What's with My Obsession with Gay Layers?

One can never own too many denim jackets.

Photo from my Instagram

You should all be very familiar with my obsession with layers—maybe I haven't written on fashion for quite some time now, but at least 10% of my 170 and counting posts have the word or concept of layers either in the title, as a main theme, or at least as a significant point. Like, we get it, Natalie! You love layers! Even when my style has taken at least one million turns in my four years of writing about my style, layers always seem to be at the core of every decision I make. This feels fairly difficult to avoid, as layering is just the simple act of putting clothing on our bodies, yet I always get overly excited about the challenge of being able to successfully wear more than just two articles of clothing. Still! To this day! It began in my high school femme days of wearing dresses with tights with knee-high socks with a sweater AND two jackets, it transformed into an experimental side of fashion when I began college, similar to any content Man Repeller used to produce in 2016, but now, as I sadly see my love for fashion begin to dwindle, I notice my love for layers has only increased.

So, is loving layers actually a fashion thing? Can't practically anyone who somewhat enjoys getting dressed also be infatuated with the act, even if they could care less about style as an artistic process? And maybe, just maybe, is my inability to let go of this lifelong trend, if you dare call it that, a sign of me losing interest in fashion, as layering is actually not about fashion at all?

I've returned to writing on style to investigate an act that may possibly be about the complete opposite of style. And, as both my mind and writing have shifted to queer content, I began to wonder if this whole layering thing was actually just a gay thing. I continued to think, Isn't everything I do today just resembling of queer culture? Whenever I consistently tweet, "lesbian culture is [insert literally any facet of my personality or life]," I realize that I add this intro to practically anything on my mind. I exponentially get more invested in astrology and have unfortunately allowed it to dictate my life, because I'm gay! I can't help it! I talk about everything queer on Buffy like it's the air that I breathe, I reference The L Word to my straight friends assuming they've seen it three times like I have, and I follow more lesbian meme accounts on Instagram than actual friends I know IRL. So essentially, we get it, Natalie! You're gay! And maybe this possibly conscious act to make my 20th year of living obnoxiously queer can hint to the fact that my continuous obsession with layering may just be queer as well. Shall we investigate?

The first time I consciously understood layering to be a gay thing is when I was about to leave my friend's apartment in Stockholm last October to go to a lesbian bar with a few other queer women, already a queer act in itself. As we put on our outer layers, my friend proclaimed, "We're all wearing gay jackets!" Immediately after this was stated, I decided we had to have photographic evidence of this moment, which is seen in the above selfie. Why were they all queer layers? I truly could not tell you with any logical reasoning, besides that Faith from Buffy proves that leather is inherently gay, it's a known fact that queer women can't stay away from denim jackets, adding a corduroy detail to anything just seems very queer, and the bomber jacket? Not really a sound explanation for that one, except that it's just, well, gay. Then I thought: Are all layers gay, then, especially if worn by gay women? Is my decision to continuously buy denim jackets, although I already own five, only a decision that can be made by queers? Do queer women have a monopoly over layers such as these, making any instance they wear a jacket an act of queer identity?

With this thought in the back of my head for the past few months, notably when I couldn't stay away from purchasing any form of layer (that is, a light jacket that can easily be worn over and under other articles of clothing) at a thrift store instead of articles of clothing I actually needed, my speculation on queer layers was confirmed through one certain group conversation that happened just last week, discussing our coat wearing habits. It went something like this:

Friend #1: I hate having to wear such a big coat when it's almost spring!

Me: That's why I instead wear, like, five different layers with my leather jacket layered on top. 

Friend #2, a fellow queer woman: That's such a gay thing omg

I heard this statement after I was in the process of brainstorming this piece, and I immediately began to mentally write this story, knowing that my assumptions about queer layers weren't just a figment of my imagination. Why is this such a gay thing??? I wholeheartedly agreed with her, but instantly began to ponder on the inherent connection between being gay and rather wanting to wear five layers than a sensible, winter coat.

I already began to depend on light jackets rather than putting effort into my style—I treat them as my crutch when I have no idea what tf to wear, which happens to be at least six days of the week this year. Adding my new thrifted oversized work jacket over a simple tee and a pair of pants took only about three seconds to create, and doing this every day of the week but with a slightly different shade of jeans or swapping the tee for a sweater would make an equally interesting outfit, although the same layer was being worn every single day. Evidence below of my current style uniform:

And when the jacket gets tired? I'll swap it for a new one, because that's just how obsessed I am with layers. I've already said this before, but I own five denim jackets!! I have so many options! Sometimes I'd wear two jackets at once to switch things up, which I'm constantly reminded of when my roommate asks me why I'm doing such an extraneous act. I could never answer this question, besides that I just felt like it, but now, after my queer revelation, maybe I choose to wear two jackets at the same time to subtly showcase a queer style. Maybe it's the new form of flagging, and wearing two jackets, especially if it's a denim one layered under a leather one (the gayest combo of them all), is evidence that I'm into women. Or is simply any somewhat interesting layer a form of flagging? A few weeks ago, a beautiful Scottish woman that I ordered food from was gushing about how much she loved my jacket (as seen in the first photo of this post), and I couldn't help but flirt back. Maybe she wasn't making any romantic advances, but at least it felt like it—complimenting clothing is a classic form of gay flirting.

Even if all sexual identities stan layers just as much as me, it feels better, more sacred, to have the act be one for queer people, and queer women especially. I use them now as a gay safety blanket, when taking my vulnerable self out into the wild feels too difficult without the facilitation of at least three layers, to protect me from both the cold and the scary world us queers live in.

Photo from my Instagram

Also, it's just a known fact that denim jackets, especially when paired with jeans to create a Canadian tux, is the gayest 'fit, next to a literal suit.

Happy layering, queers!


King Princess Reminded Me to Love My Gayness

A dykon in her own right.

Photo from the Pussy is God music video

What is a dykon, you ask? I'll provide two definitions—the first is from Urban Dictionary, and it states that a dykon is "any celebrity or cultural icon who is popular among lesbians." Yet, UD doesn't state that this person has to be a lesbian, interestingly enough, but when said dykon does identify as a lesbian, she holds even more powers. Enter the second definition—a dykon is, in the simplest of terms, the musician King Princess. I choose to label her as a definition, as she seems to define every aspect of what a dykon truly is. A dyke? Most definitely so. Popular among lesbians? You got it, as told by the swarm of lesbians who made an appearance at her show two nights ago in the cozy venue of 9:30 Club in DC. 

I remember first discovering the artist, who goes by Mikaela Straus IRL, right when her debut EP was released earlier in 2018. I assumed I would give her only one listen and give up as she seemed to be defined as a pop artist whose fanbase consists of teens who love The 1975 and Halsey. Yet, she broke these limits as her irresistible voice in her first song, "Make My Bed," lured me in, both in her musical style and in the singer herself. Was I in love with the music, or did my absurd amount of queer desire for the musician get confused for admiration of her songs? Five more listens and an extremely long IG stalking session later, I realized it was exactly both. Discovering that she's not only very gay, but also loved by every queer woman and resembles my type almost too perfectly, sprouted an immediate obsession. I realized that I had no one like this while figuring out my sexuality, aka a gay musician who sings about queer desire like Julien Baker sings about vulnerability—like any other part of life. Her queer normalization not only was evident in her music, but also her everyday life, as shown by her Instagram: calling herself a "dyke bitch" and "daddy" several times, posting about Alison Bechdel, and wearing gay 'fits like this:

A post shared by miss king (@kingprincess69) on

So, eight months later, I had the privilege of taking this queer desire and making it realized when I saw her in the flesh, where my small crush transformed into a gay obsession. I wished to both be her and be under her, the classic lesbian narrative that seems to be at the center of all of our unattainable crushes. While I sometimes feel this way for other lady musicians (Alana Haim and Angel Olsen being at the top of my list), it was comforting to know that Mikaela was just as gay as the rest of us. And even more powerfully, I wasn't the only one in the audience who felt this way—I was surrounded by a flock of other lesbians and queer women who also held this queer desire, where the crowd unabashedly proclaimed their gayness for the woman throughout her hour-long set. She returned the love, consistently asking, "How are you gays feeling?" and even telling us we impregnated her just due to how much we praised her.

In between every song, her goofy smiles and overtly queer comments made her admiration for her fans more than obvious, where a large percentage of the fans were out and proud queer teens. Even if these 16-year-olds weren't this gay outside of the gay safe zone, as KP calls it, this space fostered this form of self-love, which is so crucial for queer youth that are not yet entirely sure where they fit into our heteronormative society. Many say King Princess is the reason why they feel comfortable in their queer skin at such a young age, and I only wish I had that when growing up. Comparing my experience as a 20-year-old, where I've fortunately been out and vocal about my queerness for years now, to those of the baby gays who populated most of the venue was an almost surreal experience—I realized that this might have been their first time being surrounded by this many other queer people, all joined collectively by their love of her music, their love of the musician herself, and, most importantly, their love of their own gay identities.

Photo from her Instagram

And the music! The! Music! She became even more of a dykon through her performance, playing her old hits that organized everyone in perfect harmony, all belting her very queer lyrics in unison. She begins one of my favorites, "1950," with "I hate it when dudes try to chase me," and a fan immediately yells "me, too!" and she continues to sing, "But I love it when you try to save me 'cause I'm just a lady," implying that "you" is indeed a woman. The crowd sings the full song with her, where we chant the gay love ballad both to her and for ourselves, confirming our queerness with the simplest of lyrics. We sing about pussy together, we dance to new, unreleased tunes together, we feel gay emotions during a new song she tells us to "grab the nearest dyke to slow dance with" for.

While at times it feels that queer messages sometimes give off the typical "love is love" undertone, where queer love is no different than what is deemed normative, or even that the personal is political, King Princess is instead very personal just to show that she really loves being gay and that you should, too. Instead of singing about the oppression of queer lives, she instead sings about how wonderful our lives can be as queer people and that queer love may just be better than its hetero counterpart. She normalizes her queerness in a way where her fans who may be questioning can do the same, making her the queen of Big Dyke Energy.

While I have been vocal in the past about loving my gayness, I, at times, forget to practice this form of self-love, especially when I feel detached from my own identity or feel the conflicting pain of being a lesbian rather than the infinite amount of shameless love. But Mikaela reminded me to love my gayness, to love my gay peers, to embrace my queer desire, and to never modify who I am just for someone's comfort. I'm exuberant that the rest of the crowd could also feel this revelation, especially for those who haven't been able to come to terms with it yet. And maybe that's why King Princess holds so many relentless fans—not just due to how good she looks in a pair of Dickies or her insane amount of musical talent, but because she preaches that being gay is not only okay, but the best way to be. Or, as she tells in a recent interview, "It's not trendy to be gay—it's just everyone has been gay, we been had been gay for so long! And now people are just getting hype to it, and that makes me super happy." Well said, Mikaela. Well said.

Listen to her music here, and watch her videos here.