DapperQ Style: Ungendering Fashion is a gorgeously designed feast for the eyes. Building on her experience with the queer fashion magazine DapperQ, Anita Dolce Vita gathers and amplifies a multitude of queer voices talking about fashion, visibility, identity, belonging, self-image, liberation, and more. Dolce Vita interviews more than three dozen people of a variety of genders, sexual orientations, ages, sizes, races, and ethnicities--all accompanied by vibrant photographs showcasing each contributor's personal style.
The first of three sections in the book, "Visibility," considers the ways that queer people use fashion to make themselves visible, with nods to hanky codes and carabiner signals. The second section, titled "Belonging," explores the joy of using fashion to feel like part of a group, and the third section, "Liberation," focuses on queer fashion as freedom from restrictive societal norms, freedom to find and fully express oneself. Individual accounts chronicle the formative experiences of queer people interested in fashion, from childhood to adolescence and adulthood. Some stories are about the struggle of coming out or fitting in; some, about support from family or friends; and others, especially from younger contributors, about the joy of being able to explore identity through fashion. Vectors of identity are mentioned as key components of the queer experience in fashion, with particular attention to Black queer experiences. Thoughts about the effects of the Covid quarantine on personal style, the fashion world, and mental health appear throughout this collection, deepening an already thought-provoking treatment of queer style and fashion. --Dainy Bernstein, literature professor, University of Pittsburgh