There is only one Sartorial Butch…but this blog has another writer.

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and talk about a favorite topic.

I’m bee listy, a good friend of the Sartorial Butch.  It seems that some major life changes are coming to the Sartorial Butch and the Sartorial Love–they have a baby due this summer!  I’m naturally thrilled to become a butch uncle yet again to the child of good friends, and was even more excited when SB asked me to help fill in some gaps on this blog.  I’ve been behind the scenes of The Sartorial Butch since inception–I’m proud to say that i encouraged SB to start this party.

Some things about me: I identify as a queer fat butch.  I am a caucasian, female assigned at birth person who uses female or gender neutral pronouns.  I live in the midwest.  I have two college degrees, and due to my career I am likely identifiable as middle class, although I grew up working class.  This brings up a great deal of issues of transclassness (is that a word?)  I live alone, more or less.  I am in my early 30s.  This is my perspective, and I do not purport to represent anyone but myself.  Just to be clear.

How I ended up here… I wanted a butch clothing blog to read & engage with, but at the time I didn’t feel like I was a dapper enough dresser to be the one to write it.  I’m proud to say that in a lot of ways, that has changed.  Since it’s beginnings, I’ve been closely following the ideas, suggestions, and discussions on The Sartorial Butch.  I can honestly say that in the time I’ve been friends with The Sartorial Butch, I’ve grown an incredible amount with regard to my own sartorial butch expression.

The most game-changing day of my sartorial life was the day that she suggested that I try out wearing a bow tie.  I first thought of David Sedaris’ essay “Buddy, Can You Spare a Tie?” which appears in When You Are Engulfed In Flames.  Sedaris’ friend Frank declares that “A bow tie announces to the world that you can no longer get an erection.” When I first read this, I thought something akin to oh dear, I don’t need to be making any public declarations about my erections. I also thought that due to my double chin, it would be a terrible idea.  But the idea kept rolling around in my mind, and finally I decided to pull the trigger on that idea.  Instantly, a bow tie lover was born.

One of the things I love about bow ties is that it pulls the eye up to the face, away from my chest.  I had a breast reduction in the 1990s, but I am not flat chested.  I love wearing traditional neckties, but I hate the way the curve of my chest makes a bump in the line of my outfit, so when I started wearing bow ties, I noticed how that changed my perspective.

My first bow tie was a pre-tied grey (with skulls)* little sweetie that I was petrified to wear out in public.  The first time I wore it, I put it on with a striped pinpoint oxford shirt and a favorite black pullover sweater from Banana.  That sweater has great details (toggles, but just at the neck) and I thought I could sneak the bow tie inconspicuously.  I walked into the office and my administrative assistant exclaimed that she loved my bow tie.  Over the course of the afternoon, I got a great number of compliments both in person and online.  Immediately, I was sold.  I wanted more.

In the subsequent months, I have amassed quite a reasonable collection of bow ties.  All of my new ties are self-tie.  I have met and talked with other bow tie wearers, I have added two vintage clip-ons that belonged to my beloved grandpa to my collection, and thanks to Brooks Brothers’ friends & family sale, I have now added a reversible bow tie to the mix.  I get an incredible amount of positive attention from a wide array of people–and reactions are varied, honestly. Sometimes I get pretty confused and/or dirty looks,  but I get tons of positive attention from queers of all varieties, and some straight folks love it too.

I have progressed in my commitment to the bow tie where I wear one every single day to work (I am in administration at a large, midwestern, public university where I am one of only a handful of visible butch folks on campus–including students).  I realize that the bow tie isn’t for everyone, but it’s perfect for me.  I’m a little bit southern, a lot dandy, and generally my style is preppy/professorial.

*honest disclosure: that first bow tie I purchased was pre-tied, but it quickly fell apart.  I replaced it with a self-tie in the same pattern.

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24 Responses to “There is only one Sartorial Butch…but this blog has another writer.”

  1. You definitely rock the bowtie! Very cute!

  2. I was tickled to see a new entry today! It’s great to see more perspectives on masculine-of-center fashion. I look forward to good stuff!

  3. Robin Gordon Says:

    Love the bowtie! and hope to see lots more posts. Here’s a ‘treasury’ I made on etsy featuring various tie favourites http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4da116c631928eef6567aec8/tie-one-on?index=1

  4. Neither queer nor butch here but I think you look awesome! Very dapper.

  5. Nice! I don’t personally rock the bow tie, but you pull it off extremely well. I especially like some of the sweater/tie pairings. I’ve been planning a tie post for a little while, and I’ll definitely link to this excellent post!

    • Thank you for the compliment and the promise of future linking.

      Generally I pair ties with sweater vests or sweaters. I don’t usually like only wearing one layer, and I only own one non-sweater vest.

  6. BTW, since you work in an academic milieu, maybe you’re a good person to have weigh in on an issue I wrote about earlier today… Whaddaya think?

    http://butchwonders.weebly.com/1/post/2011/05/tie-one-on-help.html

  7. Adorable! There just isn’t enough dandy in the world.

  8. Hi! I hope it is not weird the I am commenting so late, but this seemed like the most appropriate place to ask. Is there a good video on how to tie a bow tie like the SB’s four in hand and windsor vids? I’m sort of a newbie butch, at least when it comes to wearing anything that’s not a black t-shirt and jeans, but I’m going to have to get up and teach undergraduates and look professional, and I am sort of hoping that the bowtie will do that for me (at least better than my t-shirt collection will).

    • it’s not weird at all!

      the video I used to learn was this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJv4Qh7zR3E

      and there’s nothing wrong w/ black t-shirts and jeans– that’s my casual go-to uniform and has been for many years.

      –bee

      • Thank you so much!

        Sadly, the university has a pretty formal dress code that outright bans both t-shirts and jeans. I went out and bought a few men’s dress shirts, which I actually ended up liking a lot. I even picked up a vest at Goodwill and some ties (one of which is a bow tie, which led to this whole commenting thing). Now I just have to get the bow tie tying down, and find something to wear on the bottom half of my body and I’ll at least look professional-ish (being professional is a whole ‘nother story. I’m still waiting to see if I’ll crack up halfway through my first class at the shear ridiculousness of people letting me teach other people anything.)

        • I also work in a university where I am not able to rock my jeans & t-shirts for work. I wear a bow tie, dress shirt, and sweater vest combo almost every day w/ dress pants. I usually actually buy women’s dress shirts b/c mens shirts are too long in the torso and sleeves on me (i’m only 5″5′).

          what are you teaching?

  9. I’m 5’10 so my main problem with guy’s dress shirt is the hips and my general roundness (that last button almost never gets buttoned, so I have to tuck them in.)

    I’m a Ph.D. candidate in history, and I’m in charge of recitation for the second half of freshman American history. Not truly being an American historian (I do science and technology history, the steamboat being my one true love), I am almost as nervous about the teaching as figuring out what to wear!

    • I’m so jealous of your height!

      The steamboat is your one true love? Um, that’s amazingly nerdy. We should be friends.

      • Steamboats aren’t even close to the extent of my nerdity. I’m a big sf/steampunk fan, I’m teaching myself 3D modeling so that bore more people with how steam engines work in real time, I teach scuba diving and am learning rock climbing, and my underbed storage is taken up with long boxes full of comics.

        Hi, I’m Henry, and I am a nerd. It’s nice to meet you!

    • Hi Henry! Good luck on the teaching. I love that so many of us work in academia! I have the exact same problem with shirts that you do. Play with brands to find a good fit (I posted some suggestions at http://www.butchwonders.com/1/post/2011/05/how-to-buy-shirts-an-introduction.html). And good luck with the teaching. I’ve found that wearing a tie to teach makes me feel most confident. I’ll be interested to hear what you decide to wear in the classroom. –BW

      • Thank you for the link, that’s really helpful. I had no idea that the sleeve measurement wasn’t a chest measurement…. that explains so much.

        Thank you also for the good wishes. When I figure out what I’m going to wear for the first day of teaching, I’ll post you guys a picture or something.

  10. […] my first post on this blog, I gushed about my love of bow ties.  My collection continues to expand, mostly due to the Tie […]

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