short? Is the scarf too big? I hate them but want to love them!
“The point is that I’m writing about style for young queer women without a stake in looking ‘butch’ or ‘femme’ but who are interested in looking ‘hot’ and ‘awesome.'”
You have described me. I am so excited for this column, you have no idea. I’m sitting here going YESYESYES: “Life would be so damn boring if we didn’t get to wake up every morning and costume ourselves in new and interesting ways.”
OOh intriguing! Totally just been through that coming out plaid’n’baggy jeans lumberjack look, as a symbolic contrast from dressing like my mother. :/
Would love it if you could write about suggestions for what gayelles where for formal occassions? Got a summer ball thing coming up where all the straight girls wear lil dresses, and all the dudes wear suits – there’s gotta be some fashionable compromise!
Also Excited though :P ^
you had me at “big fat first world problems.”
this is going to be awesome
I used to be really, really into fashion/dressing myself. I still read a lot about it and dream-shop on the internet, but when it comes to buying clothes I inevitably end up with lots of basics and nothing daring or interesting. Accessories help but on an everyday basis I just end up looking slightly rumpled and boyish. That’s cool sometimes, but it’s become an everyday thing; I miss mixing things up and being excited about my clothes!
Rumpled and boyish is pretty hot :)
This is going to be fun! Can’t wait for your next article :)
Preach it, sister!!!! <3<3 I love fashion too… luckily, i live in Japan so ALL the lesbians here are fashion conscious. even the plaid wearing grrls smother themselves in louis vuitton or gaultier hommes. but yes, being a queer femme is always a tricky business, and i love people who tackle the topic with wit and sass. i can't wait to read more of your thoughts!!
what do you wear to lab? i always end up with basic shirt/v-neck + jeans cause i dont want to ruin my other decent clothes that i wear when i go out. also, what about shoes?
I totally agree with the wanting to telegraph your queerness without starting a lengthy conversation with the boss about sexual orientation. I wish we had a super duper secret accessory like some sort of wristband that only queer women knew about. le sigh
This will be a fun column. I look forward to hearing more about it! Love the dress, too.
I do not get made for gay. That fact just galvanized my assertiveness – always had to make the first move rather than wait around to get picked up.
My wife and I just had a fashion moment over the Tevas she purchased. Umm, yea, cannot stand those things, and apparently silence and a smile is not the OPTIMAL choice when voice-activated shopping affirmation is needed. I realize their practicality, mmkay, but at our ages (40s), they scream “middle-aged Mom who has just given up” when one is not battling the Amazonian rapids. Blegh.
I will not be surprised when the zinger comes for me after that one … it will probably be pretty sundress-related. Ha!
First and foremost I want to make sure to tell you that I love your energy! A girl can only handle so much of the everyday politics and latest gay bashing news before she goes bazurk. Secondly I hope to be able to benefit from your posts becuase I wear jeans and hoodys day in and day out and I dont even know what an infinity scarf is….PLEASE HELP!
P.S. I blame my lack of fashionable knowledge on my lazy older sister. It is becuase of her I didnt even learn to apply make up till I was 17. Still not sure Im doing it right!
LA FASHION WEEK!
Sorry, that’s been repeating itself in my head the whole time i was reading this article. Homegirl must have been super excited for the real L Word!
Regardless, rock on with your fashionable self! I couldn’t understand a single thing you were talking about. I feel like i’ve achieved “fashion” success if I have my pants on with the zipper in the front!
I am excited that my flannel shirts are a fashion statement!
So how weird an I that I just kept thinking how cool research tech sounds
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