Style Dossier: Ragan Kelly

Welcome back to Style Dossier, Gabrielle Royal’s column that profiles stylish queers across the country. This edition, Gabrielle is featuring Ragan Kelly, a high school junior in Waco, Texas who hopes to attend college in the Northeast. Ragan’s main goal is to eventually become a doctor of veterinary medicine. *Feature image by Lisa Hause photography. 

Larsen and Talbert photography

Gabrielle: Describe your personal style.

Ragan: I would describe my daily fashion as masculine androgynous. I usually wear edgier street clothes such as “boys” jeans from Volcom, a Topman t-shirt, flannel, and leather jacket. I also greatly enjoy dressing up in a more dapper style. I recently got a brown tweed vest from J. Crew and I am in love with it.

Lisa Hause photography

Gabrielle: Who is your biggest fashion icon and why?

Ragan: I honestly have multiple celebrity fashion icons. I love to take bits and pieces from other people’s outfits and then make it my own. My fashion icon who I know personally is Michelle Daly aka The Boss (100 Most Stylish dapperQs 2016). She and her partner Kelly West, aka Lesbutante, have taken me under their wings and basically built my entire wardrobe and in the process, helped to boost my confidence and really bring out my identity. They are some of the kindest people I know and are a great representation of the queer community.

Gabrielle: How much of your personal style is influenced by your identity?

Ragan: I’ve always been a tomboy. When I was in elementary through middle school, my wardrobe consisted of jeans, t-shirts, and Converse. Once I came out as gay, my personal style flourished. I was able to fully embrace and explore my masculine style and express myself in a way that is completely true to me. Up until this past May I had long hair. I looked like Merida from Disney’s Brave: waist-length, curly, red hair. It was my defining feature and something that I got complimented on almost daily. The week after I came out to my parents I told them that I wanted to cut it all off. That same day, I was approached by a stranger who informed me that I had the prettiest hair on the planet. Needless to say, it was a big change, but one that I don’t regret for a second. Armed with my newfound freedom of expression and no longer able to hide behind my luscious locks, I have been able to grow into the person I was always meant to be.

Gabrielle: Why is queer visibility important and how does fashion help create space for members of our community? 

Ragan: Queer visibility is important because we do exist and deserve to be heard. When we speak out and are seen, people are forced to acknowledge our existence and humanity. We belong in this world too, and have the right to be treated as equals by everyone. Fashion helps create a space for people of the queer community to speak up for themselves and others without actually having to say a word. It also acts as an outlet where we can truly express ourselves in a way that is real and not just how the media wants us to be portrayed.

I’m going to say that high school is my profession right now, so on that note, I attend a very small private school in an extremely conservative town. Thankfully, most of my school has been 100% accepting and the coming out process went smoothly. I was the first girl to wear a tux to our prom. I received only complements and it was an overall wonderful experience. The only obstacle I’ve run into is that, because my school and town are both fairly small, there aren’t many options when it comes to the dating scene.

Lisa Hause photography

Gabrielle: Tell us about your biggest fashion and/or shopping fail!

Ragan: Probably anytime I wore a dress, skirt, or feminine clothing that wasn’t true to me. It was a fail because I wasn’t happy with myself and how I looked so I was an uncomfortable mess.

Gabrielle: 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?

Ragan: To any young readers, I say to experiment. Try on new things and go with what feels comfortable to you. Don’t decide against wearing something because you’re afraid of how other people will perceive you. Also, tailors are your friend. Never underestimate the power that a well fitting outfit can have on your confidence and overall happiness.

Gabrielle: Tell us something unique about you!

Ragan: I am an international level horse endurance racer (think long distance horse jockey). I participate in endurance rides where you and your horse follow marked trail for up to 100 miles at a time. This sport has given me the opportunity to travel to many amazing places, including the UAE.

Lisa Hause photography

Gabrielle: How did you hear about dapperQ? Why were you interested in a feature?

Ragan: I found dapperQ when I was searching online for masculine-based queer fashion articles. My mother found Lesbutante and the Boss on this website and contacted them about helping me find a suit, since they live only a couple hours away, in Austin. They suggested setting up this article for me, so that I could tell the story of how dapperQ and the people I’ve met through it have impacted my life.

Gabrielle: How can our readers stay connected with you?

Ragan: Instagram @ragan_kelly1 (its private but I’d be honored to have any of dapperQ’s readers follow me)

Photos by:
Larsen and Talbert photography
Lisa Hause photography

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