I’ve seen a trend of late in bridal: Bringing the gay best friend to an appointment as the fashion consultant. At first I thought it was really sweet. I saw it as a sign of progress in a world that sometimes still seems medieval. Then, it really started to bug me. If you just assume your gay friend is going to have the best fashion advice, isn’t that discriminatory, too?
I know that people mainly mean well. They watch Say Yes to the Dress and watch Randy save the day with his sage wisdom and want to recreate that in their own wedding planning. I see where they’re coming from. For these women it’s aspirational. Aren’t you just a little Carrie Bradshaw with your gay bestie? That is precisely what bothers me. Have gay people just become accessories? Are these women carting around their gay friends as fashion gurus just the way Paris Hilton toted her little dogs? It’s actually a little sickening.
The other thing that burns me up about it? There are some guys that are perpetuating the stereotype…and they don’t even have an eye for fashion! A little swishiness does not a Tim Gunn make. I’m sorry, but some of these gentlemen are just plain awful at helping brides pick out their dresses. A fitted mermaid gown with a horizontal seam along the knees on a girl who’s 5-foot-nothing? That would be a big no. A dress with a really shallow bustline for a girl who’s an F cup? Not unless you like Poppin’ Fresh Dough (or wardrobe malfunctions). But there is Mr. Best Friend acting like the Bride is a fool if she doesn’t choose the gown he likes. And what does Miss Bride do? She eats it up with the proverbial spoon. He said so, he’s gay, so that’s that.
Listen, there are some gay men who truly have fashion sense. They know what looks good, and it’s almost as if they were born with an extra style chromosome. I loooove when a man like that accompanies a bride I’m working with. Selfishly, I also love picking his brain about what he likes in terms of fit, color and style. I’ve been in the business a long time, but I’m not above getting a new perspective.
I am so happy about the new strides our country has made in terms of gay rights. I think it’s far past time. I just don’t want the pendulum to swing too far the other way. Positive stereotypes are stereotypes, too, and it never serves us to think that one particular group has the corner marketed on a certain trait. I know gay men who love to hunt and fish, and wouldn’t know a french cuff if it hit them in the face. I know gay women who wear pink and think Home Depot is a nightmare. Straight, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, etc.: We are all people and I don’t think pigeonholing is ever the way to go.
Brides, if your friend is gay AND truly has style, bring him along. If not, don’t waste your time.