Turn a Look, Back to School (and Gym Teacher) Edition

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POP TARTBy Sally Mulligan, PQ Monthly This summer’s heat wave and its impending conclusion has me dreaming of longer nights, chilly days, and a serious change up of my look. The season not only requires it, as the booty shorts and crop tops of summer will not do much to ensure my survival through winter, but as the leaves change and the back to school chatter starts, I can't help but consider this time of year a fresh start.
When I started to think about the idea of back to school, I took a look back at my time in school as a little baby queerdo trying to do her own thing and fit in at the same time. I know nostalgia comes with smoke and mirrors, and time softens the sharp edges of our harsh lived experiences, which is surely why I look back on this time at least somewhat fondly. Compulsory schooling is hard enough, and for many in our community, our queerness only added to the isolation of adolescence. I love the idea that we can have a do-over, in a way, by taking the costumes and stereotypes we gravitated to or away from in our youth. Reclaiming these identities and adding more queer can be the ultimate read.
POP TART You don't need to major in Psych to tell me that my unhealthy fascination with the popular girls at my school was actually a healthy dose of Hidden Lesbianism. Talk about a femme root, right? The denim mini skirts, faux fur, the full on wardrobe changes in between classes, and the mastery of the hair flip. If I was the sardonic Janis Ian, I really did have a big lesbian crush on the Regina Georges of the world. The take no shit attitude of the high school alpha female continues to inspire me. So why not wear pink this Wednesday? Pop the rhinestones off the ass of your velour Juicy track pants and glue them to your cheeks before hitting the club? Embrace cropped sweaters, bright colors, and all things stereotypical of youth culture without any of the shame it used to come with. Femme is a feeling, y'all, regardless of gender. Have a crush on yourself. BURN OUTBURNOUT Don't loadies generally hang on that grassy knoll over there? Indeed they do. We all need and deserve to find our community, and if smoking a j and having a chill time are your jam, this look is for you. Think Ty and Travis, Rayanne Graff, Jeff Spicoli, but with a little polish. Luckily for us, comfy and chic aren't mutually exclusive. The return of flannel and fashion sweats ensures that you can have your edibles and eat them too. Consider this an opportunity to embrace blanket dresses, ripped jeans, jersey drop crotch pants, combat boots, and skate shoes. Looking for a more nuanced look? Take the 70s route with high-waisted jeans, flowy tops, feathered hair, and Birkenstocks. Comfort is key when you're cruising around on a Saturday night. Check ya later!   OLD MONEYOLD MONEY They had style, they had grace. They had rich parents and a shitty attitude. But when we talk about "queering" we are talking about taking the parts that continue to serve and nurture us, and ditch the bits that hold us back. Think about the evil Heathers, Blair Waldorf, and all the conniving prepsters of the world. You have to hand it to them, these Type-A types don't let anything get in the way of their ambitions. Those of us who were socialized as female often have an even harder time manifesting our goals and desires. What if we took inspiration from these old money types and just go went it? And of course we should dress the part! Luckily for those of us who weren't raised with the money to back our dreams or our dream wardrobe, preppy plaids and bitchy blazers are easily thrifted. Shoulder pads, pussybow blouses, red scrunchies, frumpy hem lengths and big earrings are all highly encouraged. And can we talk about bringing back the white sneaker with panty hose look for the gay on the go? Let me know what you think!   HOMO COACHYOUR GYM TEACHER Hear me out on this one! Was every gym teacher you ever had a jock with a raging case of homo, or was it just me? Queering the homo coach is a big one for me. As a chubby teen turned proud fat femme, I needn't tell you how deeply I loathed Phys Ed, and all the shouting, sweating, gross outfit wearing and panting that came with it. My #1 enemy? The overbearing, whistleblowing, short shorts sporting coach. But after more than a decade without sporting school colors, my resentment has started to wane and I concede that that is a pretty fierce look. I'm into the androgynous leanings of sweatshirts and knee socks. Add a whistle and some cute sneaks, but just don't ask me to run laps. I don't sweat darlings, I strobe. My theory is that we can start to reconcile the mixed emotions that come with adolescence by leaning in, dressing the part, and knowing that we were all in this together. Have a high school horror story or wardrobe scare that you want to share? I would love to hear them! See you in class, TTYL!