“There was a very short period of time when everyone was wearing all black and I got sucked into it,” says Scott Csoke, a New York-based artist who also chronicles their daily fits on All My Gay Outfits. “But I couldn’t do it. Wearing black drained everything out of me. When I wear bright colors, I trick myself into feeling outgoing and excited.” And they’re not afraid to mix and match. “People get so wrapped up in things like ‘this color doesn’t work in this season’ or ‘you shouldn’t wear this and that color together.’ But those rules aren’t real! I don’t know who started that stuff, but it isn’t true.” Here, Scott shares five everyday looks…
“In high school, my style was really boring. I was living in a Virginia town that wasn’t super progressive or open to the idea of anything outside cis-gender heterosexuality. It was hard for me to even think about how I wanted to be or dress, let alone do it. But in college, I started discovering myself. Afterward, when I moved to New York, I started playing with clothes and finally let myself do my thing. I’ve stopped editing myself. It took a very long time for me to convince myself that this was okay to do.”
“There’s something great about taking a classic style and tweaking it. I’m into the ’50s cheerleader vibe, like long pleated skirts. I love anything bright; at home, I collect lettuceware, Staffordshire dogs, gingham, mercury glass, and John Derian decoupage. I take care of my clothes and home, but I don’t treat my stuff as precious to the point where I don’t wear or use it. The iconic interior decorator Dorothy Draper said, ‘If it feels right, it is right,’ and I feel that way about my outfits, too.”
Dress: Kika Vargas x Target (no longer available via Target but you can find it secondhand). Top: Clare V. Socks: & Other Stories. Shoes: Sabah. Pearls: Clare V. (no longer available, but a smaller size is.) Bag: Clare V. (no longer available), similar or similar.
“The designer Clare Vivier and Crystal of @beerbottles_chainsaws both do a similar thing: they put different things together that wouldn’t make sense if you saw it on a rack or laid on your bed. But when they wear it, it’s like, Oh, yeah, that’s how it’s supposed to be worn. I have a lot of style icons — Iris Apfel, Fran Lebowitz, SZA, Charles Nelson Riley, Carol Channing, Lady Gaga, Marc Jacobs — and I love anything that Christopher John Rogers makes. I’m into dramatic, exaggerated pieces, sequins, and color blocking. I hate thinking that there’s some kind of limit to what’s appropriate or thinking, I can’t wear that.”
“I love androgyny, that question mark of gender. Labels and categories aren’t personally important to me, but I know it helps other people understand me. Most important, my pronouns are not he/him. I use they/them. Being non-binary, I feel fluid, not beholden to expectations around what it means to be a be a man or a woman.”
“I work retail, and I love going to stores. Most of the time, I’m not even buying anything, I just want to see what’s going on. The idea of a store as an experience has kind of fallen to the wayside, but there are a few places that make it exciting when you step foot inside. The Gucci store in Soho is so, so beautiful. The Tory Burch store is such a cohesive classic space. I’ve been going to Alex Mill recently, and I also like going into the Ralph Lauren store. I think I’m the last person in my generation who still shops in stores!”
Jumpsuit: Alex Mill. Sweater: Vintage, similar. Watch: Breda. Rings: Miansai (not on site), similar. Bracelet: Clare V. (not on the website, but there are lots of great gold bracelets that are). Shoes: Sam Edelman.
“When I first started showing my art, I was interviewed by someone who kept referring to me as a gay artist. It was kind of annoying because I wasn’t making art about the experience of being gay and felt like I was being pigeon-holed. I hate feeling like I’m only allowed to do or be one thing. I mean, do you know what ‘straight art’ looks like? From then on, I’ve been obsessed with this idea of what makes something gay and what people perceive as gay.”
“Shoes are hard because I like women’s shoes but I wear a size 12. Sometimes I’ll buy two colors of the same shoe and wear one of each. People get a kick out of that. I have these J. Crew heels and I love the height.”
“Putting together a look feels like setting up a painting; you have to get the composition right. I’ve always been drawn to bags, but for a while I didn’t let myself explore them. Once I got over that, it was like Pandora’s box. What I like about Clare V.’s bags is that they’re not boring. They have cool shapes or green leather. Silk scarves are also great. My favorite scarf-wearer was Dr. Birx from the early COVID press conferences.”
“I’ve been extremely lucky that I haven’t faced a lot of criticism or hate for the way I dress. Earlier this year, I was walking down the street and this guy came up to me. I was thinking, Okay, what’s about to happen? Is this person going to be nice or rude? He was in his fifties and told me a story about his younger sister who was made fun of in school because she was gay. She would always tell the kids that bullied her, ‘I’m gonna get my brother!’ He said he just wanted to protect her and take care of her. He told me, ‘Don’t ever let anyone tell you who to be.’ People who look like me don’t get a lot of positive recognition from strangers about how they present themselves; it restored my faith in humanity.”
Thanks so much for sharing, Scott. We love you.
(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo.)
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