For decades, the relationship between fashion & style and gay men have become synonymous with one another. However, there is an error with this stereotype; just because a man is gay does not mean he was blessed with the gift of style. It is an unfortunate truth that has deluded the minds of many men in the gay community who believe that just because they know how to suck a dick, automatically makes them fashion experts, and that they can thrown on any outfit and simply look fabulous.
Let me breakdown the difference between fashion and style. Although many gay men know a great deal about fashion and designers, their daily outfits can still reflect poor styling decisions. I like to think of fashion as a single pair of premium jeans from Earnest Sewn, a tie from Zara, a button-up shirt from Band of Outsiders, shoes by Converse, a scarf from Banana Republic, etc. These individual pieces from your closet that can make up an outfit is fashion. Now, using your creativity to piece together a whole outfit from your closet, now that’s style! And sadly, that is a skill not many gay men are equipped with. A lot of them think they do, but really… they don’t.
Style is definitely about balance and it’s something that is different and unique to every individual, but it is something that doesn’t just happen naturally just because one is gay. And another important fact, you can own nice designer fashions, but it doesn’t do you any good if you pair it with something lame. Being stylish does not mean only buying expensive designer clothing. If anything, there are gay men who buy a ton of high-end merchandise but have no clue what to do with any of it. So don’t always get caught up on labels, ’cause sometimes it’s just not worth the money to look like crap.
A night out in WeHo (or any big gay district) will illustrate exactly what I am talking about. You walk around and see so many gay men who have potential, but who sport overly graphic, loud, obnoxious shirts and pants and… shoes. (What shoes a guy wears deserves a whole discussion all in its own posting.) True Religion jeans and a fitted Ed Hardy or Affliction t-shirt is like the official uniform for pervy-douche-bag-heteros who are looking to finger bang some chic at a bar (also a popular getup with lesbians of the butch variety). I can’t even pretend to try and rationalize why some gay men intentionally support this look.
And for my young twinks new to the clubbing and bar scene, do not let the “skinny jeans from Urban Outfitters + V-neck from American Apparel + some jacket or light-weight hoody from H&M” define you! You are worth so much more. Say it with me, “I am worth so much more!” Lastly, to my fellas who have not caught on to the invention of belts, who sag your pants exposing your “fashionable” butt floss from Dolce & Gabbana and your size-too-small tank you got from Diesel… THAT is not style… it is borderline solicitation, a walking Craigslist M4M posting if you will; that is unless attention from an older heavy-set wealthy gentleman is what your bank account heart desires.
For the most part, I do believe the gay man excels in fashion more so than the straight man, thanks to flamboyance and the embrace of color. I just feel there are those who just need a little wake-up call. It’s not about looking good in the superficial context, it is more about looking presentable, which is one of the foundations of being gay is it not? And if you want to present FABULOUS to the world, then wake up and do your homework. Don’t think for a second that your “gay gene” will do your job for you. Go shopping and pay attention to current trends, watch TV shows where fashion and style are essential, read fashion magazines/blogs as often as possible, hire a stylist, etc. If you care at all about appearance, and if you’re gay, chances are you do, then you owe it to modern-day-society’s stereotype of the gay man to represent yourself as someone who knows how to style a fashionable outfit.