Vintage Balmain Wool Blazer (similar), Deepstyle Batwing Sheer Top, Zara Floral Pants, Louis Vuitton Graphite Damier Bag, 3.1 Phillip Lim Guerrero Mesh Boots
Coming out. For many, it's a much dreaded phrase. Especially those who come from and are still in conservative, sheltered environments with family members who may be religiously, culturally or socially against homosexuality.
I spoke about coming out and how it had affected me on a personal and style level. No words were spoken louder than those coming out of my mouth in the Central Hall of the Japanese American National Museum during V3CON.
While I do not intend to use my experiences as a universal or authoritative voice on the process of coming out, it's certainly worth noting that this seemingly simple but nuanced act can make all the difference.
I had never been the most "fashionable" or stylish person growing up in a predominantly, Asian-American neighborhood. When everyone else in high school was wearing Abercrombie and Hollister, I ditched my hand-me-downs, tried my best to blend in and pined for the social acceptance of my fellow peers. Little did I know I was distancing myself further from the real me.
Coming out allowed me to triumph over those insecurities and struggles. It allowed me to shove the middle finger in the face of gender norms and conventions. It allowed me to form a personal style that reflected a more confident and genuine me.
It's true. I feel unstoppable with broad Balmain shoulders and a bold, floral print.
Coming out shouldn't be a concept that is just limited to those marginalized by their sexual orientation. It's so much more than that. Whether you're undergoing social anxiety disorder or are handicapped by physical ailments/disabilities, coming out is finding solace in the fact that you're okay. You're normal. You're deserving. You're accepted. And not letting anyone else tell you otherwise.
This is why personal style to me has far more reaching implications than just looking good or representing a particular trend and persona. It's still about finding MYBELONGING and styletelling on my own terms.
At the end of the day, this is my voice and only mine. So hear me roar.
Photographed by Charles Lee