Northwest Spring: Keep Warm, Look Fierce

By Sally Mulligan, PQ Monthly

The time has come, my sweet, patient queers! The fog is flattening, the rain is running off, and (don’t blame me if this happens) we seem to avoided any semblance of snow. This is good news for our utility bills, and for our booty shorts collection, but we’re not in the clear yet. As unique and lovely all of us queermos are, I have noticed we have a tendency to do the same thing: if it stops raining for a couple of days, or the temperature rises above 50 degrees, we act like OMG summer forever. The tops get cropped, the tanks get skanked, and oops all of our jeans are shorts now. We act like we have never experienced spring in the Pacific Northwest before. Then, as quickly as it came, the cold and rain are back and, like so many dark mornings before it, we have no pants. Gather ’round y’all, I’m here to help! Here are my trend predictions to take us into spring, including some handy tips to keep warm while still looking fierce—it’s harder than it looks!

Turn a Look 1
(Go For) Baroque

(Go For) Baroque

You guys, we’re complicated. Our community is a rich tapestry of individuals, so why not dress the part? If you’re looking to really hit the scene this year, you better warn everyone to watch the throne. Dress like royalty, darling. Think all things gold and gilded: gold chains, gold trim, gold makeup. Jewels and jewel tones. You don’t have a royal bank account to achieve this look; velvet and other luxe fabrics can always be found at thrift shops. The more sparkle and shine added the better. You are a queen, after all! And on the colder days, a cape never hurt anyone.

How to Disappear

Turn a Look 2
How to Disappear

There’s definitely something in the air this year. A lot of us seem to be taking some really intentional space and steps back to rebuild and reify. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe we’re just burnt out on “the scene.” If you’re looking to lay low this year, it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t turn a look. But as a stark contrast to the spotlight-stealing Liberace look above, I would like to remind you of the option to disappear for a while. Wipe your slate clean with a palpable shift towards more minimal styling. Manifest the simple life with simple silhouettes, clean lines, fabrics that match your skin tone, and clothing that is formfitting to that rockin’ bod of yours. (Hey, I didn’t mean you should really disappear!) When it starts pouring again, throw on a clear raincoat. Experiment with matte makeup and slicked back hair, and enjoy the freedom of feeling naked without the street harassment (just kidding, this feature can’t help with that.)

Turn a Look 3
Sheer for Queers

Sheer for Queers:

For those of us who exist somewhere in between these two worlds, your choice of costumery can also reflect that. I’ve been on a kick for a long time about how I think “sheer shirts are the new cleavage” and now that the temperature is on the rise it’s time to elaborate. Personally, it’s important to find a balance when it comes to my personal style; when wearing a sheer top, for example, I love the contrast of having it be loose fitting, or a floor length sheer skirt. Fun ways to experiment with this look: use this peekaboo moment to showcase your favorite lingerie, or play with a bold print or color underneath to show through. Sidenote: this is also just a great way to dress slutty while still staying warm this spring.

Turn a Look 4
Femme as a Villain

Femme as a Villain:

Something I would like to embrace and reclaim this year is the idea that anyone powerful who also possesses feminine qualities in pop culture is always villainized—often literally the villain. There’s this collective perception of “bitchy” and “bad” stigma that is always attached to these people. There’s also a lot of fierce fashion attached: leather, cat suits, fur, red lipstick, black eyeliner. These fiery, feared femmes are deeply flawed, of course. But I like to think of their powerful ensembles as armor. As a femme, that’s how I get dressed in the morning too: in a way that signals to my community that I am here and I am a strong femme. In a way that signals to muggles that I am not to be messed with. Queers know better than anyone that a leather jacket or fur coat (faux or otherwise) is your best bet for staying warm and dry while looking tough as nails. Channel your inner Cruella if you can relate.

I hope the return of the sun inspires you all to manifest a clear vision of your personal style. Call all your power into your look and let it carry you through the world in a way that brings comfort and safety, and also allows you to evolve. Dressing the part is half the battle, babes. Whether it’s leather or velvet that will prepare you for that battle is up to you!