Style Dossier: Clara Lefton

Welcome back to Style Dossier, Gabrielle Royal’s column that profiles stylish queers across the country. This edition, Gabrielle is featuring Clara Lefton, a writer from Greenwich, CT and graduate of Mount Holyoke College who currently resides in Philadelphia with his fiancé Dr. Rebecca Alper and their dog Rudy. The two were engaged last June in Stockholm, Sweden and are now planning two wedding celebrations for 2019 in Nantucket, MA and West Liberty, IA.


Power clashing…Who wants to buy neutrals when vibrant colors are so much fun? – Lefton

Photo by Margaret Lefton

Gabrielle: Who is your biggest fashion icon and why? 

Clara: I love Kiel James Patrick, Zach Ryan Sweedler, and Jack Carlson’s work- it reminds me of growing up in New England.

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

Clara: As I got older and attended Mount Holyoke College I was surrounded by a sea of queers where I finally felt comfortable to experiment outside of what was the norm in my hometown/family. As a Gender Studies minor I learned about the social constructs surrounding such subject matter and came to the realization that I have always had a masculine gender presentation. Having the courage to put on what felt ‘right’ to me has been instrumental in my daily self-esteem. I cut off my long curly hair in 2010 and have never looked back. Today my style is a mixture of my background: Sporty and preppy stemming from my New England roots and lifelong identity as an athlete.

Photo by Joe Mac

Gabrielle: Why is queer visibility important and how does fashion help create space for members of our community? What challenges do you face in your profession, if any, as an LGBTQ person? 

Having people to relate too has been an essential part of feeling comfortable in my own skin. Coming out at 13-years-old I was able to look up to my uncle as well as classmate Alex Koones who was featured in dapperQ last year, and runs Babetown.

I majored in journalism and have not felt discriminated in the industry. In fact, I spent several years as reporter for New England’s largest LGBTQ publication, The Rainbow Times. Currently I live in Philadelphia where I report for the Philadelphia Business Journal and have written multiple cover stories about Pennsylvania’s lack of LGBT protective statues, which allow for discrimination throughout the state in a variety of ways. On our staff of about 20 there is an openly gay reporter as well as an employee with a transgender son – a very welcoming environment.

Photo by Joe Mac

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?

Finding an awesome tailor can really help you up your style game. If you feel uncomfortable going, bring a friend- make it a fun experience. Finding one a few years ago has made a huge difference for me.

Photo by Margaret Lefton

Tell us something unique about you!

I’ve been rowing for more than half my life. When I took up the sport coincided with when I came out of the closet and has turned into one of my biggest stress relievers. I can’t imagine my life without it and currently row for Vesper Boat Club.

Photo by Margaret Lefton

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

Through my friend Bo Mekavibul who was on the 100 Most Stylish dapperQs list of 2015 and Q&A.

It seemed like a fun opportunity to be on the other side of LGBT journalism for once, featured rather than writing the piece myself! And a great opportunity to take pride in my style, something I wasn’t able to discover until I started college and bought my own clothes- eliminating arguments with my relatives over hair bows and dresses.

Photo by Margaret Lefton

Love Clara’s Style? Follow more on Instagram @ClaraLefton

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