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: email@example.com
Clare Marie Myers responds to last year’s piece in response to a reader qweary asking “What is tomboy style, and how is it similar to and different from butch style?”
Anonymous asked: What is tomboy style, and how is it similar to and different from butch style?
Since this question is so personal, I asked my trusted queer fashionistas to give their thoughts on the subject, long or short. - Sonny
(from: The Unfeminine Female)
Bing says: That is a very interesting question. The two would appear similar to outsiders based on their menswear appearance, but they differ quite significantly!
From my experiences with the tomboy style, the aesthetic is based on the relaxed fit, comfort, and mobility of casual mens clothing lines. In my area of study we discuss the differences in socialization of children based on gender: boys are raised to be rough & active, girls meant to be dainty & precious. These characteristics are reflected in the clothing styles provided for the gendered individual (girls clothing is often fragile and should be take care of whereas boys clothing is sturdy and durable). With this in mind, it makes sense that the sporty, active tomboys would also seek clothing that can keep up with their rough play
However, I’ve noticed that “butch style” tends to grasp the masculinity and tougher side of menswear. The “butch style” often includes sturdy leather shoes and/or belts mixed with the various “butch hair cuts” which create a more masculine look; whereas it is not unusual for long haired individuals to dress in a more “tomboy” style. The “butch style” varies from person to person based on interpretation of self but is overall more masculine and what one might say “tougher” than the tomboy style.
Both styles utilize menswear to add masculinity to an individual’s look. However, the amount of masculinity varies by clothing choices & individual identities.
(from: The Unfeminine Female)
Rae says: To me, butch style is when I wear a chambray shirt, jeans, boots, a ballcap. And tomboy style is when my girlfriend borrows that outfit from me on a Sunday.
(From: Butches Leaning on Things)
Blake says: *Needless to say, the distinction is a difficult one to make. Style is such a personal statement and I’m not going to attempt to define it for someone else. What is below is simply my opinion. Based off of nothing except what is in my head at the present moment.*
I’ve always thought of tomboy style as a continuation of that phase that was supposed to end before high school; the refusal to conform to the looming beauty standards that are thrust on young girls. If you were a tomboy after a certain age — in my case high school — then you were considered to be butch. We are hesitant to label a young girl as butch. Instead, we use tomboy. Both tomboy style and butch style are subversions of gendered expectations. If I had to make a distinction, to me, tomboy style has a tinge more femininity than butch style. Tomboy style is more menswear inspired whereas butch style is just menswear. For example, Wildfang markets tomboy style whereas Marimacho and Fourteen market butch fashion.
A.D. says: The way I understand both tomboy and butch are tied up in whiteness and gendered expectations emanating from the white supremacist cis-gender heteropatriarchy. The way I understand dominant definitions of tomboi/y style are highly influenced by race; for me, “tomboy style” should be renamed “skinny white FAAB tumblr queer masculine of center fashion” AKA the cuties of tumblr AKA everyone who gets reblogged AKA not me. However, butch/stud style are less race-specific, at least in the way I understand the fashion specificities. Stud, in some communities, is a term that is used for black masculine lesbians and masculine lesbians of color. Butch, as I understand the term, originally described a masculine woman, and now describes a whole range of gender expressions, typically masculine of center.
I grew up being called a “tomboy” which was cute until I was 12. When straight cis-dudes call me “butch” it’s pejorative; when a queer says I’m “butch” I blush and immediately look like a small child. I would never call myself a tomboy or describe my style as tomboy; however, I love describing myself as butch.
Tomboy and butch are all about age and style. Tomboy style is all about playfulness. Being a tomboy is all about running around like a kid, getting dirty, and playing hard. It’s young, fresh, and carefree. Tomboy is loud and outgoing; it’s hoodies and ball caps, loose vests and crooked ties, sneakers and suit jackets. Tomboy is unapologetically itself. It’s like a hot summer day with Converse high tops, denim cut offs, and a hat shoved into its back pocket. Tomboi/ys can’t beat anyone up, though they like to think they can.
Butch is mature and reserved; we’re grown and sexy, ya know? It’s not the center of attention; it’s leaned against the wall, slowly sipping a beer, watching everything. Butch is straight up, no-games masculinity (but, of course, my butch identity is very much tied up in feminist masculinity). Butch is serious; it’s a perfectly tailored grey suit, with a monogrammed tie clip and polished shoes. Butch is dark washed jeans with room, boots, and black v-necks, and wallet chains. Butches will offer to light your cigarette, make you breakfast the next morning, and bring you flowers to work.
The differences between butch and tomboy are, to me, noticeable and significant, but only because I’m obsessed with masculinity & gender non-conformity more broadly.
And this queer says the hype matches the delivery! If you are already on their mailing list, you will be granted access immediately when you enter your email. Otherwise, you can get on the waiting list here: www.wildfang.com
They are curating a very artsy look; loosely fitting clothes, wild patterns, lots of black and white, some western influences. There are a wide range of prices, and some of their vintage pieces are one-of-a-kind and disappearing fast! Here are some of my favs:
Get Loose Jean, $148
Pound The Pavement Boots, $240
Craftsman Flannel, $78
They also have some sweet articles on tomboy style! I’m so stoked, friends. I’ll keep you updated as the brand grows. Don’t know what Wildfang is? Catch up here. - Sonia
OK what is this new Wildfang thing popping up everywhere, and how the heck are Kate Moennig, Hannah Blilie, and Megan Rapinoeall in the same place, wearing my dream shoes? I know this is the question in most of your minds right now. So before you go losing any more sleep, here’s the deal: Wildfang is curating clothing for an online shop that caters to the tomboy lifestyle. In addition to launching an online store in a few months, they will have a whole website devoted to tomboy culture.
You’ve probably already seen their hot video, but here are some things you don’t know:
1. The voice in the video is Wildfang cofounder Julia’s 86-year-old grandmother, Carol Eisenschimel. In the 50’s she starting stealing her husband’s shirts because she didn’t like the way women’s shirts felt. All her words are unscripted, and just her end of a conversation.
2. Wildfang will be focusing on casual styles, curated from over 30 brands in Australia, the UK, and ‘merica. By including so many designers, they will be providing many different takes on tomboy style, and eventually reinventing what it means to BE a tomboy.
3. All 5 people in their film and photoshoot jumped on board with their start-up budget, because they loved the idea and wanted to help make it happen. i.e. My crushes on all of them just increased by 500%.
4. Kate Moennig’s personal wardrobe is a combination of men’s, women’s, and vintage pieces, all tailored. She works with her own tailor to achieve a very specific idea of how she wants each one to look. (OK yes, good thing this interview was over the phone, because I was TOTALLY blushing)
5. With Wildfang in the picture, you will no longer need to steal things from your brother’s closet. Their online store will have carefully chosen the best pieces for you, your style, and your body.
All photos by Lindsey Byrnes
We got great submission from another adorable tomboy-type in bold colored jeans. Getting one great pair of bold colored jeans can REALLY enhance your wardrobe. Especially if you’re like me and have 5 light blue shirts and not enough to add for contrast. If you’re nervous about adding too much color, this maroon is a tame choice to start out with. I really like a lot of the colors CottonOn has right now.
Follow Hannah: litheos.tumblr.com
I discovered another queer with impeccable style. Like, why isn’t she on the cover of the queer equivalent of GQ? (I know there are queer magazines, but the photo style reminds me a lot of the features GQ puts out. Also, GQ is always my shorthand for gender queer, which makes me laugh.) The type of bow tie she’s wearing is a lot slimmer. Good style to try out, because wide ones can look a little goofy sometimes.
Follow Teresa: teresabeans.tumblr.com
Definitely. So glad you wrote, because there are soooo many straight girls out there just like you who prefer to dress more boyish/androgynous. And there are so many straight guys who are into that. (I know many!) They might not all have the eggs to say it, but secretly they all want to bone the boyish girls. And I’d give you the same advice I gave the last person about how to talk to your friends about it. Right now, gender non-conforming dressing is often more accepted and celebrated in queer spaces. I really hope that someday everyone will be just as exploratory of gender presentation and identity.
Thanks!! I <3 tomboy-femme style on everyone.