5 Non-Binary People on Dressing Without Gendered Bounds
"Non-binary people do not owe you androgyny."
When fashion brands first started promoting genderless and gender-neutral clothing lines, they mostly looked the same. The clothing was often baggy, monochromatic, or otherwise void of bright colors, and overall lacking in personality. However, with more visibility of non-binary and trans people in the media in recent years, it's clear that no singular, minimalistic clothing line could represent the entirety of the non-binary community.
Openly non-binary celebrities such as Indya Moore, Jonathan Van Ness, and Demi Lovato, have proven that there's not just one image for what being non-binary looks like. To further highlight the diversity and creativity of non-binary fashion, and the wide spectrum on which it exists, we tapped non-binary fashion lovers. We asked them to share what non-binary fashion means to them and what they wish more people knew about it. The general consensus: Non-binary fashion isn't about the absence of all notions of femininity or masculinity, but instead, the absence of rules.
Keep scrolling to learn more about how five non-binary people are abandoning traditional fashion rules and getting dressed exactly how they choose.
1. Koi King (They/Them)
Koi King is a multidisciplinary artist making music under the name 528. Much like their music, which they describe as "an uncategorized collection of my experiences on this earth," King's style doesn't fit under just one label. "My style is very much a revolving door of looks I put together depending on my mood," they say, adding that they lean towards the more "alternative side" of fashion.
The endless possibilities when getting dressed are exactly what draws King to fashion. "My favorite thing about [it] is how versatile it can be," they say. "Fashion can be whatever you perceive it to be—and that's why I love it." For King, who doesn't consider themselves someone who falls into the gender binary, fashion can involve dressing up in an ethereal baby blue dress and fairy wings one day and an oversized suit jacket and tie another. "Fashion allows me to express myself in my truest form through clothes," they explain.
However, the outfit that makes King feel most like themself is a bit more pared-down: a pair of worn-in overalls, a cropped tank top or sports bra underneath, and Doc Martens. "That's usually what I'm wearing when I'm at home and comfy," they say.
King wishes more people understood that there's no "one specific look" to non-binary fashion.
2. Friday Anderson (They/Them)
Friday Anderson is an actor, writer, and filmmaker, who co-created the queer comedy web series Big Egg. The 24-year-old is also an influencer for the LGBTQ+ social network and dating app Taimi, and their Instagram feed is filled with queer-positive content and brightly colored style inspiration.
Anderson's style is difficult to describe as "it's as fluid as I am," they say. "One day I'm wearing a mini skirt with a bralette, Doc Martens, and a cowboy hat," they continue. "And the next I'm dressed like an English schoolboy who just won an award for perfect attendance—and both are 100% me." As someone with neon green hair, Anderson loves to lean into unconventional style and find eclectic pieces that will stand out from the crowd.
Anderson loves to see others whose sense of fashion doesn't revolve around people-pleasing. "I am so inspired by people who truly do not care what others think and put together unique and one-of-a-kind outfits," they say. "The more subversive and freaky, the better in my book." This subjectivity of fashion is exactly what Anderson loves most. "What is absolutely hideous and scandalous and tacky to one person is high art to another—and no one is right or wrong!" they say.
Fashion has also given Anderson a medium to better express their gender identity. "When I was learning about genderqueerness in high school, the first thing I did to experiment with my gender was to go out and try to pass as a man," they say. "I'm pretty sure I never fully passed, but I would get this insane rush from the idea that even one stranger for a moment didn't think I was a girl." From those early formative experiences, Anderson adds, "I learned the power that style and fashion have on people's perception of you and how it can transform how you walk through space."
One outfit, in particular, makes Anderson especially aware of this power: It's a pressed, men's white button-up shirt, black dress pants, a statement blazer, and a tie. "It's such a classic look and looks badass on me," they say. "When I walk into a room wearing that I feel so confident and sexy and like I don't have to take anyone's shit."
Regardless of the clothing on their back, Anderson feels most confident knowing that "there are no rules" to non-binary fashion. "When I first came out as nonbinary, I gave away half my wardrobe because I thought it was too feminine and that it somehow contradicted my identity, but non-binary people do not owe you androgyny," they say. "The moment I realized I didn't have to change anything about my appearance or presentation to be non-binary was the moment I felt true freedom.
3. Kai Proschan (They/She)
Kai Proschan is a writer and digital marketing employee at FOLX Health, a queer and trans digital healthcare service provider. For them, fashion has and always will be interconnected with their gender identity. "As I continue on the journey of transforming and redefining my identity—because I believe there's no 'end point'—fashion has been a way to express that stage of my life at the time," they say. "I've noticed that as I go further into the trans-femme non-binary category, feminine clothes affirm my gender and my overall personhood."
Currently, Proschan describes their style as "feminine, cool, and a little sexy." They use fashion as a way to "shapeshift" depending on the time, place, and occasion. They'll wear anything from a sensual off-the-shoulder maxi dress for a daytime event to a short leather skirt and sports bra for a nighttime rave. Another way to describe their style? "YSL meets Helmut Lang meets anime character," they say.
A recent favorite outfit of theirs involved a pink crystal tank top (made entirely of rhinestones and pink ostrich feather), a black vegan leather skirt, and metallic silver heels.
While Proschan is currently into more feminine clothing, they're happy knowing that there's no restriction to how they dress, and it can change at any point. "The amazing thing about being non-binary is that you don't have to follow the rules set out by anyone else; you get to live by your own rules," they say. "So if that means wearing a dress with a loud pattern or a sharply tailored suit, you do you."
They wish more people would take this approach when getting dressed and use the idea of non-binary fashion as a starting point to define fashion for themselves. "Non-binary fashion should liberate people from their ideas of fashion and give everyone the space to play with clothes," they say.
4. Marquis Neal (He/They)
In addition to being a model and content creator, Marquis Neal describes themself as a "virtual fashion fun friend." They're a frequent user of Instagram Reels, giving fashion inspiration to followers with prompts ranging from "how to wear blue jeans" to "how to wear green and purple."
From an early age, Neal says fashion helped inform them of their gender identity as they were always interested in clothing, but didn't subscribe to the "gender" assigned to it. "I did and still do believe you should wear what you want and what makes you feel comfortable as your gender isn't indicative of how you should wear clothing, and your clothing doesn't dictate your gender," they say.
Neal describes their style as "fashionable non-binary dad," but the outfits they put together change depending on the day and their mood. "I wouldn't say there's one particular outfit that makes me feel confident as in some way, piecing together outfits is what makes me feel confident," they say. Sometimes, they'll find that boost of confidence through a great pair of pants, a cool shirt, or a single earring. "Other times, it's a full ensemble," they add.
Whether Neal is wearing a tartan skirt with platform boots or a dressed-down sweatsuit and Crocs, they wish more people understood that "clothing doesn't have gender,"—it's just clothing.
5. Gabe García (They/Them)
Gabe García is the director of people and inclusion at the Gen-Z marketing company JUV Consulting. Their style is "vibrant, expressive, bold, and very, very queer." To García, the way they express themselves through fashion today is a symbol of their journey to freedom. "I think that coming to the understanding of my non-binary identity—and the realization that gender is literally fake—has informed my perspective, and allowed me freedom from the chains of masculinity and the gender performance I believed I needed to meet to be valued by society," they say.
Ignoring societal expectations and following their own desires, García says their favorite outfit is casual yet fun and still affirming to that "very queer" part of their style. "I would say I feel most like myself in a cute graphic tee—probably my shirt that says "Gay Villain"—dressed up with my favorite thrifted oversized blazer, a pair of Levi's jeans, and, of course, my Pride Collection Air Force Ones," they say.
While García has found freedom in their expression, they acknowledge that the general understanding of non-binary fashion is still rather limited. "I wish more people understood that non-binary is not one thing," they say. "It is not a third gender and non-binary people do not have to "prove" their non-binaryness or transness through the way they choose to express themselves or their fashion."