7 Awesome Resources For Masculine-Of-Center Beauty
Here’s the way I identify, in my own head: Masculine bisexual cis female. That is a string of words that makes almost no sense to a lot of people in my life who would rather just be like “aren’t you kind of just … Rebecca?” And yeah, that’s true too. But my four-word identity is my short summary of who I am, what pronouns I use, what my love life looks like, and how I present myself to the outside world, or, in short, the way I relate to other people as far as my gender goes.
My presentation has changed markedly over the last few years. Part of the reason I slimmed down my wardrobe and switched to versatile basics is that I felt really inauthentic in the very loud clothing I was wearing. When I wore metallic gold miniskirts or flouncy floral skirts or bright pink minidresses I ordered from ModCloth — even when I was wearing structured dresses that complimented my waist-to-hip ratio beautifully — it felt like a costume. It felt like I was trying too hard. Switching over to jeans, leggings, basic tees, loafers, and combat boots has removed all the stress from getting dressed.
An acquaintance put a name on this for me recently: Masculine-of-center beauty. I present androgynously. I feel stronger in my body and more beautiful when I keep things simple. My style icon has always been James Dean. Which doesn’t mean that I feel any less like a woman — I’ve just always been more comfortable presenting in a masculine way.
Maybe masculine presentation isn’t something that, as a woman, it’s occurred to you to try (and why not! God knows we all go through plenty of different looks before we land on one we like), or maybe you know you’d like to present in a more masculine way but don’t know where to start. For your edification and use, here are some of the web’s best resources for masculine-of-center beauty:
Masculine-of-Center: This Tumblr is full of photos of dapper ladies and inspirational quotes about gender nonconformism. Seriously, these women are better-dressed than almost any person of any gender identity I know. Take notes.
Kipper Clothiers: Kipper is a Bay Area-based custom clothier. The problem a lot of women and transmen face in presenting masculine is that our bodies don’t fit the mold by which men’s clothes are designed. Enter Kipper, a custom garment maker that specifically exists to serve the LGBT community and will cut your suits and shirts to your measurements so you don’t have the too-big-in-the-shoulders, too-small-in-the-bust-and-hips issue that inherently comes along with wearing dress clothes designed for men. The only problem, of course, is that they don’t accept outside measurements, so you’ll have to make your way to San Francisco.
Bindle & Keep: …Unless, of course, you happen to live in New York City, in which case Bindle & Keep can travel to you to do a fitting.
Saint Harridan: Slightly less expensive with the option to shop online, Saint Harridan is by far the most accessible of the MOC clothiers. Bonus: They have a pop-up shop tour coming through the country in the next few months, so if you want to get fitted for a suit, check out their calendar!
MOC General Blogs
DapperQ: DapperQ is a whole MOC lifestyle blog, replete with how-tos, style and health tips, relationship advice, and news. They have an extensive list of stores where you can shop for clothes and accessories, complete with reviews for each entry as the store applies to the MOC shopping experience!
Autostraddle: Autostraddle is one of my favorite women’s/queer blogs anyway. They publish consistently great writing on sex, health, and queer culture. They’ve turned their sights recently toward posting more work on masculine-of-center fashion, and have awesome resources like a how-to on chest binding and a masculine-of-center gift guide (if anyone wants to buy me literally anything on that list, I will gladly accept).
The Art of Manliness: I don’t know how everyone feels about AoM, but it’s the blog that originally got me on my anti-frilly-razor kick, and while I think they use too much language along the lines of “Things Every Man Should…” (why not women?) I can overlook it because the tone is very welcoming and they have genuinely solid advice on grooming and great how-tos on life skills.