One of my favorite newish bloggers, A Lesbian in Pensacola, contacted me and said she'd like to post on BW about suitable butch beach gear. I agreed; it's hard to get more beach-experty than Pensacola, after all! Here she is:
Memorial Day Weekend is almost here, and tens of thousands of queers will head down to Pensacola Beach for a massive party. Whether Pensacola is your destination or you choose another beautiful beach this summer, a few essentials will keep you happy and healthy while enjoying your vacation.
[BW note: Pics like this make me rethink my resolution never to live in Florida...]
The first rule of beachy butchness: nobody likes the boiled lobster look. Wear sunscreen (regardless of your natural skin color)! The beach is a lot more fun if you can go back the next day instead of lying in bed with ice packs and Ibuprofen.
[BW note: Not all tankinis suck. See?]
If you're a softer butch, your style options have expanded in the past few years. Tankinis
that used to consist of generic-looking shorts and squared off tank tops now run the gamut of triathlon-ready to super femme. Athleta
offers tons of sizes, and while a lot of them might be too femme
for some, I love the running-ready variety
. The tops fit like sports bras, and solid colors abound. [BW note: what do you wear under that for a bra? 'Cuz my girls aren't gonna be tamed by that tankini alone.] What we call the "
classic Pensacola dyke" look is easily achieved with a women's bra-style top and men's boardshorts.
[BW note: I have this one.]
Rashguards will keep your skin burn-free and scrape-free. If you’ll be surfing, snorkeling, or on a boat, a good rashguard will be your friend. Rashguards are also a stylish way to cover your upper half, if you’re not excited about any of the bathing suit tops.
[BW note: Non-pastel colors!]
For butches who hate wearing women's swimsuit bottoms, the ever-present boardshorts are still ragingly popular. Women's boardshorts
are often short, fitted, and involve pink
. But there's been a lot of color and style progress recently, though most men's boardshorts
will do just fine, as long as they're not so
long as to inhibit your knees when you're playing in the water. It's maddening to try to stand on a surfboard and get stuck in a squat because your knees are locked in your shorts.
Other beach necessities include:
- Any of the Dykes to Watch Out For books make great beach reading. The comic compilation books are fairly small and easily tucked into a beach bag. Dykes to Watch Out For is like an illustrated soap opera, and strikes a good balance of humor and activism—just the right mix for a long day in the warm sand.
- Sunglasses are a must. Oakley Frogskins have made the rounds back to popularity, and there are myriad color combinations. I remember begging my parents for a pair in middle school, and now I can buy my own if I want to represent my 7th grade self (I'm tempted, minus the braces and long hair). These days, I prefer Oakley Bottle Rocket. They're lightweight and reasonably durable, plus, they wrap around the sides of the eyes, providing extra protection from glare off the sand.
- Flip-flops! Butch styles abound. I've had the best luck with Teva and Reef. Plain black flops complement every type of swimsuit, but plenty of cool designs are out there to give you a little extra color.
- A good beach towel goes a long way. Since your towel is likely what you’ll be intimately familiar with at the beach, don’t skimp. I have yet to find a rainbow towel of any decent quality, but I know they’re out there somewhere.
- Frisbees are perfect for the beach. They don't weigh much or take up a lot of room in a bag, and water and sand won’t ruin them. There’s not much hotter than a beach butch doing something sporty.
- A waterproof case for your phone is a great asset. As long as your phone has a decent camera, you'll probably want to leave your heavy photographic equipment at home. I'm too nervous to dunk my phone regardless of the case, but waterproof protection will definitely come in handy if you get splashed while documenting favorite beach memories.
- Most beach towns don't allow glass near the sand. But one bonus of a developed beachfront is bars. A local drink in a to-go cup—in Pensacola, we chug Bushwhackers—will be fresh, cold, and readily available. For the sober butch, coconut water makes a nice alternative to plain water, and it's available in plastic, cardboard, or aluminum containers.
- If you'll be hitting the sand for more than a couple of hours, you'll want a cooler. All are bulky, so a small, manageable one is your best bet. In addition to drinks, snacks will help you play longer. Even though everything will be on ice, pick something that has a low likelihood of spoiling or melting. Mixed nuts, oranges, and granola bars should hold you until it's time to explore the local restaurants.
Safe travels, and see you on the beach!
[BW note: Thanks for those awesome recs, Pensacola Lesbian! You've not only inspired me to consider putting a "beach" section in the Butch Store, but you've made me want to visit Pensacola!]
Too many queer women steer clear of wrist adornments because they think bracelets are inconsistent with a masculine fashion aesthetic. I say: no way. It's totally butch to add pops of color and glitz to your outfit (see some basic guidelines
). If you're rocking a fauxhawk, guys' shoes and jeans, and a plaid shirt with a white undershirt (I know I just described at least one in three readers), no one will take you for femme just because there's a string of beads around your wrist.
In fact, your willingness to embrace a little flare can actually underscore
your butchness (note to my buddy C: I dare ya). Ah, but where to start? Well, I've put a bunch of bracelets in the Butch Store, so check those out (I just added a bunch of new ones yesterday). But even better, I wanted to share some of my favorite Etsy sellers. I love all of the bracelets I'm describing here and I wear them all myself (yeah, that's my albino wrist in most of the pics). [Disclaimer: these sellers gifted me a bracelet to review. But per usual, I've refused to review anything I don't like, and none of these are paid endorsements.]
| |Existential Ella
Not only is Ella one of the very sweetest, kindest sellers I've ever met online, but she's also a big supporter of the gay community. Her quality, color combos, and variety of styles are way fun, and I wear the bracelet pictured here a lot (and it hasn't started to fray even a little). Great for layering with other bracelets, too! Prices vary depending on number of colors, design, etc. Totally customizable!
| |Beaded Graffiti
When I got this in the mail, I may have stopped breathing for a second. Seriously, this thing is gorgeous. It's also my DGF's favorite of all of these. The individual beads are delicate, but in a thick row like this, it's definitely butch. The craftsmanship is stellar. While this exact one isn't currently being sold, this one
and this one
are just as awesome. They run in the $40 neighborhood for single-wrap.
| || |GS Jewelry
If you want to spoil yourself or a butch loved one with a high-quality wraparound, GS Jewelry is a fabulous place to look. I've included a pic of my personal favorite
, which I love wearing with anything brown or (admittedly rarely) pink. $30. I want this one
| |Fauve Bleu HazelwoodSupposedly, hazelwood is good for a large number of maladies: arthritis, osteoporosis, migranes, and more. Though I can't attest to this, I can attest to the
excellent versatility of the bracelets made by Fauve Bleu Hazelwood. The wood's hue will lighten over time, but it still looks good. The one pictured here
is $12.95, and there are scores of colors available, too--plus anklets and bracelet/anklet sets.
| || |Ida EstelleAt first glance, the stop might look a little glitzy for butches, but it's worth looking closer. Ida Estelle has some real gems, including this number (pictured left
), which has just the right amount of bling. $36.
| |Wink & BaubleI've misplaced my Wink & Bauble bracelet (gr!), so you don't get the joy of seeing my pasty white wrist in this photo. Their shop is chock full of any bright color you want
--orange, bright blue, etc. Single, double, and triple wraps are available. The nifty one I've pictured
will set you back $42.50, but it'll certainly last.
| || |Son of a Sailor
Though their stuff doesn't really fit my style, I wanted to include these guys in my review because their bracelets are cool, well-made, and I can think of lots of people on whom they'd look rockin'. Don't you love the androgynous pink + blue
? I want to gift mine to one of my favorite trans* bloggers. $28. Keep yours from getting wet (it'll stain).
BTW, if you're not sure how to layer your scores of excellent bracelets, here's an example of how to rock the layered look. Basically, everything goes with everything as long as there's no egregious clashing happening. (If you can't decide whether it's okay, you should probably assume it's fine. The standard rules of matching don't apply to casual jewelry.) You should probably skip loading up on bracelets for a job interview, but pretty much everywhere else, you're set. Especially great for the summer, if you're like me and tend to rock plain T-shirts and shorts whenever possible. A pop o' color is totally--even hella--butch.
As you know, I enjoy wearing queer themed t-shirts
. And I'm not the only one! Two awesome BW fans in SF (who contributed to this entry, btw) have created this "JUDGE ME" T-shirt
to help keep the DOMA and Prop 8 Marriage Equality debates centered on the LGBTQ community and our allies. They're donating all proceeds to
a combo of important charities: the Human Rights Campaign, SF's LGBTQ Community Center, and Lyric
, a Queer youth empowerment program. (Check out the video
.) There are only TWO DAYS left in their campaign
and, with your help, I think we can push them over their goal. Whaddaya say?
Happy Valentine's Day, dear readers! As promised, here's a wee gallery of butches in their boxers (and boxer briefs), modeling some great butch underthings
(some of which are men's, some of which are women's). For some of you, I'm sure this will be eye candy--for others, fashion inspiration. Many thanks to the brave readers who bared themselves for the glory of the Internet, butch-style.
Whether you're single, coupled, tripled, looking for love, or loving the bachelor life, I hope you have a terrific V-day!
Bracelets have been trendy on men for a couple of years now. But many butches have been slow to embrace the trend--partly because it's not always obvious how to do it right without looking like: (1) you plucked something at random from your little sister's jewelry box, or (2) you are under the mistaken impression that you're a famous rock star.
Plus, for a long time, go-to butch wristwear has been limited to huge leather cuffs. Sure, these can be cool, but the look has kinda been done to death--at this point it doesn't add a lot of spice to your outfit. So how do you rock a bracelet? Here are three simple tips to get you started.
1. Don't be afraid of color. There was a time when only girly-girls wore bracelets that weren't brown or black. Thankfully, that time has passed. Mosaic, multi-colored creations are not only acceptable--they're hot.
2. You'll have to spend more than $3. Bracelets are no longer accessories that you buy from a basket near the cash register. They're more like watches or rings. A light, durable metal (like titanium) can set you back $50 or more--but the quality will be solid.
3. Bracelets aren't just for casual wear. After years of association with surfers and hippies, you might still think bracelets can only be worn with tees and jeans. Nope! A high-quality versatile bracelet like the one pictured, left, can be worn just about anywhere.
Bracelets can be every bit as much of a fashion statement as a watch or a necktie. It might take a bit of looking to settle on some that fit with your personal style. I've put 12 great, butch-worthy bracelet selections
in the Butch Store to get you started.
What's even hotter than a bunch of Butch Wonders readers? A bunch of Butch Wonders readers in ties! You can click on most of them for a larger pic. Oh--and when you're looking at these, don't forget to breathe.
Whew! Thanks for these wonderful photos, and keep rocking those ties, butches. You look terrific!
In an bout of productivity, I've been buying my Christmas gifts early--mainly because my DGF and I have to buy gifts for people we don't know super well (my brother's in-laws and their family). They're doing a "stocking exchange," meaning that everyone puts a small gift into everyone else's stocking.
The upshot? I'm turning into a semi-pro stocking stuffer. I figured sharing my ideas might save you some time finding cool gifts. So forget the bubble bath and candy canes and check out these ideas. My categories are food, practical, and fun. All are under $15 (and most are under $10!).
5 Edible Stocking Stuffers
Who likes food? Answer: everyone. If you're strapped for cash and short on ideas, here are five sweet and savory selections.
: Bacon chocolate bars are sooo 2011. Update your bacon-lover's stocking with this $8 bacon-maple-salt caramel
. What's not to love?
: My main question is: how could you not
buy a seasoning called Bad Byron's Butt Rub
? $7.09 for a small bottle.
| || |#4
: I'm a serious coffee drinker, and buy mine on Go Coffee Go
. They select some of the best roasters in the country, often have free shipping deals, and send your coffee within days of roasting. Two of my favorites are 1000 Faces
and especially Klatch
| || || || |#5
: Flavored bitters are a terrific gift for any semi-adventurous cocktail lover: brothers, aunts, fathers-in-law, friends--you name it. Bitters are versatile mixers that come in an astounding array of flavors, including orange
, black walnut, peach
, and chocolate
5 Practical Stocking Stuffers
Sometimes the most commonsense gifts are the ones we overlook. For the more practical recipients on your list, check out these five ideas.
: At $5.90, Foot Rubz
are one of the best personal massage tools around (not that
kind of massage tool--get your minds out of the gutter, kids). While you're at it, pick one up for yourself, too. I did, and my feet are grateful. A related idea: a scalp massager
: These Panasonic ear buds
come in purple, orange, blue, green, black, white, grey, and pink. They've been rated 4.5 stars by over 1500 users, and somewhat amazingly, are under $6
. Or try these Coby ear buds
for about the same price.
: Chico bags
are great for groceries, books, or stashing sweaty gym clothes. You can never have too many. They're machine-washable, come in eight colors, and you can get a 4-pack for $21
. If you're looking for something more distinctive these are similar
and have designs on 'em.
5 Fun and Frivolous Stocking Stuffers
These are great gifts for kids, people in their 20s, or anyone who you think would appreciate something kind of colorful/fun/frivolous.
Got a bored smartie in your family? Check out this alternative cube puzzle
(pictured right). Not only does it get ridiculously high ratings, but it's marked down 74% right now.
I thought I'd lay out some crucial, basic tie-wearing tips I've been asked about. Even if you know nothing
else about ties, you need to know this stuff:Q: Where should my tie end? A:
At the middle of your belt. Most people know not to let it land too far above
the belt, but letting it land a couple inches below
is just as bad. Q: But then I have to re-tie my tie about 20 times to get it right.A: Yeah, at first--eventually you'll get good at it, though. This is the price we pay for looking dapper. Just be glad no one's making you wear high heels.Q: How wide should my tie be?A: If the tie is between 2.5 inches and 3 inches at the widest point, you're good. This is a "narrow" tie. A skinny tie is about 2 inches wide at the widest point.
I'm not against skinny ties per se, though I think some caution is prudent
.Q: What's the most common butch faux pas you see re: neckties?
A: Okay, admittedly no one actually asked me this, but I feel compelled to share.
At fancy events, I often see butches in too-wide ties that land a couple inches below their belts. This makes a butch look like she's raided her father's closet. Please stop.Q: I never know what knot to wear.
A: A four-in-hand is the easiest to learn, and safe for all except the most formal occasions
. If you're going to learn only one knot, this is the one. Have a friend teach you, or watch this British guy
, whom I find amusing. And: practice, practice, practice!Q: What's the deal with the "dimple?" Do I need one?
A: Yup, you do. A "dimple" just means that if your knot doesn't do it naturally, you push in the fabric right below the knot. Here's a picture. Q: Do I need fancy shoes?
A: Absolutely not. As long as your look is pulled together, there are all kinds of different ways to dress down a tie.Q: You've suggested wearing a loosened tie. How loose is too loose?
A: I undo the top button of the shirt, then pull gently at either side of the collar. You're going for this or this, not for this.Q: Is it okay to wear a tie bar? Where do I put it?
A: Sure. Just make sure it's not wider than your tie, and wear it between the third and fourth buttons of your shirt, clipping the whole tie to the shirt.
If you have any more questions about tie-wearing, just let me know. Meanwhile, I'd love it if you'd send me
pictures of yourself in a tie. I'll post a bunch of my favorites as fashion examples for BW readers!
In response to my last post, a reader named Tessa asked:
[W]hat are good ways to dress down a tie? I really enjoy wearing ties, especially at gay bars, where a woman in a tie isn't necessarily out of place. But I don't want to look like I'm trying to be formal when I'm just out dancing with my friends.
Great question! I can certainly sympathize: I'm rarely in formal settings, yet leap at any semi-plausible opportunity to don neckwear. Two key things to remember: (1) inject some whimsy and/or color and/or self-awareness; (2) keep the pants casual. Let's check out a few approaches.
1. Throw on a colorful or super-casual jacket or sweater. Check out the picture at left. A white shirt and black tie alone would be way too formal. The sweater with a T-shirt, too casual. Combine 'em both, and the look is bold, fun, and colorful. The two looks below illustrate the same idea. A denim jacket (left), varsity-jacket (right; must be worn ironically), or even a black leather jacket are great ways to say, "Yeah, I'm wearing a tie. And I'm having a freakin' blast doing it."
2. Pull a hat trick.
A casual hat, like the driver's cap this model is wearing (right), is dapper and
does a nice job dressing down the tie. The pants aren't super casual, but see how they're dressed down with a pair of Vans and a casual watch? That ensures that you know she's going for a look, not just randomly throwing on the first hat she found in her closet. (That watch is good for dressing down. I got one on Amazon last year and it's held up great. A steal for $14.96
. This calculator watch for $14.99
would do the trick, too.)
3. Add a vest. I've made no secret of my love for vests. Suit vests are fun, versatile, and can be worn buttoned (left) or not (right). Especially nice with a slightly-loosened tie. A guitar never hurts.
| |4. Bust out the Levis.
Well-worn classic blue jeans can look awesome with a tie. Check out the model at left. Talk about smokin'... Below her, see the man in the sunglasses, green shirt, and brown suit vest? That look illustrates not only how good jeans can look with a tie, but another dress-down principle as well:5. Plaid shirts are automatically casual.
If you can pair a tie with a plaid shirt, congratulations: you've successfully dressed down your tie. Plaids are in (thank goodness), colorful, and go well with a solid tie or even a printed tie (provided the print is smaller than the plaid in the shirt). The DapperQ website
always gives me good fashion ideas, and I love the look of the model below.
By the way, it helps to know thyself. Be aware of your own look. If you have a mohawk, or wear ear gauges/tunnels/plugs, or sport a bunch of visible tattoos, your look will likely be easier to dress down, since you already look less formal. On the other hand, if you're like me and have none of the above, you're going to have to add one or two additional accouterments to dress down a tie to the same degree.
6. Cultivate the "self-aware nerd" look. This is a close enough cousin of the un-self-aware nerd look that it can be a little risky, but it's definitely worth a shot. Note the throwback glasses and rolled up sleeves? The two butches below are totally stealing my fashion moves.
No idea where I found this pic. Sorry.
7. Mix prints. Click on the pic at right if you can't see it well on your screen. (This guy is apparently a famous actor, but I'm not always clued in on the culture loop--e.g., my recent introduction to the concept of "jeggings.") He has on a red gingham print under a vest with a much larger pattern in beiges and browns. His skin tone and musculature no doubt help, but the match works because he's mixed a small print with a large one (so the two don't compete), plus there's no color clash happening. He's mixed prints, but only one color is poised to "pop." If his vest was a green plaid, I'm not sure anyone could pull it off (well, except maybe Rachel Maddow).
Have a blast dressing down your ties, #teambutch! And send in your pics--I want to see you rocking these looks.
I love autumn for many reasons, but the top three are:
1. Pretty leaves.2. Pumpkin pie
.3. It's tie season again!As a few of you have mentioned to me, I've been pretty lousy about keeping the Butch Store up to date, but I hereby resolve to do better. Not only do I make a whopping $9-$15 every month (because 5-6% of the proceeds go to support this site when you shop there), but making sure butches look good is a service to our great community.
With that in mind, I'm reviving the Butch Store
, and promise to have more terrific, up-to-date recommendations for clothing and more, starting with ties
.(BTW, I've devoted previous posts to ties: why I love wearing ties but sometimes hesitate to, dos and don'ts of tie-buying, and an ode to wool ties, for starters.
You can see all
my tie-related posts here
If men's fashion week, GQ, Esquire, and common sense are right, ties will be as popular as ever this late fall and winter. Less emphasis on looking like Don Draper, more emphasis on tailoring, wool, plaids, blues, and dark greys. So check out the Butch Store
to get started, and tell me what else I should add.Have you rocked a tie yet this fall, dear readers? What questions/concerns do you have about wearing ties? Sometime this month I'm going to post a list of tie-wearing tips, so I'd love to hear your questions!