Holiday Party Style

December is almost over, but the holiday parties are just revving up. Stumped on how to pull off an outfit that’s dapper without trying too hard? Here are some of my suggestions.

The Leather Jacket


I love my leather jacket. No, really. I think it’s my favorite piece ever. It’s nothing fancy, but it fits perfectly. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it a million times before, but a leather jacket that doesn’t fit well looks sloppy and super 80’s. Mine is actually a Wilson’s Leather women’s small. If I had my way, I’d own a Schott leather jacket like this one (I’m obsessed… Someday, I’ll get one). But until I start making some bucks… I’ll continue to wear the hell out of this one. You should be able to zip the jacket up, and it should hit just ABOVE the belt. The body should be tight, and the sleeves should not be at all baggy. Once you get a jacket you love, you can pair it with literally anything, including a tie. This works especially well with a knit tie like this one from American Eagle.

Shirt- H&M

Jeans- Zara

Belt- H&M

Jacket- Wilson’s Leather

Tie- American Eagle


The Solid Bow Tie

I’m always hesitant to wear bow ties, for fear of looking like Jacob’s bar mitvah. But this looks actually works really well for a company party or a holiday concert. If you’re worried about looking infantile, like me, I’d suggest going with a simple, solid color (like the gray one here). Steer clear of crazy patterns and prints. Add some suspenders, but if you’re short, like I am, you’ll want to go with a thinner strap. Pair it with some skinny pants for a more modern look.

Tie- American Apparel

Suspenders- Ebay

Pants- Zara




The Art of Layering…Part II





The Old Standard

Some things will never go out of a style. And a peacoat is one of them. I’ve been wearing one since I was 15, and my grandfather and his Navy buddies wore them long before that. Wall Street boys wear them. Steve McQueen wore them. They’re timeless. And you can do it with just about anything. Try pairing your old peacoat with a chambray shirt, tie and cardigan, like I did here. I also threw in a pair of distressed jeans from All Saints to keep things more casual (it is Friday, after all).






















































Pro tip: Get a pair of these brogue boots. They’re brogues… but they’re also boots. Get it?! No but really, these things are amazing. The white soul make them casual enough to wear with jeans, but the wingtip stitching and chocolate brown leather makes them dressy enough for a suit.


These came from American Eagle, believe it or not.

Vests: They Aren’t Just for the Woods Anymore


























One of my favorite looks right now is a vest over a suit. I know it sounds funny, but trust me. It looks amazing. Put on your favorite suit and top it off with a matte, down vest, like this one with color blocking and gray flannel. Bonus points if it has tweed on it (I just couldn’t find one in my size).



The Toggle Sweater

I love everything toggle… Sweaters, coats… Okay, well maybe that’s it. But still, I love it. Toggle buttons hold this weird juxtaposition of sophistication and Paddington Bear that just really does it for me. Find a good, chunky toggle sweater like this one from H&M, and you can wear it like a jacket, or layer it under a long driving coat like I did. This driving coat is my new favorite, by the way. It’s almost impossible for me to find a long coat that doesn’t come down to my ankles. This Zara boy’s find was a steal. Not the warmest thing ever, but it sure does look great over a heavy sweater.


Butch on a Budget Goes to the Beach


If you’re anything like me, you despise bathing suit season… And not necessarily for the usual reasons that women hate bathing suit season either. Sure after an entire winter spent binging on pizza and my mother in laws ravioli, I’m not psyched to show a lot of skin. But even that beats the eternal butch conundrum of what to wear to the beach.
For years I played it safe, always opting for board shorts that were far too long and a usually see-through A shirt (tank
top) that left me feeling awkward and surprisingly exposed. But what’s even MORE awkward is having to put on some kind of femmie bikini with ruffles and flowers that left me looking like (as my friend says) a confused little boy about to disappoint his conservative asshole father. Finally, a couple of summers ago, I started dabbling in actual bathing suits again.
If you aren’t too proud or can be slightly flexible in your masculinity, I’ve found that wearing a simple two piece in a masculine color without any bells and whistles can be not only sexy, but comfortable and somehow appropriately still butch. I like this number from Target made by Speedo.


It’s a solid, darker color, sporty, and simple. If $50 is a little more than you want to spend (this IS Butch on a Budget after all), then try this one, also from Target for only $15. I actually bought this one in charcoal gray last year.



If you aren’t into the two piece, try for a lot of great one pieces. I like a simple, sporty looking suit that offers just a little more coverage, like this one, from Nike.



Now onto board shorts…

If you aren’t comfortable walking around in your suit bottoms, a good pair of board shorts goes a long way. For the butch on a budget (like myself) I really like H&M’s selection. They have a lot of shorts starting at $13 or so and maxing out around $30. Try something in a solid color, like these, from H&M:


They’re extremely versatile, and can actually be worn going to get ice cream, fried clams, or a BBQ.

If you want something a little more adventurous, try these color blocked shorts, also from H&M.



Also check out Zara, Forever 21, and Top Man for a great selection of board shorts. The important thing is length, length length! Your shorts should NOT come down past your knees. And if you’re short, like me, you probably want to stick with the super short length as shown above. Trust me, it’s a cleaner look and much more JFK than Bieber at the beach.

Finally, you’re going to want something to wear over that bathing suit top when you aren’t in the water. Tank tops look great on most butches, regardless of size. And right now, slightly oversized, skater-era tanks are big.



If you’re feeling particularly ballsy, geo and southwestern prints are really big this year, like this one from Forever 21.


For $15, it definitely fits into the Butch on a Budget’s finances. Plus, bonus, Forever 21 Men     is now carrying extra smalls.


5 Ways to Up Your Style Game Using Ebay

Yeah, I said it… ebay. I hate that shit. No, seriously. I mean I really hate it. There’s nothing worse than finding something you love, getting really excited, and placing a bid, only to find out that some creeper in Montana outbid you in the last 3 seconds. That’s why I stay clear away from the whole “auction” idea.

You probably already knew that when you do a search on ebay, you can select the “buy it now” option. That means no annoying bidding, and no creeper from Montana screwing you out of Brittany Spear’s platform shoes from 1999. But what I bet you didn’t know is that there a few key items you can get on ebay for ridiculously low prices that can seriously help upgrade your style game.

1. Ties (search: skinny ties, bow ties, pre-tied bow ties).

Skinny ties, bow ties, bondage ties (no, I’m just kidding… we aren’t talking about that kind of tie here)… they’re all over ebay. I bought a pre-tied bow tie in black silk from a company in China for… get this… $.99. That’s right. $.99. Not even a dollar. You can’t get get a cup of coffee from McDonald’s for $.99 now. Shipping was even free. You aren’t even going to find a tie for $1 at Goodwill. This one doesn’t smell like cat pee, and the quality is decent.  For those of you with the dapper skillz to tie your own bow tie (I’ll be posting a video on this shortly), you can also find those for a few bucks. *Disclaimer– most of the ties you’ll find for that price will be “silk.” For some reason, it’s much harder to find cotton/cloth ties for under $10.

2. Dress shirts (search: men’s slim fit dress shirt)

This one was the biggest find of all. I put in “xs men’s dress shirt and was expecting to find a couple used pieces. Instead, I found page after page of Korean/Chinese companies selling what looked to be decent dress shirts in various colors for around $11 (with shipping). Now, I’ve spent a lot of time honing which brands work for me and which don’t. An extra small shirt from Alfani is like… four times bigger than an extra small shirt from H&M, and even those shirts within the brand vary from model to model. So I took a gamble and ordered the small. I got the shirt two weeks later, and it’s now one of my favorite dress shirts. The sleeves hit in just the right place, it’s fitted but isn’t too tight like so many of my other shirts post-cruise, and the length was spot on (which is nearly impossible to find). The quality is about what you’d expect for a $10 shirt, but again, it’s new, its cheap, and the fit is fantastic. *Disclaimer– these are “asian” sizes (their term, not mine!). They run VERY small. I’m normally an extra small in SLIM shirts here, and the small in China is about one cheesburger away from being too tight. Order at least one size up, and make sure you’re ordering the US size and not the “Asian” size (a US S is an “Asian” M).


3. Pocket Squares (search: pocket squares)

These run about $2-3. If you go to JCrew you’re looking at at least $30. Even a TJ Maxx find will be at least $8. My theory on pocket squares is that you’re only looking at about a quarter inch of fabric. Most people aren’t going to judge you on the thread count… and if they do, they’re douchbags. If you don’t know how to make your own, ebay is a great place to build your stash.


4. “Leather” Jacket (search: men’s slim fit leather jacket)

Proceed with extreme caution here– I was NOT a fan of the fit here. Leather jackets are tricky. Faux leather jackets are trickier (maybe I’ll do a post just on leather jackets soon). They have to fit better than any other jacket you own. If not, you look sloppy and ridiculous. I ordered this jacket in an extra small, and unfortunately, I ran into the problem I almost always run into when I buy leather jackets… it was too long. A leather jacket should hit at your belt, and not below it (ouch). And, while there’s some wiggle room with other types of jackets, you have to stick to this rule. However, if you’re taller than I am, I highly suggest doing a search for “men’s slim leather jackets.” Worst case, you spend $25 plus shipping on a jacket you can’t wear… Not the end of the world.

5. Suspenders (search:.. uh… duh.. suspenders…)

I’ve decided to try rocking the suspenders again, since my girlfriend says she likes them. It’s been a long time since I’ve done it, but I’ve seen some great fashion posts using them with bow ties, or just open collar dress shirts. A quick ebay search yielded cheap suspenders in just about every color/print you can imagine for a total of about $4. You’ll probably want to go with the clip-on ones, like I have on here, unless you’re feeling swanky enough to get buttons tailored onto your pants (which I’ve done before). If you get the clips, you can wear them with anything from jeans to suits without having to permenantly alter your pants.  *Disclaimer- I recommend a bland color like gray, khaki, black or navy, unless you’re really bold. Anything too bright or colorful is going to be limiting and (unless you’re REALLY good) detract from the dapperness of the outfit.


So there it is, folks. No bidding required. Now, if you’ll excuse me, ebay is calling.

How to Make Your Own Skinny Ties (video)

This idea rocked my world this morning almost as much as the Kate Mara photo shoot in this month’s GQ. I am hardly crafty (which is why I’m posting this). And I can’t take credit for this brilliance either, since I found it through a Google search (which, believe it or not, originated in a Buzzfeed post), by this lady named Design Mom. Design Mom wanted to make some skinny ties for her young son, but didn’t want to spend a fortune. Some crazy tailor wanted to charge her $40 to turn a not-so-skinny tie…well, skinny. Design Mom said “oh helllllll no.” And thus, genius ensued.

Jill has this super dapper coworker who loves to give me ties. They’re always these gorgeous, vintage ties that I love, but unfortunately, they’re vintage, so they’re wide as a truck. Wide ties may work for some butches, but when you’re hardly able to reach the shelf with the cereal on it, the wider the tie, the shorter you look. This post from Design Mom (who may or may not be thrilled that a big ol’ lesbian from Boston is using her idea to further butchify herself, depending on what part of the Bible Belt she’s in) gave me an idea. I could try to turn Jill’s coworker’s ties into something I could actually wear. Now I’m not Martha Stewart (outdated reference, but honestly I don’t think I know any other crafty famous people), and my sewing experience goes about as far as 8th grade home-ecconomics class, but this was really freakin’ easy.

Go to Goodwill, or, even better, a legit vintage thrift store, and buy some wide ties for $2, like this beauty from Coach that Ray gave me. Then, watch this video (it’s in TWO PARTS so you have to watch both… sorry gang!), and learn how to make it into something that won’t make you look clownish.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Demystifying the Lesbian Haircut


I will start you off with a little bit of humor here, courtesy of our good friend Google Image Search. But now I need to be completely serious…

There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING funny about a dyke with a bad haircut (okay, so it’s sort of a little funny…).

There are many butches out there with long hair. Short hair is not requirement for being butch. In fact, nothing is. But let’s face it, there are a lot of us with short hair… maybe even a majority. If you’re a butch with long hair, this article isn’t for you. Not because I don’t respect your dapperness, or your masculinity (remember Brad Pitt in the 90s? How about Jared Leto at the Golden Globes?), but because I know absolutely nothing about long hair. I came out at the tender age of 21 (late bloomer, to say the least), and almost immediately rushed straight to the nearest salon and chopped my hair off. I’ve had short hair ever since. Those of you in my boat, this is for you.

We laugh about mullets and rat tails… But I can’t tell you how many I saw amongst the “older generation” on my Olivia cruise. The generation Xers among us aren’t any better! We’ve simply replaced the mullet with a Justin Bieber shag (see above).

When I was a baby dykling, I had what I suppose you could call a “faux hawk”– about 2 inches too long on the top and on the sides, and about a pound of gell… which no one should be using in this post NSYNC era. Here is my attempt at a “faux hawk,” which was effectionatly (and appropriately) referred to by my ex as the “shark fin.”


It’s awful… I know. Don’t do this. Just don’t. It’s never okay…

If you want this hair style, here’s what I suggest. Skip the goop completely. Go with a texturing paste like Crew fiber, or Go 247 texture cream. Keep the sides and the back buzzed short (a 0 to a 1) and leave the top around 3 inches. Apply product to the damp hair, and blow dry working from the back to the center. You don’t need every hair to stick in place. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy. This guy from High School Musical (okay, I won’t pretend I don’t know who Zac Efron is…) got it right… I did not.


Probably the single most popular lesbian haircut in recent years has been the Bieber Shag. I personally also experimented with this one for many many years. Unfortunately, I learned that my hair is far too straight and thick for it. If you look at my friend Whitney in the picture above (sporting the Bieber Shag back in ’08) you’ll see how to do it right. I don’t think Whit did anything to her hair other than let it rage… But if you have gorgeous, wavy locks like that, you do basically nothing. If your hair is a little on the straight side, a sea salt spray like Bumble and Bumble makes can give you some extra texture for this look.

But if you REALLY want to be on top of the world of hair trends, there’s one cut that everyone’s doing these days– and it’s getting a lot of attention.

There are a million different names for it, but I tend to call it the pompadour. It’s classic and old school and looks good on just about everybody. Think Adam Levine, David Beckham, James Dean. It’s daring, sure. But I promise you the payoff is worth it. And I’m seeing more and more butches with this cut.


The above is a great article from Details magazine about how to get this look. Here’s what to do: tell your stylist to go super short on the sides and back (0′-1′ guard) and work a fade in. The key is leaving enough length on top to be able to slick it back. Any hard wax or pomade works well, but I like Clean Cut by Paul Mitchell ($20). I have also been known to use Murray’s ($3) because my hair is ridiculously fickle (but be warned, a little Murray’s goes for weeks… I’ve been known to have that stuff in my hair for days on end). Use a flat brush and comb from the back, at your natural part, forward. Then, pull the front of your hair back. I like mine more centered, but you can part is to the side too. If you don’t have super thick hair like I do, you can use a blowdryer to get more lift. But I just put pomade in my damp hair and comb it where I want it. Don’t worry if it looks sketchy… Mine always does when I first do it. Once the pomade sets, you can reshape all day long.

Here’s my do…


My barber got me to use a small hand mirror to tackle the cowlicks in the back. Just follow the hair until it lays flat. This has changed my life….

I want to leave you with one last crucial piece of advice… GO TO A BARBER!!!

Seriously. I spent years going to high end salons searching for someone who could manage my hair with only moderate success. In my darkest days, I was paying a Boston stylist (who worked in a hipstery warehouse with a one word name) almost $80 to literally shave the sides and back of my head and not even touch a pair of scissors to it. The cut ended up mediocre, at best. Then, one day, Jill (my girlfriend formerly referred to as Jess– as she has since insisted I use her real name) said “why don’t you try the barbershop down the street?” A barber?! The horror! I was bombarded with flashbacks of being taken to the local old dude downtown as a kid who would take a number 3 to my head and leave me looking like Buzz from Home Alone. But hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. So I tried it…albeit hesitantly. When I walked in, I immediately noticed a shelf full of Jack Black products– and my hopes were high. They paired me with John, whose haircut I also judged just as quickly. He looked good. And when he started to talk about what I wanted, he told me he loves to keep up with men’s fashion. The best and most unexpected part of my barbershop experience was that not ONCE did John either 1. pretend I didn’t want a men’s cut, or 2. make me feel like a freak for wanting one. Long story sort of short… John gave me the best haircut ever. And for only, get this, $23… Now, I can afford to go every three weeks, which is what this cut really requires.

If you want a men’s cut, get a men’s barber. They do dozens of these dos every day. Your barber will be the other most important guy in your life…along with your tailor. Big thanks to John and Richie for keeping it handsome.

Look Cool, Stay Warm- The Art of Layering

It’s almost the end of January, and the dreaded Polar Vortex seems to be sticking around longer than your mother-in-law when she comes for a visit. No one can argue that winter is a bitch (shut up, skiiers…) and sometimes it seems that finding something fashionable to wear when it’s this cold is almost impossible. I know I, for one, have to dig a little deeper into my closet and think a little bit harder this time of year, or else I’ll end up wearing the same v-neck sweater every single day.

I know some of you swear by the hoodie and jeans look. And that’s fine. But for those of you looking to dapper-fy (see that? I made up a new word) your look this winter, I have a few suggestions here.

Layering is key! If you aren’t layering, you’ll end up wearing that puffy parka and a t-shirt until spring. Layering gives you the opportunity to show off all kinds of different pieces without giving up the warmth we so badly need (especially here in the northeast).


For a Casual Dinner Out:

Blazers don’t have to be super formal. This look is one of my favorites. Pair a button down (don’t go crazy with the iron), and a fun tie with a tweed or wool vest. Then, to bring down the black-tie factor just a little, layer a light hooded sweatshirt or tshirt under it (just make sure it isn’t too sporty, like the one above, which is a plain, navy waffle-knit pattern). Finally, add your blazer. I personally like a nice wool blazer, but you can also go with a tweed or a harringbone if you find one. Like always, the trick here is fit. Find a good winter blazer, get it tailored, and you can wear it with just about anything. A pocket square finishes off the look, blending the casual with the formal for a look that works surprisingly well.


Shirt: H&M $39.99

Vest: Morona from Targer $24.99

Tie: Vintage collegiate

Sweatshirt: Gap waffle knit hoodie $24.99

Blazer: Gap

Jeans: American Eagle men’s Skinny $39.99

Boots: Earthkeeper by Timberland $129.99

Glasses: Warby Parker


The Rustic Look:

This one is easy, and you can wear it anywhere from the office to taking your kids sledding. Start with a collared shirt like the H&M one above, and pull a fitted crew neck sweater over it. Wool can be itchy, so you’ll want those layers anyway. I like to pull the sleeves of the sweater up just a bit to show a little cuff. Like anything else, match your colors, but feel free to mix patterns. I love the details of the elbow patches on this sweater. Make sure it’s snug, and doesn’t hang off you. Wear this with a pair of dark jeans and boots. If you’re in the Arctic Tundra (like we are, here), you’ll probably need a jacket too. Quilted jackets are really killing it right now. I love the one above, from Barbour, the kings of the quilted jacket. Finally, I like to wear a wool hat, great for those days when you just don’t feel like doing your hair.



IMG_1182Shirt: H&M $39.99

Sweater: H&M $39.99

Jacket: Barbour $199.99

Jeans: American Eagle Skinny $39.99

Hat: Rosavelt Supply Wool Watchman’s Cap $18.99

Boots: Earthkeeper by Timberland





Fun with Fair Isle:

I’ve been obsessed with all things fair isle lately… Like, to the point where I had to stop buying stuff that had fair isle print on it or else I’d end up with a wardrobe filled with holiday-esque sweaters and scarfs I could only wear for another two months. The great thing about this print, though, is you can really wear it all winter long (not just at Christmas time). This look works for walking around town, shopping, or just a day out. Start with a henley. They’re a nice alternative to a t-shirt, and are usually really flattering on almost anyone. Just make sure it isn’t too lose or too tight. Next, add a zip up, mock-neck sweater like this one from Gap. Then, skip the coat, and put on a warm down vest.


Henley: American Eagle $14.99

Sweater: Gap $49.99

Vest: H&M $49.99


The possibilities for winter are pretty daunting, although they can be great if you start with a few staple items and build on them. Don’t fear the winter wardrobe!………. Just the Polar Vortex.



The 7 Butch Fashion Staples

Listen up, you dapper readers out there. I have a serious announcement for you.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a killer wardrobe!

There are a few key essential staple items you can get (for relatively cheap, if you play your cards right), that you can mix and match into just about any outfit. Here are some of my favorites that I don’t think I could ever live without:

1. A solid colored Oxford shirt

I suggest blue, like this slim fit J-Crew beauty. Layer it under a crew neck sweater, over a t-shirt, or, my favorite, wear it as is with a pair of jeans. An oxford is perfect for your friend’s dinner party, or date night, or even weekend wear.

+Pro-tip- don’t wear an Oxford with a suit. Please. Just don’t. Unless you’re a college physics professor. Or Kanye West. Then you can do whatever you want.

2. A quality V-Neck and crew T-Shirt

I seriously can’t emphasize enough just how important this is. If you only listen to one thing I ever say, listen to this. Get a good looking, high quality V-neck and crew neck T-shirt in a solid white. And I’m not talking about those three packs from Hanes. Yes, I admit, I own a few of these, but in a couple of washes the collars start to wrinkle. Not to mention the fit is horrendous- the sleeves are too long, and they usually go down to your knees. If you MUST buy the Target special Fruit of the Loom brand, wear them strictly as undershirts.

A lot of fashionistas will tell you to spend $75 on a designer T. But I’m a realist, and also a broke graduate student. I won’t be able to spend $75 on an undershirt for another three years, at least. Instead, I suggest something like the Legend crew neck from American Eagle.

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 12.39.37 PM

Or this Essential V-neck from Gap.

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 12.43.00 PM

Wear it by itself in the summer with a pair of dark jeans for a classic James Dean look, or put it under a button down as a layering item. The possibilities are basically endless.

3. A solid crew-neck sweatshirt

Crew sweatshirts were everywhere this fall. And I’m pretty sure they’re not going anywhere, because they’re a staple. That’s the beauty of all of these items. They’re timeless. I own two from H&M (their Divided label in the “basics” department) and I wear them all the time. I’m wearing one in gray right now, actually, layered over a blue Oxford (see, I told you… Staples). You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look good. These H&M crew necks are under $15. They aren’t going to stand the test of time, but, like most of H&M’s stuff, you’ll get trendy clothes for cheap.

H&M Crew


Like anything else, fit is key here. Notice how this sweatshirt isn’t your Dad’s baggy Champion thing he wears to pickup basketball. The arms are slim, and the armpits are high. Also, notice how the body doesn’t sag. Contrary to popular butch theory, extra bulk will only do that– add bulk. I like to wear this as a sweater, with a button down underneath, or with a plain white t-shirt for a more classic look.

4. A white dress shirt

“But isn’t that the same thing as an Oxford, Dapper Butch?” No. No it’s most definitely not. And shame on you for thinking so (but that’s why you’re here, right?). An Oxford is made of cotton, and has a very collegiate feel to it. The collar is buttoned down for a more casual look. What I’m talking about here is a white dress shirt. One to wear with that suit you just bought after reading my previous post. Or, you can wear it with a pair of navy or gray dress pants, with or without a tie (just stay away from black, lest you want to look like a waiter at the Cheesecake Factory).

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 2.21.14 PM

I, personally, love the 1MX Slim Fit Shirt from Express. The only problem I find is that the sleeves tend to be a little on the long side. Express also sells similar shirts in a “modern fit” (which is a little more relaxed and accommodating for the bigger chested among you). Go with a solid white for starters, since it will literally be the most versatile piece in your wardrobe. Seriously, I just packed for our cruise next week, and I’ll be able to wear this shirt with my suit (and no tie) for formal night, and open-collar style with a pair of khakis for dinner.

5. Wing tips

Buying shoes has proven to be one of the most difficult parts of butch fashion for me. I’m small, but my feet are on the average end of the spectrum for women (I’m a women’s size 8). Here’s the issue though; most men’s shoes only come as small as a size 7 (that’s a women’s 9). I’m able to wear a 7 with a thick pair of socks or some padded in-soles, but for those of you who have smaller feet (like, a women’s 6??) my advice to you is boys, boys, boys (well, not really… I mean, the boy’s department). For the tiny-toed among us, check out J-Crew for their kid’s dress shoes. Also, sometimes Zara and H&M carry decent ones, although they can be hit or miss. I admit that my black cap-toe dress shoes are from Payless (I know, the shame!), and are a boy’s size 6. The rule of thumb is that your size in a men’s shoe is your size in a women’s shoe minus two (or, for those mathametically inclined readers, that’s W-2=M). Same with kid’s sizes. In summary, I’m a women’s 8, and therefore wear a men’s and boy’s 6 (or, a 7 if I find myself a really hot little number I can’t live without).

I know wing tips are going to be a bit of a stretch for some of you. They’re reminiscent of a Mad Men era (which is why I love them), but the stitching on them makes them a little more daring than a plain shoe. What I like about them is they’re stylish, but also timeless.  Go with a brown (I especially love a lighter brown) like these from Call it Spring, and wear them with your gray, navy, or tan pants (just, please, not black). They also look slick with a pair of dark jeans. And, for the bolder butches out there, swap out the laces for a pair like mine from Cole Haan (below) for a fun flair.

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 2.25.52 PM

+Pro-tip- Check out Aldo, and their sister store, Call it Spring. They carry inexpensive, fashionable shoes (and lots of wing tips) in as small as a size 6 (online). My brown wing-tips are from Call It Spring, and I pretty much wear them everywhere (note the laces have been changed out for these khaki colored ones).


6. A tailored blazer

I can’t even begin to tell you how much you can do with a fitted blazer. I’ll be honest, I found my first one at a thrift shop. It’s a navy blue (with pin stripes) Calvin Klein boy’s jacket which I spent $10 on. When Richie the Tailor was done with it ($80 later) it fit like a dream. Bottom line, I don’t care where you find it (thrift shops are awesome. Just be patient), just get it tailored. The same rules for suits apply for blazers. Go for the H&M, Zara, or Top Men selection, and remember, make sure the shoulders fit right (everything else can be altered). Butches also really like the J-Crew Ludlow collection, like the jacket below.


Stick with a solid gray or navy, no crazy prints. And, general rule of thumb, avoid pin stripes (unless they’re so subtle you have to be really close to see them, like mine). This makes it much easier to pair with an outfit. Wear it with dark jeans and a button down. Add a tie for a more dapper experience. Or, if you can rock it, wear it with a solid crew neck T-shirt (just don’t do the Mike from Shah’s of Sunset and pair it with a tank top. Seriously, what is happening there?).

+Pro-tip- Two words; pocket. square. If you’ve never ventured into the world of accessorizing your suit, this is a great way to do it. Just make sure to match the colors of your pocket square to at least one of the colors in your shirt or tie. Feel free to mix patterns (in fact, I encourage it, when you get brave enough). Trust me, I almost feel naked wearing a blazer sans pocket square now. Start with a solid white, and then slowly up your game to gingham (just stay away from silk… they make you look like you should be drinking brandy in a smoking room with a bathrobe on).

7. A timeless (get it?) watch

This one is up for interpretation. If the thought of yellow gold makes you cringe, then go for silver. If you want to play it safe with a round face and simple dials, do it up. A watch is something that you can use to express your style, and also to get some serious attention. I, personally, have about ten watches, all for different occasions, because I’m a watch slut, and I would spend every paycheck on watches if my girlfriend wouldn’t kick me out.

Speaking of my wonderful girlfriend, for Christmas this year, she gave me my favorite gift of all time– this tank watch from Omega, made in the 70’s. I love it because 1. it was a thoughtful, beautiful gift from the girl I love and 2. she put a lot of research into it, so that it pretty much completely sums up my look. She knows I love JFK and Steve McQueen as icons, so she did a little (okay, a lot) of looking into what kind of watch they wore back in the day. And she came up with this beautiful Omega vintage watch I adore, and wear everyday.


Straight up, find a watch you love, that you want to use as a daily-wearer (no, this is not necessarily the same as your dress watch you wear when you have a nice night out). Change out the band, get it sized, do whatever you have to in order to make it yours. Just be wary of the face. I’m relatively small-wristed (that’s not a gay euphemism), and have a hard time with modern men’s watches, as the faces tend to pretty much take up my entire wrist. This just looks sloppy. If you have to go for a women’s watch that is made to look more masculine, do it.

Start with these 7 must-haves, and you’ll be up and running.



The Butch Bag- Not Your Girlfriend’s Purse

The closer I get to thirty, and the longer I remain baby-faced, the more I try to to look like an adult. Here’s a tip for you all– nothing says “I’m still in high school” like a backpack.

A few years ago my Mom got me a beautiful Kenneth Cole camel colored shoulder bag. I loved that thing. I loved it so much, I set out to beat the ever-living crap out of it by carrying it with me on the Boston subway (gross), the Boston public buses (grosser), and into the hospital I work at (grossest). I thought that the years of abuse would give the leather a nice, vintage feel (as time tends to do to good leather). Unfortunately, it just ended up looking like a Goodwill special. For that reason, this Christmas, I invested in a Jack Spade military briefcase.

This is the Kenneth Cole bag I have, in its better days.

This is the Kenneth Cole bag I have, its better days.

My advice to you is this; ditch the backpack, Bieber, lest you want to look like a Red Bull smuggling punk.

My bro (see my earlier post “How to Have a Bromance with Your Girlfriend’s Ex”) turned me on to these sexy little things by my guy Jack Spade.


Here are some other backpack-replacements we love!


B has that awesome bag from JCrew.

B has that awesome bag from JCrew.

Clearly, we love Jack. No. Love doesn’t seem to do our feelings justice. But if you don’t want to shell out $200 for a messenger bag (and I can’t say I blame you), you can find some killer knockoffs at H&M, or even, yes, American Eagle, all for way under $100.

I admit, I still own a backpack. It’s a simple, black North Face backpack I bought when I moved to the city, thinking it might be better for trucking my textbooks across campus in the middle of winter. But I try to refrain from using it, except for something like a flight where I need a little extra space in my second carry on.  Because, believe me, it makes me look like a member of One Direction, and God knows I don’t need any help with that one.

If you must carry a backpack still, do it like this (from Herschel):

Herschel Backpack

And finally, fellow accessorizers (and also, fellow-accessorizers), don’t count out your weekend bag. It’s only been in the last year (when I was shlepping my clothes back and forth to my girlfriend’s place every couple of nights) that I realized the importance of a nice duffle. Don’t just use that ratty old gym bag that smells like last month’s spin class. No really… please don’t. The other subway passengers will thank you. Try one of these on for size (but, actually, that’s the best part about bag shopping… they all fit):


Bottom line, bags aren’t just for your girlfriend. My bro and I are pretty much obsessed with new bags, and would probably buy a new one every week, if we could. I use my Jack Spade brief case as the ultimate butch purse. It holds my iPad mini, a couple of paperback books, 14 different kinds of chapstick (okay, so I lose them… a lot), gum, and other such essentials. Use it like a pocket book. Bring it with you wherever you go. Just don’t fill it up with junk (month old Dunkin Donuts receipts are not considered essential every day accessories, guys).

Trust us… a little bit of Jack can make a big difference.



Hey! Buying a Suit Isn’t As Bad As You Think

I’m starting with this topic because it tends to the bane of the fashionable butch’s existence. I know it was mine.

If you’re a truly “dapper butch,” you probably like dressing up. And even if you don’t, it’s inevitable you’re going to have to do it at some point or another. So how do you navigate the world of Men’s Warehouse and Macy’s and Nordstrom’s (Oh My!) to find something that doesn’t make you look like Rosie O’Donnell at the GLAD Awards (no offense, Rosie…)?

When I first came out, I made the gradual transition from girl jeans to cargo shorts, until I was rocking the horrendous 2004 gel-fest known as a faux hawk and singing “I Kissed a Girl” (not really. Katie Perry didn’t actually start experimenting until a couple of years later). When it came time to look nice, I always shuttered a little bit, because I wasn’t altogether comfortable with ties, never mind a full on men’s suit. But since I’ve moved to Boston (the land of we-don’t-give-a-fuck) I’ve become much more okay with who I am — which usually involves men’s clothing. It’s taken a long time, though, to figure out the tricks to suit-buying.

If you’re in the market for a really great suit (which, let’s face it, you really should be), you’re going to run into some major problems. In general (and there are exceptions to this rule which I will mention in a minute), men’s suits are, well, just that; they’re made for men. And, as much as it irks us, men are taller, have bigger shoulders, longer arms, and straighter hips. Oh, and the biggie, they don’t have boobs. Guys like Calvin Klein, Armani, and Versace just didn’t have masculine-identified women in mind when they started designing! (I know, it’s horrible).

But, fear not, my fellow suit-lovers! THERE ARE WAYS AROUND THIS!!

1. Find the right stores-

Seriously. I can’t emphasize this enough. There are about a billion menswear brands out there, and they all fit differently. A small dress shirt from Alfani is like, ten times bigger on me than a small dress shirt from Express. Yes, you Stone-Colds out there who hate shopping, you’re going to have to try stuff on. Find a brand that works for your body type. If you’re lanky, hip-less and flat-chested, you’ll find this easier than most. But for those of us who aren’t, it’s going to take a little more experimenting.

I’m a ginormous 5’1″, and usually wear a size 29 in men’s pants and an extra small shirt. Now, I may be bias, but I think I have one of the hardest female body-types to shop for. If you’re like me (a little on the petite side), I suggest H&M, Zara, J-Crew and Top Man for starters. And don’t even think about reaching for that “regular cut” (gag!). When it comes to suits (and everything, really, if you’re in the Lollypop Guild like I am), I have three words for you you must carry with you at all times; SLIM, SLIM, SLIM. Got it? Good. Look for terms like “slim fit,” “vintage fit” etc. Trust me on this one– if you have a small frame, anything slim is going to fit you normally, not leave you looking like you just came out of a Fall Out Boy concert with your little brother.

If you’re taller, and a little big on the bigger-chested-bigger-boned size, you can basically shop anywhere, with these points in mind: the shoulders should hit at your shoulders. Not halfway down where that tribal tattoo from the 90’s is (yeah, I’m talking to you!). Shoulders are KEY, since they are the most expensive alteration your tailor needs to do. Next, make sure it’s big enough in the chest area. Suits aren’t designed to hold a set of breasts. They just aren’t.

Melange Blazer

Melange Blazer – from H&M;amp;

See this dude? He’s doing it right. H&M has some great jackets in men’s sizes, for those of us who aren’t pint-sized and are lucky enough to make them look good.

And for all shapes and sizes…Please, for the love of God, leave MC Hammer and Justin Bieber out of this!! That means NO BAGGY LEGGED SUIT PANTS. Honestly, ladies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this. Your pants should not flow freely in the wind. They just shouldn’t. Keep them snug, and fitted, like everything else, or you will look ridiculous. Period.

I adore Casey (come on, who doesn’t want to be part of that relationship??). And the above is a great example of a suit looking dank on a larger chested woman. I am not, however, a huge fan of the sleeve length, or how baggy the pants are. Slim, folks. Slim. Also, the sleeves should hit just below your wrist. Bonus points if you show off an inch of your sleeve cuff.

Now, I’m going to suggest something rather extreme. Something that has proven successful for me for a while now….

2. Shop in the kids section!

I know, this sounds crazy/a little sick. But it works. If you’re small enough to get away with it, do it. It’s cheaper, and odds are a boy’s size 14 is going to fit you better than a men’s 36R (which is usually the smallest suit jacket size you can find in most stores). This is me, in my favorite suit I wore in my best friend’s wedding this fall (and to, like, five days of PA school interviews… which brings me to my side point– DRY CLEAN, kids…).

3. Tailor, tailor, tailor!!!

Did I mention tailor? This is, by far, the single most important thing you can do to get a suit to up your swag. I found this great little Armenian guy named Richie who works out of a tiny hole-in-the-wall in downtown Boston. He charges exorbiant amounts of money, but my stuff comes back looking flawless. There is (almost) no such thing as a suit that fits off the rack. Especially if you’re a female! So find yourself a Richie, and make him your best friend (if I sent Christmas cards out, Richie would definitely make the list). Don’t be surprised if you end up paying more to tailor the suit than you paid for the suit itself. The above Zara outfit cost a total of $125, and I think I paid another $200 just in alterations. A good tailor will be able to take in the waist (just because you’re soooo butch doesn’t mean your clothes shouldn’t fit), hem the legs, take up the sleeves (because there’s nothing worse than a suit jacket that’s too long), and even take up the pant pockets. This is a must. So if you skimp on anything, don’t let it be the tailoring.

4. Finally, own that shit.

There’s nothing sexier than someone who knows they look good (unless you’re a dick about it… then you’re just gross. Ew). Walk down the street like the dapper butch you are, and expect to get a ton of compliments.