How to Dress to Transgress

Goth style has been taking over for a while. In the past couple of years alone, we’ve seen dark black lipstick, occultism, colorful hair and platform shoes go mainstream, and now BDSM harnesses and bondage belts are being integrated with everyday fashion. While there has always been some absorption of kink and fetish gear in club, punk and Goth outfits, the trend is bigger than ever, dominating the Forever 21 set instead of just Hot Topic.

Among the factors are the expansion of sexual identities, the return of the ’90s cyberpunk aesthetic, and a collective millennial self-confidence that says, “Fuck it” and dresses more daringly than before. The number of indie bondage makers on Etsy, Depop and Instagram has risen, and people of all genders have started adopting harnesses, chokers and collars into their wardrobes, from big-name celebrities such as Miley Cyrus to television personalities including famous drag queen Violet Chachki and Project Runway contestant Michael Brambila, who wore a black-leather harness over his black blazer in one episode—and looked chic as hell.

You could easily find bondage belts and chokers at Hot Topic, but shop local, damn it! Fetish-y type accessories are available at Fullerton’s Ipso Facto (517 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 525-7865;, and Long Beach-based online retailer Below carries adjustable harnesses from various alternative-fashion designers, including Blackhorne and Hopeless.

But buyer beware: If you’re shopping online, make sure you know your exact waist, chest or hip measurements for a perfect fit. Check for straps that are adjustable; otherwise, consult with a custom body-harness designer to craft one that fits and looks best on you. Go get your kink on!

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