Dress Smart – dapperQ Academics

Inspired by “Black Dandies Fashion New Academic Identities,” our new series “Dress Smart” will be featuring masculine-of-center genderqueer and transmasculine dapperQ academics.

“‘Stylin’ out.’ That’s how Monica L. Miller, an associate professor of English at Barnard College, describes the way black people have used dress to expand definitions of blackness, gender, and sexuality. Men in particular have “styled their way from slaves to dignified human beings,” she writes in Slaves to Fashion (Duke University Press, 2009).
The first book-length study of black dandyism, Miller’s work is part of a growing scholarly interest in how clothes fashion our lives. It also signals the blossoming of black dandyism—fedoras, silk ascots, flashy socks—on the streets of major cities. Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Outkast’s Andre 3000 have made it cool to rap in Polo shirts, bow ties, nerd glasses, and boat shoes. The NBA’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Durant pull off dandyish without being pretentious. And now black dandyism is trending in the halls of academe.” – Stacy Patton via Black Dandies Fashion New Academic Identities.
In our second installment of “Dress Smart,” we’re showcasing the dapper stylings of Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler:

Outfit details
Left: 60’s Italian wool sweater
Right: 90’s hemp sweater with faux leather pockets and shoulder trim; 90’s friendship bracelets

I craft my style to represent me as an artist. I love to rock in-your-face colors, graphics and patterns because they stand out and being visible is very important to me. I revel in the fact that the way I approach my wardrobe is no different than the history of other black queers who adorned their bodies in eye catching fashions to make a statement. We all want to be seen, right?


Outfit details
Left: 80’s Le Tigre piano pattern sweater; 70’s polyester Levis; throwback Compton snapback
Right: 70’s Handmade denim blazer; 70’s Wrangler Western button-up; Royal Coachmen fedora hat with satin braiding

I love playing with the expectations of what a Ph.D. should look like. I don’t believe that one has to wear a suit or strip themselves of color to be perceived as a serious scholar.


Outfit details
Left: 90’s D.A.R.E t-shirt; 60’s homemade baseball cap; 80’s jeans
Right: 80’s Santa Anita Racetrack sweatshirt

Fashion is tied to memory. Old t-shirts and graphic sweaters make up a majority of my wardrobe. They help me remember my youth and remind me to stay youthful.

Bike and Jacket

Outfit details
Left: 70’s polyester Hawaiian shirt; 80’s Reversible Workers Jacket; 70’s Sergio Valente Jeans; Vans
Right: 70’s Ralph Lauren Suede Bomber; 90’s flower print button-up with gold buttons; 70’s Black Levis; 70’s vinyl leather boots

I love vintage because of the uniqueness in style, its durability and the fact that it’s sustainable fashion. I also appreciate the different sizes of clothing I come across that actually fit my body type. I am always able to find a showstopper.


Outfit details
Left: 80’s Eddie Bauer Bomber; 50’s Harvard newsboy
Right: 70s’ Pendleton flannel

I’ve turned my love of sustainable fashion into a lucrative business as co-owner of Halmoni Vintage in Oakland, CA. I love being able to work in fashion but exists as a small community minded business.

Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler is an indie scholar, artist, and entrepreneur who lives and loves in Oakland, CA. Dr. Ziegler is the first to hold the Ph.D. of African American Studies from Northwestern University and has lectured at a number of prestigious academic institutions including Princeton, Duke, UCLA, Smith, Glasgow School of the Arts, Mills College, Texas A&M, and UC Davis. He is also the writer and director of STILL BLACK: A Portrait of Black Transmen. His writing can be found at: blackademic.com

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