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Dressed for Work, Dressed to Werk: 4 LGBTQIA Share Their Style

Dressed for work, dressed to WERK

When you realize the effects of fast fashion on our planet it can take all the fun out of going to the mall – or lower Broadway in Manhattan. Buh-bye H&M, Zara, Urban Outfitters and Top Shop. You cost too much for us!

But does becoming more conscious mean sucking all the sparkle and shine out of life? Hell no! When buying new we hope you choose the sustainable and ethical choice but there’s a whole lot of glittery goodness in second hand that you can scoop up and save from the landfill. We hope second hand/vintage clothing will become the first choice for many which is why our first original fashion editorial was produced in collaboration with Terrence Francois, the founder of Wear Versatile – a Queer and Trans Thrifting Social.

 Wear Versatile events are shopping pop-ups with a focus on WOC/QTPOC brands as well as a swap and thrift section, a beauty bar, music and food. They serve not just as a safe space of “inclusivity” but a celebration of fabulous authenticity. Our models are wearing a mix of thrifted and their own clothes which make them feel powerful regardless of current trends. Sometimes sustainability can be as simple as remixing what you already own!

All photos by Josiah Kelevra

All photos by Josiah Kelevra


“For many of us, the main time you see an influx of LGBTQIA+ people in a space is at PRIDE, at queer youth organizations, at the club or the day time parties or on your Instagram feed. And while those are important community, creative and cultural spaces, they are not the only spaces we exist in. We do more than just kiki. We empower. ”

— Terrence Francois

Did you know that 26 out of 51 states in the U.S, allow businesses to refuse to hire you based on your gender expression, sexual orientation or transgender status? It’s a heart aching reality that the LBTQIA+ community faces. Given this information, how do we, LGBTQIA+ and allies show up to work?

 On May 17, 2019 the Equality Act was passed to protect the queer, gender non-binary community from employment discrimination on a Federal level. However the states that did not protect our community before are slow to hold businesses accountable to this law. So let’s all do our part so the workplace recognizes the value we bring.

Shot at *The Raga Closet, we’re featuring four LGBTQIA+ people— Richard, Walesca, Dean and Lauren — who navigate intersections of professionalism, workplace respectability politics, authenticity and self-awareness.

 In this capitalistic and white supremacy system, it takes vulnerability and audacity to show up as your full self. Period. As people who live in the intersection of multiple marginalized identities, dealing with pushback— be it from the administration or co-workers,—about how they present themselves is at times a reality. However, these instances are not always destabilizing. That is because they each have self-care practices that reminds them of their power… choosing to wear clothes that are expressive of who they are being one of them.


There’s not really a dress code thank goodness but there are a lot of assumptions about how folks should show up in academic spaces…I made a decision long ago to be my whole self and bring my whole self in any space I inhabit regardless.



When I put on my clothes for work, I am putting on a shield, a costume, a character…I remain authentic by not allowing myself to feel subdued and consumed by my work although it is mentally, emotionally and physically draining.



I remain authentic in my work dress because I see myself as a model to the young people in the classroom. We talk about the importance, sometimes, of code-switching, but ultimately that no one NO ONE should shame or police us in the things we wear and the ways we choose to express ourselves.



I think about how what I wear or don’t wear can affirm or challenge people’s assumptions about my level of leadership, authority or expertise. A few staples of my look that help me maintain my authenticity in the workplace are my nails, bright lipstick and big earrings.


*The Raga Closet is an unconventional thrift store & clothing brand based in Brooklyn, New York. “ Raga ” itself means to defy social constructs through living unapologetically & limitless

*The Raga Closet is an unconventional thrift store & clothing brand based in Brooklyn, New York. “ Raga ” itself means to defy social constructs through living unapologetically & limitless

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