There's no secret we live in a world where passes are only given when the straight man finally approves, if ever, which is something we've learned to deal with long ago—back when middle school bros decided theater was a respectable means to get in with the girls, and proceeded to flood spring musical auditions by the dozens. Apart from having our fundamental human rights readily controlled, there's nothing more frustrating than when their approval infiltrates fashion—one of our only safe queer spaces, where liberated style is encouraged and exists without adherence to the straight man's socialized understanding.
This week, the worst type of straight man—the excited, entrepreneurial college bro—made our toes curl with the introduction of a romper, aptly called the RompHim, which is designed and marketed to make men feel validated wearing a warm weather garment more commonly worn by femmes or non-binary folks.
The team behind RompHim, ACED Design, developed the idea after pinpointing a perceived void in the marketplace, while ultimately overcompensating with hyper-masculinity for fear of coming across too feminine or, worse, queer. Deemed "a fashion revolution," the boastful rollout overlooks decades of queers flaunting their femininity—and legs—wearing short summer rompers typically shopped from the women's section. But, of course, straight mediocrity is always the ultimate erasure of LGBTQ culture, isn't it?
The RompHim was first introduced on Kickstarter, with ACED Design asking for $10k and as of press time, racking in more than $80k after the style went viral online—a testament to the power of femininity when it's used as a tongue-in-cheek, satirical ploy in frat culture. In the accompanying campaign video, bros are shown wearing their RompHim while drinking beers, attending music festivals and playing Spikeball at the beach, all set against a generic EDM beat—the official fraternity soundtrack. The RompHim also comes in an American flag print, which will likely become this 4th of July's official beer pong uniform.
But before RompHim's "fashion revolution," rompers were already transcending gender in fast fashion and on the global runway. American Apparel was always the go-to shop for genderless style, including their selection of cotton rompers; during my distant time employed there in high school, I helped many a queer make the look work for their various body types. In luxury fashion, the romper has been purveyed by top designers for decades; Michael Kors' 1991 menswear debut saw the introduction of a shirt attached to underwear, according to the Daily Beast. The year 2013 saw Spanish brand, Davidelfin, make the case for a spring unisex romper, as well as J.W. Anderson, which introduced a strapless variation for fall. Most recently, Acne's spring '16 collection rolled out a navy option, too.
Alas, the RompHim, which has been picked up and praised by everyone from The Today Show to Esquire, offers more tangible proof that LGBTQ norms will be forever considered the other until straight men catch on, claim it as their own and eventually capitalize to create yet another "revolution." Click here for more upsetting information.