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.
Several weeks ago, I featured three new butch-centered clothing companies
, Saint Harridan
, and Tomboy Tailors
. Since then, I've heard about many related companies--some focused on masculine women, some not--but all
geared toward queer women, and all worth knowing about.
- Androgynous: Their lookbook boasts cool, modern styles. Not totally masculine... but not that girly, either. Keep an eye on these guys.
- Focx: A super cool butch/boi underwear company I've seen. I have a few boxcers from them and love 'em.
- Marimacho: Based in Brooklyn, it offers "classic clothing for the unconventionally masculine," including swimwear and steampunk gear.
- Original Tomboy: A rare lesbian from the world of (Project) runway fashion, Alicia Hardesty wants to redefine the phrase "dress like a girl."
- The Butch Clothing Company: This British company offers lots of different suit styles, all for fairly formal occasions.
- Studville: A source for casual lesbian-themed clothing, particularly hats, tees, and accessories.
- Kreuzbach10: This newly-funded Australian company will make men's shirts to fit women's bodies. I look forward to seeing more from them.
- Let's Be Brief: Ah, but what do you wear under your vests and bow ties? LBB has you covered: underwear designed for LGBTQ folks.
- Seven Even Clothing: Currently limited to tees, hats, sweatpants, and hoodies, but definitely some cool designs for casual wear.
And of course, there's my own pet project, the Butch Store
, which isn't my own line of stuff, just a bunch of links to things I think butches will love.
(At left is a sample of the Marimacho look from their website. Cool, no?)
Do you know of any other companies I should add to this list? What do you think of these guys? Are there any big gaps you'd still like to see filled?
With Valentine's Day around the corner, it's a good time to think about your intimate apparel. If my Facebook fans are an indication, most butches wear boxer briefs or regular briefs (men's or women's) during the day and regular boxers to sleep in at night. Some favorite brands: Fruit of the Loom
, and Champion
These are fine go-tos, but I wondered what interesting options were out there, so I did some research, contacted companies and Etsy shops, and got some wares to inspect. Here--in no particular order--are some awesome choices that will let you look great, have some cool style options, and support small businesses. (These make wonderful gifts, too.)
Bonus Pants is a little company out of Portland
that offers a ton of fun, loud choices for cotton boxers (including mustaches, donuts, bananas, potatoes, skulls, bacon strips, motorcycles, and more. The owner, Dagny, will make any style with or without an open fly (I tried both and prefer without). They're baggy, plenty long, and don't ride up. Around $18.
is a relatively new company, queer-owned and made in Canada! Their boxer briefs are a little short for my taste and have a bit of a pouch in the front, but they come in a range of terrific colors, their customer service is awesome, and their undies are super soft. If you're pale, unskinny, or don't have much of a butt, these aren't likely to be as attractive on you as they are on Gripped's hot male models. But if you want to show off your stuff and support a queer business, this is an awesome choice. $30.
Though they only have one style to choose from, Ohganix
boxer briefs are also worth a look. They're expensive as heck ($60), but the softest boxer briefs I've ever tried on. Made in California, organic, and probably macrobiotic and gluten-free as well. Mine are 96% hemp and 4% spandex, and have the perfect amount of stretch. (They make "ladies'" stuff, too.)
is an incredibly hot British brand, and if you've never checked them out, now's the time (even if it's just for the hot pics on their website... yowza!). It's made for women, by women, and has tons of fabrics and two styles: boi shorts (left), and bocxers, which are a little longer. I've tried both. Although I wanted to like the boi shorts best, my torso bears an insufficient resemblance to the models' for it to look great on me. Still, awesome quality at a decent price (£16.99, or about $26). The bocxers, on the other hand, are totally comfy and hot. Try both!
Oh, and did I mention that the Focx models are ridiculously hot?
I thought these were a little cheesy at first, but I admit that I totally love my tie-dyed boxer briefs from 2 Tie Dye 4
. They're a steal at $16, come in boxer briefs (Champion) or boxers (Merona), and add some really fun color to your boring ol' underwear drawer. They're also pre-washed, so despite my worries, they didn't dye my other clothing. Maybe best of all, they come from Hawaii's Big Island. Aloha, butches!
makes boxers in fabrics that include football logos, seasonal prints, and two John Deere tractor prints (yes, really). They're made for men, so there's extra material up front, but they're a deal at $16 for such cool fabrics (and if they don't have a fabric you want, be sure to ask!).
offers a similar style to EX Designs and Bonus Pants, also with a broad range of fabrics (check out these paw prints), not all of which are pictured in the store. The fit is wider and shorter than others I've tried. Since I like my boxers on the long side, I didn't love the fit, but plenty of butches complain about too-long boxers, and would find these perfect. Good quality, steep price. $72.
If Fruit of the Looms fit you well but you're interested in something with a little more spice, check out Sexy Delights
. Being a fan of the bookish ladies, I chose their reading mudflap girl (left), but in lime green. I think they're super fun, but my DGF maintains that they're tacky. We're probably both right. Tons
of print options. $20.
Last, but decidedly not least, are these great boxers from AmiElisah
. They're especially
well made (even my hard-to-impress DGF was impressed!), come from Britain, and have little tiny elephants printed all over them. Very cute and wearable both under pants and
to bed. £15.00 = $24.
I hope these great boxers and boxer briefs inspire you to spice up your underthings. When I told them about Butch Wonders, the owners of all of these businesses were super enthusiastic about having butch customers. Yay for queer-friendly small businesses!
In addition to the boxers I descibed here, I've also got some awesome, never-worn pairs of boxers and boxer-briefs to give away (including ones from Focx and LKeonardDesigns), as well as some hot greeting cards and a pair of cufflinks from Focx! Send me
a picture of yourself in boxers or boxer briefs and a tank or T-shirt and I'll enter you to win schwag! Pics may be posted on butchwonders.com, so keep it PG-13 and SFW. ;)
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.
I am sooo stoked! The "Pets & Their Butches" calendar--inspired by YOU all, is finally here. It took, oh, 20 times longer than I expected to make it, but I think it was worth it, and I hope you do, too.
I received hundreds of submissions for the calendar--far more than I expected! I couldn't use them all, but congrats to the butches whose photos were chosen (as a monthly photo, or for the front/back cover, or for May or December, which are photo collages)! Special thanks goes to my awesome DGF for making some of these photos much better and higher-res with her amazing Photoshop skills.
This is such a cool example of butches coming together to create something awesome. I hope you'll consider getting one
. They come in three different sizes. Order two or more and get 50% off with the code 2CALDEALFREE
.Alas, Zazzle makes 75% of the profit (if I do this again, I'll look into better options!). But 25% goes to support Butch Wonders
--yay!--and after I cover my own costs, I'll be donating 100% of the profits
to a local animal shelter.So, what are you waiting for? Go check out the calendar(!), and while you're at it, see if you like any of the other goodies I've created.
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!
I just went shopping to help a male friend of mine buy casual clothes for work. I learned that I am not alone in having difficulty finding menswear that fits me well...
My friend is a small guy, but not tiny. He is probably 5 ft 6 or so, and very slim. Men's shirts with a 14.5 collar simply didn't fit him. For the most part, the sleeves were way too long — even the 32–33's — and so were the shoulders. The Banana Republic smalls were even too big, which I didn't know was humanly possible. He was a good sport about it, and he and his girlfriend and I were eventually able to find a few — but just a few — shirts that fit.
Of course, I couldn't resist trying on a some shirts myself, whereupon I was once again confronted with the all-too-familiar problem of having boobs and hips. My neck is a 15.5, but if you have ever tried to button a 15.5 — or even a 16.5 — men's shirt over a pair of size Ds, you know how impossible it is. The 17.5 fits fine around the chest and hips, but is just way, way too big everywhere else. Of course, some brands work better than others (CK is my current go-to for shirts), but overall it was just one of those days where nothing fits quite right.
On days like this, sometimes I wish that I didn't have boobs or hips, or at least had less, um, ample ones. But my boobs and my hips are a part of me, and I feel comfortable with them; I just wish that the clothing I like worked for the body I have. Sigh.
I was also "sir'd" twice. (Usually, clerks aren't sure what to call me, so they don't use a pronoun at all.) One of those times was particularly awkward today. A salesclerk said, "Can I help you sir?" I turned around and he said, "oh, ma'am, I'm sorry." I said, "it's okay." He apologized again, and to try to make him feel less awkward, I said "I have a men's shirt on, so I understand." He looked at me a minute and then said, "Well, your haircut confuses us."
What?! Who is this "us?" And what is so incredibly confusing about a woman with short hair? The "confusion" point annoyed me in a way that being called sir never does. Grrr!
Holy crap, it's October! If anyone knows how that happened, email me.
With the plethora of independent T-shirt sellers out there, there's no excuse for parading your queer self around town in dull shirts that say things like "Quiksilver" (full disclosure: I love Quiksilver). So I went to Etsy, found the coolest T-shirts, ordered 10-15 of them (some were donated), and wore them around for a couple months. Here are my top picks (not in order, though the first two are probably my favorites!).
SevengillDana Gibson's Etsy shop contains simple artistic homages to--in her words--"all creatures, big and small, except for horses." The green four-shark design (left) comes printed on an American Apparel shirt. It instantly became my favorite T-shirt and has held that position for months. The high-quality printing survives lots of washings. $20. Ideaka...And this is my close second favorite!
Chris, the owner of the Ideaka shop
, specializes in designs that tend to incorporate maps, bicycles, and/or birds. I get a ton of compliments every time I wear this shirt, and the quality of the printing is impressive. Printed on an American Apparel shirt. The price is steep, but I'd rather get this shirt than two Hurley tees at Target or something. $28.
Lara, owner of 237inc, has some cool designs--some of which are explicitly queer (one of my favorites just says "gayish"). I don't love the Fruit-of-the-Loom shirt it was printed on, but I do love my "I heart coffee" design, especially the cool print job, which makes each shirt a little different from the next. Reasonably priced. $20.
myuniTThis is the softest T-shirt I've ever owned. I'm not in love with this particular design (though I do like the "Grow More" one a lot).
The collar is a little larger and thinner than on other shirts. I end up wearing it to sleep because it's so incredibly soft. I guess it's made out of bamboo(?!). $28.
TheSimpleLaughYeah, this is a little dorky, but we all know that dorky is in.
Jodi Stiefvater's store, TheSimpleLaugh, caters to geocachers, map-lovers, and coffee drinkers. Unfortunately, not all sizes and styles are available now; let's hope she makes more. $9.
If you're looking for something a little different from the norm, but still cool, check out RetroPopNamu's store, which riffs on Japanese vintage style to create a variety of interesting designs. I love my bullet train design (pictured right), although after 8-10 washes, the graphic is already fading a bit. These shirts run a little larger than most, and the collar seems kind
of thin and stretches out easily. Still, it's a cool enough shirt that I'd buy from this store again. $28.
ZenThreadsAs Etsy shops go, ZenThreads is pretty large. They have a terrific assortment of shirts from which to choose--tons of animals, but also miscellaneous designs featuring astronauts, ampersands (I disapprove of ampersands, just FYI), and hops. I got the one pictured left, and while it's cool, the contrast doesn't show up nearly as well on the actual shirt. They use American Apparel tees. Good price, too. $18. Dark Cycle ClothingDark Cycle Clothing specializes in shirts of a few categories, the largest of which is "animals on bicycles." While the print is way too big (and maybe a little too blatantly hipstery) for this shirt to be a favorite of mine, I like their art. I suggest getting a higher-contrast shirt/print pairing than the squirrel one (pictured), which is what I have. Printed on
an organic American Apparel shirt. $25.
phoenixcompostThis adamantly political, left-leaning, anarchist, feminist,
environmentally-conscious shop prints on used tees from thrift stores. A good idea, but I don't like not knowing the brand ahead of time--even though I ordered my usual size, the shirt I received ended up being way too big for me. Plus, I didn't like that it was already a little pilled. Still, an awesome idea. $18.
There you have it--awesome tees to spice up your fall. Yay for supporting Etsy and independent businesses! And if you have a great idea for a BW shirt, let me know
--we'll make it happen.
After a year, my Butch at the Beach post
is still one of my most popular, but I wanted to write a couple follow-up posts to answer some great questions I've gotten from readers. Here are a few you've been asking:
- Do I need to wear anything under my shorts? Nah, not really. Personally, I like wearing a swimsuit, some tight shorts, or even plain black underwear, if my shorts are baggy. It just feels more "secure" or something. Maybe I'm an especially modest butch...
- I look stupid in shorts that go past my knees, and it seems like boardshorts are all really long. If you're not very tall and are on the slim side as well, I recommend boys' boardshorts (like these Quiksilver shorts, which go all the way down to a 22" waist!). If you're not tiny-waisted, but dislike super-long shorts (I fall into this category), I recommend Quiksilver shorts, because they tend to be an inch or two shorter than brands like Hurley and Billabong. Personally, I swim in the Quiksilver men's Rocky boardshorts (pictured right, top). Parke & Ronen is kind of a high end brand that has stylish but not-too-long boardshorts. I especially like these striped ones (right, middle), which happen to be 40% off right now. A couple other good bets include Onia (right, bottom) and Bjorn Borg boardshorts.
- The place I swim won't let us wear T-shirts in the pool. Talk to the people who run the pool. Usually the problem has to do with the material most T-shirts are made of. A basic rash guard (like the O'Neill one pictured below, which I really like) is made of nylon and spandex and doesn't contain any cotton.
| || |
- My shirt keeps sliding up when I swim, even if I tuck it into my shorts. This, too, is a place where rash guards can help, since most of these have a little loop to let them attach to your boardshorts!
What other swimming-related questions have come up for you this summer? (I'll probably be writing another swimwear post soon and will answer as many as I can.) What tips and tricks would you give to other butches about swimwear and beachwear?