Earlier this summer, I was talking with the tattoo artist Mika Cook-Wright about what he wears to work. “I get dressed for a session thinking, ‘Okay, this a unique outfit; no one’s going to look just like this today,’ then transmasc clients arrive at the studio dressed in almost identical clothes. Everyone’s Smithing.”
If you can’t make heads or tails of this statement, you’re probably not a 20-something trans guy, and I’m sorry to hear that. But I am, and I can explain! It’s a journey through the rocky landscapes of taste, gender, and really big shorts. It’s a journey that will seek to answer the question that plagues my community: How did Kevin Smith become a transmasc style icon?
I first found out I was not alone in my sartorial admiration of Smith in a conversation with Cook-Wright. Long ago, we were discussing the impact of Big 5” Inseam and its insidious skies out, thighs out agenda. I mentioned Smith as a stalwart of huge shorts and lawless layers, and Mika’s eyes lit up: He was Smith-pilled, too. What I first took to be a funny coincidence, I soon discovered was ubiquitous among my transmasculine friends. Some paid knowing homage, while others had begun to emulate Smith’s style through cultural osmosis.
Kevin Smith is, of course, a filmmaker and comic book writer, perhaps best known for his cult classic Clerks: a directorial debut that garnered critical and popular acclaim, introduced Jay and Silent Bob to the culture, and put him on the map as a singular voice in the independent filmmaking landscape where he’s remained ever since, crafting funny, weird, off-kilter stories filled with characters who are equal parts repelling and engrossing. Smith is also a distinctive dresser, known for oversized jorts, blazers, graphic tees, hockey jerseys, and backward caps, whatever the occasion. And his irreverent, juvenile sartorial sensibility has, improbably, crossed over to swaths of young transmascs in creative fields. They might prefer the movies of Jane Campion, but they dress like Mallrats.
“I was Smithing before I knew who Kevin Smith was,” says model and comedian Sophia Wilson-Pelton. “Just by dressing at the intersection of my taste, my physical comfort, and my nonbinary gender presentation, I was ending up with a very San Diego Comic-Con panel-re