Archive for the Pants Category

One more piece if you stay a while

Posted in Pants, Shirts, Shopping with tags , , , on May 22, 2010 by sartorialbutch

A quick tale of a great shopping adventure I had this week.   I have a wedding to attend next weekend, and then my own in the fall, and I needed at least one, but likely two new suits.  I overheard my co-workers (male) talking about a buy one, get one for $100 suit sale that Men’s Warehouse was having.

Honestly, I was quite skeptical about a chain of stores like that. I don’t know why, I mean clearly I have no problem going into Macy’s and doing my thing there. And I thought it might have to do with them being a men’s only store, as in they only carry dress-wear for men – but there are a few indie local men’s only stores in my town that I love to frequent, even if I can’t always afford their goods.

So, with quite a bit of trepidation I went to Men’s Warehouse on Wednesday afternoon of last week.  My thoughts were that I would check them out, and if they treated me well, then, I’m a sucker for great service  and I’d do business there.  Really – it’s worth it to pay more for good service, even if you pay more than you know you might have elsewhere, I’m a true believer in this. Anyway,  I’d seen this AWESOME Calvin Klein linen suit online.

I knew they carried it, and it was exactly the color I wanted to have for my wedding, which is…uh, creeping up on me. So, I went. And I hung around kind of looking at stuff (I found my CK suit immediately and crossed it off the list as I didn’t like the linen weave as much as I thought I would) for about 5 minutes when this larger older man wearing a bow tie asked if I was being helped and what he could do for me.  I told him what I was looking for, what I thought my sizes were, and what I was looking to avoid – things like big shoulder pads, and really boxy suits.

He smiled, took me over to a section of the store, and off we went. The first suit he picked was a Calvin Klein all season suit – it was gray, with a “tick” to it – a weave that I knew I thought looked sharp. It wasn’t totally outrageous (I did try out a pretty funky blue with brown square suit but it was a little “over” for me) and it fit. So. Nice.  I mean, it was slightly tight around the belly, and a little bunchy at the back of the neck, but I liked it. But it was kind of above my price range (I’d wanted to spend $500 on two) but like I said, I’m ok paying more for good service, so we put it on the “maybe” list, and moved on.  Tried a few more suits – a DKNY one that was nice, a Jones NY one that was ok….but there was something about the CK one and I knew it was a keeper.

Additionally, I told my sales consultant (Joe) about my wedding, and the color I was looking for, and immediately he brought over this gorgeous Joseph and Feiss silk suit.

I knew it was what I wanted immediately.  It felt SO good to touch it. I also knew that he didn’t have my size, but it didn’t matter, he’d order it and I could buy it today – we’d alter it around the wedding in case my size changed between now and then.

We next went to try on the pants. The CK suit is a European cut, which is great for many female bodies, including mine, but they are cut a little small in the pants – but no problem, their tailor could handle it. Then he went and found me a pair of men’s shoes in my size so that the tailor could mark up the suit. A lovely woman came out and like it was no thang took 2 minutes, to chalk up the cuffs, the sides where she was going to adjust things a bit, and the back/neck where she was going to fix the bunching issue. AWESOME. Yes, the tailoring will cost a bit more, but, if you get a suit tailored at Men’s Warehouse they will alter it for free, no matter what the reason, whenever in the future.

So, I left about an hour after arriving, and bought two suits.  I spent about $115 more than I’d intended and I left a very very happy camper. I learned more about suits, knew more about what looked good on me, and had just a terrific experience. I can’t promise that my time there wasn’t exclusive to the New England fairly liberal city that I live in, but I certainly have no hesitation recommending the Men’s Warehouse to all of my butch brothers out there.

This is me in the new suit jacket (before alteration marks – I’ll get you some “after” shots in a few weeks) when we were trying stuff on. I have no idea why I look so angry, I was having a great time!

I know that Harrison got a suit a little while back – anyone else have some good suit buying experiences??

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And you thought he was cute before

Posted in Pants, Shirts, Shopping, Tips and Hints with tags , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2010 by sartorialbutch

Harrison, writer of one of my fave new blogs, has a summer wedding to attend and has asked me a couple of questions about suits.  Odds are pretty good that you’ve got a spring/summer event, wedding, or holiday coming up and more formal attire will be expected of you. There’s NO reason for you to stress (or sweat) about this, there are LOTS of different options that will keep you both looking AND feeling cool.

First a note about suits. When I wrote about custom made shirts last year I talked about it being a dream. That they are expensive, but that they fit better than anything you could get off the rack. The same holds true of a well made suit. A bespoke tailor is one who will take your measurements and custom make a suit to fit you perfectly. A bespoke suit is STILL a dream for me, but if your pockets are lined more fully than mine well, then, this is probably a good option.

For the rest of us, suits don’t have to be as financially challenging, and starting your shopping NOW in the winter will likely save you a few bucks by shopping out of season.  Realistically, a really nice suit is going to cost you northwards of $150. How much more north than that is up to you, but you can save money by comparing stores/sizes (go get sized at a men’s store) online, and again, right now is GREAT sale time, even at higher end retailers.

Summer suits come in three major different fabric camps (with scores of blends) wool, linen, and cotton.  I’m going to talk a little bit about all three, but I want to hit on color first – avoid white. It’s tempting to go for the white suit, because a hot butch in a white suit is well, hot, but white gets DIRTY fast.  Also, it has a tendency to make you look either dated or like you should be selling ice cream or starring in a certain 70’s movie about dancing.  I will make the exception that if YOU are the one getting married? You can wear the white suit if you like, but damn, boy, you better make sure you look tight.

Wool suits specifically made for warmer months/climates are made from tropical wool. This is an easy breathing, lightweight wool that keeps the crisp lines and full look of a regular wool suit but without smothering you by being too heavy or warm.

I think that suits made of tropical wool can be really really sexy, and also, if the event is more formal (even black tie) than casual, a darker colored wool suit will really do you well.

Like most summer suits, tropical wool ones will wrinkle more easily than their worsted or tweed cousins, and the fact that the weather is warmer means more frequent dry-cleaning as well, but it won’t be tooooo expensive.

Linen is another option for summer suit attire. Linen is REALLY light. Really. It feels incredibly freeing to wear linen.  It is a natural fiber and wearing it can be good for the environment. Also, it doesn’t really have any allergic properties.  It’s a fairly durable fabric.

However light and comfy linen may be, it does come with a few downfalls. It wrinkles really easily. It can also be hard to clean, and if you’re one who sweats a LOT when it’s hot, especially from the armpits/back of the knees, this may not be the best choice for you, at all. It also tends to stain really easily as well.  Linen can tend to wear unevenly and stretch out in a not good way.

That said, some of the problems with linen can be addressed by a good dry-cleaning/starching, however this is time consuming and can be, over the long run, this type of fabric is going to cost you the most in cleaning.  Because of this, it also will not wear as well, or last as long as some of the other fabric options.  But…it can be a really good looking suit.

These two fabrics are great options – but my favorite is most definitely the cotton camp.  These suits are definitly not suited to black tie, but for most holiday and event wear will do you fine, and will be amongst the most durable and easy to care for summer weight suits you can buy.

Seersucker is usually made of cotton/poly/other blends. It’s got a ripppled/smooth two tone pattern and is perfect for holiday wear and day/outside weddings that aren’t black tie, though some seersucker can be worn (like the second example) for a more formal event.  Lightweight and easy to care for, but a look that not everyone can pull off. But if you can??? Awesome choice.

Twill is perhaps the MOST durable of fabric choice for a summer suit. Twill is a woven cotton fabric that has a diagonal weave to it. Most jeans and khaki’s are made of twill, but suits are as well. It is a little heavier weight than linen, but I think that twill has more pros than cons in this summer suit battle. Twill is terribly easy to care for, available in MANY colors – and hint – if it’s a casual summer event? You can get twill pants and a sportscoat of a different color and totally rock that kind of look. I LOVE the way khaki colored twill suit pants look with a blue sportscoat or blazer.

Poplin is a tightly woven, plaine weave fabric that can also be made from cotton into summer suits.  Poplin is very lightweight and extremly durable, and also very very easy to care for – in fact sometimes it can be water/stain resistant. It’s available in a variety of colors as well, and can definitely be put together for a more formal event or stay pretty causal.

Not that this is a battle of fabrics or anything, and you’ll try on and wear and make your own choice, but the SB favorite summer suit is definitely going to be twill or poplin. In fact, writing this post has totally made me re-think my outfit for a late summer/early fall event of my own….

Anyway, enough daydreaming. GOOD LUCK with your search for the perfect summer/warm weather suit. As usually, my favorite places to go for this kind of thing? Brooks Brothers and Macy’s. Let me know how you fare!

I pull on my jeans and I feel all right

Posted in Jeans, Pants with tags , , , , , on November 3, 2009 by sartorialbutch

Jeans. I can’t think of tougher item of clothing to buy when you’re masculinely expressed than jeans. Really. Jeans have been a rough one for  me for a long time. I’m going to try to hit on what might work best for a few different body types, but obviously I know mine the best.  And being that I’ve been a few different sizes, hopefully I can provide a little wisdom to a lot of people.

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For the hard part: body disclosure. I have some trepidation about telling the world my stats, but, I know it might be worthwhile if it helps you to compare yourself to me  to figure out what might in turn work for you.   I am 5’3 (and a half, thanks) weigh 175-185 pounds (it sometimes varies, and I lose about a pound or so a week with my current work out regimen), and wear a men’s 35/36 sized jean/pant and prefer a 29/30 inch inseam.  I have very muscular arms and legs, and hold extra weight pretty much exclusively in my face and belly. I have lost about 60 pounds in the past year and was at this time last November about 235 pounds and wore a size 40/42. I’m pleased with the work I’ve put into my body, but mostly I’m ecstatic about how healthy I am and feel, and that’s the best part for me. I’ll tell you more about my body as it becomes relevant to future posts, but I would really like to stress that this is a judgment free blog. Butches of all shapes and sizes are hot. It just comes with the territory.

Some quick jean tips. Stay away from cotton/spandex blend jeans. Most men’s jeans are 100% denim, but some stretch jeans for men do exist and I caution you to stay away. Just not good. I think that if you are rail thin, a skinny jean with some mixed blend fabric would be ok, but if you’re anything but that? Caution.

Not all women’s jeans are created equal. I don’t usually wear any women’s clothing (except for a bra, which we’ll get into at a later time), but I have a pair of old Gap women’s  jeans that are pretty much my favorite “old” jeans in the universe;  they look incredible on me, and they do not look or wear like a women’s jean. So don’t immediately count them out. If jeans fit right and look great on you? Go for it, whatever department they come from.

I think that once again, even with jeans, you get what you pay for. That isn’t to say that you might not find an awesome pair of cheap jeans, but I have ALWAYS found consistency with a few brands that are slightly pricy. My favorite jeans are Lucky Brand jeans.  Right now my favorite is the “Slim Boot Cut” because they just fit my body so, so well. I’m also a HUGE fan of any jeans that are button fly; for whatever reason, those just feel sexier to me, though Lucky has a great selection of zip jeans as well. Additionally, Lucky jeans have short inseams available which is GREAT because then I don’t have to roll them up, which is kind of the bane of the short butch’s existence.  And even though they are kind of expensive, they OFTEN have sales exclusive to their website and you can buy one get one, or get closeouts for pretty reasonable prices.

For smaller/shorter butches, jeans can also be a problem. Jeans from the boys’ department often don’t fit right, though Levi’s makes most of their men’s jeans up to boys’ size 20 (30 inch waist) and usually have a 25/26 inch inseam.

Larger butches don’t have it any easier. The bigger the men’s waist goes, the wider the pant leg goes too, and usually women hold their weight in different places than men do. Fabric tends to bunch in the crotch area, the ass is saggy, and usually they’re too long.  This is why there are specialty stores for larger feminine women; unfortunately, there’s no such thing for masculinely expressed ones. So there are a couple of things you can do. Experiment with a ton of brands. This is tedious and usually makes you feel like shit about yourself; at least, it did for me when I had a hard time buying jeans. Hopefully, my research and experience can save you some of this trauma.  I found that there were a couple of Levi’s that fit well me well, but often I had more luck with Old Navy jeans, and even though I had jeans that fit and looked cute, they were mostly carpenter type jeans. It was REALLY hard to find jeans that were big enough in the waist that didn’t look horrible anywhere else, and because I have good legs, they were never tight enough. This is actually why I fell in love with Lucky’s – They have sizes up to 42, and they fit my body type really well.

Larger than that? Feminine build? Don’t fret, you still have some options that are going to make you look great. Casual Male 626 Blue jeans might be for you. They’re not too “gappy” at the waist and still fit well through hips and thighs. And if you hate shopping in stores, or in exclusively men’s stores, these websites have great return policies, so you can have stuff delivered to your house and try them out there, and send them back without much hassle.

A quick segue to tailoring, which will also be covered in depth at a later date, but as far as jeans go, many of us shorter butches end up rolling jean cuffs. Sometimes it’s cute, and can work really well with a boot, or skater sneaker type look. Most times, with real shoes, it just doesn’t look right.  The trick here is to find a good tailor. A really good tailor who can not just cut and hem your jeans, which looks horrible because it doesn’t have the same kind of wash or finish as the original, and it looks silly, but s/he will cut off the cuff, shorten the jeans, and reattach the original cuff. This looks flawless – though it can take a while to find someone who is talented enough to do this. And it will cost you a bit, but trust, it’s worth it.

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Outside of the dress pants that I have to work in, jeans are the most prominent leg wear in my closet, and a good pair of jeans can go with almost any kind of outfit. Jeans can be worn with a shirt and tie just as easily as they can with a tee shirt and hoodie. And when it comes down to it, there’s almost nothing hotter than a butch in a pair of jeans that fit well. And an A frame undershirt. Barefoot. Not that this image is stereotypical or anything. But um. Yeah. Damnnnn.

Annnyway. This is where this blog becomes interactive – tell me about what jeans you LOVE, and where you get them!

 

**EDIT** Today, Nov 3, at the LUCKY BRAND website, get $35 off any purchase of $100 or more**