One Suit 3 Ways with Ari

I love suits. I love their aesthetic and their versatility. I love the confidence they exude when worn properly, and I love the power they hold. As an artist, my style is one of my creative outlets. If I were a painter, a suit would represent a blank canvas, and accessorizing and putting an outfit together would the palette and brush strokes creating a masterpiece. I thoroughly enjoy the process, from creating looks in my head, to shopping and bringing them to life, to being inspired by other styles, to designing my own suit and all of its minute details. I love it.

My style is my voice. I’ve been able to express myself through suit styling in a way that reflects my imagination and it has resonated with people around the world. It has also created this platform and granted me so many opportunities that I could only dream of.
In a suit, I come alive and I believe in the impossible.

My personal bond with suits has much more depth than I ever gave it credit. It’s a simple yet complicated relationship that has evolved over time, and the more I’m accepting of myself, the more it changes.

There is a direct correlation between that garment and the affirmation or refutation of my identity. Although I only recently came out as trans, I’ve always been masculine presenting. Internally, my energy felt masculine and I consciously dressed in a way that would best reflect that, ergo the suits.

I used to say that a suit was like an armor. When I wore one, I felt invincible, strong, powerful, filled with aplomb, and impenetrable. The truth is, I also felt like a fraud, like a dishonest person hiding behind a cloak of safety. The suit allowed me to hide prominent physical parts of me that I didn’t feel aligned with who I am – my hips and my chest. It was a constant internal struggle of gratefulness and shame.

Now that I’m openly living as a person who identifies as being trans, but a suit is becoming more of a tool to help me communicate my identity better. When I’m wearing one, I’m comfortable taking up space for myself. It helps me affirm my identity as I am genuinely confidently introducing Ari to the world. And even though my physical features are still both present and hidden, the fraudulent feelings have dissipated, and I’m thankful I can simply be.

For more words and style inspo from Ari, check out our debut print book,”dapperQ: Ungendering Fashion.” Photos by @thestreetsensei 

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