It’s true: I am an openly gay, married woman, living proudly in the South, and I don’t wear rainbow. Not in June or any other month of the year.
Why? A reason so simple that it’s almost too simple. I can’t rock it. It’s not representative of my personality or my taste. The majority of my wardrobe consists of shades of shades. Meaning a whole lot of black, white, and grey, with the occasional pop of color. It’s not that I’m afraid to take risks with my outfits. And no, I’m not trying to blend into the background. I have a deep respect for fashion and for its use as a tool of expression. It’s just that my preference in apparel is very classic.
Natural materials, layers, and quality, top my list of must have clothing characteristics. I crave clean lines and a tailored fit. I read somewhere that if you have on nice shoes and carry a nice bag, you can wear whatever else you want and no one will question it. I’ve definitely taken than philosophy to heart and invested accordingly… timeless clothes and flavorful accessories. Fortunately, this aversion to fast fashion has prevented my wardrobe from spiraling into excess. But if you’ve ever had the opportunity to peek inside my closet, then you can attest to the fact that my handbag collection is well on its way to giving Carrie Bradshaw’s a run for its money.
Showing the world a snapshot of who you are, via what you choose to put on in the morning, is liberating. It’s a challenge to create a new look out of items you already own. Who doesn’t like lending things to friends and watching as they wear them in a way you hadn’t even considered? Fashion is both an experience and an experiment. It’s literally designed to be fun (only a slight pun intended here)! And yet, it’s another situation in which we believe there are rules.
We think there is a right and a wrong. We wait for a rack of trend-driven magazines to tell us that what we are naturally drawn to is acceptable this season. But why should that matter? As long as you feel like the authentic knock-out that you are when you put on that vintage bowler hat, then hold your head high and own it, girl. Wear all the white you want after Labor Day! Pick flats instead of heels because you can. Or pick heels instead of flats because you are unstoppable when you’re three inches taller. Go for a glamorous pant suit because you’ve worn gowns all your life and you’re curious. You can move in any direction that you want, regardless of what the constant onslaught of advertisements may suggest.
And this is precisely why I don’t feel pressured to drape myself in the rainbow flag during Pride or any other time. LGBTQ+ ideology overlaps here: You don’t need to be anyone else, you only need to be yourself.
I love the unity of the queer community. I love to see people living out loud. I love the glitter and the laughter and the atmosphere. Everyone is equally important. It’s truly a sight to behold and one that fills the soul. Especially during such divisive times in our country, in our society, in our world. Especially as we approach the anniversary of the Pulse shooting in Orlando.
Last year, 49 of our brothers and sisters were senselessly killed for being themselves. Over 50 more were injured. Countless others were, and still are, affected. Let us not forget. Let us not become distracted. Did you know that over 100 bills specifically targeting LGBTQ+ Americans have already been introduced in 2017? I didn’t. And I like to call myself aware.
As we carry on through Pride month, let’s all be our best selves. Let’s put on our favorite multicolored bodysuits from Forever 21, or our can’t-live-without white linen tank from Ann Taylor, and let’s go out into the streets and be honest and hug one another. Let’s recognize and celebrate the unique truths within our neighbors. Let’s be the love we wish to see in the world.
Happy Pride, darlings.
Featured image: Unknown. Please contact me with artist information, I’d love to credit her/him.