Archive for the Tips and Hints Category

Putting the mack down…

Posted in Tips and Hints with tags , , on May 13, 2010 by sartorialbutch

It’s been a really long long long day at work, but I’m in that incredible goofy place where all I’m thinking about today is the SL and how I can’t WAIT to get home.  Over the holidays she bought me a peppermint scented massage candle that sat idle until a few weeks ago when I was having some serious muscle pain that really needed to be worked out.  I also had in my arsenal a “coupon” for a “free” body massage that I felt it was time to cash in on.

Oh. My. I’m usually not too patient about things like massages, but I really needed to have some body work done and so I wasn’t actually expecting the experience to move on to anything else but…woah.

I like most things wax to begin with but this was a totally different experience.  It smelled good, was not “hot,” but definitely warm and felt SO good on my skin. It was easily absorbed, wasn’t too oily, and I managed to sit still for almost 40 minutes before I….couldn’t take any more massaging.

Why am I telling you quasi intimate details of my relationship? Because I want you to have this joy too.  I can’t remember the brand of candle we have, but I’m about 100% sure that your local toy store will have some, I know mine carried this line from Jimmyjane:

I’m really into pepperminty scented and flavored things, but I know that they’re available in many different scents, and even non-scented for those of you who avoid that kind of thing. They do NOT have to be expensive, and for you crafty types, there are tons of recipes on the web to make them yourself.

Tonight, I get home late but I’m just holding on to a little sliver of hope that she’ll allow me to repay the favor…..

Butches bringing sexytime back

Posted in Tips and Hints, Totally Random with tags on April 12, 2010 by sartorialbutch

Normally, Beelisty and I are incredibly busy people during the day, giving well over 100% of our energies to our respective employers.  Today? Not so much.

What follows is a transcript we had earlier today about music selection for….you know.

SB: i like the idea of sexytime music, but i have to be honest. I can only perform if I’ve never heard the music before.

BL: So you’re constantly on the lookout for new sexytime music?  Wow.

SB: Yeah, well if I know it, the beat/words get caught in my head and I lose concentration.

BL: I can totally understand that.  I’ve been known to sing along. Some folks find it funny, others? Not so much.  But I find sex funny, and have no interest in having sex with people who can’t laugh during sex.

SB: I think sex is funny too.  I mean, sometimes it isn’t. But funny laughter-filled sex is awesome.  I wish I could be all 1997 because I LOVE Portishead for sexytime music.  I’ve exhausted that possibility now.

BL: Ooh, Portishead is good sexy music.  They need to keep making records just for you.  Or people like me need to keep sharing Portishead-type stuff with you. Have you checked out Electrelane?  They’re super sexy sounding (and looking).  Massive Attack.  Faithless.  Tricky.   Also, I’m gonna recommend this record by Bows– it’s called Cassidy and I have spent many hours making out to this record.

SB: You’re amazing.  I’ve burnt through a lot of people. Morphine.  Massive Attack.  Erykah Badu.  One thing I won’t do is work it to really really lesbo music.

BL: I can’t get down to really sincere R&B.  Like Keith Sweat?  No way.  I’d be laughed out of the bed from chuckling.

SB: HAHA Yeah. No Keith Sweat.

BL: There’s the fun, fast stuff– and I won’t lie.  As a hardcore riot grrl fan, I love to have sex to Sleater-Kinney, Bratmobile, Bikini Kill, etc…  Anyone who would play at a Ladyfest or Homo-A-Gogo is a good time for me.

SB: BUT – Sometimes R. Kelly (I know, I know) is not bad.

BL:  R. Kelly?! LOLZ. Nope.

SB: I’ve had awesome sex to Metallica.  Just sayin.

BL:  Ooh, I don’t think I’ve ever had any Metallicasex.  When it comes to the slower chill sex music, I like Electrelane, Portishead, Bows, Massive Attack.  Tricky.  Some Bjork.  *Sigh*  My goodness– you’re so right about it being the late 90s in our respective bedrooms.

SB: The Metallica S&M album (no pun intended, they’re just with the SF Symphony Orchestra) is awesome sexing music, and it’s a double disc.

BL:  Oh yea, that’s a great record. I don’t think it would have occurred to me to have sex to it.  The sincere jazz nerd in me (I used to play tenor saxophone) wants to have sex to John Coltrane records, but I haven’t ever slept with anyone that sincere.

SB: HAHA.

BL: Maybe my future holds a lady who will get it on to Miles Davis and Coltrane?

SB: Monk is pretty good for that.

BL: Oh yea.  Ladies, if you are jazz fans, you can email me.

SB: I guess – I just feel like w/o the music my life is kind of becoming Trey Songz “The Neighbors Know my name” in real life.

BL: HAHAHAH! AMAZING! This may need you to draw on distant memories since you’re in a monogs relationship with the Sartorial Love, but here’s a question for you.  Your readers need to know how to behave in this sticky situation.  And by “your readers”, I mean me.

SB: Ok, shoot.

BL: What do you do when you are having sexytimes with someone who wants to listen to something you hate?

SB: Uhm. Well, in my case that’s a non-issue.

BL: Never in your sexy life has someone wanted to jam out to something you couldn’t fuck to?

SB: It hasn’t been THAT long since the SL and I were just platonic friends so I can come up with something for you. You say the following:

“Babe. I’d really like to get down with you but I’m going to lose my s*** if we have to listen to Sarah McLachlan while we do it. Can we pick something else, please? Some Joan Armatrading, perhaps?”

BL: Wait, you can’t bang to Sarah but you can bang to Joan?  I’m so sure right now! I’m actually laughing out loud.

SB: Well, I probably couldn’t bang to Joan.  But I feel like if Sarah was the option, I’d consider Joan. Thankfully, it’s been a decade since I’ve been with someone who would want to listen to that.

BL: Still laughing.  Okay, so what we’ve determined is that I’m a music snob and you can’t fuck to stuff you know.  I won’t get it on to stuff I hate, and no one will get it on with me to jazz.  So is there a dream butch sexy playlist? Which reminds me, I will not get it on to kd lang.

SB: Me neither. Or M.E. I sometimes feel like the only dyke in America who can’t stand M.E.

BL: You’re not.

SB: Oh, good. Or we’re both just snobs about music, which you know, isn’t shocking.

BL: Melissa Etheridge’s music is not my thing. I appreciate her out-ness, her courage, her public battle with cancer. I value her place in the community and respect her…but I don’t dig on her music.  And that’s ok.

SB: I may need to get in to classical music.

BL: Yea?

SB: Well, it’s practically infinite in selection.

BL: Absolutely.  I’m an opera fan.  Never had sexy times to it though, but there is potential for the music being louder than a screamer.

SB: I think I can’t do opera.  This conversation may need to be opened up to the public for their opinions. Thoughts?

BL:  Oh absolutely. We need to know what the people bang to.

Ok. SB fans –Please help my swingin’ friend Bee (and me) find some really good music for sexytime!  Obviously, this isn’t something we can handle ourselves!

Pee Ess:  I hate the word “sexytime.” Bee loves it. But I don’t. If I could think of something else that wasn’t stupid or offesnive, I’d use it.

Sartorial Tip of the Day

Posted in Always be prepared, Tips and Hints on March 19, 2010 by sartorialbutch

As spring has just about sprung in many parts of the US, including mine, spring shopping is certainly on my to do list. One thing that makes shopping trips much less stressful and way more productive is knowing what size you wear!

I know that sounds kind of redundant, but for me, I wear different shirt sizes for different manufacturers and cuts of shirt. What I do to keep track  of all of these measurements is to keep a record on a card in my wallet at all times. I know that (and cough, the SB DOES have a birthday coming up) I generally wear shirts with a 16 1/2 neck, especially if they are fitted shirts, but I often wear a 16 for regular sized ones. I know that my sleeve length is always 32/33, and I know which manufacturers I wear a M,  L, or XL in size.

I know that I wear the same size in Gap, Lucky, and Levi brand clothes, and I know that if I’m buying at H&M, I wear one size if it’s their “LOGG” brand, and another if it’s the “European Cut” style. I know which major shoe brands that I’m a 6.5 or a 7, and I know which brands of socks fit me best as well.

I know all of this sounds somewhat anal-retentive and admittedly, it IS. However, having this information at my fingertips does a few things. First, it gives me less stuff to try on because I can narrow down the sizes much quicker, and also, if I’m not in the mood to deal with dressing rooms (and I know some of you are NEVER in the mood to do this) I can buy and go home and USUALLY have very good luck with everything fitting, thus negating a return trip to the store.  Additionally, if anyone asks me (whether directly or on the sly,) I’ve got an answer for them, so that if they’re trying to surprise me with something, they’re going to have very good odds of buying me something that fits – and that makes everyone feel good.

What information about yourself do you keep at your fingertips?

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!

And moving forward

Posted in Butch in the real world, Tips and Hints with tags , on February 25, 2010 by sartorialbutch

So, you’ve been dating someone for a while and have been following butch dating etiquette best practices. And you like them. And then you really like them. And then you really really like them. And then you love them. And then you really are totally in love with them.

Don’t slack on your butch etiquette just because you’ve got something safe and secure. Remember, you LOVE doing this! Do not get complacent. Think about how incredibly lucky you are that s/he picked you – don’t forget to never make her/him think s/he made a poor choice.

Keeping you in stitches

Posted in Tips and Hints with tags , on January 10, 2010 by sartorialbutch

One of the biggest issues for me when shopping in the mens department is that pants are notoriously too long for my short little legs. Most of the time 30 length pants are just one inch too long for me (except in Gap Khaki’s, their 30’s are PERFECT) and so they need to be hemmed.  It’s relatively easy to hem your own pants, even if you aren’t a born sewer – this is something that can be easily learned, and you don’t need much in the way of supplies – and to save anywhere from $10-$15 dollars a pair – well, money talks and this is something you can certainly do yourself.

You’ll need scissors, an iron, pins, and a needle and thread. Yes, I have a sewing machine which makes the process move faster than the speed of light but this is not a really long process and so you don’t need to go out and purchase major hardware unless you think sewing is something you’re going to get really in to.  If you’re usually only an inch or so shy, then a seam ripper might be something to invest in as well – they’re only a buck or two at a sewing store.

This is my method – it may not be what Martha Stewart would do, but it works well for me.

Step one – Remove old seam. Use the seam ripper to get rid of the old hem stitching. I don’t usually need to do this because I have SO much fabric to get rid of so I proceed straight to step two. Iron the pants flat.

Step two –  I put the pants on, inside out.  I want them to hang on me the way that they are going to fall when really wearing them so I walk around for a few minutes to get the “hang” right on the pants. I then fold the pants up at the appropriate hem line, and use 4 or 5 pins to hold the hem in place.  I usually use a ruler to make sure that I’ve pinned the pants evenly, and this is a good time to adjust to make sure you’re evenly hemming the pants.

Step three – Iron at “fold”  line. This just makes it easier to sew.

Step four – Sew new hem. I usually like my hems 3/4 to 1 inch above the “fold” of the pants.  If hand stitching use a “running” or “straight” stitch around the hem line.

That’s it. You’re done. If you’ve hemmed a significant amount of length off the pants, use your scissors and trim 1/2 half of an inch above the new stitching.

If you’ve never sewed before, this may take about 1/2 an hour or more, but once you get it down, this is something you’ll have mastered forever!

I am kind of a crafty butch and I love to sew – this is me actually hemming some pants a few weeks ago -you know, just for some butch in action excitement at the end of a somewhat perfunctory post.

Happy Hemming!!!

There’s still a few days left….

Posted in Tips and Hints with tags on December 20, 2009 by sartorialbutch

Allow me to introduce my FIRST guest writer, Kirsten!! Kir is one of my most favorite femmes in all the universe, and I’ve asked her to help me out with my femme gift giving guide.  I’ve asked her not only because she is a brilliant writer and has an incredible wealth of knowledge about many things girlie, but because, well,  I kind of burnt myself out on thoughts after finding the perfect sparkly item for *my* femme and needed a little help for you all.  So, I hope you’ll kindly welcome Kir into the SB fold!

First of all, I’d like to thank the Sartorial Butch for inviting me to share my femme gift-giving guide with her readers; this blog has been long overdue, and I’m honored to be a part of it.

Second of all, femmes are always late.* The SB would have liked this to go up a week ago, but I was busy being schmoopy with my butch on vacation, and then playing catch-up at work. So there ya have it.

Buying for femmes isn’t the scary prospect so many butches and others who date femmes tend to imagine; we’re really an easy bunch, and the items in this post will serve more as guidelines than rules, really (name the movie, get a cookie!). What’s always going to be most important, as with any gift-giving, is that it’s thoughtful, and shows that you’re considering her wants, and not only giving her what earns you prime bragging rights (unless that’s a negotiated thing – in which case, go big or go home).

So the first, and most powerful, item in your femme-gift arsenal: her best friend’s phone number. Not her sister, not her roommate (unless they happen to be one and the same). The BFF will have the inside scoop on everything from sizing to colors to what she’s already got and what she really needs and wants. Besides that, she’s got the ability to call your femme and say, “Hey, I can’t find my copy of The Persistent Desire, can I borrow yours? There’s a piece I wanted to re-read. Oh, you don’t have it? Okay, I’ll check with so-and-so.” Mission: accomplished. The best friend will also know when to be sneaky and when to come right out and say, “Your butch wants to get you a Stop Staring dress, which one do you want most?” Because sometimes the direct approach is best. Trust her to know when to use which.

The SB talked a little about gift cards and gift certificates in the butch gift-giving guide; I’d like to point out that femmes are a special breed in this case, because gift certificates for services are always a good bet, particularly if it’s something she does for herself like a mani/pedi. If you aren’t sure if she does her own nails because she wants to or because she doesn’t want to splurge on a professional, just ask sometime when she’s in the middle of the process. She’ll know why you’re asking, and she’ll give you the answer you need in order to decide if it’s something she’d appreciate. In order to make the gift something she remembers, and not just a certificate that gets used and forgotten, buy her the polish you want her to wear when she goes to the nail salon. Butches selecting nail and makeup colors is hot.

For the femme in your life who either isn’t electronically inclined, or who prefers to give you that chance to flex your butch muscles, we love gadgets, too! Just make sure you install, calibrate, configure, or otherwise set up the netbook, iPod, stereo, or blu-ray player, or else it’ll make a stunning paperweight, or centerpiece on the dining room table. Same goes for car stuff – does she apologize for how dirty it is every time you get in, or get nervous in inclement weather? Take her car for a complete inside-outside wash, vacuum, and detailing, or if you’re feeling really generous (and maybe a bit protective), have snow tires put on for her. It’s practical, but also shows that you care and pay attention. Having something fun and little wrapped and in the driver’s seat when you deliver the car after service is a nice touch – it can be a cute stuffed animal, a package of her favorite cookies, or a pretty travel coffee mug – just something to add a personal touch to the gift.

Is your femme the Betty Crocker type? Non-essential kitchen appliances can be great gifts, particularly if they’re items she’s wanted but just hasn’t gotten around to buying for herself. Again, along the lines of gadget installation, don’t just get her the appliance – if you’re buying a breadmaker, get a few mixes so she doesn’t have to wait until she thinks to buy one herself to use it. Open the box and slip in a cute apron; if you’re lucky, she’ll be using the breadmaker and wearing the apron – and nothing but the apron – within hours, if you’ve provided everything she needs to get right to it.

As everyone knows, jewelry is always a popular gift. It can be cute and inexpensive, or you can go all out if you’re that kind of butch, and she’s your kind of girl. This is one time I will always forgive a butch for snooping – if you want to make sure you’re getting a good length for a necklace or bracelet, or sizing a ring, sneak one she wears regularly out of her jewelry box when she’s in the shower one day and take it with you while you shop. You can get a ring sized at any jeweler, and most other jewelry comes in standard lengths. Pay attention to what she wears – if she doesn’t own any yellow gold, go white gold or silver. If she loves brightly colored plastic bangles and earrings, get her some in colors besides what she already owns. If you’re going with gemstones, choose something that will accent the colors she wears most frequently. And if you want it to be something she wears all the time, be sure to select a neutral combination of metal, setting, and stone.

Handmade gifts are one of my favorite categories, because the time and effort put into them goes above and beyond what it takes to walk into a store and make a selection. My butch is into woodworking, and I’ve requested some custom storage and organization for my vanity – something like a knife block for my makeup brushes, a cabinet with tilted shelves and slots for all of my pigments so I can see them all at a glance, maybe a magnet board for my palettes… The possibilities are endless when you’re starting from scratch, and I know that every piece will be crafted to perfection because it’ll be one of a kind, made just for me. Does your femme have an area where she just can’t get things to fit the way she wants them to? A closet that doesn’t accommodate her shoes in such a way that she can get to all of them? Wasted wall space in the kitchen and nowhere to keep frequently used utensils? Get creative and get thee to Home Depot – there’s nothing as sexy as a butch hard at work making something for her very appreciative femme.

I hope this has been helpful, informative, and inspiring – come back and let us know what you did for the special femme in your life this holiday season!

* Disclaimer: all “femmes always,” “femmes never,” and other blanket statements are utter bullshit; I just figured it might go over better than “I’m always late.” Ya know, strength in numbers and all that.