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30 April 2008, 1:30 pm 47 Comments

Uncategorized: Lez Casual

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This post was submitted by Coach Varlas, who lives in Brightwood and has not gone to the new Target.

I’ve been at my office job for eight years, but can count on one hand the number of times I’ve put together a work outfit that felt both professional and true to my personal sense of style. As someone who’s not really butch or femme, it’s a little less clear what qualifies as business casual, and what looks like I’m vying to understudy Paula Poundstone (pictured). There’s a dyke that works at the building across from mine who pretty much always looks like she’s about to go on safari. This simply won’t do. I don’t want to spend a ton of money on power dyke drag, don’t feel comfortable in dresses or skirts, and know that thrift store irony often just looks frumpy after eight hours in a cubicle.

I feel like dressing for work is this daily personal statement–about my gender, sexuality, and professional aspirations. So far, I feel like I’m saying I’m a little boy that likes girls and one day wants to be a cowboy. To figure out if other dykes also wrestled with work wardrobe, I asked some friends for their personal definitions of Lez Casual. Apparently, the sweater vest is the lesbian desk job equivalent to the little black dress. Read their responses / add yours below the fold.

Jenny: I think 40% of why I wanted to work from home was because of this dilemma.

Sench: Every time I wear a suit I look like a women’s basketball coach. It’s really annoying. I just look like a dyke in a suit. There’s nothing getting around it. “Hustle in ladies! We’re running the picket fence play! Watch number 32! Number 32!”

Jeanni: I dunno, I enjoy dykes in suits looking like dykes in suits and / or basketball coaches! Personally, I’m a fan of the sweater vest layered with an assortment of (preferably vintage) collared dude shirts. That’s how I’ve learned to get through my day here at an office full of ‘mos. (Can we also just have an option for dykes to wear nothing? That’s always a winner!)

Stephanie: Once, I wore a sweater vest to work and when I got there I realized I would have felt less conspicuous amongst my middle schoolers if I had just wrapped myself in a rainbow unity flag. Still, I also stand by the sweater-vest. I’ve worn a button down/up(?) every single day of teaching except when we wear our school polos. I even have the most amazing Halloween teacher shirt. When my students talked about what culture means, fashion came up, and we talked about genders and fashion, to which one of my students noted, “Like you–you dress like a boy.” [Class Reaction] “What? What? No offense! I was just sayin!” I think the real challenge is shoes. Pumps? I think I would look more natural in clown shoes. Flats? I would get less blisters if I held matches to my feet. Chucks? Unprofessional. Sensible sneakers? I guess so.

Polly: My biggest beef is that I like wearing ties, but feel a little strange if I wear them because it is so out of the ordinary. My dream outfit is navy blue slacks with a v neck gray sweater and a collared button-up underneath.

Shauna: I dress like a half-baked art teacher in 1974: goucho pants, giant necklaces, secretary blouses, ballet flats, subtle triangle post earring. But I recently had occasion to accompany Maegan on her first foray into the double-knit world of biz-caz, and the plight of the butchish professional womyn, it is dire. It was worse than when we went swimsuit shopping. It was like Cathy, but with 700 pairs of black boot cut pants and another lady couple bickering in the next stall down. I dunno how you andro girls manage. She just kept murmuring, “Dickies.” We ended up spending $300 at the Gap again.

Maegan: My issue has always been is that it is hard to butch it up, even slightly, in women’s work attire. You shop in the ladies dept. and you end up feeling awkward cuz you’re wearing femme cut clothes that you would not have chosen were a paycheck not at stake. Or you venture into the men’s dept., with high hopes, and end up looking ill-fitted. ‘Cause you may be a little butch but you still got hips. Sigh. Anyway, I’ve found that wide leg trousers do the job nicely. They work with the hips and still look good. Also, I’m pretty adamant about there being no stretch (or as little as possible) in the pants. I like my pants to feel like real pants, you know what I’m saying? As for shirts– it’s a personal preference, but I like oxfords. And collared shirts in general (like polos). French cuffs are nice for the oxfords. Then you can layer and pair the oxfords / polos with a v-neck sweater or sweater vest. For jackets I’ve got a brown corduroy that I like, and a black linen affair if it has to be fancier. Shoes are always my sticking point. I hate, with a fiery passion, those bulky black numbers most people wear. I’d rather experiment with sedate slip-ons or a pair of boat shoes. Women can get away with more than men. Basically, if I have to dress up my usual jeans-and-a-hoodie self, I just pretend that I’m a dapper British fellow.

Vicki: I stopped working in settings where biz caz was expected more than five years ago, and this dilemma was totally part of the reason why I chose to tune in and drop out. Seriously, shoulder pads? Why do women’s suits STILL have shoulder pads?! Check out the first thing that Google brings up when you do an image search for “women’s business casual“! Ah, the flair white pant suit with shoulder pads on the right. And the bowed-baby-doll thing second from the left. And these looks are very edgy, considering. WTF?

Cara: I waitressed in a penguin suit for a few summers, but I’ve never worked in an office. I wear jeans and t-shirts when I teach or when I work. I guess I’m lucky. When I’m working on a ladder, faculty and others look down on me as though I were a monkey. Same as for my wardrobe (which is conducive to the tech aspects of my job), but I think I’m seen as immature, unprofessional, and slovenly. Beca
use I have a mini-mohawk, wear jeans, and have about 16 gallery keys I carry around. The important people never carry keys.

Suzanne: Well, since my new-found funemployment, I tend to wear pajamas, cut-off shorts and a tank with no bra or sometimes just underpants to work. No one seems to mind. Before that, I worked at a gay youth center, sooo, pretty much my work drag was jeans, shirt, and baseball cap. I tended to look like a middle school boy most of the time, and I loved it. I always, always, always dreaded days that I had meetings and had to dress like an adult. I always felt like nothing fit, my shoes didn’t match, and was self-conscious about my hair, ’cause there is no real way to dress up a devil’s lock. I always felt stupid. On those day, I longed to be wearing a homemade, moth eaten, stank ass t-shirt that said “fuck business casual” in big letters on the front. But I sucked it up and put on some slacks and the most flattering button down I could find. Summers got a little tricky too, especially for someone who can sweat through a mesh top in 20 seconds. Even though it felt totally weird to wear a skirt to work, I found myself pulling them out, if only to catch a breeze. This confused the fuck out of the lesbian young women at the center, who would persistently ask me, “What are you?! A Dom (butch) or a Femme? I need to know!!” To which I could only reply, depends on the heat index. But the boys were extra nice to me on those days because I looked “cunt-gay”, boy slang for feminine–the supreme and ultimate compliment.

Marla: I have gone through so many phases with this. I am lately wearing various H&M shirts (or “tops”?) and then cotton non-jeans pants. I got a girlier pair of shoes recently for more dressy days, and to wear with my brown suit, on rare occasion. And I have one or two pairs of traditional lesbo loafers, of course. It’s an ongoing struggle though. I still feel like I am embarrassed if I run into a friend on a day that I have to dress up at work. Working at a nonprofit, you really can’t afford nice work clothes, let’s be honest. So I try to find things on the cheap, at thrift and vintage shops, too. Here in San Francisco, that means Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads, and Painted Bird. I think with work clothes though, especially for carpet munchers, it’s vital to splurge every so often to get something that will make you happy when you need to dress up. I’ve done that with shoes and a Banana Republic suit (!). The best “work shirts” are ones you can also wear out with your friends, but I don’t think I’ve ever had work pants that I felt that way about. In summary, two words for you: sweater vest.

Gmail Bonus: This whole exchange took place over Gmail, and some of the relevant ads and links popping up to the right of this email conversation were: “Buy Girls Underwear Online,” “Girls Wear Thongs!,” “Need an Image Consultant?,” and “Kentucky Derby Fashion.” Perhaps within these clues lies the solution to the age-old riddle of dyke dress-wear.


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47 Comments »

  • Ben said:

    This may be my favorite TNG post. Ever.

  • Kimberly said:

    The phrase “I’m a little boy that likes girls and one day wants to be a cowboy” pretty much sums up my personal style.

    Mostly, I stick to nondescript non-denim pants (my office recently banned jeans) and a collared shirt of some sort (a button-down paired with a sweater when it’s cold; polo or button-down when it’s warm). My office is casual enough that my ubiquitous sneakers pass muster (which is fortunate, because I am a sneaker whore), and everyone knows I’m a big homo, so no one looks twice when I rock a skinny tie.

    A friend once told me that I dress like a gay hipster dude, minus the tight pants. I’ll take that as a compliment.

  • Marla said:

    I like the not-so-sly trick of having all-black or all-brown sneakers that you can dress up a bit with a nicer outfit and yet still get away with wearing comfy, hip shoes. I have a pair of Royal Elastics I do that with now–and when I was in DC, it was Pumas. Having a lame outfit but cool shoes is …somehow okay.

  • Zack said:

    Agreed, Ben. This is fucking hysterical.

  • Jeanni said:

    omg, i love that you included the gmail tags that popped up (i almost just type “pooped up”)– that shizzle was amazing!!!

  • SZM said:

    best post ever.

    you know what confounds me? black tie events and weddings. i either end up looking like hillary clinton or john travolta circa saturday night fever.

  • feminismisfun said:

    amen, szm. altho i gotta say, i love any chance i can to bring out my bow tie.

  • Allison said:

    Some of my coworkers say “you’re looking very “Ellen” today.” Then, everyone laughs and I realized I’m under-payed.

  • linsey said:

    In the last year I’ve come to embrace my dykish dress, even at work. I feel like my style is the one place where I can still express myself in this hell hole where I spend most of my days.

    My go to outfits always include oxfords and a cute tie. Sometimes a nice blazer. I always shop in the mens dept. at either H&M or gap and since I’m less “hippy” I’m able to pull off the look decently. All of it can double as cute going out outfits for the evening hours. My only step I have difficulty with is shoes. Oh the shoe drama..

    But before I owned up to the casual dyke attire, it was a horrendous affair that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

  • Michael said:

    This post has really given me a great appreciation for the challenges that queer women still have on a daily basis. How do you dress for work when the clothing that society tells you to wear gives you the hives and anxiety attacks? How do you spend your hard-earned dollars on clothes you would never wear unless those very dollars were dependent on them? I feel blessed (a word I use sparingly) that I feel comfortable in polos, oxfords, flat-front pants and suits, and that those clothes are what society expects me to wear to work.

    I feel your pain, ladies. My heart goes out to you.

    But please, please, don’t ever aspire to look like Paula Poundstone.

  • Anonymous said:

    I’ve lucked out big time. No more business casual for me anymore. I now wear unisex scrubs to work at a medical office and I love it. It is like wearing pjs to work every day and I get to save my money for more important clothes, like a new band t-shirt, jeans, or vans.

  • Timp said:

    Let me start by saying, I FULLY understand that women have it harder in what to wear, then men do. After all, if you go into any clothing store for both sexes, it’s generally three-quarters women, one-quarter mens.

    A female co-worker once told me that on the top of her lists of cons for quitting the company was the dress code. She didn’t like having it dictated what she could and couldn’t wear. Like jeans.

    As she said, she felt they were trying to make her into something she isn’t. To me, in her case, it would mean being presentable, as she is a slob.

    I bought her a lint brush, because she would come in covered in cat hair. One day she came and showed me how she had used it to get rid of the cat hair! She turned around, and her entire back side was still covered in hair.

    Our dress code isn’t that stringent. No jeans, no capri pants, no t-shirts, no hats. Open toe shoes recently got on he yes list. And mostly, the dress code is there to stop people from wearing something that is inappropriate, and to protect the company from discrimination lawsuits.

    It is not there to force you into a roll that you don’t feel isn’t you.

    I don’t fully understand the issue people have with what they wear to work. If you are required to wear appropriate clothing, I don’t think it’s that hard to find some. Yes, I’m a guy, I have it much easier. I can wear the same thing over and over. Most of the cloths I have work for the dress code where I work.

    But at the same time, I look at my cloths one of two ways. Either I am wearing something that makes me look good, or I wear something to go unnoticed.

    But I’ve long since stopped worring if my clothing gives the right idea of who I am, because frankly, clothing can only give one small aspect of who I am.

    I know how to dress to make people think I’m gay at first glance. But how would I dress to get people to know at first glance I’m a cartoonist? Or that I’m not single, or that I have 3 cats, or that I’m a nerd? Out side of a t-shirt that says those things?

    There is more to me then what any style of clothing can convey.

  • Chris said:

    This post is AWESOME. I went shopping for work clothes last night, and even though I’m dating a man now, I still found myself flipping disgustedly through the shirts at Marshalls thinking “ew, too frilly” or “could they please stop putting ruffles on EVERYTHING” or “just too femme!”

    And I am a relatively femme woman.

    Shoes are also my big sticking point, especially because I have such wide feet that I wear men’s shoes when I’m not in the office. Somehow I can’t bring myself to buy the patent leather blacks — I’m just not that butch. I wish there were a comfortable, androgenous middle ground that didn’t involve heels!

  • stephanie said:

    timp: i don’t mean to make this your attack day, but i gotta respond to your comment bc i feel like you misunderstood the point.

    you seem to imply that queer women like to dress in our kind of relaxed, thrifty way bc it “conveys” that we’re gay. you also imply that we just don’t like following what we perceive as overly stringent dress codes.

    however, i think what many of us were trying to convey is that clothes that are considered professional dress for women make us uncomfortable, not in the literal physical sense, but in a gender sense. We’re not trying to “make a statement,” as most people aren’t when they get dressed each day. Dresscodes don’t present a problem for you, but I’m sure they would if it was okay for you to wear pants, shorts, tshirts, etc. in your day-to-day life, but then had to wear a dress to work. many men (i’m so inclusive!)don’t wear dresses/frilly shirts/skirts/heels, and neither do many lesbos.

    anyway – on another note. who is forever plagued with the disappointment of discovering cool button up shirts only to discover in the dressing room that they have frilly shirley temple sleeves?

  • Timp said:

    No I understand. I think perhaps that because someone just doesn’t jump on the band wagon and say, You Are So Right, they Must Not Understand.

    Women have it harder, no doubt about it.

    But what I also do understand is that clothing can daunt anyone. There are does and don’t for everyone, and they aren’t the same for everyone.

    I can wear athletic cut shirts. If i was overweight, they would look horrible on me, as the mid section would be all tight and stretched out. I can’t wear pleated pants, because they make me look like I’m wearing diapers underneath. But a large or over weight person is benefited by pleated pants.

    I would feel completely like a dork if I ever wore loafer type shoes, and yet, they don’t look bad on me. I seldom were blue, because I don’t think it looks flattering on me, even though others tell me it is.

    In that case, it’s my own perception. I feel stupid in a suit. It just doesn’t feel like me, but I can put together an acceptable jacket and pant with tie outfit that is perfectly acceptable.

    The point is, with a little effort, ANYONE can find clothes that fit them and are acceptable by work standards.

    If you just look around at what someone else is wearing and say, Ugh, that’s considered professional attire? No, that’s one version of whats considered professional attire, that works for that person.

    Find your own style, and put some work into it.

    The slob I mentioned? She eventually found some pants and tops that suited her personality and were well within the dress code here at work. To bad that didn’t last long before she went back to wearing cloths covered in cat hair, and wrinkled because all her cloths are kept in piles on the floor.

    How do i know this? She’s very open about her dysfunctional life and ways. We condemned her cube at one point.

    But I don’t think I don’t get it. I get it.

    And also, how much of your personal life does a person need to bring into the office? Seriously.

    Recently, a designer sent out an email asking for people pledge for a cancer walk he was doing. Not before telling how his sister has of 25 was recently diagnosed with cancer, how she has two children, and that she has really gotten better because of the prayers of his co-workers and such. Then came the hit up for money.

    First, I never knew his sister had cancer, so I certainly wasn’t praying for her. Second, I didn’t need a guilt trip of a mother of 25 with two kids battling cancer. For the most part, it wasn’t appropriate for work. He could have simply said he was doing a cancer walk, and would anyone like to pledge.

    Another co-worker had her mother die around the same time. The company sent flowers, but she asked that she just be given time with her family and when she would be back to work, and after, thanked us for the personal space.

    That was all I needed to know. I work with her, I like her. We however are not friends. In any sense of the word. We can have some inappropriate conversations, because we feel comfortable around each other. But that’s it.

    So, to bring it back around. How much of your personal life needs to be brought at work? Do your cloths while at work need to reflect your personal self or should they reflect your work self? Are they one in the same for you? I know they are different for me.

    So again, I understand women have it harder. For men, what you where every day, in or out of the work place can be the exact same thing. In some ways, it is for me, but I would feel more comfortable in jeans and a hoodie, then khakis and button down shirt.

    But it’s work, it’s not killing me in any sense to dress a certain way for work. Especially if it gets people out of my face for the way I dress.

    Sometimes playing along is simply because it’s one less hassle from people over trivial matters.

    But trivial matters you will never win an argument agaisnt.

  • Anonymous said:

    Man, could you take up any more space talking about something that doesn’t even apply to you?

  • Timp said:

    Oh I’m sorry, I mistook this for an open forum! My Bad.

    HEY TNG, can you please go back and delete all comments from people that this doesn’t apply to, and lock it so only those that are acceptable to post can do so?

    Thanks,ta!

  • Cara Erskine said:

    I’m thinking of trading my jeans and t-shirt for the red overalls I bought in Munich at a work-wear store. All the German window-washers wear the red overalls. Uber-sexy.

  • Anonymous said:

    This is the first job that I’ve had to think about what to wear and what is appropriate. For the last 26 years of my life I wore jeans and a t-shirt. You can imagine my consternation at having to shop for work clothes. I stress out every morning, and the shoes, man, the fucking shoes.

    Fantastic post!

  • y said:

    does anyone else with big boobs get really annoyed by the fact that women’s buttondowns don’t come in cup sizes? i’m sick of having to wear sports bras just so that the button doesn’t pop open. maybe it’s cause i’m more femme, but i figure some bustier butches must feel this way too?

  • Melissa said:

    The only problem I ever have with dressing for work is showing too much cleavage. Queer femme invisibility has its privileges…. Although I do break out the tailored- and sweater-vests every now and then. (It is QUEER femme, after all.)

    Y–try holding the gap closed with a safety pin on the inside (just stick it through the back layer of the top button band).

  • Anonymous said:

    I love button down/up but the boobs always get in the way. It’s getting hot for sweater vest and summer is tricky, friends speak my mind.

  • Allison said:

    As one of my best friends said to me, “There’s only so much distance between hipster-chick with tie and Paula Poundstone”

    In all seriousness though, beginning at a real early age, I chose jobs based on dress code. And to this day, I choose jobs based on dress code. I’m a graphic designer, so at the place where I work, jeans, t-shirts, flip-flops, hats, spiky hair, etc. are par for the course. Even tattoos don’t matter to them.

    But, I’m lucky with that. Going out or going to fancy gathering can be hard though. I forever search thrift, Gap, Marshall’s, etc. etc. and all I ever seem to find are awesome plaid shirts that end up having puffy sleeves.

    There should be a queer-women’s clothing company. They would make a lot of money. Tailored to fit a woman’s curves, but styled to match a man’s. Or andro. Or whatever.

    Just, anything but the puffy sleeves. And the pastel colors. Oh, the pastel colors. Even Gap abandoned basic Black this spring. WTF?

  • Anonymous said:

    Brooks Brothers! especially the outlet store. The have great andro work clothes and not all of it is unflattering or puffy

  • Timp said:

    Allison, I think you took the right approach.

    I also applaud your idea of a queer womens clothing store. When Threadless tshirts started up, I was all, YES! These are the kinds of images in tshirts I would wear! Fun images without any agenda, so to speak. What I’ve wanted for years!

    And then I thought…why didn’t I think of doing my own tshirts and starting my own company? Now it would just be a copy of a successful business.

    Before I left work, I went around and looked at what all the women wear. My office is 80% women, and I work for one of the top ten companies best for women to work at.

    Not a single puffy sleeve, or frill. I know of 3 women that ever wear a dress or skirt. One was a lesbian, and she wore these vintage 50′s dresses, and looked great!

    The other two, straight. One wears modern dress, and is in her 30′s, the other in her 60′s wears what most would consider business dress.

    No one looked like Paula Poundstone. Most of them wear tops and slacks, nice shoes, a few dress on the hipper side.

    One thing I’ve also noticed, colors and fabrics for both sexes is becoming the norm.

    But then again, I’m thinking most of these women are straight, and don’t worry about what their cloths project about them, because they aren’t thinking about that.

  • DLC said:

    I’m not even queer and I feel/look like an asshat everyday, as Chris can attest. I’m a lawyer so I have to wear a suit everyday, so I own 4 black pantsuits and 3 brown ones. I wear my adidas under my desk until I have to go talk to a partner and then I just thrown on some shoes from my “work shoe” drawer. At 5:00 I’m back in my kicks. When I decide to wear a skirt suit I end up wearing spanx under it because I don’t like my thighs touching, and the whole day I feel like a 4 year old in a skirt. I only like to wear jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers. Luckily for me this just means I’m an unfashionable woman. I can’t imagine dealing with this crap in your position. I will say that Chris always looks cute as a button.

  • Chris said:

    DLC, you’re smoking even in sweatpants and you’re the only one who won’t admit it.

  • Kimberly said:

    Y, in my femmer days, I too experienced the dreaded boob-gap, so I totally feel your pain (there was an incident on the Metro a few years ago in which I reached up to hold the overhead bar, and “the girls” busted right out of my shirt). I never did come up with a viable solution to the problem, but the point is sort of moot for me now, as I usually bind (god bless the Frog Bra) and generally wear guys’ shirts.

    Anyway, I just thought I’d express some busty solidarity! Keep hope alive!

  • Anonymous said:

    I have to say that I struggle with this everyday. As an Apparel manager in a Coroporation that expects the management to be out in full business apparel. I did the sweater vest thing through the summer and got a lot of snide comments about joining the mens club. I have no way to say womens button ups, pumps and heals are just not for me.

  • Allison O said:

    Allison! We have the same name!and and you spell it with two L’s. and we’re both artists. holy shit.

    let’s go shopping for non puffy sleeved shirts together.

  • Allison O said:

    Allison! We have the same name!and and you spell it with two L’s. and we’re both artists. holy shit.

    let’s go shopping for non puffy sleeved shirts together.

  • Allison O said:

    crap, I forgot to say that I was the other Allison who posted yesterday.

  • Anonymous said:

    funny, you know the danni chick from tila tequila had the same issue and decided to start her own clothing line called futch or something.
    found link
    http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=364313087

  • Anonymous said:

    Chris, what does you not liking frills have to do with you having a boyfriend? Stop making it central to every conversation you have in the gay community. It’s like you are constantly testing the waters to get a reaction. You’d be shocked how many people just do not care. And this isn’t against you having a boyfriend or excluding you from the community, so you know. It’s about you not being so self conscious and awkward about it.

  • Chris said:

    Wow Anonymous… This has nothing to do with my security or lack thereof, or with trying to get a reaction. I don’t leave comments to try and inflame or offend others; it didn’t occur to me that including that information would be offensive. I’m out as bi/queer, and I’m just noting it here for people who might not know since I think it’s relevant to the discussion.

    The reason I think it’s relevant is because I think that bi women who date men feel a little pressure to dress differently. One of the things I was asked when I started dating my boyfriend was whether I was going to grow my hair out. I decided to continue to dress the same way, but I know other women who made a different choice (which is totally their call). So, I disclosed my identity in my comment so that I could note that, contrary to what someone might think, bi women also have issues finding clothing that expresses our style/sexuality/chosen spots on the gender identity continuum.

    I’m also curious about you. Why do you find it so jarring?

  • Timp said:

    Actually, I’m very curious about something.

    Guys that wear womens clothing tend to fall into one of two categories, transvestites, or drag queens/female impersonators.

    Drag queens to me, are interested in portraying women, but often in a male sort of way. While tranvestites want to pass as real women. Pretend women vs real women. I’m grossly simplifying, and only because of the nature of this.

    I seldom see men that dress in a feminine manner, or androgynous way. But still be male, they don’t consider themselves transvestites.

    I belong to a group of gamers, and there are 3 lesbians in it, who all dress like tomboys, and talk about how they like to dress like young boys. And some of the local bands I see have a large following of young lesbians, who also dress like tomboys.

    The number of lesbians that feel more comfortable in men style clothing, seems higher then men wanting to be more female in their appearance, while still retaining their sex.

    The women in my gaming group do not like to be confused for a boy, even though they like to dress like boys. Which is understandable, some of them are clearly female, no matter what they wear.

    So, what is the appeal to women in mens clothing? Is it more comfortable, or is it much of womens cloths are uncomfortable?

    Is womens cloths not strong enough in it’s style to suit your strong personality?

    How important is it to you that your cloths say something about you?

  • coach said:

    i like a little bit butcher clothing, or at least clothing with more structure. i think men’s clothing is the default for a lot of dykes because there isn’t a lot of structured, stylish & functional, a little butcher, women’s clothing to choose from. it’s really just about wanting to look good/feel good in what you’re wearing. i think anybody can relate to that.

  • Allison said:

    NEWS ALERT:

    My favorite lezzie co-worker is wearing a Canadian tuxedo with Ked-sneakers on casual Friday.

  • stephanie said:

    i mean, for me, it’s all about the long, eight-inch zipper on men’s pants.

    it is important to me that i make a loud and clear statement that says: this snatch is valuable and you gonna have to work hard to get to it.

    i am strong-woman, hear me roar/unzip my pants.

  • Allison said:

    “How important is it to you that your cloths say something about you?”

    I think we all need to kind of fess-up and say that, for the most part, whether we are at work or at play, we want our clothes to say something about us.

    That’s why there’s J. Crew, Gap, Urban Outfitters, Threadless, thrift, American Apparel, H&M, Up Against the Wall, Zara, the Leather Rack etc. etc. They all sell clothes that say something different about the person wearing them, whether it be, “I’m preppy and I like sailboats,” or “I’m hip-hop and I like Jay-Z,” or “I’m a scuppie and I’m into sustainable clothing.” Or whatever. We dress to represent ourselves to the world.

    And perception is a huge thing! I’ve debated bringing in political commentary, but I’m going to leave the argument where it began.

    I *can not*. CAN NOT. wear whatever shirt I find that fits me. If it’s got too much pink or too many flowers, or frills or lace or puffy sleeves–I can not wear it.

    And why not? It’s not me. It makes me feel like I’m in drag, like I’m impersonating something or someone that that I’m just not, and can’t be. It’s too girly. It will attract looks from the wrong people–guys. Do I want to be a guy? No. But I don’t want them hitting on me either.

    And that does make it uncomfortable, even if the actual clothing isn’t, per say. Showing a feminine necklike or more arm or more leg than I want to just because that’s what the Gap tells me I should do this season makes me feel like I’m giving away too much.

    In the end, it’s hard for me to get a handle on my argument. I hate wearing girlie clothing, because I think it defines me, and I don’t like that definition. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea about me: I’m gay, I like women, I don’t like men, and I don’t want to be bothered with.

    @ the other Allison–if you know a good place to buy non-frilly, non-puffy shirts, I’m all for a shopping spree!

  • Radical Militant Librarian said:

    o boy. well, Maegan, i HATE those same shoes w/ similar fiery passion, so word. I work for the govt and have given up and just accepted that I will wear stuff to workthat I would not be caught dead in public in. I mean, who at a govt library really is gonna notice my fashion. So mostly I go for funky-librarian chic. On a bad day II’m wearing oversized “dress pants” and a boring sweater. On a good day I am wearing wedges and dresses with tulle and cardigans. I wear these shoes a lot that are Aerosoles that my Aunt Marylou decided she didn’t want anymore. She’s like 67.
    My advice: pretend you are Ellen. A nice paira pants, some clean black chucks, something with a collar– you’re good to go.

  • Netroots Nation 2011 Day Two: Things All Progressives Love, Actually | Freelance and Blogger Jobs World said:

    [...] I don’t actually have that much to say about this. It’s just like, you know when you’re out on the town scouting for ladies, and every girl who seems like a sure-fire lesbian is actually a hipster (though I still hold that these things are not mutually exclusive)? Well the same can be said for an older generation of progressive bloggers and political analysts. What is is about flowy skirts, sensible shoes, and power suits and conversations about someone’s six children that makes these things run abundant at a progressive conference? We’re just going to have to face it: we lesbians will forever be locked in a battle with business casual. [...]

  • May said:

    Hey, I think maybe i can help. It usually works for me to shop in the masculine children`s dept, since their button down shirts are not frilly at all. But of course,this will only be helpful for small dykes, who fit children`s clothes. I am short and skinny but I have big boobs, so in my case Zara`s 8 to 10 or 10 to 12 shirts fit ok.

  • Sweater vests and slacks | Clickety Clarke said:

    [...] Like, that there are Oxford shirts and Oxford shoes.  I also found some amazing articles.    “Lez Casual” is a wonderful article, in it someone named “Coach Varlas” writes about her wish to [...]

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