Tag Archives: fashion

This is the Meaning of Fierce Fashion

RickOwensI feel a little embarrassed to admit that I follow fashion as closely as I follow science, checking in on The Sartorialist every morning, and subscribing to Vogue most of my adult life. However, it’s all eye candy for me. I don’t spend four figures on clothes and won’t wear high heels. Mostly, I am a voyeur. A fashion troll, as it were.

I can’t remember in all these years when I’ve seen a photo or video of a female model walking down a runway with her feet more than four inches apart. The models are gazelles, wraiths, seemingly unhuman creatures who have no more similarity to me than a mitochondria does to a chloroplast. I am clearly one kind of woman and they are another.

Then came Rick Owens’ Spring 2014 show which knocked Paris on its well-designed derriere. Instead of showing his austere, minimalist clothes on chignon-coiffed austere, minimalist models, the designer recruited step teams from American Black sororities to walk his runway. Suddenly the clothes look wearable, moveable, and do-able. Watch it through and dance out with them at the end. (And don’t miss Bill Cunningham’s smile at about 6:15). This is how women should be represented. Being female shouldn’t look pale, wane, tortured; it should look fierce.

Just for contrast, there’s this:

Femme Eye for the Butch Gui

TheSartorialist.com features women’s and men’s fashion shot on the street. The photographer has a great eye for androgyny.

Because women, in general, are assailed at every turn with feminine fashion images and opportunities for style consumerism, femme lesbians naturally have more fashion resources than butches do. It’s tough to find good butch fashion advice, and even tougher to find images of butch women in mainstream fashion media. So what’s a fashion-forward, or at least fashion-leaning, butch to do?

Here are six of tips of my own and some of my favorite fashion resources I like to share with the butches I know and love. Please share your own tips and resources in the comments.

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Girls Just Want to Have Fun

This is just pure feel-good eye candy featuring Cyndi Lauper’s music and the Victoria’s Secret angels. The back-stage video is by photographer Justin Wu, who makes great videos of lip-syncing models. It’s a tough job, but apparently somebody has to do it!

Are Prom Dresses Getting More Risqué, or am I Just Getting Older?

Lately I found myself ranting to a co-worker about a Bay Area formal-wear shop that has been running newspaper ads featuring local high school girls tarted up like Vegas showgirls.

Each ad features a little profile like this: “Sarah is the girl’s volleyball team captain, a member of the marching band, has a 4.0 GPA, and is an animal shelter volunteer. She’s hoping to go to Stanford and study law.”

It stops short of being a Playboy centerfold bio (“Likes: Angora sweaters, kittens, and strawberry sorbet. Dislikes: Pap smears, hairy chests, and rimming.”).

But, the sweet little bio accompanies a picture of a leggy, busty, smoothly tanned girl, made up like RuPaul, stuffed into a slinky floor-length dress with plunging front and a crotch-high slit, and balanced on shoes that would make the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence dizzy.

A teen girl hasn’t been this done up since my friend Babs ran for Miss Minneappolis Downtown back in the Flashdance era.

The girl in the ad is supposed to be ready to go to her prom.

Prom, folks. That means she’s either barely 18 or younger.

(I checked out the store’s website and found they’d made this video, which stops short of being soft-prom-porn.)

Yikes.

labiadressCall me old-fashioned, but I want to see prom images that make me think of corsages and slow dances and sweet kisses, balloons floating down, hearts all a-flutter.

I don’t want to see an ad that makes me think of prom as a pole-dancing competition followed by a quick scratch-and-moan with the captain of the football team and drinking until someone throws up on their shoes.

I keep thinking “What are these girls parents thinking?” followed by, “I’m so glad I have a son”.

I thought those ads were bad until I saw this prom dress, at sale at on an online company, complete with labia and a clitoris peeking out.

Can’t you see a young girl emerging from the dressing room in this number, asking her mom and dad, “I don’t know. Do you think it’s too much?”

Choke.

BTW, after a bunch of folks (not just dirty-minded me) pointed out the pussy potential of the dress, the online photo was changed to make the ruffles more discrete.

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Can a Shoe Be Just Plain Wrong?

untitledWhen I saw this in the NYT’s Style magazine spring fashion issue a few weeks ago, I almost choked. And then I ran across it again… and I’m still choking. This sandal from the Dior spring line seems utterly misguided in so many ways: It’s a really tacky misappropriation of another culture. It comes across as anti-woman, and in the Times photo it had a black heel and looked incredibly racist.

Hell, it doesn’t even look comfortable.

If you insist on grinding someone’s sacred fertility goddess under your heel (black or white, choose your insult), you can do it for $1,590. I know it seems like a lot, but for that price you get both shoes.

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Send Yves St. Laurent to Indiana, Please!

lesmokingUpdate: The school district has reversed its policy that barred a female student from wearing a tuxedo to her school’s prom. The district superintendent has said formal attire will be required at the prom, but the requirements won’t be “gender-based.” However, he said the School Board would have to vote Tuesday to accept the agreement. The ACLU legal director told The Indianapolis Star that the teen is pleased with the decision and will attend the April prom in a tuxedo.

A 17-year-old lesbian in Indiana filed a lawsuit because her principal said she couldn’t wear a tuxedo to the prom.

This only goes to prove that Indiana is provincial in two entirely different ways:

1. Binary gender thinking

and perhaps even worse,

2. Very bad fashion sense. The late Yves St. Laurent spent a career making variations on what he called “Le Smoking” (as in “smoking jacket” ). Some of these tuxedos were frilly, some were sleek. Some were girly, and some were downright butch (yum). All of them were beautifully made, expensive as hell, accepted in polite society, and are now iconic.

Apparently Vogue never made it to newsstands in the Hoosier state, or there wouldn’t be silly discussions about whether girls can wear tuxedos.

While the ACLU was seeking an injunction that would allow the girl to wear a tuxedo, school officials were debating whether she could wear a women’s “pantsuit” instead. I assume, by this, they were picturing the kind of neutral, sexless thing usually worn by WNBA coaches during games and by lesbian attorneys for press conferences.

Would someone out there who has some taste and style dust off a “Le Smoking” and loan it to this kid in Indiana? The state obviously needs some fashion education and it seems she’s just the one to provide it.

And, while I’m at it, how smoking hot is this this 1975 Helmut Newton photograph of an Yves St. Laurent Le Smoking?

lesmoking2

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About My Lack of Hair

The full moon is coming and it’s almost that time again. I’m getting a little twitchy.

I have to admit it: I’m addicted to haircuts.

Like many women, I have always have been overly interested in my own hair, and through the years I’ve had long hair, short hair, curly hair, straight hair, Bettie Page bangs, spike-y layers… almost anything you can think of. I’ve also been many shades of brown and red, both single-step and highlighted. I’ve briefly veered toward blonde. I don’t want to think about the total lifetime cost of my hair. I’m sure it would look like the gross national product of an emerging nation.

Anyone who has met me in the past 5 years would find this funny, I think. Because for a long time now, my hair has been its natural salt-and-pepper (like me, getting saltier by the day), and cut very close to my head.

While my head isn’t exactly shaved, on any given day, my hair is still shorter than any of the guys who went out for basketball at my high school.

And I love the feeling of it freshly cut. I love the velvety feeling of the back and sides.

I don’t have to tell you, hair has strong gender association in our society.

Ask any kid under six years old and they’ll tell you “girls have long hair and boys have short.” Or as my son once said, swooning over a girl in his elementary school class: “She has long hair – like a princess, Mom.”

I originally cut mine short out of practicality. It stays out of the way during my yoga practice, looks the same in any weather, requires no “product” to hold its style, and takes no time at all

But, I also like the fact it’s a little extreme and messes with perception of my gender identity.

In fact, the lesbian community may hold to hair stereotypes more strongly than six-year-olds. Butch women are supposed to have short hair, and femmes are supposed to nuture and primp their long locks, right?

I’ve dated a few butch women who were freaked out by my hair, assuming they were somehow less butch in my presence. Some felt challenged and cut their hair shorter than mine. At least one really liked it, but I could almost see the wheels turning as she wondered “OMG. Does this make me gay?”

(I’m only joking and I’m sure you’re just as butch as you were before you ran your hands over my hair, I promise.)

I’m one of those women who never looks like a guy, even devoid of hair, mascara, and my favorite lip gloss. And ironically, I feel the most feminine with my hair shorn.

In fact, when I look back at old photos of myself with long, tended ‘dos, I feel like I’m looking at myself in drag. And I’ve never liked obvious hair products on anyone. Nothing looks less sensual and less appealing than artfully mussed hair that is gelled, sticky, and so stiff it looks like you would risking scratching your cornea in an embrace.

Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that many, if not most, women look better without their hair.

I wouldn’t say I’ve developed this into a fetish, but I definitely sit up and take notice when there’s another woman around with buzzed hair. And I thrill to the tips of my toes (and other places) when an actress shaves her head on screen.

Recent years have provided a flood of actresses without their hair, and most look better than they did with it.

Really. Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta, anyone?

I even think Britney looked better when she was briefly bald.

While I appreciate the tough circumstances that made Melissa Etheridge lose her hair, I think she looked stronger and more vibrant without her hair than she looks with it. Her hair is usually sort of wishy-washy and without much style. Cut it all off, Melissa!

Here’s a little gallery of women I think look incredibly hot without their hair. If only they were all lesbians… sigh.

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Rachel Maddow in January Vogue

They’ve got her wrapped up in a $2,000+ Jil Sander suit, but check out those kicks… the girl’s no sell-out!

maddowvogue

Hot Girls and Good Shoes, a Great Combination

Does anybody besides me remember the Sundance Catalog of a few years ago, where 80 percent of the female models looked like hot lesbians? I don’t know what it was… the chummy girl-with-girl poses, the rugged natural-fiber clothes, the sturdy leather shoes, or just something about their jaw-lines, but the girls looked gay.

(Before you run out for a catalog, rethink that action. Sundance is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and sensible shoes or not, there a call to boycott supporters of California’s Proposition 8, including the State of Utah and businesses that live there. Read more here.)

Unfortunately it’s a myth that lesbian partnering doubles any part of your wardrobe. Invariably one of you is in nice little Italian flats and the other is in Frye motorcycle boots… after all, variety is the real spice of life, not a bigger shoe collection.

But check out this new print campaign from Bianco Footwear. Yowsa, baby. (There’s even a little movie you watch on the website!)

double1double2

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double3doubleshoes

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This Necklace About Says It All…

I know women like to express themselves through their jewelry, but if you haven’t found a cross, heart, peace sign, ankh, or om to be exactly what you need, maybe this will do it.

barbienecklace

Artist Margaux Lange designs and crafts jewelry using Barbie parts. You can check out her website and Etsy store here.

The Ultimate Geek Porn Girl Accessory?

A little bling for edgy geek girls everywhere:

Geek Stuff 4 You has this pink skull ring that hides a USB flash drive.

At $149 it’s waaaaay less expensive than, say, a pair of Sarah Palin’s campaign shoes.

My Favorite Fashion Story of the Week

I have to say, my favorite fashion story of the week was the revelation that the Republican National Committee spent $150,000 on vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s wardrobe.

Talk about slathering some lipstick on a pitbull!

Whatever happened to the Republican ideal of Richard M. Nixon’s famous “Checkers” speech?

In defense of Republican frugality, Nixon said:

I’m proud to say my wife, Pat, wears a good Republican cloth coat.

Now we’ve got a moose-gutting soccer mom in Manolo Blahnik shoes, dressed up for a walk-on in “Sex in the City.”

Republican presidential candidate John McCain responded to media questions about the Republican fashion spree with this zinger:

She needed clothes.

I guess this doesn’t seem like a big deal to McCain. After all, his wife Cindy, appeared at the Republican National Convention wearing a $300,000 outfit, as estimated by the fashion editors at Vanity Fair.

McCain definitely has a taste for style over substance.

So much for the “good Republican cloth coat”.

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