Subscription Boxes

Posted in Personal grooming on January 1, 2017 by bee listy

Almost a year ago, I got a new job and moved from western Massachusetts, USA to northern California, USA.  This is literally 3000 miles across the United States, and culturally a world away.

I love northern California.  I can’t even imagine living anywhere else right now. I love my job, the city where we live, the amazing adventures we can have in short drives (Tahoe! Yosemite! San Francisco! Marin/Sonoma/Napa Counties)

As a congratulations to myself gift, I chose a subscription to the Sprezzabox. I was super stoked to receive my first box– a neck tie, pocket square, lapel pin… all cool stuff.  I did the Sprezzabox for 4 or 5 months before I decided to cancel because I wasn’t really using the stuff in the box. I don’t wear neck ties– when I wear a tie, I wear a bow tie.  The pocket squares look sharp in my drawer of stuff–but really, I don’t wear them either.  In a few of the boxes, I got lapel pins that I have worn, and a few other neat little accessories like a shoe horn, some fancy man eye cream (which I never used because I am dedicated to my Enchanted), and in one box, a cigar cutter. I do not smoke cigars.


I think these may be the only things I kept from Sprezzabox

So I canceled. I sold the lot of neck ties, pocket squares, a fish hook tie clip, and the cigar cutter on Ebay.  I didn’t get my money’s worth.  In hindsight, I should have just sent the box to Jax. (Sorry buddy.)

I thought I could find a subscription box that would be cheaper and give me what I want– bow ties.  So I found Swag Ties. I received two ties, and then they stopped coming even though I was charged for 4 months of the service in advance.  Then inexplicably, I got a refund.  Their website doesn’t really say anything about what’s going on– so I’m just gonna accept that it isn’t happening.  The two ties I received were decent looking (one had owls, the other was just kind of modernist) and seemed to be well made.  So it goes.


My two Swag Ties are in the front– gray with stripes and cream with owls

So then I found Bespoke Post, which has INCREDIBLY cool stuff.  The set up is cool too– the first of the month, you get an email reminder to log in and choose a box. You don’t have to pick one, but if you don’t opt out, they’ll charge you and send you the box of the month.  The box I got, Concentrate, was amazing. It was a cold press coffee situation, some fancy bitters, and two really cool cement desk accessories. I haven’t ordered another box, but not for lack of attractive options– it’s just not really in my budget right now.

I was an early fan of The Tie Bar.  I am sure they do a bustling business as it is, but they could add a subscription box and I would 100% get on board. They have ties, pocket squares, socks, lapel pins, and more– they could put together themed boxes (preppy, modern, whatever) and make tons more money.  If you haven’t shopped with them, I can’t recommend them enough. They make an excellent product, sell it at a very reasonable price, and ship it to you quickly.  You can set up a wish list which is pretty cool. Free shipping on orders over $50 makes it so that I usually wait until I’m ready to buy 3 ties and then I get them at once.

Now that you’ve heard about my experiences with subscription boxes,  I’m curious what experiences you have had with subscription boxes and if you have any to recommend/avoid.  Also, if you have any ideas for possible boxes, that would be fun to consider as well.

Thanks for reading! I really am truly glad to be back!


Turning the page

Posted in Butch in the real world on December 30, 2016 by sartorialbutch

Nothing like a swift kick in the pants to put things in motion. I know that Lao Tzu said that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” which is nice, but mostly, I just need a boot in the butt to jump off the cliff – and this blog certainly got one. This piece appeared last week on Slate, and well, we kind of got called out in it.  And it’s true. We’ve been missing for a while, I admit it. Even before we went real silent, Bee was pulling through with a smattering of posts but my mind and heart were elsewhere.

Becoming a parent in 2011 pretty much shifted my attention away from myself and directly towards my family. Buying clothes and shoes and ties and all the things I love wearing as part of my “look” very quickly shifted to needing food and formula and paying the mortgage and the gas bill. Overnight we went from DINK’S to a 3 person family where one adult worked outside the home and was responsible for keeping everything financially afloat, and one adult did amazing work at home caring for an infant, then toddler, now bona-fide girl child. And we loved it. So much that we welcomed our second daughter in 2015 and now there are 4 of us, but same constraints keep my focus on what we need to survive as a family – and sometimes it’s really hard.

Meeting the needs of my growing (and always hungry) family cut out pretty much all of my extra spending money. It’s kind of good that I had so many shoes to rotate around because outside of the thrill of buying new stuff, now I try to not wear through too many things because personal spending has been pretty much at a stand-still for 5 years. And I’m ok with that. I make it work. I still dress exactly how I want to but, it’s toned down a bit to be more kid friendly. Because it only took one near strangulation attempt to get that my ties weren’t going to work during play time, and if I wanted to jump right in to play before bed in the limited time I have with my girls between getting home from work and night night for them, well I had to make some adjustments. And that’s ok too. We’re people, we grow.

I do want to acknowledge that for many, right now is not as warm and cozy a time to appear different as maybe it felt to me 5 years ago. New laws about bathrooms, refusal of service, and flat out discrimination  have a lot of people on edge and may  not be dressing how they want to out of fear that they will be hurt, emotionally and/or physically. And this is so not ok, but I get the preservation of self.

What has been made clear to us is that there is still a need for what we did/do. So, while it may not always be me or Bee (we’re looking to expand our team to meet the needs of our community) we will make sure that somehow, some way, The Sartorial Butch will rise to the challenge and address the issues that butches/dykes/queers/bois/studs/trans/genderqueers and others who may be masculine of center are dealing with right now. We’ll be here for advice, commiseration, and cool sartorial stuff. We’ll answer questions, listen to and address YOUR concerns, and while we’re not sure how this is all going to look, we do commit to being here.

Thank you so much for reading – SB


Hey folks…Bee Listy here! It’s great to be writing in this space again!  We’ve been so quiet for such a long time, and I didn’t realize how much I was missing this community until I started thinking about what I wanted to say coming back.
For me, the last four years have been a real challenge– I moved from Cincinnati, OH to Springfield, MA then to Sacramento, CA — all moves focused on my career in higher education administration. My now-wife has made all of those moves with me, and now that I’m feeling more settled in this new spot, I’m excited to make time to be present in this space and with this community again.  My style has certainly shifted significantly–what worked for me sartorially in Ohio and Massachusetts don’t really work for me here in California.  Sacramento is pretty great and my job, while professional, has a really casual vibe for work wear.  It seems that the whole state does.
I’m excited to be back, and I’m ready to talk glasses and shoes and accessories with all of you again.

Saint Harridan

Posted in Personal grooming on November 27, 2012 by bee listy

Good afternoon… Bee Listy here to signal boost something important to our community.

I imagine that a great deal of you may have heard about Saint Harridan.   If you haven’t, it’s a clothing company founded by Mary Going to focus on great suiting for people who want to wear suits but have not always had the best experiences shopping for them.  I dream of being able to afford one of their suits someday.  Today, they launched their Kickstarter campaign and I wanted to share that with folks in case you are able to be a backer, or want to publicize the information to other people you know.

I really encourage you to read the blog to get more information about how the company came to be, and what they are about.  Also, check out the info about their PopUp Tour 2013, and you can look at the model search on Facebook.  (Feel free to cast a vote for me.)

Oh. Yeah. This.

Posted in Personal grooming on November 11, 2012 by sartorialbutch

Ok. It’s been over a year for anything to show up here. This is so not acceptable but here’s the truth. I’m tired. Life is so amazing, hard, and incredible, but becoming a parent has become the hardest and most rewarding job I’ve ever had. I know that people say that all the time but I think they do because it’s absolutely true.

Additionally, when you’re not a bazillionaire, and you’ve decided with your partner that having a parent at home with your baby until they’re a couple years old, sacrificing some major expenditures from your pre-kid life is a must. On top of that, kids are messy. I find myself choosing easy sweaters/jeans/slip on shoe combinations because it takes so much time to get everyone else ready and out for the day, and then we just get half eaten (insert food here) or milk on us anyway….and you can see the effort to look spit spot is somewhat diminished. I’m working on changing that because I feel better when I’m dapper.

Over the past year I’ve pretty much bought exactly zero clothes for myself. I bought one pair of shoes in May, and am desperately in need of both a new pair of work shoes and some new gym shoes, as well as some new work shirts. I haven’t had a shopping spree since before G was born, and both my wife and I buy stuff on a MUST HAVE basis only, for big needs.

Sadly, the biggest financial/family change is that I’ve traded in my awesome rally car in for a…sensible safe sedan. Not that my wrx wasn’t safe but…it was expensive. It was also mine. SL wouldn’t learn how to drive a standard to be able to drive it and not having both cars work for both of us was becoming annoying, and did I mention the expensive part? We’re saving a ton of money in both car payment and insurance and gas that it was a no-brainer decision. But I’ll admit, I was/am still sad to not see that machine in my driveway. I’d worked really hard to get/keep it and…well, it’s sometimes hard to give up something you love, even if it was just a “thing.”

That said, this coming weekend I have the honor of being ‘best butch team member’ at a dear friend’s wedding, and get to wear a tux for the first time, so – you can expect some commentary from there. We’ve been working with Jos A Bank, and…the experience has been a toss up so far but I’m hopeful that it will all pull together this week.

I’m going to work on writing more, figuring out how to be awesomely dressed on a budget, and continuing my growth as a partner to SB, and a parent to G. I’m hopeful that there is an audience for some of my ramblings and questions, especially as we move into an age where pointing out girl/boy differences are going to start becoming more and more pronounced. I also hope some of you can help:)

So what’s new with you? Parent readers – how do you balance parenting/money/looking awesome?

Tie model contest!

Posted in Personal grooming on November 4, 2011 by bee listy

In my first post on this blog, I gushed about my love of bow ties.  My collection continues to expand, mostly due to the Tie Bar.  These folks get a lot of my money, so when I got this ad in my email the other day, I thought “whoa, I should tell folks about this…” and then TWO MINUTES LATER, I got an email from the Sartorial Butch about it.

So here’s a post.  Come on folks, let’s hit them with some awesomesauce butch models.  All those pics above are totally links–to the Tie Bar’s website, and to their Facebook page.  I will gladly tell you how much I have been pleased with their prices, materials, fast shipping, and customer service.

making a spectacle of myself

Posted in accessories, Shopping with tags on November 1, 2011 by bee listy

Hey folks, it’s bee listy stopping by to help out my comrade during NaNoBlowPop month, or whatever this blogging extravaganza is called.

Tonight I want to talk to you about something very near and dear to my heart: eyeglasses.  I’ve been wearing glasses since 1987.  My first pair was a big round red Sally Jesse Raphael-type frames, and I had to wear those frames for 3 whole years!

I’ve had many spectacle looks over the years, but the high price of glasses used to make it hard to keep one’s look updated.  In grad school, I had to get my first pair of bifocals.  I was barely 25 years old, so I indulged my vanity and paid the hefty price for no-line progressives.  The next pair I got cost me about $400 before my insurance.

My beloved DKNY frames...they were brown w/ blue and green around the lenses with a library temple. And they cost $400 before insurance. RIP.

Thank goodness that I came across Glassy Eyes.  I was living in Minneapolis and working a job that didn’t pay super well, which put me in front of a computer quite a bit, and I also have a hobby that causes a lot of eye strain.  I was really into the idea of not spending a billion dollars on new glasses, and luckily my work insurance covered my exam.  So I went and got my eyes checked, got my updated prescription–which includes my pupillary distance.  (If you decide to try online glasses, you’ll need that number.)

The first pair (pictured below in 1) that I ordered from Zenni Optical were the luckiest thing ever.  Because my first pair was a success, I was willing to keep trying.  I really liked the fit & the look, and the price– $12.95 plus shipping.  (I didn’t get the anti-glare coating on them.)  So I ended up ordering a similar pair in black, and I ordered some sunglasses ($17).  These were my first prescription sunglasses, and I was overjoyed!  I started reading outside, driving into the sun, and it was lovely.

Eventually I tried a few new frames to add to my collection.  Some were hits, some were misses…then I came across some frames from Warby Parker that I really wanted, but it was time to update my prescription.  It had been three years, and there was a significant enough change that I needed new lenses, so now I have three current pairs (4, 5, & 6).

1:  from Zenni Optical – no longer in my rotation because the prescription is outdated, but I still love the frame–so I’ve ordered them in sunglasses.

2: from Eye Buy Direct – These are the Ronnie.  I didn’t wear them very often because they were too wide.  They didn’t sit right on my ears, but they were a good back up pair.  No longer in the rotation due to the outdated prescription.

3: from Zenni Optical – it’s hard to see in the picture, but the temples are bright red.  When I first got these, I didn’t like them.  I  felt like the prescription was wrong–but that was my fault.  My prescription was outdated.  The look of these grew on me, but I only wore them out a couple of times.

4: from Warby ParkerWinston in Lunar Fade.  I’m in love with these.  I love the home try-on system that Warby Parker offers, and I also love that when you order a pair, they give a pair to someone in need.  I also had a really awesome customer service experience with them.  Before I realized how outdated my prescription was, I tried to order these in my old prescription.  They wouldn’t fill a prescription more than 2 years old, which might piss some folks off, but I appreciated it because i didn’t realize it had already been 3 years since my last regular eye exam. (I had a secondary prescription in that time for close-up work, but I wanted these for everyday usage.)  They came quicker than expected, which made me very happy.

5: from Spex Club – Hobbs in clear/tortoise.  I love the heft of these– they feel heavy and sturdy in my hand, but not on my face.  I like the shape of these a lot, and I purchased them with a 50% coupon that I scored on Fab.  They also came very quickly, and the anti-glare on these is so good that they almost look like I have no lenses in.

6: from 39 Dollar Glasses – Tennyson.  One of the few disappointments I’ve had in the past few years of buying glasses online was this situation.  Over at Glassy Eyes, there’s a review of their service that replaces lenses in your old frames with your updated prescription.  I paid $39 to have this done to the DKNY frames I gush over above.  I paid in advance, sent them in, and waited…and got an email from their lab manager that my frames had broken in the processing.  I was really bummed, but they suggested I choose another frame from their inventory.  I chose the Tennyson, worried that they might be a little bit small for my face.  When they arrived, I felt that my suspicion was right, but my partner loves them, and a couple of my friends have decided that I look like an old fashioned socialist intellectual, which is fine by me.  I’m still disappointed that the DKNY frames I loved so much are lost to damage, but so it goes.

I’m more than happy giving reviews and tips to folks who want to try this out– so please feel free to ask questions about buying online glasses!

Training the SB

Posted in Personal grooming on September 21, 2011 by sartorialbutch


This kid is so darned cute it’s distracted me from writing anything about my own personal style and instead has me focused on hers.

I think I’m doing an ok job:)