Friday, 21 October 2011
Gay Men Dress Well? Since. When.
One of the most maddening myths about gay men is that they are unanimously handsome and stylish. Next time some halfwit wants to reiterate this falsehood I ask that they do so in a provincial gay bar, where I expect that the ratio of fit well-dressed men to degenerate slobs will be roughly the same as you’d find down your local Wetherspoons on a weekday afternoon. Gay men have been exercising their equal right to bad fashion for years, and anyone who disagrees has obviously never spent the day at a gay pride festival. In fact, it’s my firmly held belief that gays who populate dark rooms do so in order to overlook the fact that the person they’re noshing off is wearing jeans tucked into work boots.
Perhaps the difference is that until relatively recently straight men have been hardwired to be largely un-fussed by what they wear, whereas gays have tended to use their clothes as a means of self-expression. Unfortunately, what many have used it as a means of expressing is their incomprehension that attempts to re-create couture looks on a Topman budget rarely end well (Lady Gaga has a lot to answer for). In gay world it seems that often more is more, and that applies at both ends of the spectrum, whether it’s going hyper masculine or hyper feminine – meaning that whole pockets of gaydom end up looking like pastiches, either of straight men or women. That said, the most preening Soho gay around is Joey Essex, and he’s still my number one.
I am far from immune to bad dressing, and my own devotion to Ginger Spice as a style icon saw me carry a selection of Spice Girls lunch boxes to sixth form, pre-empting that horrific period of nu-rave by about 18-months. My most dramatic fashion faux-pas of recent years was in the Summer of 2009, when I elected to attend my University graduation ball in a tuxedo-style playsuit (if you’re having trouble picturing that, think yourself lucky, it was a bit like something Cher might’ve worn to one of her TV specials in the 70s). In my defense, I was on a student’s budget, and a one-piece felt like the economical choice. It still hangs in my wardrobe, as a stark reminder of how far I can wander from the gates of my own sanity.
When it comes to the fallacy that gay men always dress best, I think the gift that is Arlene Phillips put it best in an interview that I did with her last year; ‘gay men have a great dress sense? Since. When. Gay men like to throw on anything they want to, and it doesn’t always work. Those who wear little shorts? Not a good look, particularly when the socks come up a little too high on the calves. Give it up boys, give it up!’ Quite.