Dressing the Gentlewoman

Queer masculine fashion houses are popping up everywhere, and dare we say it is about time

Unisex clothing made a big splash in the 90’s, and we’ve been drawing from the men’s department for ages. Now designers everywhere are starting to make some spiffy, handsome threads with smaller armholes, shorter sleeves, and just enough room up top to keep those clean lines from puckering when we want to look sharp.

“Queer fashion hardly had a voice five years ago,” says Bernadette Coveney-Smith, founder of 14 Stories, a gay wedding planning agency that spawned a fashion line, Fourteen. “[Up until] two years ago, queers were wildly in the dark about what to wear and how to find things that fit. It’s evolved rapidly…more and more brands like ours are popping up to fill a gap for queers who have nothing to wear that suits their identity.”

What’s especially rad about this particular movement in the mill of tumblr fashion trends is how happy all these handsome dandies appear in the ad campaigns. When so many current looks in mainstream fashion evoke anger, hunger, depression or come-hither attitudes, it’s so refreshing and uplifting to scroll through all of these fashionistas who feel empowered and proud of their sensibilities.

“Dress is a very personal form of activism,” says Mary Going, founder of Saint Harridan, a label that is producing high-quality suits for people of all gender identities. And almost every mission statement of each brand is behind you on your politics. The labels see fashion as a natural follow-up to the community queers have created for themselves. We have developed and grown comfortable identifying with words like stud, butch and boi, and now there are lines upon lines of customized attire to outfit our lexicon.

Start falling in love with a few of our favorite brands.

Marimacho describes the modern queer aesthetic as “dapper, edgy and unapologetically sexy,” and reflect this attitude in their spring line of briefs, shirts, blazers, bowties and even swimwear.

Saint Harridan is working to reclaim the term ‘mannish woman,’ which was traditionally meant as a slur, by churning out handsome ready-to-wear suits for the dandy in you who just likes to look sharp on any given Tuesday. Check your inbox for their upcoming launch.

Now that the internet is brimming with so many curated fashion sites, it’s no surprise that Wildfang has emerged to cater to the tomboy in all of us. Drawing from menswear, women’s wear and unisex labels, these two Portland quipsters are “liberating menswear, one bowtie at a time.”

Unbound Apparel, touting a variety of tees and caps “without silly labels,” celebrates gender non-conformity with clever slogans and illustrations available in all colors of the rainbow.

Fourteen manufactures high-end suits and tuxedos that are the perfect fit for your wedding day. Modeling their garments on bodies of all gender expressions, Fourteen has outfitted many a bride since their launch in 2010 and plans to branch into undergarments, swimwear, shirts with built-in binders, and maternity wear.

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