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 Now I’m not Martha Stewart (outdated reference, but honestly I don’t think I know any other crafty famous people), and my sewing experience goes about as far as 8th grade home-ecconomics class,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.

Why You Should Keep Dating Your Girlfriend

When Jill and I first started dating, we were doing just that– dating. Fourteen months ago (but who’s counting, right?) we would take the bus and meet somewhere downtown for sushi (not my favorite, but I ate it because it was her’s) or a movie. There was something so exciting and terrifying about those first nights. I distinctly remember sitting in the freezing cold at a bus stop by Northeastern, waiting for a bus I’d never ridden to take me somewhere near Fenway Park. My heart was pounding so hard I had to listen to music on my iPhone to drown it out. We did this once a week at first… And then, it became two or three times a week. And finally, a month or so into seeing each other, she let me come over.

Kristen Stewart playing Butch Femme2

Now, don’t get me wrong… the dating didn’t stop here. We still went out to dinner in the city and saw the occasional show. But it soon became evident to me that Jill could cook better than any restaurant, and her apartment was adorable and homey. I preferred cuddling on the couch watching fifteen straight hours of Bravo and eating her scallops and spinach risotto to fighting Saturday night crowds in Boston and trying to find $40 parking. Eventually, I moved in. And her homey home because my homey home. And our nights were adorable too, and filled with cooking dinners and drinking red wine and all of that new-couple romance.

But let’s get real, ladies. This doesn’t last forever (I can actually see the appalled look on Jill’s face when she reads this for my saying this… hear me out, baby). The truth is, over time, Friday night candlelit dinners sometimes get swapped out for On-Demand and Dominos. I love these nights. I love when I finish a twelve hour shift, swing by the local pizza place, pickup a $20 pizza and a bottle of soda, and we watch hours of House of Cards in bed. Do not, I repeat, do not think I’m in any way belittling the simple things here.

Something happened to us last night though. Something unexpected, and kind of reminiscent of our early “courtship.” Jill and I decided to try this place that does bowling and flatbread pizza. It’s apparently some kind institution in the Boston area. We were tired from a full work week, it was 5 damn degrees outside, and we really had to push ourselves to leave the house. But we did. It turned out the bowling joint has a 50 year long wait list (not really,  but close), so we abandoned that plan and started to wing it. For a while, we walked down the streets of Somerville (a little city/suburb on the outskirts of Boston), holding hands and trying to figure out what to do for dinner. We settled on a BBQ place we both loved, and while we waited at the bar, something crazy happened. We talked. I mean really talked. Jill and I talk, of course. We talk at home. We text. We call each other. But often, too often, as we’ll both agree, life tends to get in the way of that talking. There’s this Facebook meme going around that says something like “you’re my favorite person to lie in bed with and look at our cell phones.” True that. Come on. You know you’re guilty of it. Jill and I have both agreed on multiple occasions that we spend far too much time interacting with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even other people via phone lines when we should be spending time with each other. It’s so easy to be in the same room with someone, and not actually be IN THE ROOM with them.

For several hours, we sat and talked over pulled pork and sweet tea. Nobody picked up their phones. Nobody answered texts or checked their email. It was just us (and the 50000 other people crammed into the restaurant that night). Over just one dinner, we reconnected about our jobs and our goals, our friendships, and reminisced about our past together. There was something almost ethereal about the whole thing, as I looked at her, overwhelmed by all the same things I felt on those first few dates. I knew I loved her. I never question that. But don’t underestimate how important it is to be able to have this moment, where you look at your girlfriend like you’re seeing her for the first time… again.

I know this isn’t exactly news. But if everyone knows it, why is it so hard to follow through with? I know it can be for us. I don’t care how long you’ve been dating. I don’t care if you pee with the door open or talk about your rashes or know every last little thing about her. There’s always something new to learn, and probably, something new to fall in love with. So get off the couch once in a while, put away the take out, turn off the Bravo (I know, I know, but Andy Cohen will be there when you come home), and take that woman out for a real, honest to God date. The longer you’ve been together, the more you need to. And if you’re just starting out… make a habit of it now.


I don’t care if you go bowling, or if you go to a black tie event. Just please, whatever you do, make a NO CELL PHONE rule, and stick to it. Focus on the beautiful woman sitting across from you who probably still has some really great things to say– certainly better than Justin Bieber’s twitter account. One of those lame signs you can hang in your college dorm room says “marriage is falling in love over and over again, always with the same person.” How are you going to do that if you’re too focused on what Ellen’s wearing to the Oscars? Go ahead. Buy her a pulled pork sandwich (or put it on your mutual credit card, because it’s 2014, and you have joint finances). You might be pleasantly surprised what you get in return.

How to Be a Butch Lesbian– According to the Internet

How to Be a Butch Lesbian– According to the Internet

What can’t you find on the internet these days? Seriously. I just found a recipe for something called “monster cookie dough dip” (yeah, it’s as perfect as it sounds). I also just learned how to sew my own tie. I learned about Putin, and I watched Andy Cohen twerk his way across the West Village. But did you know that the internet can also tell you how to be butch?!? Amazing. What’s it going to tell me next??! How to be a woman?? How to make my heart keep beating?? Oh great and powerful internet! How far is your reach!!!

But seriously. I found this article by accident, while searching for articles on (what else?) butch fashion.

How to Be a Butch Lesbian– from wikki how– in only 7 easy steps!!! I will walk you through this… Just in case you need some help.

  1. Ask yourself a few questions. Why do you want to be butch? Do you feel attractive and natural in this look? or is this just a cheap scheme to get women’s attention? Can you handle people knowing about your sexuality? How will others react?

Let’s take a moment and review, shall we?? Why do you want to be butch? That’s sort of like asking me why I want to be female. I don’t want to be, wikki. I love it, sure. But I didn’t decide to be butch. I literally came out of my Mom this way, demanding to burn my dresses and wear only my favorite red corduroy overalls and Ninja Turtle’s t-shirts. It’s not paper or plastic. It’s an identity. Do you feel attractive and natural in this look? Okay, so this one isn’t terrible, I suppose. Being butch is all about being who you are. And that means feeling sexy and comfortable. No, wikki, this isn’t a cheap scheme to get women’s attention. In fact, I dare say that many of the femme’s I’ve pursued have preferred other femmes. And if I had a dime for every straight girl I heard say “if I were a lesbian I’d want to be with someone like me…” …. Can you handle people knowing about your sexuality? You’re right, Mr How… it’s probably better to just go into hiding and dress like an escaped Amish girl so no one figures out you like boobs. But I’m glad you pointed that out.


           2. Develop more masculine mannerisms. Walk with more confidence and stride. Don’t slouch or sit with your legs together. Watch the way men move and move like them. Try to only copy more of the popular guys, when observing them think, is this guy cool? Does he seem attractive to girls? If yes, he is a good example since you do not want to move awkwardly.

Great idea, since we are, after all, just playing a part. Might as well find a good dude to study so we can “pass.” Or… and I’m just putting this out there… we could just walk, talk, move, “stride” and sit however we want. Nah…
            3. Get some masculine clothing. You can buy men’s clothing, or, buy women’s clothing that is boyish. Choose colors that you like in sizes that fit your body nicely. Some good things to get:

  • A few polo shirts
  • T shirts with cool designs on them. Try not to go with big logos or dorky souvenir shirts.
  • Loose-fitting jeans. Not too baggy, not too loose. You can go with men’s jeans or women’s boy-cut jeans since those are made for a female frame.
  • Dress clothes. Pants suits, shirts with ties and nice shoes are great for special occasions. Do learn to tie a tie , as clip ons are tacky.
  • Accessories. Get a few belts and a nice watch (go for a neutral color). A chain to wear around your neck can look handsome.
  • Shoes. You really only need 3 pairs: comfy shoes, dress shoes and boots.
  • Binder. Some butches dislike having large breasts and may wish to bind them down.
  • Boxers – No butch should wear girly undies. Go for comfort. Plaid, solid or simple patterns are best. For the most part, you will be the only one that sees them; keep in mind that your girlfriend will see them so they need to look good.
  • Messenger bag or backpack. Purses are to be avoided.

So, I don’t hate this part. I especially enjoy the cliche reference to “plaid patterns.” Because what kind of butch are you without plaid, dammit?!

4. Skip the make up. Concealer for blemishes and pimples is fine. Eyeliner is okay in small amounts and also make absolutely sure that your always brush your teeth.

I admit to wearing only concealer to cover up those pain-in-the-ass, sickly looking dark patches I get under my eyes in the winter, or to hide the occasional adult acne outbreak. Eyeliner? Not a chance in hell… for me. But I know plenty of butches who wear makeup (um… hello… Ellen? Rachel Maddow?? Kiyomi?? F&%^$%# Shane McCutcheon wore more makeup than Joan Rivers does!). Oh wikki, you’re so wrong. Butches can wear makeup too! Also, make sure that you always brush your teeth… Good advice for everyone, I’d venture.

                5. Get a short hair cut. Look at both women and men for inspiration. To find a look that will look good on you, ask the hair dresser what will match your face shape.

Because, obviously, butches can’t have long hair… *Because men don’t have long hair… Right??… (*read as Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Johnny Depp, Steven Tyler…etc etc etc.)


                   6. Be active. Try to get into a sport or just work out. Be proud of your body and its strengths. Looking attractive and gaining muscle can also be a benefit.

I attempt to play hockey twice a week, partly because I like it, and partly because it makes me feel tough. Also, it must be because it keeps me butch, right? If I didn’t play hockey, I’d surely wake up one day a swiveling femme in lipstick and heels. If butches must care about their bodies, by this logic, femmes must not? Makes sense… Sort of? Or maybe we should all just try to get up off the couch, regardless of our gender, orientation, or where we sit on the masculinity scale. A note to Wikki, I am no less butch when I am 10 pounds too heavy and can barely walk up a flight of stairs without seeing God.

                 7. Act the part. Be confident and masculine. Be chivalrous and gentleman-like. Try your best to stay calm and in control of your emotions in public. Confidence is key, so be sure to take charge and be assertive. Most of all, be yourself.

This is my favorite. Wikki really knew how to finish strong here. They actually go right out and say “act the part.” Being butch isn’t an act. It’s not a part we’re playing. It’s an identity we haven’t chosen anymore than we’ve chosen our parents. “Be chivalrous and gentleman-like”. Okay, I can’t argue there. Butches should always be chivalrous. If not, you’re an asshole. And no one wants to be an asshole butch, right? “Stay in control of your emotions in public.” Seriously??? Seriously. Like… what?! I just… I can’t even… Excuse me, I’m getting emotional and I wouldn’t want you to think me any less butch.

Finally, “be yourself.” Oh… okay, Wikki… now that you’ve just told me exactly how to be, I’ll get right on that.

I’m sure whoever wrote this did so earnestly enough. But really? Maybe I can find one on “how to be a cat” next?


Why You NEED to Subscribe to Birchbox Man

We all have those pesky automatic withdrawls that come out of our checking accounts every month. For me, it was my Planet Fitness membership that hadn’t been used in literally years (don’t worry, I finally canceled it). But there’s one deduction that still gives me butterflies when I see it on my bank statement– my Birchbox Man subscription.

For those of you who think Birchbox is only for lady-ladies, I’m here to tell you how horribly wrong you are. For those of you who have no freakin’ close what Birchbox is until now (like me, before I started dating Jess, who had the women’s subscription), prepare to have your minds blown.

Birchbox works kind of like a magazine subscription. Every month, a small fee is taken out of your account, and you recieve your box in the mail. The original Birchbox is for “women” (quotes intended, as obviously I am not comforming to BB’s gender binaries). It’s $10 a month, and doesn’t offer quite as much as the “men’s” box. Jess used to get it, and it usually included some small samples, and a bottle of nail polish or a headband or some femme crap like that (no offense, femmes… we love you). If you aren’t into that, I highly suggest the Birchbox Man subscription.

For $20 a month, you get what usually turns out to be a KILLER box filled with sample sized products for skin and hair, gadgets, and style items to make you look extra dapper. Their whole MO is to clean “men” up.

This month’s box came with a Nick Graham tie ($49):


I know, I hadn’t heard of him either. But that’s the awesome part about BB. They’re always onto the newest trends and tools. This is a tie I’d probably never buy on my own– but I will absolutely wear it now that BB has 1. given it to me for free (who doesn’t love free stuff?) and 2. shown me how to “mix it up” (as was the theme of the March box).

Another favorite came in last month’s box. The theme was “gentleman’s code.” I received this great cap from the Knottery, which I admittedly was on the fence about. It says “Mr” on it. The debate should be pretty obvious. I didn’t want people to mistakenly think I was mocking the trans community in any way, shape, or form by being an identified female and wearing a cap that says “Mr.” Ultimately, I decided that I am kind of a mister. I hold doors. I always let the lady order first. “Mr” sort of fits. I wore it through most of the eastern Caribbean and to the Bahamas. I rocked it. And no one neither mistook for a man, or some sort of trans-hating biggot.


The skin and hair products have also been invaluable. I’ve gotten a chance to try samples of $120 moisturizer I would never in a million years buy (let’s be realistic here… I’m not Jordan Belfort). I even actually bought the full sized versions of the Cartier cologne from my first box, and the Ernest Supplies soap-free face wash and moisturizers ($43 for both). You also will now have a bathroom stocked full of… get this… TRAVEL SIZES of just about every kind of hair wax, skin cream, chap stick and cologne known to man (or butch).

Here’s another kicker– if you buy the products from birchbox.com, you get points for every dollar you spend. You can also get free points from writing product reviews. Eventually, those points add up, and you get… MORE FREE STUFF! No, I don’t work for Birchbox Man… Although I bet that’d be a really cool job… I just love their stuff. It’s like Christmas every month when I see that my box has shipped.

I only have a couple of beefs here… Small ones… Not even a half a cow… First of all, I’m not a big fan of the way the marketing is geared toward, well, men. I get it. It’s supposed to be Birchbox MAN. Not Birchbox Butch, or Birchbox More-Masculine-Than-Feminine-Identified-Women… But still, I admit I feel just a little uncomfortable when the sneak peek videos and emails are all referring to “men” and “guys” and “dudes.” It can be just a tad frat-boy at times. That being said, I have noticed a handful of women who subscribe to BBM (and not just those who are speaking for their boyfriends) on the message boards. I don’t necessarily have a suggestion to change this… I’m just sayin.

Second beef— I get a LOT of shaving products. I thought this was just me, but my bro B said the same thing. I think this has something to do with the online profile you fill out when you subscribe so they can better tailor their choices to you. One of the questions asks about facial hair… the answer to which was obviously “clean shaven” (again, it’s not exactly queer friendly, since neither “full beard” or “slightly scruffy” was not a reasonable selection either). My girl has been known to use the shaving creams on her legs. And I’ve done it too. But still, I really think they go a little overboard.

BBM’s slogan is “get more handsome for $20 a month.” And it’s true. In my boxes in the past year (oh hey! I just realized this is my one year anniversary with BBM!!!awwww!), I’ve received some gorgeous designer dress socks, a wool beanie I wear all winter, a pair of foldable sunglasses, things like collar stiffs and cuff links, and a whole mess of other awesome products. I am also never short on face wash, body wash, and moisturizer that doesn’t smell like a Victoria Secret model.

Go to birchbox.com/man and sign up. It’ll be the most important $20 you’ll spend this month (unless you donate to the Red Cross, HRC, Planned Parenthood, ASPCA, or any other human/animal/charitable organizations…then you’re a really great person and you’ve earned this).

Make Her Breakfast!- The Dapper Butcher

The Dapper Butcher (All About Food): Make Her Breakfast

A butch needs to know how to keep it right and keep in tight. In her style, in the bedroom, and in the most important place of all; the kitchen. Take the Dapper Butch’s advice on this one, the way to her heart is by making her breakfast.


1. Coffee

Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning. On a busy weekday, I’ll admit to drinking the shitty coffee-flavored water known as a K-Cup. But on a sleepy Saturday morning, take the extra time to make her a strong cup of the good stuff. I’m a big fan of Bodum kettle, and since accessories should always be coordinated, I like the matching French press too.

bodum bodum2

Bodum Hot Water Kettle and French Press

In the summertime, I’m obsessed with cold brewed coffee. Just let the coffee grounds steep in cold water overnight, strain it, and drink!  It’s so easy to make that you can keep this cold brew flowing all summer long.


Improvised kitchen tools!

Check out this how-to guide http://food52.com/blog/7317-how-to-make-cold-brewed-coffee

2. Fruit

Fruit is sexy. Sliced apples may make you feel like you’re giving her a kindergarten snack, but there is nothing juvenile about a beautiful bowl of raspberries, figs, and passion fruit. Next time you are at the grocery store, pick out interesting produce. My trick is to cut everything up. It makes it less messy. I love berries for that reason. Messy food is not sexy, so always make sure your dishes are set up to be easy to eat. Fruit is also colorful, which helps liven up any dish. Tan toast with tan coffee on a tan plate is like….Zzzz. So add some color and brightness by putting your fruit pieces into small colorful bowls, give a squeeze of fresh lime juice and serve!


3. Pancakes

To really impress her, make pancakes from scratch. Stay away from the powdered garbage where you just add water. I never quite understood why those mixes are popular. Nothing could be easier! Are you sensing a pattern here? Easy and effortless are as key in your outfit as the kitchen. With a few simple steps, you’ll convince her that you’ve turned your bedroom into your very own Vermont B&B. All you need is good quality simple ingredients. Some flour, milk, eggs and a few other pantry staples (see recipe below) and you’re good! Top it with softened butter and good quality maple syrup.


Good Old Fashioned Pancakes http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Good-Old-Fashioned-Pancakes/Detail.aspx?evt19=1


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

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.

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Or this Essential V-neck from Gap.

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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).

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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!

Jack SpadeNordstrom.com

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


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.