A self-professed real-life ‘Boy in the Dress’ has revealed how he snaps up bargain high-fashion dresses and skirts after being inspired by Harry Styles.
Connor Keaney, 26, from Kings Norton, Birmingham, doesn’t conform to gendered clothing and dons fashionable dresses, skirts and trousers, citing One Direction star Harry Styles as his style inspiration.
Connor, who doesn’t believe in labelling fashion because it’s just ‘material’, explained that he felt empowered and more ‘confident’ to evolve his style after seeing more and more people identify as non-binary.
Likening himself to the hero of David Walliams‘ hit series of children’s books, he explained: ‘I’m the real-life Boy in the Dress. Wearing skirts and dresses isn’t an issue, clothes are clothes, it’s material to me.
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Connor Keaney, 26, (pictured) from Kings Norton, Birmingham, doesn’t conform to gendered clothing and dons fashionable dresses, skirts and trousers
‘If I look good and I want to wear it I’ll wear it. Dressing like this has given me a big confidence boost.’
The childcare company boss, who wears a size 8-10 in women’s clothing, said he has been inspired by celebrities including Harry Styles, who famously wore a dress on the cover of Vogue, breaking down gender barriers in fashion.
Connor, who came out as part of the LGBTQ+ community when he was 16, admitted that he wasn’t very ‘confident’ when he was younger and hid how he wanted to dress.
The 5ft 10 fashion lover said: ‘My style has definitely evolved over time. I wasn’t very confident when I was younger with a lot of things.
‘I came out as part of the LGBTQ+ community when I was 16 and then I hid how I wanted to dress.
‘In more recent times you’ve got people who are non binary, you’ve got Harry Styles who is a straight man but wears whatever he wants, and seeing that just boosted my confidence.
Connor, who doesn’t believe in labelling fashion as it’s just ‘material’, cited Harry Styles as his fashion inspiration (pictured: Connor recreating It’s A Sin’s Jill Baxter’s clothing)
The self-professed real-life ‘Boy in the Dress’ (left and right) said he felt empowered to evolve his style after seeing more and more people identify as non-binary
‘I don’t believe in labels, clothes are clothes, it’s just material.’
He flaunts his fashionable flair on a bargain, impressively snapping up clothes from designers, including Versace, for a fraction of their original price by sifting through bargain bins and over-stuffed second-hand rails.
Connor’s mother Bridget Keaney, 58, introduced him to second-hand shopping in charity shops when he was a child, but he would stand inside mortified if any of his mates saw him.
Connor said that he felt inspired to embrace his love for dresses by Harry Styles
But his evolving fashion sense later changed his outlook and he now proudly champions his environmentally friendly wardrobe, which he hopes will inspire others to do the same.
Connor explained: ‘My mom used to shop in charity shops, it’s always just been me and my mom, she struggled and she did her best with getting me what she could.
‘In school it was always “eugh you shop in charity shops you’re a tramp” and it really put me off.
‘I would be really embarrassed to go into charity shops and and if my friends saw me I was like “oh no” but now I totally respect and appreciate it.
‘She worked hard for it and she was also a trailblazer in terms of shopping in this way.
‘As I got older and I started getting into more fashion and vintage stuff at around the age of 15 I went into a charity shop and I found a brand new pair of Converse for £4.
‘Straight away it sparked an interest in shopping in charity shops. From that day on I’d say 90% of my wardrobe is from charity shops, the only things I buy new is underwear, tracksuit bottoms and tops to wear to work.’
One of his first ever looks, a stylish tweed dress paired with white go-go boots, a clutch bag and a faux pearl necklace, cost just £6 and racked up 4,300 likes from delighted Facebook users.
Connor admitted that people often ask him where he gets his stunning clothes from, but he has to tell them that he has no idea because some of his second-hand buys don’t have any labels.
Connor (pictured wearing a skirt in public for the first time), who came out as LGBTQ+ when he was 16, said wasn’t ‘confident’ and hid how he wanted to dress when he was young
He flaunts his fashionable flair on a bargain, impressively snapping up second-hand clothes (left and right) from designers, including Versace, at charity shops
Connor’s mother Bridget Keaney, 58, introduced him to second-hand shopping (above, charity shop sheepskin coat) when he was a child, but he was mortified to be in charity shops
He said: ‘I picked up the tweed dress from a local Cancer Research shop where everything is between £1 and £3 when the charity shops were open back in November. I regularly go in there and spend a lot of money.
‘I wanted that pattern but in an oversized blazer. When I spotted the dress, which was squirrelled away, I saw it and thought “ooh I love it, I’m going to have to get it”. It was such a bargain.
‘Since sharing pictures of the dress a lot of people have asked where it’s from and I’ve had to say “I honestly can’t tell you as there’s no label in it”.
‘The go-go boots are amazing, they just had a little scuff on them but it doesn’t matter.
‘I think they’re originally from Boohoo. I love the fact they’ve come from somewhere that’s fast fashion and they’ve gone straight into a charity shop so I was able to get them for £3.
‘I managed to breathe new life into them otherwise they may have ended up in landfill. I’m only a size seven shoe, I’m very lucky I don’t have big man feet.’
Connor flaunts his fashionable finds on social media and has started a new series called ‘Style Steals’, which sees him recreate a TV character’s iconic look using second-hand finds.
He amazingly recreated two outfits from smash-hit Channel 4 show It’s A Sin, making second-hand outfits in the style of Ritchie Tozer, played by Olly Alexander, and Jill Baxter, played by Lydia West.
Speaking about his bargain buys, he explained: ‘I’m quite a bargain hunter so I don’t set myself a budget. Usually I buy whatever catches my eyes and I take it from there.
‘With Style Steals I do research and, for the time being, I look at online charity shops for what I need.’
Connor also admitted that the first thing he does when visiting a new city is look around the charity shops and enjoys spending a day out having a huge fashion haul with his drag queen friends.
He continued: ‘I’ll usually just go into a shop when I’m out and about [in normal times].
Connor flaunts his finds on social media and has started a ‘Style Steals’ series, where he recreates a TV character’s look with second-hand finds (above, Scooby-Doo’s Daphne outfit)
Connor is urging people to push aside any prejudices about second-hand clothes (left and right) being ‘musty’ or ‘old’ and give the eco-friendly way of shopping a chance
‘Sometimes I’ll go out with my drag queen friends, who wear whatever they want, and we’ll have days dedicated to having a big shop, which is quite a nice day out.
‘We stick to Birmingham, but if I go away on a city break the first thing I’ll do is take a look at the charity shops.’
Connor is urging people to push aside any prejudices about second-hand clothes being ‘musty’ or ‘old’ and give the eco-friendly way of shopping a chance.
He revealed that he even managed to snap up a Versace top for just £15, quipping that he ‘nearly died’ after making the gold-dust discovery.
Connor said: ‘I used to be one of those people freaked by the idea of musty, smelly piles of clothes worn by old people.
‘I would think “oh it’s second-hand, someone’s died in that”.
‘If people go to vintage shops or search vintage stuff online they’re going to find the most amazing things [and shopping this way is] good for the environment because you’re recycling it.
‘I picked up a real Versace top for £15 from a charity shop, I nearly died.
‘All you’ve got to do is put it in a washing machine or get it dry cleaned, which costs nothing.’