Queer Power Clashing

As queers, we love the play between classic and modern, traditional gender roles, and new gender spaces.

We’ll put multiple plaids in the same outfit, and find a use for our grandfather’s old paisley ties. I’ve slowly started moving into bolder wardrobe choices myself (perhaps putting orange and yellow together in the same outfit is some baby power clashing in the works?) and I’ve been super inspired to see other queers and fashionistas around town breaking every rule I ever heard about what goes together.

Thrift stores are the perfect place to pick up eclectic pieces for your wardrobe. It’s how I Dream of Dapper acquired her cat vestTopman is another great source for patterned pieces, particularly masculine floral. Just beware of anything with the word “Aztec” in the description. It’s not approved by the Aztecs. H&M has some amazing women’s patterned pants; my friend recently got a pair that she loves.

Some tips for successful power clashing:

1. Mix bigger patterns with smaller ones. 

2. Find a way to tie it all together. When mixing patterns, find a common color to repeat throughout the outfit.

3. THE SQUINT TEST: When you have your outfit on, squint and see if it looks like a mess or you can easily distinguish the different pieces. (A little trick I picked up in painting class.)

queer power clashing paisley

Allex Knight, from his recent DapperQ feature. The shirt pattern is so muted and pants so crazy bold that they balance one another out. The light blue nail polish is a really nice touch! (Photo cred: Shaina Chin)

queer power clashing plaid

The shirt includes the colors of both the tie and the jacket/vest combo to make a cohesive outfit. The use of thick wool ties is a great way to add some weight and grounding to a mixed patterned outfit. (source: thetieguy.tumblr.com)

queer power clashing Jenna Lyons

Jenna Lyons (J. Crew head, new member of the tribe) always has some crazy patterns and textures going on, but she ties it together with color coordinated footwear. (source: theoveranalyst.net)

queer power clashing paisley

This fashionista repeats the color scheme of black, gold, and white. Actually, if you look closely at her wrist, she’s repeating every single color in her shirt. Brilliant! (source: behautebothered.blogspot.com

queer power clashing black and white floral

This outfit passes the squint test, because if you REALLY simplify it, it’s a light top and dark pants, the commonality being black and white. (source: blog.stylesight.com)

Dapper Q’s first fashion show is also full of brilliant power clashing. This outfit not only has 3 different patterns in it, but has a canadian tuxedo-esque jacket and pants combo. (Styled and photographed by Jahn Hall)

queer power clashing plaid

Here the commonality that pulls it all together is the tie, drawing on the red lines in the blazer and shirt and red designs in the paisley pocketsquare. And it’s all the same deap red, or very close to! Bravo. (source: thatmodernman.tumblr.com)

queer power clashing allex knight

More Allex Knight from DapperQ. Allex comments in the feature, “I love the clash of classic clothing, my body, and my body art that makes this suit wearing experience so gender queer.” (Photo cred: Shaina Chin.)

Inspired yet?

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.