Top 10 LGBTQ+ Fashion Icons



Top 10 LGBTQ+ Fashion Icons

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Beau Kimpton
These LGBTQ+ fashion icons own the runway. Our countdown includes Lady Gaga, RuPaul, Bob Mackie, and more!

Top 10 LGBTQ+ Fashion Icons

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 LGBTQ+ Fashion Icons.

For this list, we’ll be looking at LGBTQ+ celebs who have made waves with clothing, whether on the runway, the stage, or the red carpet.

Which of these style superstars wins best-dressed? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Kristen Stewart

If there’s one celeb who epitomizes a style transformation, it’s this actor. As a former child star, she’s no stranger to the red carpet — but her true fashion coming-of-age happened after her stint in the “Twilight” series. Increasingly, Stewart traded long brown tresses and pretty gowns for changing up her hair color, edgier designs, and tailored suits. And she brought an attitude to match: as a juror at the Cannes Film Festival, she broke the dress code by removing her heels and running barefoot into the theater. She’s a longtime Chanel muse, but her most instantly recognizable outfits haven’t been at movie premieres. Rather, her love of ripped jeans, beanies, and simple white tees has made her a poster girl for androgynous and effortless cool.

#9: Alexander McQueen

This legendary designer’s contributions to fashion are almost too numerous to name. With evocative runways that often shocked the industry, McQueen came to prominence in the 1990s as an openly gay bad boy thanks to his graduate project, a collection inspired by Jack the Ripper. After creating his own label and landing a top creative position at Givenchy, McQueen went on to design garments worn by Björk and David Bowie — not to mention a pair of sky-high heels made famous by Lady Gaga. He’s even credited with helping to popularize low-rise jeans with his infamous ‘bumster’ trousers. Although he sadly passed away in 2010, McQueen’s fierce and over-the-top designs continue to be touchstones for artists of all stripes.

#8: Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury’s famous four-octave voice and flamboyant stage persona helped catapult Queen to fame in the 1970s, but his fashion sense didn’t hurt, either. From glittering bodysuits to flowing capes to dressing in drag, Mercury always wore the outfit and not the other way around. But he also had a taste for simplicity and made a white tank top and light wash jeans one of his signature looks. Amidst an ostentatious, fashion-oriented culture of glam rock, Mercury made sartorial choices as simple as a buckled yellow jacket that have since become timeless and iconic in pop culture.

#7: Bob Mackie

It would be quicker to mention celebs Mackie HASN’T dressed than those he has. With a hand in setting the fashion trends of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, Mackie is responsible for legendary looks that garnered gay icons like Cher, Tina Turner, and Diana Ross some serious praise. As a costume designer, Mackie put these skills to work creating iconic outfits for “The Cher Show” and “The Carol Burnett Show.” Even so, his theatrical designs and signature beaded and jeweled bodysuits continue to influence contemporary red carpets. With a storied career, this gay creative force has cemented himself as one of the most notable designers of the 20th century and beyond.

#6: Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox has been a fixture in the LGBTQ+ community and a vocal advocate for trans rights since her breakout role in “Orange Is the New Black'' as Sophia Burset. She’s always used her platform to educate, and her appearances on the red carpet are no exception. At the 2019 Emmys, she paired a billowing lavender skirt with a rainbow statement clutch that drew attention to the then-current Supreme Court case on workplace discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation. Whether overflowing with tulle, sporting a vibrant pattern, or opting for a more risqué look, Cox’s inimitable style has garnered her a reputation as a fashion heavy-hitter.

#5: RuPaul

This drag queen and TV host has become one of the most prominent queer figures of our time, thanks in part to the smash-hit series “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” He broke through industry barriers and sported legendary looks on his talk show and in music videos, including numerous iconic hairstyles in “Back to My Roots.” Although his style first drew inspiration from punk and club kid aesthetics, it’s grown to embody glamor and sophistication, even if he’s sporting a signature tailored suit. RuPaul is responsible for introducing the fashion of drag to a mainstream audience like no one else, and for that alone, he deserves a spot on our list.

#4: Elton John

In his legendary career spanning six decades, this chart-topping British singer-songwriter has worn just about everything there is to wear. His early years were defined by eye-catching looks like denim covered in patches, signature jumpsuits, and colorful ensembles bursting with feathers. John, who first publicly discussed his sexuality in 1976, took the excesses of the glam rock era to the flamboyant extreme. Even though his style became more subdued with time, the accomplished pianist wasn’t afraid to bring out the big guns at his 50th birthday party in 1997. A trailblazer and a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, John’s fashion archive is only one of many things to love about him.

#3: Lady Gaga

There’s no argument - Mother Monster is responsible for some of the most memorable fashion moments of the 2010s. After bursting onto the music scene thanks in part to “Poker Face,” a song about her bisexuality, Gaga took a no-holds-barred approach to personal style. Backed by the mysterious Haus of Gaga, she debuted everything from a flaming cone bra to the infamous dress made of raw meat. Gaga’s looks have always been intended to cause a stir, whether she's dressing in drag or pulling off a multiple-part striptease at the 2019 Met Gala. With a huge impact on the fashion world and a history of dressing and living fearlessly, Gaga deserves her reputation as a fashion icon.

#2: Janelle Monáe

This acclaimed musical artist has been challenging fashion’s gender binary since day one. She’s known for sporting a classic suit and tie, but has also branched out from her signature look to embrace more colorful ensembles. Her outfits are immaculate — but more importantly, filled with personality and perspective. From the glittery metallic dress and hood she wore to the 2020 Oscars to the iconic pants in her “Pynk” video, Monáe always balances polish and eccentricity. Although she usually sticks to a black-and-white palette, she made a colorful splash at the 2018 BET Awards in a ruffled rainbow gown shortly after publicly coming out to “Rolling Stone.” Whether she’s singing, acting, or hitting the red carpet, Monáe can always be counted on to turn it out.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

St. Vincent
This Songwriter & Guitar Aficionado Brings Serious Creativity to the Red Carpet

Tracey “Africa” Norman
This Trailblazer Was The First Black Trans Woman To Achieve Mainstream Modelling Success

Indya Moore
The “Pose” Star Always Has an Adventurous Look Up Their Sleeve

Cara Delevingne
This Triple Threat Has Been Out, Proud and Eating up Runways for as Long as She’s Been in the Spotlight

Hayley Kiyoko
The Singer-Songwriter & “Lesbian Jesus” Has Mastered Casual, But Sleek Style

#1: Billy Porter

This multi-talented actor has been in the industry for decades, lending his talent, style, and elegance to Broadway, film, and a music career. After his starring roles in the musical “Kinky Boots” and FX’s “Pose” launched him into the mainstream, Porter had jaws dropping on the red carpet like no other. He became the first Emmy-winning openly gay Black man in 2019 and continued his winning streak as arguably the year’s best-dressed celebrity. From a tuxedo-meets-ballgown hybrid by fellow fashion icon Christian Siriano to his scene-stealing 2019 Met Gala costume, Porter has never been afraid to dress boldly. For bucking gender norms and looking amazing while doing it, Porter gets “tens, tens, tens across the board.”