A few weeks ago I spent the afternoon with award-winning menswear stylist Beelinda Fox.
We discussed her career for the first half of the interview, and then for the second half we delved into her personal style. I was amazed to learn how convicted she was at such an early age.
Photography by Sam Murray.
How did you develop your personal style?
I’ve worn men’s clothes since I was in elementary school. I was pretty much a tomboy. I had the cowboy vests, and my hair was short.
I started off with preppy wear. I had khakis and my little shoes, to a nice button-up shirt. I wore it every day. I always looked up to my brothers to see what they were wearing and what their friends were wearing. I would always steal their clothes.
I remember when I was in 5th grade, I got a pair of nice brown boots. I had my khakis, and a nice brown sweater, and a messenger bag. And everyone thought I was a teacher because I was dressed so well.
My brothers are jealous of my style now. Now I help them. The table has turned! Now my brothers and my father are stealing clothes from me!
What is your wardrobe like?
I have two big closets. If you looked at my closet, you’d think that it was the wardrobe of 5 people.
Do you ever throw anything away?
I keep everything. It’s hard to let go! When you have that one comfortable pair of jeans from 8th grade, it’s hard to let go. A lot of my clothes are comfort to me. Like you’re having a bad day, and you go to your favorite sweater and it’s like it’s giving you a hug.
Even if something reminds me of a bad time , I can cut it and make it into something else i can wear later on. Plus some of the items that I own I can never get again, and they become vintage to me.
What advice do you have for people building up a whole new wardrobe with a small budget?
The first place that you should do is go to a thrift store. I love Garment District. You can find a whole new closet for under 50 bucks. Everything is really cheap; you can get brand names there. The best way to approach it is build a base. Say, okay, these pants and shirt are going to make me feel comfortable. Then say, okay, I’m going to try this blazer on.
Wear it out for a night, see how it feels. Hear people’s reaction. They’ll say, “Hey, that blazer looks great on you.” So now you’re comfortable with that blazer you’re wearing. So then you add on a tie. You go out, see what the reaction is. If they’re like, “you don’t look good in that tie,” you eliminate the tie. Maybe try a bow tie. You go out, people are like, “oh wow, you look good in that bow tie.” So now, you’re building up your closet.
What advice do you have for people who are searching for their personal style?
People are always going to say something. Wear whatever makes you feel happy.
Don’t worry about people criticizing you for wearing bellbottoms in 2014. Why should you care? People might say, why are you wearing that pink shirt? Pink is not the “it” color. Why should that stop you from wearing your favorite pink shirt?
Style comes from within you. It’s like mixing a martini. You’re mixing your own drink. To have mismatching socks, to putting a band-aid on your face, it still makes you who you are.
What stylists do, at least me personally, is I want to get to know the models. And know what their comfort zone is, what they do like. Models do get nervous when they come to a photoshoot. If you can get a model that is gorgeous and she’s comfortable in a t-shirt and pair of jeans, it’s going to be hard to get her to wear a bikini. Her image and her expression is not gonna come out. When someone’s not comfortable in what they’re wearing, that’s when fashion dies out. The clothes that you wear make who you are.
What projects do you have coming up?
Over the next two months I’ll have a lot of menswear shoots coming out. I’ll have two different concepts: everyday suits, and daily going out outfits. I’m trying to stray away from the suit and tie for a bit. I love my classy dapper style, but I also want to show my clients that there are other style that still make you look dapper just in a more edgy style. So please stay tuned on our facebook page.
As Qwear's Founding Editor, Sonny’s work centers around envisioning a future in which the clothing people wear does not dictate their chances of survival. Sonny was awarded 2015 dapperQ of the Year and was the first trans blogger to be sponsored by Topman. In March 2016, Sonny spoke at South by South West's first official queer fashion panel.