Welcome back to Hi Femme!, dapperQ’s sibling visibility project celebrating the incredible contributions that stylish femmes make to queer fashion. This edition, we’re featuring Amy Stretten, a bilingual (Spanish/English) independent multimedia journalist, blogger, model and podcast host based in Los Angeles, California. She is Native American from the Chickahominy Tribe of Virginia and is a mixed-race, queer-identifying femme. She draws from her personal experience, navigating the world through a multicultural lens, to share stories that matter but may otherwise be misunderstood or overlooked. Amy is the mastermind behind the fiercely femme curvy life+style blog Chief of Style.
Hi Femme!: Can you talk a bit about how you define queer femme style and what makes it transgressive?
Amy: What’s queer and what’s femme is different for everyone, but for me, I feel my best femme queer self when I’m wearing something that makes me feel fierce and feminine. I love accentuating my curves while feeling like a bad ass. If my look doesn’t scream, “Yes, I know I’m sexy…and I can also kick your ass,” then it just isn’t the right look. I think it’s transgressive because feminine has often been aligned with fragility. Sure there are plenty of moments when I’m more sensitive and less in an “ass kicking” mood, but there is still so much power in vulnerability that I think we as a larger culture ignore and why femmes are often misunderstood.
Hi Femme!: How would you describe your personal style?
Amy: I honestly don’t think I’ve discovered my personal style, unless I call it eclectic. I’m truly all over the place. What’s a constant, though, are bold statement pieces (whether a cultural piece or a large statement necklace or bold printed fabric). I love taking risks and I love pushing boundaries. On my blog and on my Instagram, I talk a lot about my journey to loving myself (and my body) more. I definitely wasn’t a body positive advocate a year or two ago. I was consumed with so much self-hate, it was pretty sad. Thankfully, my now ex-partner helped my see the light. I learned to truly love every dimple, roll, freckle, and perceived imperfection. Since then, my personal style has evolved quite a bit. Because I no longer feel like I need to hide my thick thighs, I’ll wear shorter shorts, skirts, and dresses and even a bikini at the beach. I used to see women of all sizes rocking body con outfits and wish I could do the same thing (if it weren’t for my pudgy this or thick that), but now I’m free to wear whatever I want because I let go of these self-imposed rules. So, I guess my personal style can best be described as eclectic and carefree!
Hi Femme!: Who are your fashion icon(s)?
Amy: I know I’ll have to duck from being hit by tomatoes on this one, but if I’m being honest, I really love Kim Kardashian’s style. I think she does an awesome job taking risks, playing with basics and nudes, then flipping the script and throwing in something bold…all while keeping consistently her. I truly admire that. I think Khloe also does a good job of this. I’ve also always loved Jennifer Lopez’s style. I really love her Kohl’s collection, too! Beyoncé always looks incredible in anything she wears (obviously) and Victoria Beckham also always looks great. I also love how Rihanna and Ciara have played with gender, form/figure, and don’t always wear things that are unattainable for the average budget.
Hi Femme!: What item in your style arsenal can you not live without?
Amy: Can I name three things I keep on me at all times? Pretty please?
1) Safety pins (when you have big boobs they’re a must for wearing most tops, especially button downs);
2) Cushion insoles (for painful high heels…I recommend the foam ones over the gel ones. Trust me.); and
3) Bandelettes (for a sexy remedy for thigh chafing when you wear skirts or dresses).