15 Best TV/Film dapperQ Looks of the Decade

Queer visibility in media can lead to positive, as well as negative, cultural change. The 2019 Showtime series Work In Progress reminds us that negative portrayals of queer characters in media can have long-lasting, devastating effects on individuals and communities. The show’s main character, Abby, tackles the trauma that was inflicted upon queer people due to the mocking of androgynous gender expression in the once popular Saturday Night Live skit “It’s Pat.” In short, visibility does not necessarily equal liberation.

When it comes to clichéd stereotypes in film and television, queer women, non-binary, and transgender characters have received more than their fair share what it comes to fashion. (The mainstream stereotype that reigned supreme 10 years ago when dapperQ first launched, and that still lingers today, is that gay men are the vanguards of tasteful fashion; The rest of the rainbow is often styled as a fashion trope.) Take for example the popular “Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians” website. At the height of the site’s popularity, it was featured in GQ, Vice, The Atlantic, and even New York City’s own “progressive” Village Voice. (All of these outlets have edited their pages to point links directly to the original website and/or have deleted some, if not all, of their original content.) This ageist, misogynist, and homophobic joke served to advance the narrative that all lesbians can only be one thing what it comes to fashion: both masculine and unfashionable. The site also served to shame men for not performing masculinity according to society’s narrow standards. These types of tropes extend beyond lesbian identities.

The irony is that there are many people in society, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender presentation, who do not care for fashion or to invest much time into playing by society’s style rules. (Take a ride on a subway or trip to any mall and you can see that most people dress rather ordinary outside the confines of our highly curated Instagram feeds — function reigns over fashion in the real world.) However, it is often members of the queer community who are held to different standards, who are stereotyped, and who are bullied and mocked for our clothing.

That said, we a look back at a decade of film and t.v. to celebrate moments when dapperQ’s took center stage as fashion icons, breaking old stereotypes and making powerful statements proving that our wide-ranging styles are indeed glorious! (Note: We already agree that there needs to be more diverse and PLUS SIZE characters flexing their queer fashion on film and t.v. in 2020 and moving forward.)

1. Pose

Released in 2018, Pose finally brought to mainstream t.v. audiences the fashion, dance styles, and music created by QTPOC that had been culturally appropriated by white, cis het designers and musicians for decades.

 

2. Colette

Set at the end of the 19th century, the 2019 film Colette centers writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, who had  “relationships with men, women, and trans-masculine-identifying people.” We were always here, we were always queer, and we were always dapper.

 

3. The Politician

2019’s The Politician is hella queer, and hella fashion-forward, hard prep!

 

4. Gentleman Jack

Set in the 1830s, HBO’s 2019 series Gentleman Jack demonstrates that queer women have always been dapper.

 

5. Euphoria

HBO’s controversial 2019 teen drama Euphoria embraces Gen Z unapologetically queering fashion!

 

6. The L-Word: Generation Q

The L Word: Generation Q is the 2019 reboot of Showtime’s original 2014 L Word. dapperQ Editor-in-Chief Anita Dolce Vita can talk at length about how the original L Word and Sex and the City (SATC) are both problematic, but, in terms of fashion, how the L Word just could not hold a candle to SATC’s fashion. SATC first aired in 1998, eight years before L Word, but if you watch the two shows, L word did not do the characters justice in the realm of fashion; The styling felt as if L Word came out in 1998 and SATC in 2004, rather than the other way around. L Word: Generation Q is back this year to right the wrongs of the L Word past, including in fashion (it seems). Bette is still rocking her power suits (check), and Shane is still what magazines in the early 00’s described as “lesbian chic.” However, Alice has gotten a modern, edgy upgrade of her 2004 wardrobe. Two new characters, Dani and Sophie, have brought femme-power-suit and effortlessly- casual-cool-queer, respectively, to the reboot. The show still needs more plus size representation. However, the dapper styling of guest stars, such as Megan Rapinoe, demonstrates the reboot’s commitment to taking the series out of fashion trope mode.

7. Master of None

Before Lena Waithe was winning an Emmy and slaying red carpets at Met Galas, she was starring in the 2015 Netflix hit series Master of None. Her character, Denise, was dripping dapper swag for every occasion. From blazers and hoodies, Denise always brought her queer style A-game.

 

8. Ellen DeGeneres

Canceled or not, we all have to admit that in 2014, Ellen DeGeneres did justice to the queer fashion while hosting the Oscars.

 

9. Carol

The 2015 film Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara tells the story of forbidden lesbian love in the early 1950s. Fashion wise, this film dismantled the lesbian fashion trope. Queer women are all around us everywhere, including femmes, and especially the “invisible” femmes who love classic, tailored feminine looks.

 

10. Killing Eve

Released in 2018 on BBC, and then later on AMC, Killing Eve is a spy thriller with some “lesbian tension” between the two main characters, Eve (spy hunter) and Villanelle (sociopathic, blood thirsty assassin). Though the show has been accused of queer-baiting via the relationship with Villanelle and Eve, Villanelle does have onscreen sexual encounters with both men and women. Her style is also as fluid as her sexuality, and reflects the multiple sides of her killer personality. She dresses the part for any situation.

 

11. Rhythm + Flow

Netflix’s 2019 hit Rhythm + Flow, a non-scripted music reality competition, featured finalist Londynn B., whose outfits proved that lesbian hip-hop chic could be hard and feminine at the same time.

 

12. Black Mirror: San Junipero

“San Junipero,” the fourth episode in the third series of the Netflix science fiction anthology series Black Mirror, featured a queer couple whose style was the best of the 1980s: Pop and Prep.

 

13. Dear White People

Netflix’s 2017 Dear White People series, based on the original 2014 film, gave us the modern queer woman, Black Ivy style femmes were craving.

 

14. Madam Secretary

Mexican-American actor Sara Ramirez had a decade-long recurring role as Dr. Calliope ‘Callie’ Torres on the ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. After leaving the series, Ramirez came out as bisexual in 2016. In 2017, Ramirez returned to t.v., co-starring in the CBS series Madam Secretary, where she openly flexed her dapper queer style, serving as a role model for others in the industry and her fans.

 

15. KD Lang 2010 Olympics Opening Ceremony

In 2010, k.d. lang took the world stage and performed a version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for the opening ceremony of the 2010 Olympics. Singing a song of peace, “doves, the symbol of peace, were projected on the stage floor, and rose from the stage floor to the ceiling via columns to symbolize their release.” lang’s suit color was also aligned with the dove symbol of peace. But, even more radical was that lang’s was not feminized for a global audience. lang stood proud in dapper queer style, in front of an estimated 61,000 attendees and millions of viewers worldwide.
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