A New Meaning for Lesbian Chic

Ditto might just be a more inspiring fashion role model than
any of the characters on The L Word.
Another potential fashion inspiration? MTV VJ Kim Stolz, who first came into
the public eye as a contestant in Cycle 5 of America’s Next Top Model.

Kim Stolz

Photo credit: Scott Gries/Getty Images

In a recent AfterEllen.com interview, Stolz talked about her new look, which is more femme than her androgynous
style on Top Model. "I’ve always felt that my style was very versatile,
and I think that at different points in my life, I’ve expressed different parts
of myself," she said.

"I think everybody can relate
to that. I think there’s a time and a place to wear the more androgynous
clothes I wear, and there’s another time and a place, like on TRL, when I want to wear a cute dress
and get in touch with my feminine side. I think that I’ve never been pushed to
wear one thing or another. It certainly all comes from me, and I like to
express myself different ways through my clothes."

Self-expression is what makes
fashion more than a one-dimensional idea. Instead of fashion simply being about
what you’re wearing, the important thing is why you’re wearing it. Expressing
who you are and what you do in your own personal style is important for anyone,­
and especially for lesbians who want to be taken seriously — in Hollywood or in
ordinary daily life.

The fans who feel somehow slighted
by Stolz’s change in appearance may be those who connected with the more
masculine look that she sported on Top
. With longer hair and dresses, Stolz seems to have incited some
lesbians to criticize her for no longer "representing." Why is Kim
looking so straight?

Stolz on ANTM

Stolz argued: "From the
moment I stepped on the television on America’s
Next Top Model
, I felt like I tried to transcend stereotypes, as someone
who was adverse to that. I certainly don’t want to be boxed in a haircut or a
style of clothing. I don’t know, I do what I like with my hair and my clothes,
and I present myself in the way that I feel and hopefully people get it."

On MTV, Stolz always looks stylish, professional and put
together. It would seem that her versatility should be a good thing for queer
women: She’s completely out of the closet and dresses stylishly — and exactly
how she wants every day. Isn’t this the kind of visibility we should be

The most famous and most visible
lesbian on television, though, is also one of the biggest trendsetters — and
proof that our community has a style all its own. When Ellen DeGeneres appears
on daytime television, hosting the Emmys or at high-profile events wearing
blazers, fitted jeans and sneakers, she always manages to look fabulous. There
are few in Hollywood who could pull of the look as effortlessly as DeGeneres,
who makes casual look chic.

DeGeneres’ high-profile visibility
goes a long way toward overturning the stereotype of the frumpy lesbian. In
2007, W magazine called DeGeneres,
who graced their cover, "America’s unlikely new it girl." In the
interview, DeGeneres revealed her favorite designers — Jil Sander, Marc Jacobs,
Viktor & Rolf and Neil Barrett — all of whom make clothing for women that
has an androgynous or masculine edge, something DeGeneres is well-known and
hailed for throughout the mainstream media. She has taken that ugly stereotype
and turned it on its head, without being forced into the ultra-feminine
fashions that currently rule Hollywood.

So isn’t it time to say goodbye to
that old and unfair stereotype? From the polished suit-wearers like DeGeneres
or Bette Porter on The L Word, to the
20-somethings like Kim Stolz or Jessica Clark, lesbian fashion is clearly as
diverse as we are. We’re here, we’re queer, we’re well-dressed — get used to


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