How to Choose Wedding-Day Fashion for a Queer Couple
The standard question that started it all: What would my ideal wedding look like? Curtis Cassell, his caterers and coworkers often asked this question after a long weekend of weddings. “Then, I realized that as queer people we often ask if they’d wear a suit, or dress,” Cassell informs Brides. “Our options are literally either black or white,” that is, up until recently.
People of LGBT+ are opting for something other than the traditional black suit and white dress binary when it comes to choosing wedding-day attire. Cassell’s brand QUEERA aims to offer a range of wedding attire that goes beyond the traditional options. Cassell states, “When I started working on the label and the first collection, it was clear that the brand did not necessarily land on womenswear or menswear.” “I basically took bits and pieces from both masculine and feminine elements and made a Frankenstein out of them.”
When you think of wedding attire, what are some things that spring to your mind? Do you feel the need to look sharp and professional, which is why the sleek tux? Do you feel dreamy and ethereal in the long white bridal gown? Cassell’s work is the same. It’s just different from what is normal.
Traditional tuxedos worn by dapper dandies at QUEERA are swapped for deconstructed beige jackets or trousers. Lightweight, airy linen replaces wool. The classic wedding dress has been bippity-boppity-booped into a garment that looks something sort of Edwardian. The sleeves of billowing shirts are dramatic with their dramatic puffed sleeves and long, elongated necklines. People are changing, and so is their vision of what they want to wear on their wedding day. He jokes that everyone wants their wedding to look like the Met Gala. Even the choices of colors are not the norm. There’s an earthy beige here and a seductive red elsewhere. You can even choose a deep blue.
The collection is beautiful on its own but it also speaks to the larger picture. Queer people constantly change the rules of marriage attire and the options they have for their big day are endless. I don’t want to be labelled a “genderless” brand. Gender-powerful is more accurate. Cassell says, “I love tapping into both masculine and female fashions and merging them together.” It doesn’t end there. Many of my clients have bodies that don’t fit the rack. It’s not about fitting someone’s identity.
When it comes to queer wedding fashion, avant-garde isn’t necessarily the only option. Noa Santos and Ross Matsubara found inspiration in film for their wedding dresses. Matsubara says that Matsubara and Noa Santos wanted their wedding attire to reflect their Hawaiian wedding, but also their individual personalities. Matsubara states that Noa prefers to be minimalistic, clean and simple, while I gravitate towards patterns, unique details and sheen. We didn’t want our suits tied to any particular season or collection. The suits should be timeless.
They teamed up to take their ideas to David Hart in New York to create their ideal looks. These results were like something out of a lush green fairy tale. Matsubara chose a bold, jade green paisley print with a sheen in dark hunter and jade. The suit created the illusion that the colors changed depending on how the light hit it. Santos chose a dark hunter green suit in silk-linen fabric. The accessories were similar: matching Magnani patent leather shoes, large Tom Ford bow ties and vintage gold knots.
It was not just the beautiful final designs that made the couple memorable, but the entire process. Hart was involved in the design of everything from choosing fabrics to creating silhouettes and other details. This temporary ritual became a lasting memory. Matsubara comments that Hart’s tailors and studio are in Greenpoint. This is an area we rarely visit so the tuxedo designing process was a fun little adventure for us. We would always go to Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. for happy hour oysters, wine and after each visit. We would talk about the wedding and remember the wonderful journey. It became a very memorable tradition.”
The final decision on wedding attire is up to the couple, just like with any other wedding. There are endless options and no boundaries, but it is important to remember that what you wear reflects your couple’s happiness. Cassell said that she has received emails from people stating that they couldn’t imagine getting married until they saw my clothes. “Those are the most empowering moments.