“‘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.
Green sweater with zip-up collar from The Gap; Blue and white checkered button-down shirt from The Gap; Grey beenie from H&M; Beige Crate jeans from Oakland’s very own Black Queer owned Show and Tell Concept Shop; Green and white Nike Dunks from the Nike Outlet
American Rag slim-fit black corduroy jacket from Macy’s; Level Ten black and white design shirt from Macy’s; Polka dot bow tie from Ross Dress For Less
Green Beenie from Target; H&M green sweater from Buffalo Exchange; Boots by Fossil from Fossil Outlet; Levis jean shirt from Buffalo Exchange
Teal v-neck shirt by Alfani from Macy’s; Charcoal red plaid vest by Sovereign Code from Macy’s; Grey Windsor cap from The Gap; Bklyn Boihood “Boi” pin; Grey scarf by Unica from LA Fashion District; Reading Kara Keeling’s Book, “The Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense”
My staple wardrobe item used to be the sweater vest which I held on to like some folks held on (and some still hold on) to the Jheri curl. The sweater vest held for me the essence of where I came from and how I was raised which was about 50% prep school (I did go to a boarding prep school in New England) and 50% church boi. (I did grow up in and still go to Black evangelical church in Oakland.)
Red beenie from H&M; Checkered Orange and white shirt from Old Navy; Red dress slacks from Express Men; Black leather dress shoes from Aldo
Levis jean jacket from Ross Dress For Less; Orange knitted bow tie by Krochet Kids International from Oakland’s very own Black Queer owned Show and Tell Concept Shop; Blue and white checkered button-down shirt from The Gap; Orange wool sweater from Target.Bio: Kai M. Green is a filmmaker and a spoken word poet who examines through film and poetry questions of gendered and racialized violence. His most recent film, “It Gets Messy in Here,” is a 32-minute short that examines the lives of transgender men and masculine identified women of color and their bathroom experiences. Kai is a PhD candidate in the department of American Studies and Ethnicity at The University of Southern California. He is currently writing a dissertation that will serve as one historical/ethnographic account of Black LGBT lives in Los Angeles. Kai is committed to creating consciousness raising art and scholarship. You can also find a copy of my review of Monica Miller’s Book by visiting clgbthistory.org.
*All photos except for the bowtie photo in Photo ½ and photo 6/7 were taken by