Welcome back to Style Dossier, Gabrielle Royal’s column that profiles stylish queers across the country. This edition, Gabrielle is featuring Alyssia Evans, a Illinois-based student teacher completing their special education certification. Evans will be graduating in December and will be pursuing their masters in Speech Language Pathology. Evans’ dream is to enhance and impact the lives of children and adults with disabilities. Whether they end up in the classroom or in a speech therapy setting, they would like to support and provide services for individuals with disabilities in an academic or clinical setting. Outside of the classroom, they enjoy photography, videography, traveling, and music. Evans also enjoys spending time with their partner, family and friends.
White long tee: Urban Outfitters
White button-up: H&M
Pants: American Eagle khakis
Shoes: Loafer from a boutique in Israel
Watch: Timex calculator watch
Sunglasses: Wayfarer RayBan
dapperQ: Who is your biggest fashion icon and why?
Alyssia: Ashton Michael is my biggest fashion icon. I am a huge fan of his innovative mind and ability to create a whole new idea of gender-less high fashion. He is able to blend so many different styles into one, from grunge, to street, to sophisticated goth. I really admire his creativity.
dapperQ: How much of your personal style is influenced by your identity?
Alyssia: My personal style is purely influenced by my identity. I feel like identity encompasses qualities of our inner being and what we like to see in the mirror every day. As a child I never felt I really identified with being feminine, which I believe attributed to the fact that society has this predefined mold of what a woman should be like. As I started to get older I realized it is okay to be outside of that mold and that is exactly where I wanted to be. I found myself becoming more and more comfortable with myself and my identity and my style developed along with that. It all had to start with becoming comfortable with my identity internally and then the rest kind of fell into place. I always dressed like a little boy my whole life and as I got older that never really changed. Now I am less of a little boy and striving to be more of a gentle(wo)man.
Pants: American Eagle Flex Denim
Black long tee: Urban Oufitters
Longline black button up: H&M
Watch: Timex calculator watch
Black hat: American Eagle
dapperQ: Why is queer visibility important and how does fashion help create space for members of our community?
Alyssia: Queer visibility is important because we have not extinguished that predefined mold of gender roles. We also haven’t reached the pinnacle of sexuality acceptance just yet. Queer visibility allows our community to be recognized and appreciated. Fashion allows for members of our community to be who they are and dress the way they want to with hopes that society will eventually progress toward acceptance. The education world, for example, is typically a conservative setting. Fashion has allowed me to be visible in the classroom in a way most teachers are not. While I was a bit apprehensive at first, I realized my queer visibility through fashion allowed me to be a role model for those students that might feel afraid to be themselves.
dapperQ: Tell us about your biggest fashion and/or shopping fail!
Alyssia: For homecoming one year, I wore what I thought was a nice looking suit. Looking back at pictures,I was sadly mistaken. It fit terribly: my shoes were wack, the pants and jacket could have fit two of me, the shoulders made me look like a line backer and I had the ridiculous Justin Bieber hair swoop. Ah yes, the good ol’ days. All to show that fit and the right pair of shoes is everything.
Button up: H&M
V-neck sweater: H&M
Blazer: Tommy Hilfiger
Pants: Levi’s chino
Skinny tie: H&M
Brown belt: thrift store
Watch: Crossroads Trading Co.
dapperQ: What advice would you give our readership? What advice can you offer to people who fit outside of society’s understanding of traditionally masculine and feminine styles?
Alyssia: I would say the best advice I could give is to just be yourself and not worry about what others think of you. I know it’s just another cliché being thrown around too often, but it is accurate. I’ve realized it’s much easier to not care then it is to try to conform. While it may be challenging to be ridiculed at times, being me and dressing the way that makes me feel comfortable truly makes me happy. Therefore, my advice is to do just that. To me happiness is what I strive for. I will take on any criticism about my style for that.
dapperQ: Tell us something unique about you!
Alyssia: I love making video montages and have been doing it for a while now along with photography. I started a YouTube channel with my partner over a year ago about our long distance relationship. I decided to film our experiences together. It started out as something fun to remember our visits with one another and has now grown to something much bigger. We now live in Chicago together and have been making more videos geared toward the LGBT community. Just recently the first video I made of our first visit together reached over a million views! Pretty awesome! I did not think so many people would want to watch our lives, but surprisingly there are a lot of other couples making LDR work the way we did.
dapperQ: How did you hear about dapperQ? Why were you interested in a feature?
Alyssia: To be completely honest – and I am embarrassed to admit this – I had never heard of dapperQ before, until I was contacted. After looking more into what it was all about, I was interested in a feature because it gives others an opportunity to see different queer fashion. I am honored that I was asked to do this. What an awesome experience!
Style connected with Alyssia: