As someone who works with clothing and styling, I am especially observant on dressing men for their lifestyle and personality. To me, your outfit is just as much art as a painting, and a representation and extension of yourself. But what consistently befuddles me, is when I hear someone see a well dressed man, or someone who pays attention to the way he looks, and hastily deduces that he is gay.
My line of work has exposed me to a plethora of men who not only take pride in the way they look, but do so in a multitude of ways. Be it with color, fabric, brands, or formalities, people personalize their style. But what about that makes a man gay?
Some say it's colorful clothing, which if anything is cultural rather than sexual. Menswear that has a lot of color is very prevalent in Italy, regardless of the designer's sexuality. Others tie this to the fact that women enjoy shopping and working with clothes more than men; it is very feminine. Historically, I concede to the notion that women have enjoyed shopping more than men. But in 2017, men care more about the way they look then probably ever before. Style diversity has escalated the game to go beyond suits and trousers, so both a CEO and a barista can partake in donning a good outfit. From sweatpants to suits, gentlemen of all shapes, sizes, occupations, and lifestyles have the opportunity to be upgrade their wardrobe, and magazines and bloggers like GQ and Esquire are gradually heading towards this new territory. Style is not for gay men, it's for all men.
In fact, not only does your attention to your wardrobe not make you gay, many women find it attractive when a guy puts care into the way he dresses.Time and time again I have had consultations and conversations with female clients who say something like "I wish my husband cared about what he wore" or "I just wish he saw that basketball shorts are not an option for our dinner date." In retrospect, I think this notion has generated a relationship between image and femininity, in the minds of both men and women. But unfortunately you can't tell men they should put effort into their looks, then assume they aren't attracted to women when they do. Of course nobody wants to look like they try too hard. But labeling the men who put effort in as "gay" is just unfounded and stereotypical.
Personally, I have been harassed in multiple ways simply because people have assumed I'm gay because of the way I dress. In this instance, what one might perceive as a "harmless assumption" transpires into a much larger issue, and generates connotations and effects that end up benefiting none, and can go as far as damaging others. Personally, I am a male survivor of rape, and based on my circumstances, sometimes become uneasy when someone assumes my sexuality. There is no justification in anyone becoming that uncomfortable over a pure assumption.
I like bold plaids. I like colors. I like wide lapels and statement pieces. I enjoy turning heads and wear my clothes in ways and combinations that others around me don't. But the clothes I put on are not attached to my brain, and have no influence on who I take on a date. They never have, and never will, no matter how much pink I wear.
Let's be real: Unless you walk out of your house wearing a shirt that says "I'm attracted to men," your clothing has nothing to do with your sexuality.