Today guest blogger Christiane Nickel of Posture Mag explores the intersection of Prep and queer style.
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
Today guest blogger Christiane Nickel of Posture Mag explores the intersection of Prep and queer style.
Just a normal Sunday.
LK Weiss in a suit by Saint Harridan
Author | Blake
Are blue suits more versatile than black suits? What about charcoal suits? Does color even matter? Recently we got a question from one of you regarding what color to get a first suit:
“I’m going to be buying my first suit, but don’t know what color I should get for the most use. I can’t decide between navy or a charcoal grey. I’m leaning toward charcoal because I love to wear colorful shirts and the charcoal seems to be more flexible. On the other hand, a navy jacket would pair well with chinos and a colorful shirt. I can’t afford two suits, yet, so I want to make the first one count.”
Here are a couple of tips to think about before deciding on the color of your first suit!
To ensure that you will get the most use out of your suit, consider where you will be wearing it most. If you’ll be wearing your suit mostly at work, there are a couple of considerations to take into account. A black suit is always formal. Moreover, it is near impossible to dress down a black suit. Unless your work calls for black tie, a blue, grey/charcoal, or brown suit will be more versatile. Let’s break it down:
Every color suit is a blank canvas, however, each color lends itself to certain color combinations, seasons, and dress codes.
Black suit: Always formal; Looks best with black accessories.
Blue suit (and by blue I mean navy blue): Can wear for all seasons; goes with almost all color shirts/ties/all that jazz. Great for separates —wear blazer one day, trousers another.
Brown/tan suit: Primarily a fall and winter suit; looks best with neutral accessories (shirts, ties, pocket squares); Can be dressed casual or formal.
Grey/charcoal suits: Second in versatility to a blue suit; great for all seasons. Suit separates not as versatile (gray pants and blazer don’t go with as many color combinations as blue separates); can be dressed casual or formal.
Outside profession, there are no logistical concerns that you should worry about in regards to color. As mentioned above, if you’re not going to wear your suit at black tie functions, the color of your suit is up to your personal style. If I had to choose, I would get the navy suit. As this inqwearer said, a navy blazer goes with just about anything. It can be dressed up or down. I can’t think of a color that looks bad with blue, so shirts shouldn’t be a problem. Also, navy blue suits look great with both black and brown shoes (charcoal not so much).
I leave you with one amazing picture of something you can do with a navy suit jacket:
Since there are so many new queer brands starting up, I thought I’d make a list of our favs! If you have the means to do so, I recommend checking these out when considering your next purchase/getting your hair did! You’re especially lucky if you live in San Francisco, New York City, or London. But many of them have online shops.
Marimacho: Brooklyn-based masculine clothing brand for female assigned/identified folks. They have 10 items in their shop including a blazer, suit vest, classic white shirt, bomber jacket, and swim suit.
PHRESH CUTZ: “A spot for queers and friends of all kinds to kick it with like-minded individuals over drinks, snacks, and beats while tightening up their look!” In Brooklyn. (See Autostraddle post about them)
RodeoH (NSFW): Adorable, comfortable harnesses slash cute underwear. Available online and at in-store locations across the globe.
Tomboy Tailors: A retail shop in San Francisco that just opened on Feb 2nd! They have have in-house clothing, custom fittings, a plus line, and shoes for smaller feet. Online store opens in April. (See our post about them.)
Unbound Apparel: Sweet tees and hats to celebrate gender nonconformity. Prices range from $7-15.
Veer NYC: Curated androgynous clothing. No clothes yet, but you can support their Indiegogo campaign here. I recommend the $25 option, because you’ll get a $25 gift certificate when their store opens. Great deal!
Wildfang: Curated tomboy clothes for people with curves. Opening shop on their website in the spring. Join their mailing list for updates, and add them on Facebook and Twitter . (See our post about them.)
If there are any other companies you believe should be on this list, message me!
UPDATED FEB 8: Made wording changes to be more inclusive of MAAB trans* folk looking to wear androgynous clothes.
I hadn’t heard of Fourteen until I ran into long-time Boston Dyke March organizer, Christine Hurley and got to talking about my Passion for Fashion (happens within 3 to 5 seconds.) She introduced me to this new queer wedding attire company, founded by lesbian/queer wedding planner Bernadette Smith. And now after getting the chance to talk with Bernadette and Fourteen fashion designer Marialexandra myself, I’ve become wildly impressed with their efforts to combine creativity and craftwomanship to fill the gaping holes in the world of lesbian and FAAB gender non-conforming formal wear.
There are several queer clothing companies out there now making their mark (Marimacho, The Butch Clothing Company, Saint Harridan, and Androgyny; among others) and each one has their unique offerings. But unlike many of these companies, Fourteen also designs for mid-spectrum folks looking for non-dress options that still embrace their curves. By offering 2 fits options: Standard fit and Boy fit, Fourteen serves a wide range of gender presentations. And each separate is very versatile in terms of how you choose to wear it. Wouldn’t this velvet jacket look also amazing with a billowy blouse?
The team got a head start on research through Bernadette’s years of work as a wedding planner. When they started Fourteen, they conducted many focus groups to ensure satisfying everyone’s needs when it came to fit, style, and varying body types. Marialexandra observed people putting on the clothes to get a sense of how their previous clothing had fallen short of their needs. Most of us, when putting on ill-fitted shirts, tug things here and there to get them to fit right. When the participants tried on Fourteen’s clothes, all their fit problems went away for the first time. (woah, imagine if you didn’t have to tug your shirt down to get it to fit over your hips properly!) Fourteen aims to create well-fitted garments for the whole range of bodies, including those who bind and pack or are post-op.
Available now on their website are a velvet jacket and a Sateen jacket with pockets, each in several classic colors; six vests (one of them has sequins inside!), 2 dress shirts in 2 lengths for untucked and tucked wearing; 3 pants; and 9 pieces of neckwear made to match the garments, available in several sizes to accommodate those with smaller necks and shorter torsos. The designs are edgy, creative, and vintage inspired. It’s clear that designer Marialexandra has a talent for understanding what queers need and want in their formal garments.
One specialty Marialexandra told me about was hidden chest darts. For the boy fit, Fourteen is keeping the sides straight up and down, and using hidden chest darts to leave room in the chest area. This technique is very uncommon, and something none of us have seen on off-the-rack clothing. (Chances are The Butch Clothing Company uses them too, but Shaz won’t give away her secrets!)
As Fourteen continues to get off the ground, they will release more clothing outside of formal wear! Marialexandra is already working on several designs for underwear, binders, and swimwear! All available in about 6 months. And further down the line; maternity clothes! Can’t wait to get my hands on some of these.
(Photo cred: Patty Nash Photography)
I stumbled upon this dapper queer over the interwebs named Milo and then discovered that they live in my town! Woohoo! Like most of us, they have trouble finding men’s clothes that fit really well. But with some patient thrifting, they came across these items. Also, if for no other reason than that redheads are adorable, vote for Milo’s Saint Harridan Entry!
Shirt: “Dependable Cleaners” employee shirt. They say, “I do not know how it came into my possession. Rolling up the light blue sleeves adds a nice casual yet sophisticated touch; especially with the brown tie.”
Bow Tie: Goodwill
Vest: Garment District
Ok, so cute queers are literally everywhere on my Tumblr dash. But Olivia stood out to me because of her mix of traditional 50’s jazz style with hipster. Her undercut with an overflowing fauxhauk that looks like it comes from a full head of hair is absolutely stunning.
Helllllo Qwearlings! Many of you may have already jumped on the Saint Harridan bandwagon, but for those who are new to the world of fashion boihood, Saint Harridan is a growing company that intends to make suits for women/butches/bois/transmen/etc. Rather than custom-making each suit like many queer companies, they on mass producing them and make them more affordable and accessible. If all works out according to plan, every Joe queer and their boyfriend will be filling the streets and offices in amazingly tailored suits.
Right now they are recruiting models with a diversity of sizes, races, ages, and genders. And you can be one! Submit an entry here. They will visit each city that gets 100 applicants, and those with the most votes will get tickets to their pop-up fashion shows and some other sweet prizes! (Yours truly submitted in Boston! Vote for me here!)
I had some additional questions for Saint Harridan, so I decided to interview their founder, Mary Going, and get more scoop on the suit construction, the growth of her business, and how we can help get those suits on the shelves.
Saint Harridan Model Mayumi Taylor. Photo by Ryan Anson
In your latest blog entry, you discussed the elements of a great suit for a Saint’s body. How do you intend on working around curves for a perfectly fitted suit jacket with no darts?
What I mean by “no extra darts:” Men’s suits are designed to protect the body. They have an outer layer, an inner lining; and between those two layers, in the chest area, a third layer which is actually called “armor.” They are designed as if going into battle. It’s not about the body; it’s about the man. Our suits are built to make the suit about the wearer and not about their body. We are not anti-breasts or anti-hips; we are simply designing so that the wearer can step into the power of their body.
And, what plans do you have for creating trousers for people with hips?
Similarly, the trousers are designed to allow the wearer to move and function. The pants will have functional pockets, will not highlight hips or curves, and will be designed so that if you gain or lose a few pounds, you can alter them. Rather than giving them away, or having them sit in the “someday” section of your closet.
How are the suits going to be constructed?
Anyone with enough money can have a custom suit made. But, most people won’t, even if they do have the money. They’ve never done it before; they don’t know what to expect, and it can be intimidating, particularly if they’re also having to cross gender boundaries to do it. The revolution is in making suits accessible. I’m interested in the revolution. Saint Harridan’s suits are made ready-to-wear. They will be sewn in factories where the workers are treated and paid fairly. (We can’t have a revolution while exploiting other people!)
You’ve also discussed investors not believing that you’d have enough customers to be a successful business. What are 5 things we can do to show that we exist and help Saint Harridan get started?
Thanks for asking this question! We are pre-selling our first signature suit via a Kickstarter campaign which starts on November 23. On November 23rd, you can do these things:
1. Buy a suit! Or, buy just the trousers, shirt or jacket.
2. If a suit is out of your price range, pledge a smaller amount of money and get a tee shirt, tie, tie clip or any number of other great rewards.
3. Post the Kickstarter campaign on your Facebook page, Tumblr site, etc.
4. Personally email everyone you know who might remotely be interested in this idea.
5. Post to every queer/trans/butch/stud email list or web site you can think of.
Thank you! These five things will help us tremendously. Lots of people say to me “it’s finally time somebody did this.” And, I’m SO excited to do it. Manufacturing a clothing line requires a good bit of money. For example, it costs about $12,000 to develop a suit from scratch — just to get it ready to produce. Imagine if you add a sweater (or 3!), a vest, shoes, many different cuts of the suit, etc. This adds up pretty quickly, and we still haven’t actually produced anything — we’ve just gotten to the “ready” phase.
What kinds of suit customizations are you planning on offering?
It’s important to me that Saint Harridan provide suits for a wide range of sizes. I naively thought when I first started this project that there were standard sizes, and I’d do the whole range, making sure to have every size. What I’ve learned, though, is that there are 6 billion people on our planet, and therefore 6 billion different body shapes. No two bodies are alike. We will offer a wide range of sizes — but for some people, their suits will need a bit of tweaking in order to fit perfectly. We can do that tweaking for them, or help them find a tailor in their area who can do it for them.
Will you be designing suits for every model? And will the winners get to keep the suits?
Models in the pop-up stores will be modeling the ready-to-wear/off-the-rack suits that we’re producing. Each model will get Saint Harridan schwag, discounts on all our merchandise, entry into the fashion shows (or perhaps the chance to be IN the fashion show) and professional (digital) photographs of themselves modeling the suits.
Founder & Managing Partner Mary Going
Sonia says: p.s. While I was working on this interview post in a cafe, the guy next to me glanced at my screen and mentioned that his girlfriend wants to buy one of their suits. Woordd!!!
Here is another great article about Mary Going’s business process and goals: Saint Harridan: 'Men's' Suits for Women and Transmen, by Liz Gold on 14 Karat Living