So you realize you’re gay. Maybe you’ve just read “Rubyfruit Jungle”, or secretly flipped through your father’s Playboy, or watched “The L Word“, or listened to “Closer To Fine” by The Indigo Girls. (Yay coming-of-age queer experience!) You thought: holy shit I love women. Great! Now what?
If you had an experience like me, you were probably thinking: I want to *look* like a lesbian. You cut off all your hair (preferably as the song “Naked As We Came” by Iron and Wine played melodramatically in the background) and you wore button ups and loafers.
For lots of queer women, this look suits them. It works. It gives them that swagger and confidence. It defies gender norms. It looks sexy as hell.
But for some of us, we just look ridiculous. And more importantly, we don’t feel comfortable.
When I was in high school, I would secretly watch The L Word with my girlfriend that I was half-secretly dating. I was in love with Shane. Obsessed, really. Except I was still caught in between wanting to be her or be with her. I was one of those teens who wasn’t in the closet, but wasn’t fully out, either. I wanted girls to recognize me as queer, but I wasn’t comfortable saying it to everyone. So I cut all my hair off and started wearing band tees and vests. I was definitely read as lesbian (albeit, a stylistically confused one), but it didn’t matter because I was also undateable. Queer women could recognize me as queer, but they also recognized I looked like shit. Luckily there are few photos cause iPhones weren’t a thing and my parents certainly didn’t want to commemorate that look with a Christmas Card.
Anyway, the invisibility femmes experience is real. The pressure to “look gay” is real. The desire for other queer women to identify you as kin (or a potential sex partner) is real. I know there is no one right way to “look gay” but for some people, having your identity recognizable by sight is important. If you are one of those lesbians who doesn’t feel comfortable presenting as butch but still wants to be seen—then you’re in luck. I am as femme as it gets, but I know how to look lez, lez, lez.
Here’s 10 lesbian style tips I’ve learned over the years in wanting to scream DYKE but also scream PRINCESS.
1. A clip-on septum ring*
A clip-on septum ring is a great way to look a little ~edgier~ without the commitment or pain of a piercing. When you’re really in the mood to lez it up, just pop it in.
*This could also just indicate that you live in Brooklyn, but aren’t Brooklyn and lesbian interchangeable at this point, anyway?
(Note from Editor: Zara’s septum is real in the picture embedded below. But a clip-on is totally OK! Not everyone can be as tough as ZARA, who bravely withstood the pain of a needle penetrating her nose. Also, this currently being edited by Zara, who is a narcissist and has no problem gloating about herself in someone else’s piece).
2. Small feminist tattoo
A small, black-work tattoo with thin, clean lines is very lesbian. Don’t ask questions, it just is. Add a quote by a female author (mine is Sylvia Plath AKA bae) and boom! You have a tattoo that lets the ladies know you are of the lesbian variety. Bonus points if you add a Venus symbol to the tattoo to really hammer your point home.
3) Jeffrey Campbell boots
No flannel? No problem! Jeffrey Campbell boots are an even better to way to signify your sapphic desires. They are just tough enough to be butch, but sensual enough to be femme. They are daring, unique and hot AF. Just like you babe!
Though kink has definitely gone mainstream, collars have undeniable history in the queer community. Slap on a collar to show your ~freaky~ femme side.
Leather is gay. End of story. Leather pants, leather jacket, leather boots, leather whatever reads gay, gay, gay. Look at your lovely GO staff being gay, gay, gay:
6. Graphic Tee
What better way to let the world that you’re gay than writing it across your chest? Graphic tees are funny, quirky, and can be a political statement. Feel free to slut them up by cutting them into crop tops, a la yours truly. When I wear this, you best believe lesbians talk to me.
Aside from Gay, the G in LGBT also stands for Glitter.
A beanie, baseball cap, fedora, or whatever will do. As long as it’s on your head. Slap a hat on and voila! Ladies know you’re gay.
Jewelry is a great way to make a statement, literally! I just ordered a “Dyke” necklace on Etsy. I am a compulsive shopper.
10. Being unapologetically you, whoever that is
Being true to yourself and your style will inevitably make your true self shine. You will put out the ~vibe.~ There is no wrong way to be queer, so keep being you and wearing what makes you happy! I am personally happiest when I’m wearing lingerie in public.