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.
#3: Everything imported from France is vaguely classy and expensive, right? This 5-star mango lime ginger jam by L'Epicurien is no exception. There are several other flavors, most around $8-14. These include confit of rose petals (edible?), banana flambee jam (how do they light a fire in that tiny jar?), and confit d'ananas au poivre de penja (whatever that is).
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.
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.
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!