How many times have you wished you could find a men's shirt that accommodated your sports-bra-clad breasts? Or that you could find a men's-style suit jacket that didn't make you look like a Pop Warner football player? Or that men's pants offered a little more room in the hip region and a little less in the nether region?
Oooh, butches. 2013 is going to be OUR year. Clothing companies are opening that cater to butch women, trans men, and other masculine-of-center folks. I'm going to profile three of the biggies (in the US):
Photo courtesy of Zel Anders; copyright Trish Tunney
To my knowledge, Tomboy Tailors is the only butch/MOC clothing company with a permanent store you can visit. Scheduled to open Feb. 2 (at 50 Post St. in San Francisco, CA), Tomboy Tailors was founded by Zel Anders, a longtime Bay Area butch who was tired of negative experiences at men's clothing stores--even in one of the most progressive areas of the country. "I knew that if I was having these unpleasant shopping experiences, then other butch lesbians and trans-masculine individuals must be having the same experience," Anders says. "It is high time to move the world forward on this issue." Inspired partly by her dapper butch role model, the late legal aid attorney Tanya Neiman, that's exactly what Anders did.
Photo courtesy of Tomboy Tailors
Anders was kind enough to meet with me when I visited SF recently. She has a broad smile and a bold, infectious optimism. She told me, "I want Tomboy Tailors to be well-known and respected... for making beautiful made-to-measure suits for butch lesbians, trans-masculine individuals... I hope that Tomboy Tailors will be helping to break barriers on what is perceived to be appropriate for women to wear."
Tomboy Tailors offers suits, shirts, ties, pants, and shoes (they recently contracted with multiple companies, including Allen Edmonds, to make their shoes--you can check them out on TT's Pinterest page). If their models' clothing is any indication, Tomboy Tailors is going to be totally game-changing, particularly for professional butches who can spring for tailor-made clothes. Like them on Facebook or join their mailing list to stay up to date (P.S. Full disclosure: I'm honored to say that TT is a Butch Wonders sponsor!)
You might have heard of Saint Harridan from their Kickstarter campaign, which attracted over 1000 backers to reach their goal!
Armed with funds, the company will soon begin work on its first suit line, expected to re-open for pre-orders soon. Meanwhile, you can apply to be a model and see whether your city is on Saint Harridan's pop-up tour (meaning that they'll hang out a shingle for 4-5 days in a particular city and measure people for suits).
In choosing a company name, founder Mary Going eschewed words like "butch," "stud," or "boi," fearing that they might sound exclusionary. Instead, according to the SH website, she settled on "Saint" (meaning the patron of a movement) and "Harridan" (a "reclaimed" word that has sometimes been used as a slur to refer to a "mannish" woman). I'm stoked to see what kinds of clothing SH will roll out. Check out their website and Facebook page.
Bernadette Coveney Smith was working in the wedding industry (helping queer couples navigate a straight wedding world) when she noticed that something was missing. "Where do these lesbians and transmen buy beautifully tailored suits and tuxes if they don't want to wear a wedding dress?" Coveney Smith asked herself. "In terms of butch wedding attire... too often, she'll be drowning in a man's suit with too-wide shoulders or too-long sleeves. Men's suits aren't made for breasts... you end [up] with suits that are too big in some places but too small across the chest, so the jacket or vest is pulling. A butch should look every bit as handsome as her bride is beautiful but it's unfortunately not always the case." So, she founded Fourteen.
If Fourteen has its way, handsome butches will soon become the norm--and not just at weddings. Fourteen currently offers tuxes and formal suits, but plans to expand into a variety of areas, including swimwear and binder undershirts (for which they already have designs). Coveney Smith says that after that, Fourteen plans to "evolve to casual clothing followed by queer maternity clothes." Additionally, Fourteen's clothes are all made in the United States.
You can read more about Fourteen on their website or peruse Fourteen's Facebook page for updates. (P.S. Full disclosure: I'm proud to say that Fourteen is a Butch Wonders sponsor, too!)
Sooo exciting that companies like these are starting to exist, right??
Whether great operations like Tomboy Tailors, Fourteen, and Saint Harridan stay in business is up to us. They'll only be around if we give them our business. So check 'em out, place your orders, and start looking dapper!
1/4/2013 09:41:57 am
ButchWonders - thank you for this great coverage of new clothing companies that cater to butch women, trans men, and other masculine-of-center folks. I would like to clarify one statement in the posting, Allen Edmonds Shoes are among six or so brands of shoes that Tomboy Tailors will carry in our store - including Cole Haan and others. We are also contracting with another major company to do limited editions of dapper men's shoes in sizes smaller than traditionally available! ButchWonders - thank you to all of your readers for their support and thank you again for your great blog!
1/4/2013 09:59:23 am
Thanks, Zel, for the compliment--AND for all the work you're doing. I can't wait to check out your suits, shirts, and shoes! (I fixed the bit re: the shoes in the post above.) Cheers!
1/4/2013 10:07:32 am
Absolutely cannot wait for these, especially TT! I'm fortunate to have found some make-do sources for menswear, but am so stoked for the chance to get bespoke/made-to-measure masculine clothes from a supplier who gets us. Yes!
1/4/2013 03:03:53 pm
I have a question. It seems there are a number of butch blogs/sites, and most of them are about clothes to some degree or another, particularly the dapper angle aspect of that topic. Why do you think this is?
1/24/2013 03:18:56 am
Because no other style is worth writing about?
4/24/2013 08:42:11 am
I suspect that it has something to do with how tough it is for many of us to find a "style," *and* with how much fun it is once we do. :)
1/4/2013 08:30:35 pm
Loving the shoes idea, sick of 'choosing' between girly shoes or men's that don't fit!!
1/5/2013 09:32:47 am
I'm with you! I always have trouble finding shoes, especially because my feet are very wide.
1/5/2013 12:48:21 am
Nice- good luck, I think that your clothes line will be well recieved. Stop by Seattle
1/5/2013 03:15:32 am
In reply to "Clothes" comment asking why so many butch blogs focus on clothing and particularly "dapper" clothing, our clothing is one of first things that people see about us. As the LGBT communities gain more civil rights it becomes safer to express the personal clothing preferences that you may have been previously afraid to wear in public for fear of being beaten up.
1/6/2013 05:33:31 am
So A W E S O M E! Yes there is a market for people like myself who would like to find button up shirts that fit my shoulders and my hips! I have a feeling that once we have female designers that know how to fit an actual female body there will be a much bigger market so all women can look and feel the best they can!
Straight Sometime Femme
1/7/2013 03:33:56 am
This is fantastic! As a straight not that femme self identified female who works in an environment where suits are de rigor I can not wait to be able to order slacks and jackets to fit! Your market may be far broader than originally intended!
Wonderful clothes, I can feel myself coming over all butch just so I can wear them (I am more sort of gamine).
1/9/2013 02:00:39 am
Tomboy Tailors will offer Skpe consultations as well. Thanks!
2/12/2013 10:28:44 am
It is way overdue, having butch clothes designers. And yes, I think this will be a game changer for the culture at large. I think I'd look great wearing a bow tie! Next up, BQ Magazine!
2/15/2013 06:16:30 am
I am interested in how I can become apart of this. I am a female stud slash inspiring fashion modellooking for a jumpstart and this seems perfect. I want to become a model but everytime I metion it to someone they alwayd have somethinf negative to say because I just want to be myself and not have to switch up
2/15/2013 06:28:33 am
I am very interested in this wonderful idea and wondering how i can become apart of this.i believe its about that time for the lgbt community to become more of a verizon and show our many talents. I am a 21 year old "stud" looking to jumpstart my modeling career and think this would be perfect! Every time i motion to someone that i would like to model without having to switch u my style and just be me i get that look of that's impossible. I would love to prove people wrong and show them that us gays, lesbians, trangenders have just as much talent and great ideas as anyone else.
2/27/2013 02:53:24 am
Finally, the butch/stud/tomboi community is slowly being represented. All of these covered in the article as well as others like hautebutch.com should be commended. Shout out to these wonderful fashion companies and to Butch Wonders for covering them!
3/3/2013 07:11:23 pm
I mean,who thinks about this problem and if some one is taking up a step,it's admirable and genuine. Good luck.
5/20/2013 05:01:21 am
As a small business owner, it is really inspiring to see these companies opening and filling this need. I can tell you that the feedback our company gets from grateful customers who are so happy to find items that are made to fit them is incredibly gratifying. I wish all of the companies the very best.
9/12/2013 07:57:50 am
Hey guys! I really have trouble finding jeans in the men's section that would fit my hips (50 inches) any tips on sizes?
12/21/2013 02:07:18 pm
It about time there's something for us studs
1/19/2014 04:15:47 pm
Fab. You. Lous! Hope to find some similar store in Europe/Germany soon.
10/12/2014 05:11:11 am
I myself is very intrigue by finding out about butchwonders.com. I came across this site by using Google search engine looking for custom business suits for studs. I have an anniversary party/ event in December that I'm also hosting. Also I would like to know what would I have to do do to become a butch model?
12/26/2014 09:11:21 am
Found this site by accident looking for a suit. I'm neither lesbian or trans but I'm definitely a tomboy. My friend jokingly refers to me as a "married butch" (pre legislation sorting it's sh1t out). I've always felt both ridiculous in a dress and makeup begins and ends with moisturiser! Great to find folks making good looking clothes that cater to a much neglected area of the market
3/9/2015 02:12:32 am
Where are you located? I need some suits tailored for this body, so please get back to MONEY, I need a suit
4/6/2015 10:19:38 pm
I see your product dimension and diversity its so good and cool, I am so excited for looking FOURTEEN stye , its very attractive. Thanks for sharing this blog.
5/20/2016 06:27:12 am
Nice suits here! Match up really good! Similar products you can purchase at <a href="http://www.alternativeapparel.com/">Alternative Apparel</a>. Do not hesitate to visit their store! Lots of products to choose from for both: men's & women's clothing!
1/2/2018 07:00:08 am
Hi. Great to see the brands featured. Just wanted to introduce my company - we make shirts with a gender neutral aesthetic and ship worldwide. Many proud butches amongst our customers http://www.genderfreeworld.com :)
1/10/2018 11:54:46 pm
ObeyClothing.com has made the entire process of dressing myself much more simpler and painless than it can be. I honestly wasn't even wearing graphic tees on a regular basis but now I have it in rotation, I wear a different one every day of the week & feel fabulous about myself!
8/18/2018 12:55:33 pm
all closed. :( why do i bother
4/9/2019 01:26:42 am
The Level Collection is one of the biggest international brand who satisfy their pure leather wanted products like wristbands, cuffs, bracelets.
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