Intentional Incongruity: Queerness Embodied through Fashion

Interview and Foreword by Juliette Baxter
Photography by Imogen Clarke

Bossy took to the National Botanical Gardens to ask its readers about how queerness impacts their fashion. Many queer people embody their identity and individuality clothing and accessories can be a way to embody their identity and individuality. Largely, this is expressed through subtleties and details – whether in the form of jewellery, layering items of clothing or the shoes on one’s feet. Queer fashion often involves a subversion of norms and intentional incongruity, achieved through a combination of hard and soft, masculine and feminine. The built and natural backgrounds in this series highlight these contrasting elements in the fashion of our four Bossy readers.


The way I like to dress helped me understand my queer identity better. My style is central to my self expression and helps me feel most like ‘myself.’ I don’t really think about it much, I just see outfits in my head and clothes I like, and I wear them. To me, being queer is about rejecting conventional things, which I try to embody in my dress. I like to wear patterns and clothes that are noticeable and incongruent, to make a statement. 


Honestly this isn’t something I’ve given much thought to before. I know that my queerness is expressed through fashion but it’s hard to put into words. I see my queerness as a rejection of rigid binaries. It’s ever-evolving – I’m still figuring myself out, and I think this is reflected in my personal style. I like wearing collared shirts, all kinds of pants, and of course a bit of good old layering has never done me wrong. When looking for clothes I don’t think my queerness overtly impacts what I wear, but I do feel that it’s an important tool to help you feel at home in your body and the world. I want what I wear to be fun, practical, and ideally, a lil queer! 

The best part – I get to wear my girlfriend’s clothes! Pretty gay huh.


Clothes don’t have a gender. Despite this, they are very often used to mark ones gender as normative. Part of being queer is subverting norms; many queer people subvert their norms through their fashion and their personal style. When I was a teenager, I struggled with the pressure to conform to feminine stereotypes that were never comfortable for me. Through realising that I was queer, I felt open to embody my gender non-conformance and wear typically masculine clothes. It was not until I lived in a community where that was not only acceptable but encouraged that I could finally make this style change.


I think my bisexuality and fashion intersect in an interesting way. I like to mix elements of clothing that are both classically ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine,’ and present the energies both at the same time. While my sexuality does influence in part some of the more classically queer elements of my style – the ‘bisexual bob,’ the nose ring, and my love for doc martens- this doesn’t tell the full story. I like to be as ethical as possible in my fashion, so second hand and making it myself is cornerstone. The denim jacket I bought for $10 at an Op-shop and painted myself. It’s probably one of my favourite things that I own, because It’s very unique to me. My Eastern European heritage also influences my style – my gold jewellery I’m always draped in, and my love for headscarves. I love fashion because it’s such an important form of self-expression and self-becoming for me. My headspace is affected by how accurately I feel my physical self represents my interests, history and personal likes.