Archives for posts with tag: style

the vest and tie combo of the day.

my favorite thing these days is to wear men’s clothes in girly-er colors. my shirt is actually a maroonish-purple (lightened in the pic by the light from my window), which i discovered matched my favorite purple plaid tie.

My lady and I went to the theatre this past week  – actually, we went to the theatre about 10 times since I’m working in the Hollywood Fringe Festival and there are 250 shows happening… – but this particular instance was part of our week long 8-year-anniversary happenings. We saw the tour of ‘War Horse’ (the play that inspired the movie) which was incredible. Truly astounding. The life-size horse puppets were some of the most awesome stagecraft I’ve ever seen, and even folks who don’t enjoy theatre would love how epic this show is.

But I digress – because this was a fancier outing for us, we both fancied ourselves up to go out, and I took the opportunity to wear a brand new tie I picked up recently that has been patiently awaiting an outing. I paired it (as usual) with a black shirt and black vest and black jacket, because the tie is a few brilliant stripes of lime and emerald green and white and the gay man in me likes to have a pop of color.

green is my favorite color.

I don’t know if it was the relatively older crowd at the show, or the predominance of families attending, or just that I haven’t been out in “high society” in while, but I garnered more looks and stares than usual, and within about twenty minutes of waiting in the will-call line, I felt thoroughly shy about my attire.  There is something about hearing little kids think you’re a dude, and then hearing their parents telling them that no, you’re not a man, and then the kids always ask “well why is she dressed like a boy?” that I never get comfortable with.

If kids ask me directly, I say it’s because I like the clothes whether or not they’re for boys or girls. Unless it’s a question coming from a pre-teen boy, that usually satisfies. If kids ask me if I’m a boy or girl, I usually ask them to guess, and then I ask them the question right back. This usually elicits giggles and ends the conversation well.

But it’s that weird hushed parental tone that I hate. It reminds me of some dark memories of my parents’ friends commenting on my “tomboy” look as a little kid. It cuts right to my core and brings up all my insecurity, and it all overflows onto my tie. Because without the tie, you can just be a woman in a blazer. Innocuous and possibly fashion-challenged, but not threatening. With the tie, you’re butch. (Well, unless you’re wearing like a cocktail tuxedo jacket and stilettos, or something…. I should say, with the tie and the short hair and the cocky stance and the gf on your arm, you’re butch.)

Some ties, however, wouldn’t get that much attention. My favorite purple plaid skinny tie never makes me feel weird. Somehow it goes under the radar a little more. But I love this new tie. I love how bright it is. I love how when I tie the Full Windsor the stripes on the knot are perfectly perpendicular to each other.

It’s just another one of my ties. I don’t know why it makes me shy. (This is on the verge of becoming a weird/bad Dar Williams song.)  These triggers are so random, I guess, and this one snuck up on me.  And now I’m about to go don yet another tie, the dark gray one with tiny orange circles, that I wear as part of my costume for the Fringe, which will not make me insecure because I can always pretend that I’m “playing a character”. Still working on playing myself.

 

 

Part of what I love about the online butch blogging community (of which I am still a very new and small part) is the acceptance of the spectrum of butchness.

One of the (very tiny) downsides of seeing my awesome trans friend T this past month was the realization that we once were sitting very close to each other on the very butchest end of the rainbow, and now, 10 years later, we’re each at totally different points.  T went on to join a whole other spectrum. I envy his facial hair.  I moved ostensibly back towards a more feminine center. He appreciates my dedication to a career that forces me to be 100% visible.

Admittedly, I freaked out a little about how “girly” I was in comparison to him. I mean, sure, I still wear almost all men’s clothing, keep my hair cropped, and do all sorts of butch things like build stuff and swig bottled craft beer on a daily basis. But there’s other stuff that has creeped in due to my profession – like I keep my eyebrows groomed impeccably. Days when I have auditions,  I wear some under-eye concealer. The man bag I carry is often mistaken for for tomboy purse. I only wear plaid shirts with excellently paired solid ties and vests.

In the middle of this freak out, my gf just looked at me and giggled. “Look at all the other people in this (hip, vegan, queer-filled) restaurant,” she said. “You are WAY more butch than any of them. Sure, you and T have moved in different directions, but you’re still on the same end of the spectrum.” She held her fingers up, an inch apart. “This is the distance between you and T. These other women, even the queer ones, they’re WAY the fuck over there.”

She also pointed out what I chose to title my blog. My whole identity is wrapped up in this dichotomy. How pretty can you be before you’re no longer butch? And vice versa? And according to whom? It’s such a weird line to walk on, since I’m balancing my art and my profession and my weight and my shyness and everything, and at any moment I may tip the scales in a different direction.  Some days I think I must be nuts, and I wish I could go off and move to Portland and hide away as a web designer, lounging my days away in a craft beer haus, wearing the shabbiest, manliest shirt I can find.  (My gf thinks this is a sexy idea.) But we need to be seen. So first, I need to be brave enough to keep walking.

 

After my horrendous Tuesday which bled into an equally horrendous Wednesday last week, I am finally recovering a bit. Had to really sleep it off this weekend.

On Thursday I was able to sit down with the Coach for ten minutes and run the scenario of my Tuesday night reaming by him. He was so sweet, duly mortified, and incensed on my behalf. Aside from pointing out the disrespect that man had to go off on me in HIS arena, surrounded by HIS people, where I couldn’t truly defend myself without banishing all polite conduct, Coach brought up an interesting point about Hollywood: in this town, ‘gay’ is an action. Until you are ‘doing the thing’, maybe you’re gay and maybe you aren’t. Everything else is style.

Which is why so few actors can come out before they’re famous. Sure, they’re gay in private, out with friends and their partners, but not on the talk shows or in the movie theaters.

This isn’t news to me, but last week clarified the concept in a new way. That man I spoke with on Tuesday obviously was offended by my style because of the verb it conjured.

I have to say, though – the closer I get to myself, the more I love that my concept of being butch is lessening its grip on my identity as queer.  For me, the two are indelibly intertwined, but I think I’ve long struggled with they idea that folks would obviously “see I was gay.” I went from being ashamed of that to accepting it, and now I can see beyond it entirely. Who cares?

I also love knowing that, although I don’t know anyone personally like this, there are women out there who consider themselves butch and are NOT gay. That’s awesome – that opens up a whole new vista for self-expression. I give a virtual high-five to those women.

I’ve been out for 18 years, and I’m not planning on stuffing that away while I pursue this most-public of professions, but I’m gaining the courage to defend myself from the haters and this just adds another tool to my arsenal.

I’m working on this idea of “branding” myself – making sure that all my professional ducks are in a row, so to speak. It’s part of the overall work an actor has to do out here – make sure your look is current, cast-able, and really tells the people hiring you about your personality and the parts you can play. I have a little bit of multiple personality disorder with this, though, because I’ve lived so many different possible brands – musical theater, glbt theater, New York theater, New York film and tv, clown school, vaudeville performance, LA theater, LA film and tv…  each of these categories could dictate a style, a feeling, and a persona I already possess that I could emphasize to potential producers.

In trying out new brands, I’ve gone through a lot of clothes. I think I’m honing in on my look. (For you new readers, the backstory to this is that since I lost 40 pounds I’ve had to purchase an entirely new wardrobe and learn to dress myself with some sort of style again, since “baggy tee shirt and jeans” doesn’t really suit me these days.)

Here’s the current favorite look:

Subtle Striped Shirt. Subtle Plaid Vest. Solid Black Tie.

The shirt has a blue and grey stripe to it, the vest is dark grey with a subtle plaid, and the tie is just solid black. I hate tucking shirts in, and this one is thin and well cut so it doesn’t billow under the vest.

Dark Grey Oxfords

These oxfords are my new every-day shoes.

I’m working the “sexy professor” look. It’s an extension of what I’ve always called “grandpa chic.” I pair this outfit with dark jeans that actually fit me well and my gray tweed jacket with the elbow patches.

The Coach today said he liked it, and what’s more, I love it.  And I haven’t really loved my clothes since I was 16 and wore a different pair of suspenders every day. So I’m headed in the right direction, I think.

Hi all –

I was talking with a friend today who mentioned that she was having a hard time finding the right small-ish gift for her butch gf, and so I threw out some ideas. I thought I would share here a few last minute sure-to-win items. (Most of these are under $30, with a few splurge items for those with the means.)

1. The Skinny Tie: versatile. Casual or formal, goes well with most button-downs. I suggest black, red, or other solid colors paired with a patterned shirt. Catch it while it’s still in style. Or, while you’re still in a Brat Pack film, whichever ends first. 🙂

the skinny black (or other colored) tie

2. The Mighty Wallet: recycled! Thin! Forward-thinking! Doesn’t make your back pocket bulge bigger than a leather daddy’s christmas stocking! Many designs to choose from!

the mighty wallet illuminates my favorite city

3. Cassette tape iPhone case: I heart retro love.

In black or white. Doesn't need winding with a pencil.

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