Butch-Femme Fashion: Don’t Hate Us Because We’re Beautiful

Happy Thirsty Thursday to all! Pride Week is in full swing here in Boston, and I am unacceptably sober and sitting behind a desk. (Sadly, my employer doesn’t accept “I’m a giant lesbian” as a valid excuse to miss work.) I’m having a difficult time staying focused for a number of reasons: the office vending machine has been restocked, today’s high is 102 (I’m wearing jeans and am in denial), I need to write this post so you all don’t think I’m a terrible and lazy blogger, and I have a huge crush – on a blazer. A tweed one. With elbow patches. Whoo boy. Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here?

Let me back up a bit. Last night, I attended FOUND, my (and, I believe, Boston’s) first ever queer fashion show and the latest lezstravaganza from the lovely ladies of Diffuse 5. It was an awesome night filled with sexy people and sexy clothes and sexy cupcakes (omnomnom @ Cakeology). The point of the whole sexy thing was to highlight designers who cater to the LGBT community and our unique styles. I think that is very noble work, indeed, because let’s face it: looking this damn good ain’t easy.  

Most mainstream clothing companies aren’t crafting products with queer or trans bodies in mind. As a 5’3″ butch with hips and tits and all that junk, trying to find masculine clothing that fits my female shape can be frustrating as hell. I know I’m not the only one who’s felt the agony of trying on the Perfect Going Out Dress Shirt and discovering that it won’t button across my big stupid boobs. Or maybe you’re one of those vegan, organic, free-trade lovin’ dykes (is that redundant?) and you are totally bummed that the ass-kickin’ boots you want are made from the last endangered Amazonian baby cow on Earth. Never fear, you stylish beasts, because these designers are here to save the day:

Marimacho: A Brooklyn-based company that creates dapper masculine styles for women and transmen. Also, THEY MAKE THAT BLAZER I WANT/NEED/WILL DIE WITHOUT.

Proxy Apparel: They make super-hot clothing and accessories from a sweatshop-free, sustainable, and female-empowering environment. I approve of this message.

Let’s Be Brief: Underwear for the lesbian booty. All of the masculine style with none of the annoying banana pockets. Also, fun colors and patterns! Yay, fun!

Autonomie Project: Vegan. Organic. Sweatshop-free. Check out their sweet Converse-style kicks and rain boots.

Boomerangs: Boston thrift store with new and vintage clothes, books, furniture, and other goodies. It’s run by the Aids Action Committee and all proceeds go towards the invaluable work that they do for the AIDS/HIV-positive community.

(Do you know any other LGBT-targeted clothing designers out there? Be a good gay and share in the comment section.)

Despite the fact that it isn’t always an easy task, I have to admit: I LOVE BUYING CLOTHES. I’d go shopping every week if my wallet and closet allowed it. An outfit that looks great and fits great is the ultimate confidence-booster. Last night, I was rocking a crisp white button-down, a black vest, and my favorite dark wash jeans. I topped off the outfit with a black and pink plaid tie, picked out by my GF because it matched her pink dress, picked out by me. (Sidebar: A butch-femme couple in coordinating outfits is a powerful, uber-sexy force of nature that is not to be taken lightly.) I pretty much swagged from one end of the city to the other.

Truth be told, I used to be rather embarrassed to admit my love of clothing. “Buying clothes? For fun? That’s so femmey!” thought my babydyke self. Older, wiser me knows that not only is that line of thought totally misogynistic and regressive, it’s also totally inaccurate. Shopping is so butch, as in, butches love to shop. IN FACT, based on my experiences/not-all-all-scientific research, butches love to shop way more than their femme counterparts. Mind = blown, right?

Allow me to close this post by sharing with you a one-act play titled Our Butch-Femme Shopping Trip Named Desire:

My GF: I need a new dress for an upcoming event.

Me: ZOMG WE CAN GO TO THE MALL LET’S GO TO THE MALL RIGHT NOW THE MALL!!!

GF: *Sigh* Alright, get in the car.

Me: *Jumps in the car, hanging out the window and panting like an excited terrier*

[At the mall]

GF: There are too many dresses to pick from and I have no idea what would look best on me. This store is overwhelming and crowded.

Me: HERE TRY THIS ONE AND THIS ONE AND OH THIS ONE GOES GREAT WITH YOUR HAIR AND LOOK AT YOUR BOOBS IN THIS ONE!!!

GF: OK… I guess this one looks fine. It fits. Do you like it?

Me: IT LOOKS AMAZING YOU SHOULD TOTALLY GET IT AND THEN WE CAN GO LOOK FOR MORE DRESSES IN THE OTHER 75 STORES IN THIS MALL!!!

GF: Um, no, I’m just going to take this one; I don’t need any more.

Me: OK BABY I’M GONNA GO PAY FOR THIS GIANT PILE OF TIES THAT I PICKED OUT WHILE YOU WERE CHANGING AND THEN LET’S GET SMOOTHIES!!! FROM THE MALL!!! CAPITALISM!!!

GF: …OK.

[End scene.]

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12 thoughts on “Butch-Femme Fashion: Don’t Hate Us Because We’re Beautiful

  1. Oh my god, for some reason, Mall Smoothies are always better than any other smoothie. Also, will you take me dress shopping? We can get pretzels afterward.
    (This is metaphorsbewithyou from yipp, btw!)

  2. It isn’t exactly a GLBTQ- targeted clothing designer, but Goodwill Industries had a pop-up store in the Castro that was in partnership with the Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative to provide training and jobs for transgender people: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/10/17/LV351FSCFT.DTL
    It was a six-month long endeavor, but it would be awesome if there was a more permanent store that did something similar in SF or another city.

      • I think most of the religiously-affiliated secondhand/charity stores have had some complications in that regard in the past. Goodwill may be trying to move past that (at least, in the Bay Area). Since they tend to emphasize job training as well as charitable donations/revenue generation, it makes sense that they’d be the organization involved with this effort. (There’s another SFGate article that I can’t find that dealt with the complications of trying to maintain a job history while transitioning; it can do a number on one’s resume and references.)

  3. Ohh, I love what I’ve seen thus far of Marimacho. I would love love love to see (read: buy tons of) their collection. Also, thanks for sharing that underwear company, LOVE IT (and will be buying some as soon as I can). It’s often hard to find underwear I actually like.

  4. You can’t have a crush on that blazer, ’cause I do! I will arm-wrestle you for it, and I’m a femme with awesome arm muscles :p

  5. Pingback: Press Releases | Let's Be Brief

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