After Coming Out, Clothing Can Be Extra Meaningful — Here's What 14 People Bought

IMHNBO (in my humble, non-binary opinion), clothing is super flipping important. No matter what I'm wearing, being able to express myself in way feels authentic to me is the best feeling in the world. Of course, after coming out, clothing can be extra meaningful. And getting to talk to other queer angels about their style, is, well, just queer sugar on top. Putting on something that makes you feel like yourself can be literally life changing. And hearing queer people share the first thing they bought after coming out is nothing short of a spiritual experience.

Of course, no matter where you're at in your queer journey, you and your identity are complete and valid. Whether you always knew how to express your personhood or you didn't know the words that felt right for you until later in life, going public with your queerness is a process. From my own experience, I can tell you that defining your personal style and find your own queer voice can take years, tears, and many transitional haircuts.

I spoke to 14 queer angels about the first thing they bought after they came out, and what they said will have your laughing, crying, and Googling the nearest Goodwill.

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1. A Floral Button-Down Shirt

A few weeks after I came out, I was at TJ Maxx, eyeing the men’s button-downs. I was actually shopping with my parents and I just put them in the cart and they nodded approvingly. They were very affirming for my baby gay self. I still wear them!

— Hannah, 24

2. A Straw Boater Hat

I came out my first few weeks of college and shaved my head for the first time. Honestly, right after coming out, I had no idea what my 'look' was. I just got a whole bunch of different clothes from thrift stores or free piles around the city. I do remember that I got this straw boater hat (that honestly kind of looked like a Barbershop quartet hat) and I wore it every single day. I wore it on an airplane once and an old man complimented it. I was like, 'Yes.'

— Mo, 25

3. A Leather Harness

It was a big moment for me because for a long time, I’d been in environments where I needed to code-switch so much. In a way, I had been using clothes as armor to protect myself against people's judgement. So, by buying and wearing a leather harness — something that I love purely for aesthetic reasons albeit also something that has strong ties to the queer and kink community and is still quasi-stigmatized — I was in a very literal and metaphorical sense owning my queerness.

— Bennett, 26

4. Pants

It's hard to pin down 'before' and 'after' because I came out really slowly, but I will say I bought a lot more pants as I started to settle into myself. Like, I bought a lot of pants.

— C, 27

5. Baggy Shirts

My mom always wanted me to wear tighter clothes to show of my 'figure,' so after coming out, a big thing for me was just big shirts! It’s hard because I feel like when I started buying more 'masculine' clothes it was definitely gender-affirming, but I hate the idea that AFAB non-binary people have to present 'masculine' to be seen as legit.

— Kai, 21

6. A Blue Dress

My senior year of college, I lived with a pack of friends, and one would always let me wear this blue dress of hers. I wasn't 'out' at the time, but I just knew I liked to wear dresses in our house. After we graduated, I came 'out' to my friends and family a little more. I started wearing dresses at parties and stuff. One day, she sent me the blue dress in the mail and I was so touched.

— Kareem, 24

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7. Cargo Pants

I think we all knew I was gay, like, from out the womb. I am very gay. But I started letting myself wear cargo pants when I was 10 and just haven't stopped.

— Mia, 20

8. Graphic Shirts From MASSIVE GOODS

I'm Asian American and also just a big guy (in height and in weight). The gay community where I live is predominantly smaller white people, so I never really felt like I had the space to come out or join it. When I finally came out, finding and wearing MASSIVE GOODS (this gay, manga-inspired company that does a bunch of erotics prints of larger Asian guys) made me feel like I was owning my story. It made me feel a lot more confident in who I am.

— Budi, 28

9. Boys' Wingtip Shoes

When I came out, I wanted to get into wearing suits and 'men's' dress shoes. I got an amazing pair of wingtip shoes from the boy's section at The Rack, which, BTW —if you have smaller feet, look in their kids' shoe department. Wearing them made me feel like a boy in a really good way.

— Katie, 26

10. Dickies Pants

I bought a pair of Dickies at Walmart after I came out as non-binary and they were so big on me that I felt like I was swimming and it was the most freeing thing. I actually gave them away a few weeks ago, but they were definitely my go-to pants for a while.

— Cooper, 21

11. A Whole Shopping Spree

After I came out, I went on a shopping spree with a friend, and got a whole bunch of stuff. Looking back, it was a little irresponsible, but it was nice to really lean into coming out and buy all sorts of clothes I always wanted to wear but never felt brave enough to. I mean, I didn’t know what I was doing. I just needed help and I knew I wanted to make a change, so I spent a lot of money on the things that made me feel good.

— Mara, 26

12. A Ridiculously Puffy Coat

I bought this ridiculous puffy coat when I was in Russia because the fashion was so stiflingly gendered there and I wanted to feel more butch.

— Lucia, 26

13. A Windbreaker That Looked Like The Bi Flag

OMG, when I first came out, I came out as 'bi' because it felt easier for me than coming out as gay. I saw this magenta and blue windbreaker jacket at the thrift store and I loved it because it looked like the bi flag. I lost it shortly thereafter, but it will always be in my heart.

— Aussie, 21

14. An Army Jacket

My first crush was on Lindsay Weir from Freaks and Geeks (classic). All I ever wanted was an old army jacket. I kind of forgot about it, but literally the week after I came out, I was walking by an old army surplus store and right in the window, I saw the jacket. It was a little too big, but in a good way. It gave me the best feeling.

— Aimee, 23

No matter your identity, expressing yourself in a way that feels authentic to you is huge. Whether you're rocking a boater hat or wingtip shoes, dressing for yourself means doing what feels right for you. Of course, "coming out" looks different for everyone. You and your identity are valid and complete no matter where you're at or who you've "come out" to. No matter where you are or what you're wearing, being true to yourself will never go out of style.

For more stories like this one, visit Elite Daily's Coming Out page.