The Tumblr presence of Qwearfashion.com, a Boston-based style blog for queer women, trans people, and the dappers who love them.
For modeling oppurtunies, email Sonny: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brynna asked: “Love the blog! I have a question about blazers though. I want one so badly, since I think it is the thing to tie a lot of items in my wardrobe together, and to easily look polished. However, this seems to be the worst item of clothing for me to find. In the women’s section, they end up being enormous in the arms and chest if I’m able to button them closed, and the men’s section leave me drowning in fabric. Where should I look, and how crazy is it to have a blazer altered? Thanks”
Blake says: It may sound crazy, but I swear by shopping for blazers in thrift stores. Thrifting is like being in 50 stores at once, and if, like me, you still haven’t found the blazer of your choice in a retail store, it’s definitely the way to go. In thrift stores you can easily shop for women’s and men’s blazers at the same time. You can also explore a variety of cuts, colors, and sizes all on the same rack. And it’s affordable — I’ve never spent more than $10 for a blazer (And never more than $50 after having it tailored.) You may need to be patient, as you never know what you’ll find in each trip. But if you keep at it, you’ll find something great.
Getting a blazer tailored is one of the best choices I’ve ever made for my wardrobe. In the past, I’ve had the shoulders of a blazer taken up. This is the most expensive alteration to make on a blazer (it cost me $30). You can also get a blazer taken in in the waist. As with any alteration, a tailor cannot add fabric where there is none. This video from Put This On demonstrates what to look for in fit for blazers. DapperQ also put together some helpful fit tips in this post. After the tailoring, you may also want to get it dry cleaned to get it smelling brand new again.
So, If it’s in your budget, I highly suggest investing in at least one tailored blazer. After all, a tailored blazer is tied with Beyonce’s halftime show for the 8th wonder of the world.
Good luck, and I hope you will let us know how it works out!
A few weeks ago we heard from a FTM trans person who got advice from A.D. on how to dress feminine while still passing. Right after that post, another anon wrote in, “I kind of want to ask the same question as the ftm person, but in reverse? I’m mtf trans and I’d love to rock some more masculine styles that still allow me to pass, but I’m not really sure how to pull that off.” I forwarded the question to Viv, our butch trans woman in residence, and she had some wonderful things to say. - Sonny
Riding the Binary Line As A Trans Woman
By Guest Blogger Viv Taylor
Friend, you are speaking my language. I too am a trans lady who enjoys her access to a wide range of gender presentations while still identifying strongly as a woman.
I’m not going to sugar coat this: dressing in a more traditionally masculine way, presenting in a more traditionally masculine way, there’s a good possibility that it will occasionally cause people to misgender you. It can be deeply unpleasant, it can be quite insulting, but it happens. The trick, I think, is to find way to ride the line between binary gender presentations, to find ways expressing kinds of strength and beauty and whatever other attributes you find meaningful in ways that work for you.
Have courage friend, we’re going to talk through this. Let’s start out with some easy ways to add some more masculine touches to your wardrobe, then we’ll talk about how to counter the misgendering.
Try to find some nice button-up shirts. It sounds simple, but there are few things as versatile and sharp looking as a good button-up. A well-cut Oxford cloth shirt will take you a long way. For more colorful button downs, I’ve had good luck with H&M (although I also hear questionable things about their labor practices, so think carefully about where you shop.) One of the benefits with H&M is that they sell attractive button downs designed for people with breasts in sizes 12-16, meaning that if you happen to be somebody who’s a little taller or have shoulders that are a little wider (somebody like me for instance), you’ve got access to clothes that still look good on you.
Fitted Shirt, $19.95 at H&M
Speaking of breasts, I find that it’s very important to have a properly sized bra. Weirdly, I have found Macy’s to be a pretty trans-positive place to buy bras and get them fitted. As a company they have a strong trans inclusion policy and in my experience have been polite and helpful. Having the right bra will help both with your comfort and will improve the fit of a lot of cloths. That better fit can go a long way toward ensuring that people read you how you want to be read.
Now, once you have bra and button-up that fit, I find a good place to go next is to an attractive blazer. L.L. Bean sells some of my favorite women’s blazers. I have one in charcoal that I feel brings about the right amount of butch energy to a lot of outfits. I would love to try one of their tweed jackets, but have not yet. These blazers are great because they can work when you’re femmeing it up as well as when you’re playing more traditionally masculine. They’re right at that edge.
Donegal Tweed Blazer, Herringbone, at L.L. Bean for
Next, get yourself a good pair of black leather boots. Your footwear is your foundation and you want to have a strong one. I’ve recently started wearing a pair of Sivertons from Keen, and I’m a big fan. They’re comfortable enough to walk miles in and they look amazing with minimal care. You can combine them with more traditionally masculine styles for a nice tough look, or with more femme styles for a certain kind of put togetherness.
Once you get a few things that work for you, just try mixing and matching to dial up the masculinity of your look. By playing with it, you can find a good middle place for yourself. I actually like to take more time to do make up and hair when I’m looking overall butcher, sometimes wear a little bit more jewelry just to complicate the picture.
The trick is to have fun, to dance around the boundaries.
Courtney says: Generally the technical difference between a suit jacket and a blazer/ sport coat is the weight of the fabric. Sport coats tend to be heavier in heft, and usually come in more interesting colors/ patterns/ fabrics etc. In general, a blazer/ sport coat will be a more versatile item in your wardrobe, traversing a wide range of dress code situations, but of course that is a bit different if you wear suits every day. Blake also noted that sports coats usually have plastic/ less formal buttons, whereas blazers tend to have metal buttons (think the classic navy with gold buttons), and suit coats have more formal buttons.
If you are trying to expand your closet into something a little more professional/ adult, it’s a nice substitute for a hoodie or other form of layered wear. Just throw that blazer/sport coat on over a t-shirt, a tank, a collared shirt, you name it. Instant swag. A. D. agrees: “I don’t own a suit and I wear blazers/jackets all the time. Blazers are awesome, because they add depth to an outfit; say I’m wearing navy pants, and I pair them with a cream blazer and a light blue shirt. #swagcity. Not a suit, but definitely not dressed down. Also, the coolest part about blazers, whether they come with a suit or not, is that you really can pair them with anything from shorts to jeans to chinos to slacks.”
It’s FFAF! (from: http://fitforafemme.com)
Bing says: I think we’ve all been told to “not mix your blues & your blacks” at some point in our lives. I’m here to tell you that you have been mislead. Blues (even dark) accompany black very well and add dimension to the look. Often the best color of denim to mix with black blazers is a dark jean or raw denim. The darkness of the pant allows for the streamline effect to occur making the ensemble look more put together and a touch more professional as well. NOW, that does not mean that you can’t wear your favorite pair of worn jeans with it. By all means do so, worn jeans have commonly been combined with more professional jackets & tops in many, manystreet style photoshoots. Dyed denim is also a choice if you wish to bring in some color; all colors of dyed denim can be combined with a black blazer. So really, it all comes down to what kind of look you are going for: put together, comfortable, or fun and artistic?
(Follow Bing at I Dream Of Dapper for more dreamy fashion advice and inspiration)
Anonymous asked: Hey y’all! Firstly, thanks so much for the work you do! I love your blog and I’m hoping to get some advice. I’m a college age transmasculine-ish human being and I have my first real job this summer! I’m looking to put together some staple professional type wardrobe pieces, preferably suited for hot weather and a 5’1” body. I don’t know where to start! Any tips?
Courtney says: Congrats on the real job! Depending on the dress code of the job, you could be needing professional things from the spectrum of chinos and polo shirts up to a full power suit. I think it’s always better to err on the side of more professional rather than more casual, especially when you’re just starting out in a new job and want to do well. Depending on whether or not you’ll be in air-conditioning mostly or going in and out often, try to find good quality clothes in summer fabrics that will breathe, like cotton, seersucker, linen, and even madras if you can dress it up.
I recommend some good staple chinos for sure, probably two pairs. You could swap one of those for some linen or cotton trousers if you want to amp up the dressiness. Find some that fit you very well— if your clothes fit you, you’ll look more put together. I’ve had good luck with J. Crew and American Eagle, and though I haven’t tried Dockers, I have heard good things. All accommodate for smaller folks.
Shirts can range from polos to button down collars to standard suit-quality button ups. These can be dressed up or down depending on how formal you want to be, or with what you’re pairing it. I recently wore a button up J. Crew shirt to a summer wedding, and with an H&M cotton suit and a silk tie and pocket square, I was definitely formal enough. J. Crew boys’ shirts and sweaters are some of the best fitting tops I’ve ever found off the rack, and the quality is so good they will last a long time. As a 5’ 2” 120 lb individual, I order size 14 in boys’.
Boys’ Secret Wash Shirt in Garment-Dyed, at J.Crew for $39.50
I myself don’t really wear polos, as I wore them for years as part of my Catholic grade school uniform, but I’ve heard really good things about polo shirts from the Gap. Slim silhouette, soft cotton, lots of colors that still look professional.
Blazers of almost any kind will dress up an outfit instantly, so if you can find a good summery one that fits, you now rule the proverbial sandbox. I usually try to find something in slim fit and then hem the cuffs myself. I’ve had good luck with H&M, Zara, and Topman, and of course thrift shops are always your friend. Blazers and shoes will be the most expensive pieces of this kind of wardrobe, but if you take good care of them they will last a very long time.
Blue Skinny Blazer, $160 at Topman
Shoes are tricky when you have smaller feet. “Real job” wear says your shoes should be leather or look like leather. I’d recommend Bass penny loafers as a work-appropriate shoe that’s easy to find in small sizes. I wear my Clarks’ Desert Boots with colored laces with chinos, and deal with Aldo oxfords being just a bit too big for me with a slightly thicker sock when I need something dressier. Cole Haan is beautiful as well. Check out Sonny’s shoes post for more ideas!
Bass Wayfarers, $99 at Bass
Gurcanti men’s leather oxfords at Aldo for $109.98
Finally, the details are going to add that extra flair. Neckwear will almost always dress up an ensemble, even in summery fabrics, but if you want to go all out, a silk tie will never do you wrong. I like bow ties from The Cordial Churchman. (Sonny adds: I’ve had great luck getting designer bow ties for cheap at Loehmann’s!) When buying neckties, I generally look for skinny ties to accommodate my smaller frame. Other details like vests, suspenders, watches, and cufflinks only broaden the scope of your wardrobe. Good luck with your new job, and stay stylish!
Blazer: Ted Baker, Oram Paisley printed blazer, women’s
Shirt: Moss Bros, men’s, (purchased in store, only wing collar left in my size, unpackaged, taken off the mannequin)
Tie: Moss Bros, Covent Garden Black Paisley self tie, men’s
Trousers: Zara, women’s
Shoes: Clif Paris, women’s
Bracelet, and Earrings: gifted by my grandmother
Submitted by Kate: kateailsa.tumblr.com
Kate says: “This is what I wore for our college ball on Saturday night. It was a back tie event and the theme was loosely ‘Vive Verseille’ so I wanted something that nodded towards that, which I felt the paisley patterns did, and that was brighter and more cheerful than my regular evening suit to keep up with the girls’ gorgeous dresses. I’m really pleased with what I achieved here and I spent the evening feeling super confident and smooth. I can’t wait to have another opportunity to wear this outfit. Also I can’t recommend Moss Bros highly enough to UK queers, they’ve given me excellent service every time I’ve been in.”
A.D. says: My housemate is Deborah Kass’ niece, and Deborah Kass recently hosted a gallery show in Chelsea. Of course, I went (after having dinner with Judith Butler… brag brag brag), and Deborah was wearing a three-piece maroon velvet suit. Never have I ever been so torn about an outfit. At first, I was struck with insane jealousy. I wanted that suit. But, I was also struck by my inability to ever pull such a thing off.
A few months before meeting Deb Kass, I invited Joey Mogul and Andrea Ritchie (check out their book, Queer (In)justice) to speak at my school and Joey wore a totally bad-ass black velvet blazer with Gap jeans from the 1990’s and a patterned white shirt, and looked like the coolest lawyer/international human rights attorney IN THE WORLD.
The point of these two stories: the most powerful lesbians in the world wear velvet blazers, so you got to have the ego and/or the accomplishments to back it up.
Sonny says: Stepping back from the theoretical discussion, Fourteen has a pretty snazzy Tuxedo-cut Velvet Jacket that comes in Black, Navy, and Charcoal Gray that I’m quite partial too (And not just because I work for them!)
I need to talk about my new dandy obsession: mini lapel pins. These are most commonly seen at weddings on groomsmen and the like, but I plan on taking after Lover Of Stories and wearing them all the time. Where you have a lapel, you can have a lapel pin.
Places to pick them up:
You can also get some some stud earrings like these Colorful Rose Flower Stud Earrings Set and put them in your jacket insteaddd. I’ve never actually tried this. Have you?