In an age where every news item feels like an attack on my mental health, it's important to find respite in the things you love—like Cate Blanchett wearing suits. When I was young, the queerest content I could get my grubby gay hands on were movies that weren't explicitly queer, but inherently gay—like Bend it Like Beckham, Stick It, or Bring It On—and their stars were my roots. ("Root" is a term from iconic queer film But I'm a Cheerleader, describing the thing that made you gay.) Ocean’s 8 evokes those same feelings for me, because although the con movie’s two leads, Debbie (Sandra Bullock) and Lou (Cate Blanchett) aren’t defined as a queer couple, I think they’re pretty gay together.
Like all queer women, I’m constantly disappointed by movies that don’t explicitly define obviously queer characters as such—like Kate McKinnon’s Holtzmann in Ghostbusters or Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian in Solo. For that reason, Ocean’s 8 stung, because Lou read as undeniably queer to me. With that being said, I am always happy to see any sort of representation for tomboyish women who straddle the line between the masculine and feminine. I’m grateful for characters like Lou and costume designers for inspiring me to be as butch or femme as I want to be, and for the visual blueprints of how to perform such feelings in extremely chic ways.
Though each star was styled remarkably, Cate Blanchett's wardrobe left me awestruck in a way I haven't felt since those early lusting-after-Missy-Peregrym days. Here's a guide to each chic suit, lavish coat, or drab chef's jacket worn by the Carol actress that shoved me deeper into the throes of lesbianism:
The mustard yellow button-up with a Very Gay Vest
The items of this outfit sound nefarious when parsed out individually: A pin-striped, mustard yellow collared shirt? An Avril Lavigne-esque loose tie? A Very Gay Vest? Many layers of random gold necklaces? Yet on Cate Blanchett, they blend better than bananas. The brazen queerness of this outfit elicits shivers of internalized homophobia for me: Why am I so afraid of vests and loose ties? Maybe I'm a Vest Gay and I've just been too scared to admit it.
The leopard print coat
This piece prodded my relationship with femininity in an unexpected way: I can't help but associate long, leopard print coats with a kind of demure and delicate femininity that feels unattainable to me as a queer woman who falls somewhere in the middle of the gender presentation spectrum. Though I do believe it is every woman's goddess-given right to wear a chic leopard print coat, pop culture has historically made me feel bad about not performing this aesthetic as well as Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, or Mrs. Robinson—all iconic leopard print coat-wearers. But when I saw a tomboyish—or should I say tom-mannish—character like Lou proudly don a long leopard print coat, I thought, maybe this is actually for me, too.
The three-piece green velvet suit
This outfit feels like it was dreamt into existence by a mad lesbian fashion scientist. Much like the mustard yellow getup, it’s as if the Ocean’s 8 costume designer took everything bad in the world—a button-up vest, multiple pieces of velvet on a body, the color green—and parlayed it into the suit of the century. It brought tears to my eyes, thinking of all the queer women in the world who don't have access to fitted velvet suits and paternal maroon ties. I just wish I had seen more women in three-piece green velvet suits in my youth, because if we had more women in three-piece green velvet suits, maybe it wouldn’t have taken me 23 years to realize I was gay. Representation matters.
The pale blue suit
Have you ever seen a woman and thought, "I'd let her ruin my life?" OK, now imagine her in a pale blue suit. This outfit changed me. I feel as though it is my duty as a queer woman to relinquish my savings account and buy a pastel suit tailored to hug every inch of my body as delicately as this one flatters Cate. It's true: I don't have anywhere to wear an outfit like this, nor do I really deserve something so special—but all I know is that I've never been gayer than the moment I saw Cate in this suit.
The chef's jacket
Of all the gorgeous getups stitched to queer perfection in this movie, I don't know why I cared the most about Cate in chef's whites—but here we are. The stark juxtaposition of her angular jawline with the dull chef’s jacket—which somehow looks more like a gorgeous peacoat than a drab uniform—gutted me. I might have to call my parents and come out all over again, because I’m currently harnessing so much gayness that it feels like I'm hiding something.
The shimmery disco jumpsuit
Something that genuinely keeps me up at night is the unfounded fear of being invited to a fancy event and not having anything to wear. These days, I feel too gay to wear dresses, but not masculine enough to pull off suits. Dressing up plagues me, and the only thing I can typically settle on is jumpsuits. But after seeing Cate Blanchett in this shimmering, mermaid-like bodysuit with platform shoes and—is that fur? Is that a fur collar?—I can't even wear those anymore, because she just shut down the jumpsuit game forever. Thanks a lot, Cate.
The bomber jacket with another Avril tie
Finally, an outfit that perfectly blends The L Word fashion with modern trends. I love that the Ocean’s 8 costumer dressed Cate with gay abandon, combining the unabashed queerness of vest culture with loose-tie-2000s-lesbianism and somehow making it work. Isn't that what we're all trying to do: Be out and proud and gay and hot?
The leather jacket
Every queer woman is required by law to own a leather jacket. I don't make the rules, and neither does Cate Blanchett, but I'm glad her character respects this law even though she doesn't give a shit about the actual law. Though I, personally, am not a big leather wearer, I am extremely attracted to women in leather, which is why this look just about killed me.
Honorary mention: the suede blazer with yet another Avril tie
This decadent, royal blue suede blazer over a CBGB tee and yet another loose tie reminded me what it was like to feel love. If this doesn't inspire you to be gay and do crimes, I don't know what will.