Neighborhood style: The glorious ‘anything goes’ of the Gayborhood

Also referred to as Washington Square West (or, as of late, Midtown Village), the area is a little slice of metropolitan heaven.

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Sola Onitiri

One in a series on the unique fashion styles of Philadelphia’s many neighborhoods

Filled with rainbow crosswalks and packed with all the requisites of trendy city living, from hip brunch spots to boutiques to antique shops to dance clubs, the Gayborhood is one of the most vibrant and well-dressed neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Also referred to as Washington Square West (or, as of late, Midtown Village), the area is a little slice of metropolitan heaven. Its predominant style is all about proudly taking risks that represent personality and individual flair.

The neighborhood’s history is filled with similar themes.

In the early 1900s, the area had the city’s first hotel catering exclusively to working women. There were luxury apartments too, in buildings that still exist today. By World War II, nightclubs and music halls had begun to spring up among them. Just think — next time you visit iCandy or Woody’s, you’ll be taking part in a decades-long tradition of Philadelphia partying.

Alongside the booming nightlife scene, the Gayborhood became one of the first gay-friendly safe spaces in the nation. It’s home to the country’s oldest LGBTQI bookstore, Giovanni’s Room, and is where many of the country’s first protests for LGBTQI equality took place (we’re talking years before the Stonewall Riots). In the 60s and 70s, long before sanctioned Pride parades and OutFests, the Gayborhood was the epicenter for gay rights activism in the U.S.

Today, it’s home to LGBTQI community centers, LGBTQI housing and many LGBTQI-owned small businesses. The pervading feeling is that it’s ok to act, love, and be yourself, loudly and proudly. The “anything goes” fashion of people who hang here represents a willingness to use fashion as an outlet of self exploration and expression (even in the summer heat).

On your next visit to the Gayborhood, keep your eyes peeled for these amazing styles.

You’re going to see a lot of statement sunglasses and accessories…

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Sola Onitiri

Dresses that are perfectly coordinated with tattoo sleeves…

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Sola Onitiri

And lastly, lots of killer ensembles that are ready to hit the town.

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Sola Onitiri

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