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!
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.)
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.
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!
It's officially fall, which means that it's time for all us fashionable butches to break out our sweater vests and rock 'em! To the left is today's BW getup: light grey Banana Republic shirt, black CK vest (well worn--probably time to replace it), and one of my favorite ties (Alfani: black, silver, and some different shades of pink and purple).
Ah, I love sweater vests. I've loved them since I was a high schooler and one of my favorite teachers wore them daily. Even at 16 (holy cow--that was more than half my lifetime ago!), the combination of nerdiness, irony, and practicality appealed to me--although I didn't start wearing them myself until I came out as a lesbian and decided I could wear whatever I wanted.
Breaking *some* social rules somehow frees me to break others. When I'm not dressing how a woman is "supposed" to dress anyway, what do I care if people think a sweater vest is dorky, or calculator watches have come and gone (again), or that blondes shouldn't wear mauve lipstick?
Just kidding about the lipstick(!), but you get my point: being seen as per se "deviant" already means there's more room to break rules, add some random pieces to your wardrobe, and have fun with what you wear. Worry about what looks fashionable and hot and attractive on you.
What are some of the miscellaneous fun fashion items you've got in your closet this fall?
Here are some tips to help you look awesome, dressed-up, and season appropriate all at the same time. (I also put a bunch in the Butch Store).
Check out the Butch Store for a bunch more great ties. There's linen, cotton, orange madras, and plenty more. Have another summer fashion questions? Just drop me a line.
(1) Today's outfit is a black shirt with a grey, navy, and black-striped tie that I borrowed from my DGF's wardrobe (hey, it was hanging on my tie rack, so it seemed like fair game). A good choice for a heretofore blustery day. I'm wearing grey cords with this, as well as my trusty Skagen watch.
(2) I'm revamping the Butch Store. (Yeah, I know it wasn't even fully "vamped" yet, but I'm stoked about the new look/feel/format and think it will be way easier for you to shop.) What would you like to see in it? Dress shoes? Watches? Jewelry? Casual shoes? Books? Comment below and let me know what you'd like to see the new, improved Butch Store offer.
(3) This weekend, my mom and I went to a junkyard/thrift store. One gem we found was this book, Newer Knowledge of Cheese (copyright 1968, I think) which would be tremendously handy to have around if your knowledge of cheese is outdated... and isn't it always? No sooner do I learn something about cheese than there is something even newer to learn about cheese. Our thirst for cheese knowledge can never be quenched, so this book is a necessity.
Today, I'm taking a brief interlude from my coming out story to write a letter to a new object of my affections.
Dear Wool Tie,
I know we just met last week, but I want to tell you how I'm feeling about you. It was good being around each other all day today, wasn't it? I mean, your slightly-heavy-but-oh-so-soft fabric just feels right, especially for fall. Simultaneously intellectual and badass, just like my platonic conception of myself. See, we complete each other, Wool Tie. Deep down in your plaid, woolen little heart, you know it.
People think we look good together, Wool Tie. They all said so. You could see it in their eyes, Wool Tie. They know that you and I are meant to be together. I might even have some of your friends over. Wouldn't that be fun, Wool Tie? You know you'd love it.
The bottom line, Wool Tie, is this: I don't know how my wardrobe and I survived without you, and I hope we'll never have to again.
You asked for it, you're getting it. More--yes, more--pictures of butches in suit vests, looking hot! Thanks to those of you who sent pictures. Feel free to send in more. Think of it as one big fashion collaboration among butches!
Here we have a vest worn by JB. The vest is black, shirt is white, and the tie (though it's hard to see here) is maroon with a subtle plaid pattern. Nice. And the glasses are a dapper touch, too!
Who's the dashing, purple-clad figure to the right, you ask? It's yours truly, in the same shirt-and-tie combo that I'm wearing here, but with a black suit vest (Stafford, bought new on eBay, $30 or so). I wore this ensemble to the wedding I mentioned in my previous post, and received several compliments.
I received this picture with a note asking if I'd be willing to post a pic of a self-described "femme" in a suit vest. My answer: heck yes! (I never understood why people have librarian fantasies, but it's starting to make a little more sense now.) This is Joni McClain, a photographer with Love and Light Images whose work you can also see at this link.
Next up is A, who had this waistcoat (that's what the Brits call vests, my fellow Yankees--classy, huh?) made for a wedding she attended. She writes that you can choose your fabric and send measurements to this site for a custom job. A also advises: "If you have a relatively large bust (as i do) then best to get the ladies fit." I've got to say, a custom-made vest sounds pretty good to me!
Lastly but far from least-ly is one of your favorite celesbians and mine, the hot and hilarious Julie Goldman. (Julie didn't send this in herself--I snagged it from Grace the Spot.) Super cute, right? It's also a good example of how faux-messy hair can look awesome with a tidy, put-together outfit.
There you have it, ladies and gents--five more ways that you can cut a dashing figure at work, at weddings, on the dance floor, or out on a date with this versatile and underused article of clothing.