Weeks after her own magazine cover moment drew some criticism in conservative circles, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is sticking up for Harry Styles as he faces backlash over his British Vogue shoot, in which he wears a dress.
On Saturday, the congresswoman turned over her Instagram Stories to questions from her followers, tackling everything from political activism to more personal topics like confidence and fashion. Perhaps given AOC’s recent experience with magazines — critics said wearing an expensive suit on the cover of Vanity Fair didn’t jibe with her politics, prompting her to point out that the suit was a loaner, not her own — she seemed like a suitable person to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Styles’s stereotype-smashing look.
While some conservative pundits took issue with Styles’s shoot — which Ben Shapiro called “a referendum on masculinity for men to don floofy dresses” — Ocasio-Cortez said it looked “wonderful” when asked by a follower.
“The masculine and feminine elements are balanced beautifully,” she shared. “The hair and jacket styling give me James Dean vibes too.
“Some people are mad at it [because] some folks are very sensitive to examining and exploring gender roles in society,” she continued in a caption. “Perhaps for some people it provokes some anger or insecurity around masculinity/femininity/etc. If it does, then maybe that’s part of the point. Sit with that reaction and think about it, examine it, explore it, engage it and grow with it.
“What’s the point of creating things if they don’t make people think? Or feel or reflect? Especially as an artist or creative? Who wants to see the same things all the time? And never explore their assumptions?
“Anyway, it looks bomb,” she concluded.
But she later acknowledged the “thorough and nuanced” points made by gender non-conforming writer and performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon, who noted the complexities of Styles, as a white cisgender men, being largely celebrated for wearing a dress while, say, a trans femme of color might not be afforded that some opportunity.
On the subject of her own fashion choices, meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez’s Q&A session revealed her tips for staying stylish, which she says “takes patience.”
“I am a fan of buying secondhand,” she shared. ”It’s a great way to get high-quality, long-lasting items that would normally be out of your price range (sometimes way out!).”
She also revealed that she rents clothes “for special occasions, indulging in seasonal trends and just generally not getting bored with your wardrobe without constantly buying new stuff and expanding your wardrobe.”
She added, “When I buy new clothes I make sure they are things I really enjoy, can be used often and that will last. When starting out, I personally built out a foundation of neutral and classic colors that could be easily mixed and matched. Then you can have a little fun,” she said of a mint green suit she’s worn.
“The textile industry (clothing, etc.) is a MASSIVE source of environmental waste, pollution, labor exploitation, etc.,” the Green New Deal co-sponsor continued. “But that means it’s also a HUGE area where we can make a positive difference.
“I try to avoid fast fashion as much as possible, buy secondhand/longer-lasting quality and just make sure that when I do purchase something, it’s because I LOVE it, not just kinda like it.”
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