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What Does Ellen’s Fashion Label Say About Sexuality & Gender—Or Does It Say Anything?

Ellen Degeneres arrived at the People’s Choice Awards wearing clothing. Yes, she did! They were typical Ellen Style and consisted of tailored pants and sneakers and a shirt, attire that suggests one is ready and willing activity or perhaps dinner service at a cool bar. This particular ensemble is unique though: it’s a cream and white combination that looks surprisingly luxe, comfy, and cool.

It also is from her forthcoming clothing line that she is creating with J. Christopher Burch under her E.D. brand. The clothing is supposed to come out in the Spring and—obviously—represents a specific tomboy aesthetic. Or does it? That’s what everyone is describing it as. Are they just euphemizing the aesthetic of a middle aged lesbian? Isn’t calling something “tomboyish” inherently patriarchal as it suggests that a woman wants to (aesthetically) be like a man?

I don’t think this outfit says that at all, really. It is tailored, yes, and something that a man could easily wear, yes. It’s not “tomboyish” though. In a way, it has no gender. The lightness of the cream and white further that, allowing you to project whatever you want onto it. Like a fancy Andrew WK, Ellen has created something that is a blank slate: project on it what you will.

This is somewhat splendid because, given her audience and appeal, she’s trolling gender construction. Then again, hasn’t she always, by being your harmless, desexualized lesbian friend? It could be argued that this is same old, same old Ellen but it really does feel like a hit. Especially given it’s paired with a Saint Laurent shirt, the quality would be quite nice. Regardless of your age, gender, or sexual identity, who wouldn’t want to wear that outfit? I’d need the pants tailored to shorts—but I’d be all in.

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