Doing "Drag" For The First Time.
Updated: Sep 29, 2018
For a very large part of my youth I would use clothing as a way to hide. I lived every day in fear of being bullied, so I would go to great lengths to try and blend in and keep my head down. I would always try to copy the style of all the guys I went to school with, draping myself in skateboard T's and American Eagle cargo shorts. This was my drag and I used it to feel safe.
A side effect of not being able to live as my authentic self was becoming severely depressed.
It became so bad that at one point I almost gave up on life itself, but in that dark moment I learned a lesson that I hold very close to my heart. I realized that if I gave up on life that day, I would never know what tomorrow may bring. I also learned that I needed to stop living my life in fear but instead to try and project positivity and authenticity. Everyday onward, I started creating rituals for myself to allow me to face the day ahead full of positivity and confidence.
Starting to dress to express myself every day became one of my first rituals. Getting dressed up to me felt like I was putting on my armour to be able to face each day. I'm sure it must have looked pretty crazy in high school wearing basically a three piece suit, but I felt like a model for Le Chateau and that's all I needed.
This ritual has evolved so much over the years as I have dived deep into my sexual and gender identity and expression. I have learned to embrace all my masculine and feminine energy and redirect that through fashion and beauty every day. When I tell you that fashion saved my life many years ago, I truly mean it.
Recently I was asked to be the man of honour at my childhood best friend Jillian's wedding. I instantly started brainstorming on what I would wear but I was slightly overcome with memories of the past. I knew that I would have to wear a suit at this wedding but it had been almost 9 years since I'd worn one. I also questioned myself if I even identified with the silhouette of a suit. After much thought, I kinda said fuck it, lets have fun with this, it's just drag after all.
As many of you know, I love to support local Canadian designers, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to get dapper in 18 Waits. If you haven't heard of 18 waits, then you must check out this Toronto native brand. Their fabrics alone grab your attention and feel incredible against your skin. There are so many subtle details within each design that I can't help but smirk when I find them. Having the support of the store's staff when selecting the style was also such a stress reliever since it had been so long since I'd shopped for suiting and I had a lot of anxiety about it.
To complete my look, I knew I had to have a custom Coup De Tete handmade hat created in Jillian's wedding colours to go with my suit. When the boys showed me the completed hat for the first time I almost lost my mind because it was so perfect. For the final touch, I peppered in a soft brown belt and dress shoes from Danish brand Ecco. (Just for the record, their shoes are the most comfortable dress shoe I have ever worn.) Not only was I proud of not wearing head to toe black, it was actually grounding to be taken so far out of my comfort zone. I am sure you are giggling reading this, but honestly wearing a suit and looking dapper is such foreign way to express myself. I would much rather be in leather pants and a dramatic top with matching headpiece on the everyday than wear a suit.
I am so happy that I got to be a part of one of my oldest friends' special day but also grateful for the entire experience as a whole. Sometimes we block out the trauma from our youth but on that rainy Saturday in August, I revisited those hard memories and replaced them with new positive ones.