But it wasn’t just a fashion choice, it was also a chance to open up a dialogue around self-love and inclusivity.
“(At the first gown fitting,) I felt alive. I felt free. And open, and radiant. And beautiful! Which has not always been the case for me. I haven’t always felt so good about myself. It really is astonishing how much of an effect clothes have on your spirit,” Porter said of the feminine-meets-masculine look in a recent interview with Vogue, noting that he’s been wanting to wear a ballgown for some time.
According to an interview with The Associated Press the next day, he was glad the outfit started a conversation. "We have to teach people how to treat us, we have to teach people how to love us, we have to teach people how to respect us, and the only way we do that is to respect ourselves," he said.
Luckily, the Oscars weren't the first time that Porter used his fashion sense to make a statement.
Explore more of Billy Porter’s extravagant styles:
Just a month earlier, the Golden Globes nominee dazzled onlookers in a suit with floral embroidering and matching, fuchsia-lined cape created by Randi Rahm. He completed the look with a pair of leopard loafers.
From his glasses to his earrings to his incredible bolero, Porter was dripping in pearls at New York Fashion Week for The Blonds runway show. His white leather boots added an extra touch of sass.
The Broadway performer mixed and matched patterns with a trippy cuffed-shirt-and-pants combo topped off with a leopard-print hat at The Lilly Awards in New York City.
Porter was solid gold (or at least close to it) in a monochromatic suit paired with a black undershirt, boots and wide-brim hat at an Upfronts celebration held in New York.
The actor’s wide-brim hat appears for a second act, this time completed with a tie-dye blazer and what appear to be cropped leather pants at a celebration for the revival of "The Boys in the Band."
Porter commands respect in a bright mustard-colored hat, studded dress and wide-legged pants at the GLSEN Respect Awards.
Porter pays tribute to music on television at a gala hosted by The Paley Center in a silky blazer and cropped pant ensemble.
The actor had a plaid moment in a matching blazer and kilt paired with leather leggings and platform boots at a screening for “Notes From the Field.”
It’s back to the hats! The “Pose” star struck his own photo-worthy stance in a red velvet suit and wide-brim hat, complete with a colorful sash at the waist at a live event for The Trevor Project.
Porter takes a more different approach to his gold blazer, this time pairing it with a yellow gown and patterned head wrap at the 19th Annual AFI Awards.
Porter wrapped up his brown silk tuxedo with a giant, caramel-colored bow, leaving the rest of his look fairly minimalist at the 24th Annual Critics' Choice Awards.