Saturday, June 15, 2024

Who To Follow on TikTok for Queer Masc Fashion Inspiration

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My fashion journey has been a long, arduous one that seems to have no end in sight. I spent the first 18 years of my life in Catholic school plaid, so my college years were what I can only refer to as a series of unfortunate events when it came to my looks. I was exploring a sense of self and, unbeknownst to me, a sense of gender expression that was clunky, clumsy, and diabolically unfashionable.

It wasn’t until the later years of college through now, that I began to brave the idea of dressing more masculinely. It was a slow slope: I tried tacky button-downs, ugly hats, maybe even a tie or two here and there. I wasn’t sure how to dress masculinely, but I knew my feminine presentation was already a cry for help, so it was worth it to start.

Nowadays, I wouldn’t dare call myself a fashion icon — but, I do feel much more at ease with my fashion choices, at the very least more comfortable with my experimentation. Recently I even did a 30 Day Outfit Challenge on TikTok, in which I forced myself to post my look every day, which in turn forced me to think more critically about my outfit choices and what made me feel good. In that journey, I scoped the Internet landscape for fashion creators I felt were great judges of what I wanted to look like, as well as accessible in terms of budget.

Of course, as many folks are likely aware, it is often hard to feel at ease consuming fashion content online, as many of the most popular creators tend to be thin, tall, and white. And without someone who actually looks like you, it’s hard to know what one may actually feel comfortable wearing.

This article hopes to remedy that, if only slightly. And of course this article is by no means comprehensive of all the great masculine/GNC/butch and/or queer fashion creators out there — these are just some of the ones that I have personally taken to and found inspiration from!

I hope to help all my masculine friends out there in finding new content to inspire them, and in turn, I hope to find more accounts for myself via responses to this article, so let me know who you’re following for fashion inspiration!

Without further ado, here are a few of my personal favorite fashion creators:

Jade Fox (she/her) / @/iamjadefox on TikTok or @/madeyoulooks on YouTube

Starting off strong with my #1 personal favorite. When I am in a fashion jam, Jade Fox is the first creator I turn to.

Not only is Jade’s fashion clean and handsomely curated, but she doesn’t stop at presentation. While some creators merely take videos of their outfits (nothing wrong with that), Jade goes to explain why these outfits “work,” and gives helpful tips to think about when approaching your closet. In one YouTube video, “How To Find Masculine Clothes in the Women’s Section,” Jade does just that, assisting viewers who may want to dress more masculinely but struggle with finding sizes in the men’s section to fit their measurements.

Another video, “How To Finesse Your Summer Outfits,” gives simple tips to elevate your vision. One tip that has already revolutionized the way I approach my closet is her suggestion of color pairing: paying close attention to which colors on the color wheel collaborate well and working your outfits into simple chameleoning. A pink beanie and a green hoodie instead of a black beanie and hoodie can mean a world of difference for your presentation, and in turn your own confidence. The same goes for fabrics — instead of a simple cotton button-down, try linen or corduroy. It’s such simple elevation, but it pays off.

Jade is a great creator in how she not only shows off her own great closet and clothing combinations, but gives great tips and examples that are easy to utilize.

Liv / @/urfavbutch on TikTok

I have taken a lot of screenshots of Liv’s TikToks to keep in a neat little bundle on my phone whenever I need a quick look at an outfit to put together. Liv gives daily fit checks for masculine and butch lesbians that are as fashionable as they are accessible. They often post GRWM videos specifically to show off how they build an outfit from the ground up, which has helped me immensely in deconstructing my closet and making it easier to build my own outfits.

Another thing Liv does is create videos specifically for how to dress for their “feminine” body type. In a short series, they use visual props to demonstrate how they find clothes to fit them in the particular way that they want. As a short masculine-dressing woman with larger hips and thighs, I often struggle to find pants that toe the line between so tight I’m uncomfortable physically and emotionally, and so baggy I look like a little kid in her dad’s Levis. Often even if the waist fits, I can’t even get the pants up around my hips to get to that point.

In Liv’s tips and tricks video series, they don’t just show off good pants, but explain what exactly to look for in an article of clothing to guarantee it fits well. Even better, Liv never passes judgment nor implies shame should be felt. Rather, their goal is to explain their personal fashion journey, and what makes them feel confident and comfortable in their body and presentation. The transparency and lack of body-shaming is a relief — rather than it being about how to look better, the focus is on how to feel better in one’s clothes.

They also have a video on how to dress formally with a masculine tilt, which is a lifesaver for all of my masculine friends with office jobs. Make sure to check that one out for sure.

Marquis Neal (they/he) / @/marquimode on TikTok & Instagram

Admittedly I take less inspiration from Marquis for everyday fashion, and often look to his account just for the pure fun of seeing what they put together. Marquis’ videos radiate a joyfulness, featuring them dancing and singing along to whatever song is tacked onto the video as they curate vibrant, rich outfits. It is a relief to see a creator encourage the fun of putting an outfit together — watching them often feels like when you are having a delightful morning, dancing around to your favorite song as you pull on your pants for the day and pose in the mirror like a private Y2K movie montage.

Marquis always provides brand names for each thing in their outfit, including accessories as small as individual rings. While those brands are not always accessible for the every-person (Gucci hats and Coach purses, for instance), Marquis’ videos still provide a great example of how to get inventive with patterns, silhouettes, and accessories. And not just inventive, but how to make getting dressed an activity that makes you want to get out of bed, even to dance.

Mac (he/him) / @/macaulay_flower on TikTok & Instagram

I am relatively new to Mac’s guidance, but so far, I have greatly enjoyed adding him to my arsenal of exploration. While Mac’s looks may be the simplest of the examples I’ve given so far, it is a relief to see confident fashion content for bigger bodies. I am by no means a skinny person, and my short stature adds to my difficulty in finding clothes that make me feel good. Seeing Mac provide an example of what some of these outfits would look like on a larger person reminds me it is not the size of the body but the confidence with which one carries the outfit that makes someone look exceptional.

Mac is also an expert, in my opinion, on curating layered outfits. He has provided me with great resources for jackets, cardigans, and sweaters, clothing styles I have missed terribly living in Texas (where layering goes to die). Mac, too, provides brands for individual pieces of the outfit, though these pieces are often much more accessible to those with a lower budget for personal fashion renovation. Much of his clothes too are thrifted or purchased from small businesses, proving you don’t have to shell out big bucks for brand names to dress well.

Parker York Smith (he/him) / @/parkeryorksmith on TikTok & Instagram

I hesitated to include Parker here, for the simple fact that he is, well, a straight white guy. However, I have found some of the best tips and tricks for dressing masculinely from him and have never felt uncomfortable watching as a lesbian. Parker’s bio explains his mission clearly and succinctly: “Helping you feel confident & have fun doing it.” I’ve found Parker to be a great non-judgemental fashion creator, who not only provides great advice, but has lots of fun with viewer prompts that lead to unexpectedly great outfits. Most recently he did a Scooby-Doo series, creating outfits for each of the characters (my personal favorite was Daphne). Most if not all of his videos are reactions to prompts from comments, and it is quite fun to watch him have fun putting these pieces together, like a very fashionable puzzle.

While I try to primarily stick to queer creators, Parker is refreshingly accessible. In several videos, he tells viewers not to “knock the women’s section” and that clothes that make one feel good are all that matters. Parker is also transparent about the nature of his closet as a fashion creator, including that most of what he owns he has not paid for himself. While I often prefer creators who are working with a similar budget as me, it’s relieving to hear Parker’s transparency. He encourages viewers to not get discouraged that they don’t have the size or diversity of his wardrobe because of this reason and is straightforward about price tags to certain clothing pieces as well.

Watching New York / @/watchingnewyork on TikTok & Instagram

A little different of a suggestion from the others in this article, but I would be remiss not to include this account. The Watching New York Instagram is what first catapulted me into examining fashion as a game and not just a means to a non-naked end.

Johnny Cirillo, the photographer behind the account, shoots New Yorkers as they walk down the street. Of course, I’m sure more of these photos are curated than the account would have you believe, but nevertheless, the street style portrayed on this page has changed the way I think about clothes. Clothes do not just have to be fabric covering your body, but a performance in personal expression beyond expectation. The account is also proof that tacky is a state of mind — any outfit can look good if you have the confidence and trust in yourself to remember clothes should be about expressing yourself, not about satiating others. The account, in addition to compilations of outfits, sometimes conducts interviews with individuals regarding both their outfits and personal life, giving an insight into who the people behind the fashion are.

Eleanor Medhurst (she/her) / @/elliemedhurst on TikTok & Instagram

Okay, okay, not quite a fashion content creator in the same way as the rest of these accounts, but as a huge fan of the work Eleanor does, I had to include her.

In addition to her personal account, Eleanor runs @/dressingdykes, an account that catalogs the history of queer, and specifically lesbian, fashion. Eleanor’s accounts are less a guidebook on how to dress, but rather a peek into the vast history of queer flagging. Have you ever been curious about why lesbians are stereotyped to have short hair, or why lavender is associated so heavily with the lesbian experience? Why are carabiners and rings “lesbian symbols”? Eleanor provides in-depth investigations into the significance behind many lesbian fashion trends, and how they are not just cute or sexy, but how they have connected lesbians throughout time.

Her new book, Unsuitable: A History of Lesbian Fashion, debuts this June, and with a gorgeous purple/pink cover, I know I am going to grab a copy as soon as possible.

Again, this article is by no means a complete, comprehensive guide, nor does one need to take the advice of any of these creators in order to achieve the queer looks of their dreams. For me personally though, these are the accounts I find myself returning to when I not only need advice on how to dress, but in many ways, reminders that how I dress is an important part of my identity, and that I don’t need to feel any shame for dressing masculine, or in the case of some of my multi-patterned button-downs, quite ugly.

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