It’s June. It’s Pride. It’s spring/summer, and all of a sudden, I’m noticing handsome people of butch, masculine of center, and/or other queer persuasions walking around in bowties, vests, and other dapper accessories, and making Brooklyn so much brighter in spite of all the dreary rain.
It’s difficult to describe butch identity succinctly, because it’s broadly self-determined, and because I’m not butch. But I’ve long appreciated those who are, those who lean more towards the masculine side of gender and gender expression. So when Meg asked if Aly and I would be interested in putting together style suggestions for a butch/femme wedding, the virtual ink wasn’t even dry on the email before I started swooning over tie tacks.
I think the best part of wedding planning for my partner K has been getting fitted for a custom-made suit and dress shirts. We’ve spent maybe five times as much on her outfit as we have on mine, and certainly way more than either of us has spent on clothing to this date. And it’s been entirely worth it, because fashion historically hasn’t been kind to those who are female-bodied and interested in expressing a more masculine gender identity. Men’s clothes rarely accommodate for breasts and hips, and women’s clothes are generally too feminine.
I have it relatively easy: even though I’m not particularly fashion forward, and even though most stores don’t carry my size, I can still find dresses, and I like women’s shoes, and my gender expression fits decently into larger societal expectations (as long as those include clogs). So, what do you wear to get married if you’re butch, masculine of center, transmasculine, not-quite-butch, butch-on-the-inside, genderqueer, or none of the above, but just not the dress type? Over the past few years, clothiers have cropped up that feature more masculine clothing specifically tailored for different bodies. Seeing how pleased K looks with herself when she wears well-fitting clothes, when she looks the way she feels, makes me hope the trend continues. Because everyone should be able to wear clothes that celebrate their gender expression, whether they’re getting married or waiting for the L train.
1. At Bindle & Keep, LGBTQ clothier specialist works with a client (Prices Vary) 2. Penguin Men’s Clifton Gingham Tie ($37.12) 3. K totally perked up when she saw Jay Gatsby’s collar bar ($15) 4. Something blue! (No longer available, but these Cole Haan Wingtips are a close second. $198) 5. Hidden message collar stays. A sweet morning-of gift, and this might actually work for K, who refuses to wear jewelry (price not available) Not Pictured 6. Mack Weldon Sock/Shirt/Brief Combo. I asked K what she will wear to get married, and she said she’s starting with unders and socks from these guys. They’re amazing, she says. ($80) 7. Engravable belt buckle from Tuckernuck ($95) 8. I would like K to open a whole boatload of oysters at our wedding with this German anchor knife. ($29.95) 9. Seersucker suit with matching vest! From J.Crew ($298)
And for custom-fitted suits, consider:
For more Butch Wedding Style, check out our Queer Wedding Style Pinterest Board
Elisabeth Snell works in public health in New York City, and writes about her upcoming legally binding wedding clambake as one of APW’s 2013 Writing Interns.