Bevin's Blog I'm blogging the relentless pursuit of my joy

2011-05-12

Queer Book Worm Parties

So it’s 7PM on the second Thursday of the month, which means I’m at Re/Dress and since all the go-backs and tagging are done and all the custies are happy* I am sitting here daydreaming about my make-up and hair for Rebel Cupcake tonight. Every second Thursday I leave the store at 8 and have exactly an hour and fifteen minutes to get home, walk Macy, do my hair and make-up and do any last-minute Rebel Cupcake thingies.

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Photo by Allison Michael Orenstein.

This ritual has lasted for a year now, I am so happy and thankful to get to keep producing this party, that this party is so genuine/fun/not sceney/feel-good/flamboyant/queer/body-positive, to have work that is flexible enough that accommodates me doing all the different gigs I do.

I don’t usually perform in addition to Femmeceeing and producing the event but since it’s the anniversary party I’m doing my Lesbolesque act. Which means I’m also mentally rehearsing my act, a ritual that is as old as my drag king days. Did you know I used to perform as a drag king? That was really where I found myself a decade or so ago, on the drag king stage.

Also coming up within the week are two parties I’m excited to have a hand in. Total queer book worm parties.

Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, the anthology just released from Arsenal Pulp Press, is doing it’s NYC launch and it’s not just a reading! There will be music performed by the amazing Rae Spoon. Rae is Canadian. Rae was featured on FemmeCast. Rae is my friend-in-law and beloved by many of my favorite people.

Also, Ivan E. Coyote! Such a heart-string pulling story-teller! Author extraordinaire! Canadian! Have you watched the video To All The Kick-Ass Beautiful Fierce Femmes Out There? Watch it and cry a little.

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Ivan!

Also, Zena Sharman! So smart, sassy and funny. And a (you guessed it) Canadian!! There is so much maple at this event I just cannot wait.

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A few of my favorite things, Canadians, BBQ and making foolish faces. Zena on the left, hotties Ashley Aron and Smith on the right.

And also me! Reading a story that is a cousin to what I have in the book because I want to give people an incentive to buy the book to read more about debunking the femmephobic notion that Femmes are high maintenance. My friend who is a women and gender studies professor told me it’s a “highly quotable piece” and will be required reading for future classes he teaches so I feel super excited about making contributions to academia (even though in my opinion the book is so much more colloquial than academic).

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To cap off the readings/music/book launch a queer book worm DANCE PARTY!

When I was a little kid I was so shy and awkward and hardcore bullied for being fat so I just stuck to myself during recess, standing alone reading books. Literally standing in the playground, Baby Sitters Club or Nancy Drew or Christopher Pike in hand. So now all of this queer book worm dance party action, marrying my love of books and dancing is really like this amazing full-circle situation.**

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DJ Polar Sounds, hot butch magic times on the decks until 2 AM!

Not to be outdone, next Friday, May 20th is the Feminist Press (swoon, right?) dance party fundraiser FASTER PUSSYCAT!***

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The raffle is a fat girl’s dream–a gift certificate to Domino Dollhouse and a Re/Dress gift certificate are both up for grabs!

The party is at that 116 space I talked about in my last entry!

It’s queer summer, the book worms are using party fliers as bookmarks, and hitting the dance floor!

*Hey Deb!
**What would I put on a bookmark if I were able to slip it into ten-year-old tiny fat Bevin’s beloved books? “It’s all going to be okay.” A photo of a cute faggy gender queer with an age-appropriate explanation of queer sexuality. (I didn’t even know that people could be lesbians until I was 14, how’s that for in the closet?) Or maybe not because maybe it was easier just being fat, and better to be ignorant of being queer for awhile? Maybe just a photo of me at 32 having so much fun and loving life?
***We watched that movie in my feminist filmmaking class in undergrad. Love it!

2011-02-12

Glitterpositive Valentine Sentiments

Happy Validation Day everyone!

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Chalk art from Re/Dress NYC by Erin Bunny Burrows.

This time of year life is inundated with prix-fixe Valentine’s Day specials at restaurants and single-phobic, glitter-phobic rhetoric. (“Don’t be different! Do everything the same! Don’t be a wild pony! Find one person to love and do it in this totally heteronormative way!”) I find it gleefully ironic that these messages are sometimes sent using glitter*, when glitter to me represents people who shine really bright and really differently without regard for trying to quiet down or dim their shine in order to woo a mate.

I am a big fan of doing good things for yourself on Valentine’s Day, partnered or not. I’ve written about calling it Validation Day before and celebrating the joy of your life on Valentine’s Day. I’m into buying yourself something frivolous, delving into the cheesiness of hearts and confetti** just because it’s fun, or getting together with friends to make lasagna, drink red wine and revel in each others’ fabulousness.

I did the last thing one year with a whole bunch of boys. I was 22, being a fag hag and hiding out from the scary world of actually risking rejection by dating queer women. If I went out with a group of gay boys to a chorus of how fabulous I was*** it became much easier than the bizarre rejection I felt in a sea of lesbians who didn’t acknowledge me out at the queer girl events. I didn’t realize then that most people are just shy and socially awkward in big group scenes, my own awkwardness exponentially increasing the discomfort.

I don’t regret those days at all. I really needed to develop a sense of comfort with the woman I was turning out to be and it was like I was in a special baby Femme incubator. I also really loved Dolce and Gabbana cologne, watching old episodes of Absolutely Fabulous and going out dancing and so did they.

I thought I would do a round-up of glitter-positive, fat positive things that have caught my eye lately and share with you so that you, my queer/gender-fabulous/glittertastic lovelies out there can revel in some glitter-positivity out there. Shake off some of that mainstream-media Valentine’s Day hype.

Queerness, for me, is my choice. I am an active agent in choosing who I want to sleep with, who I want to have relationships with, and how I politicize my life.

Glitterpolitic is one of my favorite new blog projects. How is Ashley so hot and so smart? With the addition of her roommate/blog partner Erin their tumblr is unstoppable.

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Ashley at the Femme Conference, with Queer Fat Hungry. Photo by me.

I’m fat positive because I’m a feminist, and I refuse to acknowledge in the magical thinking that if you’re small enough, quiet enough, compliant enough and saccharine enough, you will somehow be enough.

Great article called “Why I’m Fat Positive” by You’re Welcome.

Co-dependent love is constantly represented as the ideal. ‘I can’t sleep/think/ live/function without you, romantic partner’ leads to the inevitable crash of despair when things don’t work out because you’ve set up someone else to meet the impossible expectation of completing you. ‘Forsaking all others’ doesn’t just imply sexual partners but in a nuclear model of family, seems to also speak to friendships and extended family.

Amazing article from Crunk Feminist Collective called Living Single.

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Erin from Glitterpolitic. So much hot in one blog!!

Shame doesn’t work. Diets don’t work. Shame is a tool of oppression, not change. Fat people already are ashamed. It’s taken care of. No further manpower needed on the shame front, thx…You know what’s shameful? A complete lack of empathy.

From “Hello, I’m Fat” by Lindy West.

Go forth, live and love radically!

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Source.

*I love a good post-Valentine’s day craft store sale.
**My Butch Ironworker roommate is making heart-shaped mini cheesecakes for Valentine’s Day and I am very inspired.
***I have always adored nightlife fags as they are liberal with compliments.

2010-11-30

Winter Layering with Style

Filed under: Fatshion — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 4:24 pm

Something that unifies skirt and dress-loving people this time of year is how to stay warm as well as stylish. As a native Californian who moved to the East Coast ten years ago I have developed some coping mechanisms to maintain my stylish exterior as much as possible while still being a total cry baby about how cold it is outside.

First of all, I spend a lot of my winter being a Plus Size Party Girl. (Time Out New York called me that and I just love that descriptor.)  This means that my base outfit needs to be as cute as possible while reflecting the fact that it is often really hot wherever I go out. 

 

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Take this leopard dress, paired with a foxy multi-chained necklace.  If I wore this outside in NYC I wouldn’t last long enough to accompany a bestie for a cigarette.

So I start to layer it up.  Sometimes I am inside and it is still chilly.  I like to always have a contingency plan for potentially chilly indoor climates.  Thus, a cardigan.

 

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This is a lace cardigan, we have a bunch at Re/Dress right now.  This is a contemporary lace cardigan, but I actually really love to use vintage lingerie as layering pieces.  Those polyester beauties are really warm and also see through (which enables the cuteness of your layering pieces to shine through).

If I am further chilly, I incorporate Scarf 2 as a drapey piece. 

 

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The look is a little Mary Kate, but it works.

Now for leggings.  Tights are cool for me in the Fall and Spring, but in winter I am so cold my legs need more warmth than that.  I’m not afraid to layer with tights. (I actually learned in a Girl Scout wilderness survival training that wearing tights or pantyhose under pants was a great waterproof way to stay warm.) 

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Here at the Re/Dress we have this new fangled thing called a “Tegging.”  It is a word we made up to describe that this legging is more of a tights material.  They’re super stretchy and warmer than regular tights.  We have them in tons of colors and they fit up to a 5X.  I would wear it under these snakeskin shiny leggings for this outfit.

I am also not afraid to wear two pairs of socks under my boots. When changing at the club, I might take a couple of minutes off to the side of coat check to change out of my snow boots.  I am terrified of falling in snow and wouldn’t even consider wearing heels in the snow, even from the car.

 

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Snow boots!

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Heels!

Also I have recently embraced the leg warmer for it’s layering magic.  It is also my secret trick to transitioning socks to leggings with my mary jane TUK shoes.  I just don’t like a sock over legging look. I think it’s awkward.

 

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Here’s where the real fun comes in, jazzing up winter accessories.  I am troubled by hats.  My hair is delicate and I try to avoid them as much as possible.  But sometimes when I wear a knit hat I like to make it more special with hair bling.  I just clip it to the weave in the knit, or use a pin back to pin it onto a hat.  I have a line of hair bling at the store that will soon be online as well.

I haven’t tried scarf bling yet but that’s forthcoming.

I also accessorize my warm scarf with a lighter more interesting scarf.  I have a couple of sequin scarves for this purpose.

 

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Here I have put a lightweight sequin Scarf 2 over a heavier boring but warm knit scarf.

I also believe that the best thing a stylish person can do to stay stylish during the four months of snow and cold in NYC is to get as many awesome warm coats as possible.  I moved to Philadelphia with one lightweight jacket (I thought it was a real winter coat, it was maybe an early Fall weight)  and I now easily have 6 winter coats.  Actually, I probably have more.

 

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I was trying to come up with a rubric of how many faux fur coats one should have.  At least one black faux fur, one solid color, one leopard print and one furry vest. 

I also always lose gloves so I am all about snatching up good glove deals whenever you find them. 

In sum, I think the best thing you can do to make winter more stylish is to not be afraid to try a lot of different things, wear a lot of color and layer, layer, layer.

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Me and Zoe on vacay in Toronto. We are not afraid to wear jeans under vintage dresses.

I’d like to thank Glenn Marla for his scarf inspiration and his unadulterated love of layering.

 

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2010-11-29

Lesbian Tea Basket

I was struck with the divine spirit to share my recent passion for tea and my enduring passion for lesbianism in the form of totally DIY, low-tech videos. Mostly I am just frustrated with how hard it is to determine whether or not tea is any good from the box.

There are many episodes so far, they are released sporadically, with more to come as inspiration continues. I’ve instituted a rating system and occasionally have guest hosts.

UPDATE:

All of the episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket (LTB) are in this handy playlist. Sit back, steep and get Lez!

So grab a cup of tea, cozy up to your computer and enjoy!

Episode 1: Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride

Episode 2: Twining’s Citrus Spice Sunset (featuring Mackenzi and Regan)

Episode 3: Allegro’s Rooibos Vibrations (featuring Macy)

Episode 4: Yogi’s Rest & Relax Sampler (Featuring Erin Bunny)

Episode 5: Allegro’s Thirst Tamer (featuring Miss LEZ 2010 Drae Campbell and all three of my pets)

Episode 6: Magic Fruit Tablets and Yogi’s Breathe Deep Tea (featuring Elisabeth)

Episode 7: Trader Joe’s Pomegranate White Tea

Episode 8: PG Tips (With Austin Femme Mafia Mistress Jessie Dress)


Episode 9: TSalon’s Silence Red Tea

Episode 10: Maple Tea (With Alix and Jen)

Episode 11: Stash Lemon Ginger with Guest Wyatt Riot

Episode 12: Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger with Guest Leslie Medlik


Episode 13: Spike’s Coffee and Tea Hippie Iced Tea



Episode 14: Whole Foods Get Gorgeous Tea and Guest Bird La Bird

Episode 15: Consolation Tea with Leslie and Chavon

Episode 16: Lipton’s Herbal Ginger and Sunbeam’s Electric Tea Kettle

Episode 26: David’s Tea Birthday Cake Tea

2010-10-28

I’ll Just Say Fare Thee Well: The Myth of “Getting Closure”

I was at the Miss LEZ pageant, at the last intermission prior to the winner being announced, passing out fliers for Rebel Cupcake and generally being proud of how well Miss Rebel Cupcake was doing in the pageant. In this euphoric, flask of bourbon in my handbag sort of state, I ran into a couple of friends. One of them said, “Last week you wrote on your twitter ‘I’m going to need to create my own closure.’ I have a friend who has been struggling with a break-up for over a year and I repeated that to her and it really helped.” That comment made me so happy I almost cried.

Me at Rebel Cupcake: Halloween Heartbreak with the winner of Miss LEZ, repping Rebel Cupcake, Drae Campbell and Becca Blackwell who was a contestant with me in Miss LEZ last year. Dress: Re/Dress. Shoes, 3 1/2″ leather peep toes by Fitzwell via Zappos. Necklace & earring set: gift from a dear friend.

You might have noticed a little blog silence going on for a while. I find it really hard to write sometimes when I’m going through a lot of emotional upheaval. I like to write from a place of having a grasp on things and there’s nothing like having the rug pulled out from under you to make you feel like you don’t have a grasp on anything. That’s what happened five weeks ago, the details of which are still a little too fresh and muddled to explain. So, you know, I throw myself into my other work that doesn’t require me to feel like I have a grasp or whatever.

If there’s anything to come out of this pain I’m glad it’s helping people. I like living out loud in that way and my art is often my expression of the experience of living and loving as a queer fat femme/party promoter/shop girl/lawyer/performer/aspiring talk show host in this world. Lately expressing in soundbites like twitter and tumblr is what I’ve been able to do.

I believe the idea of “getting closure” is a myth. I think we idealize “getting closure” where you meet your ex at a neutral coffee shop and share lattes like you’re in an early 90s episode of Friends and you talk about your relationship and get all of those answers you are really missing that will help you tidy everything up like you fold your sweaters and put them away for the summer.

Emotions are messy and crazy. You have no control over the other person and what they’re going to say to you. Sometimes they won’t “give” you anything (as I’m experiencing now) or they’ll just do or say the same unsatisfying shit that lead to your break-up in the first place. Zoe’s Break-Up Survival Guide says (the gist of) “Try not to worry about how or why, try accepting that it is.” Learn your new normal. But, I think, unless you’re in the best possible break-up working in out in couples therapy or something, you won’t be able to just walk away and say “that was all neatly packaged, it feels closed.”

I mean, maybe there are couples out there who communicate SO WELL that they’re able to actually have closure and a satisfying break-up and to them I say kudos. But my twitter comment about creating my own closure had as much to do with what I’m going through now as it is poring over my previous break-ups (as I tend to do while heartbroken).

I had an ex-lover pass away this summer–there is no further closure I’m ever going to get from her. I really had always fantasized that at some point we’d be across the aisle from each other at our best friends’ wedding and we’d salvage a tender friendship out of our brief courtship. Any closure I get from my relationship with Luscious is going to be from working through my process, as it actually cannot come from her.

I think there are certain aspects of relationships that can see some tangible closure. One time I had an ex who owed me a bunch of money and I didn’t let it go. For years I watched friends walk away from top surgery loans and laptop loans of thousands of dollars to scoundrel exes or just plain sad exes. They did this because they just wanted a clean break and to not worry about it. For me it was important to close that element of my relationship. Plus, my electricity got shut off because he left this huge debt on our electric bill and the company rolled it over onto my new account and I had to come up with the money on my own, which was really hard at the time.

Self-advocacy is really difficult to do for yourself, especially when emotions are involved. But I kept at it, with letters and copies of joint bills and the bitter recollection of that week of living with candles for lights and no internet. And then I finally got checks every other week until it was paid off. I settled for slightly less than what I thought his debt was, but it was worth it to get it all done.

So I had financial closure but it still took months and even years to work through the emotions of our break-up and the closure I needed. I’ve got three years of perspective now and I still can only guess why or how. The damage of being cheated on, being broken up with in an email with no face to face conversation and all of that took a lot of work on my own terms.

Some closure won’t come until you start dating again. I wondered if I could ever love again as hard as I loved him. And it turns out I did and I can.


Me & my friend Berlin saying hi to his GF/my friend Ally who was in Portland. Berlin is the Ethical Butcher. Go to his classes & dinners!

Sometimes it helps me to write letters. I don’t like cutting people out of my life who did something horrible to me without explaining in plain language just exactly why I won’t ever speak to them again. Once someone lied to me so much I wrote her a letter detailing the 21 lies I had caught her in. I gave it to her and I’m certain that she managed to distort her reality around the contents to make it feel okay for her. But that letter helped me to create the peace I needed in order for me to walk away. The key is in sending it with no expectation as to the response.

One time I actually received great closure from an ex. A year after we broke up we ran into each other on campus and I smiled at her. She sent me an email with great accountability and apologies. At the time I couldn’t see it as the great closure it was, but three years later I re-read it and I was like “Wow, that was really great accountability.” But it wasn’t closure for me at the time because I wasn’t in a place to see it as closure.

Wanting closure is really hard. But the thing is, you have the power to make it happen for yourself in the way that works best for you. Break-ups are a selfish time period, where you stop looking at the us, mourn the pretty picture of the us you were creating and work on yourself. There’s so much possibility in your own closure.

Sometimes you’re not going to “get” closure at all because parts of our emotional histories are sagas and can’t be wrapped up like winter sweaters. My heartbreak feels like part of a bigger saga right now, so I’m not even working on closure. What I’m trying to do instead is turn my pain into the opportunity to create the solid base inside myself where an emotional event as jarring as what I just went through doesn’t make me feel like I don’t have a grasp on anything. I’m developing the tools to stay peaceful and strong as other things blow around me.


Like one of those inflatable bop bags from the 80s that you punch and they float right back up to upright.

Things are going to get better and most of the time I believe it. And those times I don’t believe it I have the tools to call a BFF and ask them to tell me everything is going to get better. And I have art to express what I’m going through. And I have you, my sweet and wonderful readers, reminding me that expressing my pain is helping you, too. And 2,000 hits a week reminding me you’re still out there wanting to know what I’ve got going on!


9021-homo from Rebel Cupcake! All photos from RC by Nogga Schwartz.

2010-06-29

Additions to the Queer Lexicography: Love The One You’re With Edition

I was recently profiled by the fun gang over at Autostraddle in their feature “I’ll Have What She’s Wearing”. It was a really fun interview and it talks about my views on self-love, fashion, and Femme identity. It’s also a direct transcription of how I talk so in case you’ve never heard my podcast you can experience it.

I’ll Have What She’s Wearing: Bevin is a Fancy Muppet on a Mission

Leave them a comment and tell them they should pick me to be in their Lesbian Maxim because I’m sad I didn’t come up with that and I so should be a Maxim centerfold.

It’s time for some Additions to the Queer Lexicography!!

Purse Anchor: I recently went out with three very foxy masculine-of-center gentlemen to a small town gay bar.* It had been awhile since I’d been out in a crew that wasn’t made up of many Femmes and in a venue with a delineated dance floor (let alone room to move around easily). Noticing how they moved around the dance floor versus how I moved around the dance floor was really interesting. I was anchored to the ground with my purse and everyone else had way more locomotion. It’s a matter of street smarts, I don’t leave my purse anywhere out of arm’s reach and when I’m on the dance floor I dance next to it. Generally I carry a clutch so that I can dance with it, but when there is a drink in hand I find that just spoils my groove. So the clutch has to get set down.

With well over a decade of nightlife behind me, I’ve tried many purse permutations for going out. Here’s the thing–I don’t have pockets nor do I trust pockets with the things I need. And some of those things I need are my camera because I obsessively document my queer fat femme life, my wallet, keys and many different kinds of lipsticks. I used to try the bra pocket with just an id and cash and my housekey but I have bigger needs these days.

Regardless, part of being Femme is not having to make excuses for the girl shit I do. Mama needs a purse anchor.

“Ladies, let’s dance over here. This speaker will make a nice spot for our purse anchor.” or “Hey, let’s go dance over by Heather. She has a purse anchor and we’ll be good Femme Allies if we dance closer to her.”

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Purse anchor. As pictured late night at Hey Queen, my favorite Brooklyn dance party (except Rebel Cupcake, of course).

Love Jail: I’m not entirely sure who gave me this term, it was either Glenn Marla or Deb from Re/Dress. We were at the store one day and they told me about the concept. Love Jail is where you get with someone and you drop of the social face of the earth. Obviously sometimes when you start dating you want to get shipped off to love island for awhile** and recalibrate how you spend your time accordingly, but you should never sacrifice your besties for your relationship. It puts too much pressure on the relationship and at the same time is bad friendship form. I talked about this in a previous post, but it is fun to have a term for what happens when you dump your besties.

“I haven’t seen Jane since she started dating Jen. They’re totally in love jail.”

ETA: Love Jail is a concept coined by and told to me by Alysia Angel, meaning essentially the same thing and was the name of her country dj night in Olympia, WA. I had completely forgotten about her telling me about this before I heard it again from Glenn and Deb and wrote this post. Sorry Alysia!

Lesbian Cylon: I recently started watching Battlestar Gallactica. I am not a big Sci Fi person but my BFF Brian gave me the dvds to watch and insisted I would love it… and I did! It’s really character and plot driven and easy to forget they’re in an alternate universe floating around in space. In BSG they actually have robots that look like people, only they’re manufactured thousands of times. So there are many copies of each of however many models there are.

Mackenzi went to a party and described it to me like this. “Everyone there looked like hipster dykes. Studded belt, asymmetrical hair, black tshirt. Repeat.” My response, “Like Lesbian Cylons.”

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Mac is not a Lesbian Cylon.

This has been true for years. There will be a sort of generic dyke look and everyone adopts it. (Remember visors, spiky hair, white a-shirts and cargo shorts?) I think it is true in a lot of subcultures, but it’s just very funny when you look at a sea of people and they all look alike and imagine them to be robots. I value style difference and people who can set themselves apart from the crowd. Or people who can adopt the on-trend look and make it look totally different.

So Lesbian Cylon is a way to describe the generic dyke look of the moment. “I predict the Lesbian Cylons of 2015 will be wearing Beatles haircuts and bolo ties. Just wait.”

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You can vote for my self-love talk show on OWN until Saturday every day! Please vote early and often! Tell your friends!

*I love small town gay bars, I especially love it with an insider who can tell me all of the local dramz. Not that Brooklyn doesn’t have local dramz (ooh, honey) but it’s interesting how when there is only one bar it all gets localized more painfully.
**Love island is that lovely place you go when you’re on laycation and you shack up with some take out and can’t get out of bed for a couple of days because you’re so enamored with your date. Texts to and from friends sometimes include the line “I’m on love island I can’t go out.” Thanks to Damien Luxe for that one.

2010-06-01

California Tour 20FEMME Starts Thursday: Fat Activist Panel, Flabulous 2, Re/Dress Shopportunity in Oakland!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Bevin @ 5:12 pm

You may or may not know that I am a native Californian, from the East Bay, specifically. Rachel Maddow and I share a hometown and high school, but I’m only 31 so we didn’t hang out or anything. It feels really weird to be going “home” to do mostly performing and being at a conference and being a shop girl. I won’t even see my family until I go to LA the following week. I think everyone has some complicated feelings when they travel home. Mine are all aflutter, but nevertheless I am focusing on all of the amazing shows/documentaries/shopportunities I get to be part of in the next week.

My subsequent LA trip is a family event but I’ve decided to focus on beach, bourbon and burgers as much as possible around it.

If you can make it to any of the following events, I’d love to meet you!! Especially at the shopportunity, that’s going to be really fun. I hope people bring champagne.

Thursday, June 3, 20FEMME * San Francisco, CA
Queer Fat’titude: an evening of irreverence.
6PM -8PM * Free
LGBT Historical Society
657 Mission Street (at 2nd St), Suite 300

Bevin is on the panel! We’ll be celebrating the history of fat activism in the Bay Area (and beyond)! Come out to the San Francisco LGBT Historical Society! There will be a fierce panel of queer fat activists, a photo exhibit, and yummy treats! Virgie Tovar will be moderating the panel.
www.glbthistory.org
www.virgietovar.weebly.com
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Saturday, June 5, 20FEMME * Oakland, CA
Bevin Branlandingham FemmeCees & Curates
Saturday Night Cabaret at NOLOSE
9PM Show / Dancing 11:00ish * Open to Conference Attendees Only


Information at this link!

Sunday, June 6, 20FEMME * San Francisco, CA
Kentucky Fried Woman & Jay Walker, in conjunction with the National Queer Arts Festival present
Flabulous! 2: Fatter Than Ever!
7PM show * Tickets: $12-$20
African-American Art and Culture Complex

Bevin performs in a very exciting show for fat queers and their allies. Flabulous! 2: Fatter Than Ever! is the second live performance production by Kentucky Fried Woman and Jay Walker featuring fat queers and their allies, highlighting the lived experiences of fat queers and envisioning revolutionary possibilities for fighting body fascism and embracing all bodies as beautiful. More information & tickets at the event website!

Flabulous 2

Monday, June 7, 20FEMME * Oakland, CA
Bevin Branlandingham is a Shopgirl at
SHOPPORTUNITY 20FEMME: Re/Dress NYC & Size Queen Clothing in Oakland
5PM-9PM * Econo Lodge, 10 Hegenberger Rd.

bayareaflier

2010-05-23

Butch Fashion

When I talk about fashion it is generally with an eye towards Femmes for obvious reasons. Butch fashion has been a topic of conversation recently as the Re/Dress Shop Girls & The Femme Family are prepping for the upcoming Sartorial Summer: A Butch Fashion Show*.

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I titled the event after one of my favorite new fashion blogs, The Sartorial Butch. What a much-needed concept. After hearing about the event The Sartorial Butch decided to drive down from Maine and let me personal shop for her and the Sartorial Love.

In celebration of Butch Fashion Week in Brooklyn**, I present unto you, gentle readers of all gender presentations, the fashion items of the more masculine flavor that I enjoy a great deal. Both in a purely platonic allies-in-fashion-greatness way and also in a subtle lay down for any future suitors doing research.

TWO-TONED COWBOY BOOTS

I love cowboys and cowboy boots. I also like flamboyance. Two-toned cowboy boots are the perfect storm of flamboyance and rugged cowboy magic.

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L-R, Ariat International Men’s Cobalt XL, Ariat International Men’s Legend Full Quill Ostrich, Justin Boots Peanut Brittle Iquana Lizard, Wilson Handmade Custom Two Toned Boots. For hard to fit sizes, they can customize just about every part of the boot but they are pricey!

As a bargain shopper, I encourage people to shop thrift, vintage, ebay and etsy for boots on the cheap. But as feet are a nonrenewable resource, I also believe in investing in a good pair of boots that will last forever.

My friend Mackenzi called two-toned cowboy boots my sweet spot. She’s not wrong.

DIP ME IN HONEY AND THROW ME TO THE BUTCHES WITH BOW TIES
Thanks to K. Ulanday Barrett for that quote. (Follow Browntranslaments on Tumblr! So so so good.)

I think bow ties are one of my very favorite things. Both nerdy and dapper.

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DJ Sirlinda, who is djing the butch fashion show & dance party portion, wearing a bow tie at Hey Queen. Photo by Scout.

A bow tie can dress up virtually any outfit. They come pre-tied, clip on or the old-fashioned do it yourself kind.

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See? Virtually any outfit. This is Ariel Speedwagon, one of our models, at Hey Queen.

GENTLEMANLY ACCESSORIES

I was on a date with someone and he gave a ride to a friend of mine between parties. Because I’m the Queer Oprah, suddenly my friend was unintentionally crying and talking about a break-up. He whipped out a handkerchief and handed it to her. As a souvenir from the date he left another handkerchief in my purse, which I found the next day. Both were sweet gestures and spoke to preparedness.

Hankies can do a lot, including let people know your desires.

I also enjoy the full range of old-fashioned accouterments. A nice flask, a pocket watch, a sexy knife. I smelled something sweet in the air at a party once and immediately had a reason to talk to this fine gentleman, Justin Credible.

Kris is fancy. Flavored tobacco smoke.

But it doesn’t stop with flavored tobacco smoke. No no. Then suddenly a pocket watch comes out.

And lots of fancy accessories in pockets.

Good accessories are a huge conversation starter for me. I have stopped people on the street because of their extraordinary fashion and flare.

Of course, my very favorite butch fashion accessory is integrity! Living with intention and ethics are really important to me, especially as regards the feelings of their friends and romantic partners. All the intention towards your fashion doesn’t matter one iota if you intentionally, knowingly or recklessly treat other people poorly.

COLLARED SHIRTS

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Photo by Quito Ziegler.
Here is Elisha Lim, after a Sister Spit show in Manhattan. Looking dapper but not trying too hard on a hot and humid night. Also pictured is Silas Howard in the sparkly suspenders (!) and collared shirt, who is probably one of the most consistently well-dressed butches I know. Check out the info on his new movie “Cooler” The Movie. (Also they are still looking for investors and it sounds like a great investment. Message Silas through the fan page!)

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Again, I like flamboyance and cowboys, and often those have a perfect marriage in a good cowboy shirt. This one is available from Old Man Pants Vintage, which is an etsy store run by a friend of mine from Oakland.

FLUEVOGS

Clearly I love fancy footwear, but I lust after Fluevogs in a major way. Sometimes, when I am window shopping on the internet, I coordinate his & hers Fluevogs. As in, “I want to go on a date and I want to wear these shoes and I want my date to wear those shoes.” It’s a fun game.

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L-R Snyder in Blue Cairo, Resist Creeper, Rusnak, Wessex.
Women’s Row: Truth: Pilgrim , Wish, Arabica, Buffy (I like these both for what they’re named for and their appropriateness.

Fluevog shopping money saving tips–shop resale! We get Fluevogs in at Re/Dress and tweet about it. Fluevog stores have a 15% off sale every year for John Fluevog’s birthday. Very rarely, but sometimes, they have huge vintage Fluevog sales. I got a pair for $30 once.

I will say this for Fluevog heels: they are the most comfortable heels I’ve ever worn.

BEING WELL-PUT TOGETHER & PERSONAL EXPRESSION

I love sweater vests, ascots and other items that make an outfit and outfit, but individual personal style matters most to me in terms of turning my fashion head. Someone just today confessed to almost exclusively wearing knee socks, always mismatched. It’s hot! It’s goofy! It’s an expression of personal style.

Both of these outfits show a lot of personal expression:

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Alix Izen of the Inverted Eye, from the flier for the Folsom Street Fair. A specimen of the put together butch. His fashion is always swoon-worthy.

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I am always impressed by my friend Jesse’s fashion. Check out his tips on courtship on Episode 10 of FemmeCast!!

*And just a note from our preparations for the event–three of the models said that they would be willing to wear just underwear.
**We’re talking Butch in the same totally open-ended self-identification ways I use Femme. And check out the second event, the Original Plumbing Release Party on Friday night! SO MUCH GOOD FASHION AT THOSE. And hot queers of all presentations.

2010-04-27

Bevin’s Untapped Cruising Territory: Go Magazine Nightlife Awards

Multiple friends have started making fun of me because I don’t seem to date at all within New York City. 8 million people in the city I live in and yet I seem to jet out of town after ass all the time. Or go on dates with people who are in NYC from out of town, which happens a fair amount. (At least I haven’t gone international in a little while.)

As much as I laud the benefits of intimacies long distance–I love to travel, laycations are decadent adventures and can be cheap, not as much chance of ex/friend overlap makes it cleaner–the truth is I really haven’t given dating in New York the same kind of dedication and ardor I do my other pursuits. I am always so skittish about friend overlap and just busy with my three careers and friends that finding time to go on blind dates with people seems daunting.

In the interest of truly dedicating myself to the pursuit of a casual local sweetheart or two to give me an occasional distraction without requiring a plane trip and a dog sitter,* I have decided to create a blog series out of going on cruising escapades. I am also really interested in broadening my horizons–I think that is the best way to see what the New York queer scene has to offer. Plus, constantly stepping outside of your comfort zone is one of The Success Principles and I have recently begun following the advice of the tall tan man.**

My first step out into Bevin’s Untapped Cruising Territory was the Go Magazine Nightlife Awards.

The event: Sarah Jenny was nominated for an award (Best Emcee for Hey Queen!) and invited me as her date to the Go Magazine Nightlife Awards. Free ticket, VIP section and open vodka bar sealed the deal.

Why this is untapped territory for me: I may love to go out dancing and experience nightlife, I very rarely go to huge Manhattan clubs with expensive drinks and wall to wall L Word style folks. Plus, these events don’t happen very often and they’re pricey. I am a broke small business owner and artist!

The Outfit:
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Michael Kors dress (via Re/Dress), Sock Dreams fleur de lis fishnets, Isaac Mizrahi for Target heels, purse from my blonde bombshells collection. I was going for a fancy Femme look that could easily be mistaken for an “out professional” in case I wanted to try to meet a corporate homo.

The Wing Femme:
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Sarah Jenny. Va va va voom.

The Scene: Wall to wall was right.
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There were tons of folks in attendance at the two floor nightclub that sometimes Puff Daddy attends. It was very glamorous. There were lots of celesbians–including that fire fighter from Tila Tequila who is still using her 15 minutes of fame. I appreciate her tenacity. Michelle Rodriguez from LOST was djing. There were a lot of cute girls on the floor, including at least a couple of fat blonde butches***. The crowd was actually quite diverse, since the nightlife awards cleverly culls from virtually all of the queer girl scenes in the NYC metro area. I couldn’t get a good aerial shot of the crowd on my tiny digital camera, but Grace the Spot did.

The staff working for Go Magazine was actually quite foxy.
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The Verdict:
Unfortunately, it really felt like an “everyone bring your girlfriend” sort of night.

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It was hard to isolate a girl to talk to, and, honestly, how do people pick anyone up in a loud ass club like that? (Seriously, tell me in the comments, I’m new at the club pick up. I’ll skilshare and tell you how to pick someone up on Facebook.) I DID try, Sarah Jenny witnessed me chatting up people I both knew and didn’t know on the VIP lounge staircase and by the bar.

I ended up on the smoking sidewalk networking with people, including these cute club managers/owners from Staten Island’s new gay bar Q-SINY. It might be the site of an inter borough road trip.

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Tired of the crowd and $13 shots (the open bar was a 40 minute wait), my friend Mackenzi and I ended up bidding Sarah Jenny adieu and crossing town to Snapshot, the Tuesday night girl party in Manhattan. I saw a lot of doppelbangers and the ever elusive and distractingly attractive Lady Fag, but lost her before I could introduce myself.

I will say this postscript of the event–I ran into someone I know professionally from my old job. Right at the beginning of my Saturn Return, before my fiance left me, I went to one of her staff meetings to do a presentation and she showed her staff The Secret. That changed my life and laid the foundation by which I would see all of the challenges the universe spread out for me over the last two years and change. She’s always been a huge inspiration to me in terms of thinking positively and womanifesting your own destiny. Catching up with her was the perfect sort of guidepost to remind me that however rocky my path may be at times, I’m doing the right thing. So, ultimately, the event was a win for me in terms of heartwarming.

Other spots to come on my untapped cruising territory list: lesbian softball game, the Park Slope Food Co-op, and A Brooklyn Meat-Up.

*Don’t worry, I’m still going to be open to long distance and maple chasing.
**I am a proud multi-tasker, I’ll point out the pursuit of new cute queers in town is fodder for my art, self-development and getting laid. Also since no one wrote a book “how to get a talk show” I have had to develop a plan using the success principles.
***One of my favorite types.

2010-03-10

The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Beginning a Yoga Practice

About six months ago I began a regular yoga practice. I had done yoga only a handful of times before but was always very discouraged by the activity. I’m fat, but as you know, fat people have incredibly different bodies. Mine happens to carry a lot of weight in my torso—primarily my ample rack and belly. This makes it terribly difficult, if not impossible, to do things like bend over or stretch in the ways required by a lot of yoga poses.

When I was working a 9 to 5, I did a lot of research into fat positive, fat centered, or fat inclusive yoga classes, and unfortunately was discouraged by the timing difficulties between my busy schedule and the very specific times these classes were offered. I bought a yoga dvd but found it didn’t give me the calm, meditative exercise I was looking for, it just felt too Jane Fonda-y.

After Michfest last year I was feeling the kind of spiritual connection and limber body one gets from two weeks in the woods with a bunch of woo woo women and other gender-oriented folks, and I solicited my friend Dana, a yoga regular, to take me with her to one of her yoga classes. It felt safe to tag along to a class with another fatty.

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We cycled through a couple of different instructors and thankfully landed on Jyll. Jyll is a miracle, plain and simple. She teaches yoga in exactly the kind of way I want to be a mom. Firm and instructive but also kind and nurturing; you really want to please Jyll. She knows when to push, when to prod, when to chide and when to back off. She also knows the difference between you not doing something because you’re at your limit physically or because you’re at your limit mentally and pushes you past your mental hurdle.

She is also good at teaching you alternative poses, showing how to use the tools of yoga (especially straps, blocks and bolsters) to modify poses for different bodies. I also feel liberated that she encourages modifications!

Even though I am consistently the fattest person in the class, I never feel “other”. She says reminders like “Yoga is not a team sport.” “Yoga is not a competition. Everyone needs to work at their limit.” She also reminds the class that everyone has different flexibility and that they shouldn’t let their ego get in the way lest they get an injury. (It’s how she pulled a muscle she’s still dealing with.)

I love Jyll and I always leave her classes empowered and with my ass resoundingly kicked.

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Taueret at Yoga.

What I like most about yoga is that I have to be really “in” my body. I need to pay attention to my limits, what it is like to push into the limit and really trust my body’s capabilities. As a life-long fatty I have gotten used to giving up really easily and not learning how to push myself. I remember what it was like to be a brave kid and climb waterfalls hiking with my Girl Scout troupe and I don’t know where I got into being a fraidy cat about stuff with my body.

I do notice that usually in every class I suck the worst. It feels a lot like my Hydrologic Science class from undergrad, when they put the high and low scores of the midterm on the white board and I realized my score was the low score. (I then took it Pass/No Pass–thanks UC Davis!)

But at the same time, I feel like it is really good for me to suck at something for an hour and a half every week. It’s humbling, it gives me something to work on and I still feel amazing afterward because I did something hard that was really good for me.

My friend Chris La Femme told me once:

“Truly though, there is no such thing as sucking at yoga.  Yoga is just about twisting your body in certain ways, to squish different organs and push blood around, and you don’t actually have to do the ideal poses for that.”

It’s really true.

Once I got into going to Jyll’s class, and then the wonderful erstwhile Yoga for Every Body classes at Re/Dress NYC (sadly our instructor moved to Ithaca) I was doing yoga twice a week and felt really amazing.

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Dara is going to raise goats and keep bees. She was a great instructor!

When the Re/Dress instructor moved away, I wanted to figure out a way to get into yoga at home that wasn’t with a dvd so that I could maintain my twice weekly pace. I flipped through this book at Re/Dress that Deb brought in and I fell in love. I bought it immediately. Here was a list of all of the yoga poses I had been learning over time, with explanations of what they did for your body and modifications for how to do them in a larger body written by a fat yoga instructor!

Mega Yoga by Megan Garcia in book form.

Mega Yoga in DVD form!

A sweet reminder that if you buy anything from Amazon using my links, the small referral fee gets kicked back to me in the form of gift certificates that help me buy books to read. *

I love using it at home so much! I can put on the cd of my choice** and go through the poses at my own pace. The slow flow of it really helps me. I can sit in a pose a little bit longer if I’m really feeling something. I also like the supplement to the classes I’m taking, because I learn the poses and get adjusted in class but learn more about them at home.

And another great “asking for help” moment, I asked my Butch Ironworker Roommate if it was okay to use her room because she’s got the only carpeted room in the house and free wall space for wall poses and she is totally fine with it.

They call it practice for a reason—it’s not ever going to be perfect. But so far I feel really enthusiastic about what yoga has helped me do with my body. I feel more limber, I feel more secure, I have more balance. It also very much enhanced a recent laycation, so if nothing else, being able to fuck in more interesting ways is a win-win.

So, if you’re at all curious about yoga, I have some suggestions:

1. Find a friend to take a class with you.

Sometimes it really helps to have the buddy aspect, not only for accountability*** but knowing someone else might be physically hindered by belly or boobs or is gender non-normative or uses a cane or something as well. It’s a million times easier to ask for help in a mainstream sort of class when you’re with another person in the same boat. Dana and I cap off our weekly yoga date with coffee next door and have gotten very close over the past six months because of it.

I would suggest finding a beginner or a I/II class. It seems intimidating to go to a class that has a specific kind of yoga, but I really think that novice yogis aren’t going to see a big difference. I go to a Vinyasa class, but the Monday morning with Jyll is “restorative” so it’s not as fast of a flow as Vinyasa usually is. You can look up the other types of yoga, but I think as long as the class is labeled beginner friendly you should be okay.

Also, don’t be afraid to yoga “shop”. If an instructor does not seem responsive to your needs or the class or studio doesn’t feel comfortable to you, try another one!

2. Find or create a class tailored to your body.

This is not always possible but it’s really incredible when you can. There’s also a really great class for folks with dis/abilities and genderqueer/trans friendly yoga here in Brooklyn. And GO to these classes, support that they happen! I was shocked at how small the turn out for yoga for all bodies at Re/Dress ended up being.

If you can get a critical mass of folks to commit to it, sometimes you can even organize classes of your own! If you live in one of those cities with porches and big open living rooms (my friend Lissa in Minneapolis has an upstairs yoga studio size living room with gorgeous sky lights) get an instructor to come in and teach you! There are a lot of instructors out there who are willing or open to creating a body-positive curriculum. And if six of you get together and pool $10 each—well, that can entice a teacher.

3. Don’t sweat the details or the small stuff.

I spent forever obsessing about what kind of yoga I was going to take, whether or not I needed equipment, what I was going to wear… My perfectionism took years off of my yoga practice! I wanted to take yoga so badly and I just never did it because I never felt good enough or prepared enough to do it.

I am telling you right now, it’s not that deep!

I wear velour sweatpants, the same two pair, and a tee shirt (cut out the shoulders, flashdance style because that’s how I do) and a sports bra. And like regular underwear not the fancy frilly kind. The idea is that you want to wear clothes that you can move in and that don’t hinder your body. Yoga is so not a fashion show and I never notice what other people are wearing except when Dana wears her “Live and Let Lez” tank top because, hi.

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Glenn Marla wears palazzo pants.

And if you’re really nervous to start, read Mega Yoga! She gives a really great primer on yoga and breathing!

4. Go go go go go.

I get so disappointed when I’m missing Monday morning yoga. It really does set you back a bunch when you miss a week. Prioritize your yoga practice. Self-care is really important and having time set aside for mind/body/spiritual connection is really important. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha absolutely won’t schedule anything on the nights she has her yoga class because it is so essential to her physical well-being and the management of her dis/ability.

5.Never be afraid to articulate your needs.

At the beginning of a class, usually the instructor will ask about any physical limitations, injuries or needs people have. It’s terrifying to speak up sometimes, but it is really crucial that you tell the instructor what your needs are. Use this as practice for self-advocacy in all other areas of your life.

* I’m hoping to get Urban Tantra next.
** I like Ani DiFranco’s “Knuckle Down” because it can fade into the background really easily but at the same time when I need to focus on something she is singing about topics on that cd which are things I need to be meditating on, like aging estranged father stuff, setting boundaries, old break-up stuff, etc… Ani isn’t for everyone, and thus may I suggest a cd of slow jams? Mint Condition anyone?
***I hate ditching class but I hate ditching Dana more!
****I am not a doctor, and of course before beginning any exercise or body work you should consult your hopefully body positive and supportive doctor.

2010-02-14

Validation Day Thoughts

I was pondering the last couple of single Valentine’s Days I’ve spent. Both were pretty miserable, but I realize in hindsight it was because I had some sweetheart that was dicking me around.* It’s amazing how much peace you can get in your life when you recognize bullshit when it comes your way and give it a sweet, polite “No thank you.”

That attitude certainly doesn’t eradicate bullshit or drama but it helps give you permission to trust your instincts around it and walk away when you notice it.

This year is different. Sure, I’m noticing how couple-oriented the mainstream is (Thanks you tube! Thanks significant other week on FaceBooK!) but at the same time, I don’t really care. I’m also noticing a lot of magical self-love celebratory moments.

The Adipositivity Project capped off their couple stream with a photo celebrating self-love. My friend Lissa (a pastor) is preaching today about self-love. I’m seeing a lot of love in the world.

I feel really happy about the life I’m leading. I get the sweetest notes from people who have significant to my writing, performance, podcast, videocast and blog posts. Taking some really fun and gorgeous photos. Having a lot of fun with my friends. Making time to make a lot more art. Carving out a business that will make it possible to see my goal of having an art career and talk show. Working at a store that is aligned with my core values and lets me play as much Dolly Parton and Pointer Sisters as I can stand. And the stuff I don’t like about my life I am working hard to change.

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This is how the shop girls (Taueret, Erin and myself) and Jesse celebrated Validation Day this morning.

It is a radical act to love yourself in a society that says you shouldn’t because of any number of your inalienable characteristics. It is a radical act to create a career that is different than the typical 9 to 5. It is a radical act to send your friends cards with compliments on them (which is what I did for Validation Day, but now I think the blizzard from last week delayed their arrival).

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So if you’re having trouble escaping the cult of couplehood this Validation Day, stop and figure out how you can put a little more love in the world. Instead of dwelling on your couch, take a cruise through your phone and send people compliments via text message. As FemmeCast Sexpert and my BFF Rachael says about flirting, it is never a bad time to make someone feel good.**

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Photo by Shameless Photography–I did a pin-up photo shoot and had so much fun composing this photo with Sophie for my Validation cards.

Happy Validation Day everyone!!

*Jay-Z said it best when he said “I got 99 problems…”
**Whitney Houston said it best when she said “Ain’t it shocking what love can do?”

2010-02-11

Winter is Style Phobic

Yesterday my Femme friend Rachel posted to FaceBook that she doesn’t understand how to dress for snow and solicited tips. Femme Family Madam of Beauty, Bryn, responded “Snow = Femmephobic”. An FF Butch ally complained about snow being butchphobic because of the giant duck-like snow boots she is forced to wear.

Let’s be real–winter is just plain stylephobic. It’s a lot harder to be cute in the cold, what with all of the layering and the arduous task of putting on coats, gloves, hats, and special shoes just to leave your house. I grew up in California and didn’t experience my first real winter until I was 21. A decade later I’m still not over the novelty and annoyance.

I have come up with some ideas as to how to inject style and sass into your winter blah blah blahs for not a lot of money.

1. Get an accessory that can transition the everyday into glamour.

Your coat and accouterments are the first thing everyone sees on you. It’s also the one outfit you’ll wear every single day. Making it a good one is important.

This year I found a great way to transition 3 late fall weight coats (or California winter coats) to be really stellar and glamorous outerwear: a $10 Old Navy khaki trench, a getting sort of crappy houndstooth coat I was thinking of giving away and a mid-range mod print black and white coat. I bought a vintage fur stole* for $20. It wasn’t in fabulous condition, so I felt totally fine stitching it up, closing it with a pin and throwing it over any one of those coats. Instaglamour!

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I wish I had a better shot of the coat but I think the Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha cameo totally makes up for it.

I also bought a really gorgeous pair of teal leather gloves for $10. They were GAP in origin (but I got them from Re/Dress). They really pop against any kind of neutral coat, they’re water proof, and they actually work to open Macy’s poop bags, which is not true of most gloves. I believe in good leather or leather-like gloves only if they are cheap because expensive gloves get lost.

I feel complicated about hats so I try to have a coat with a hood in late winter. I’ve been seeing girls wear really floppy beret style hats this winter, with their bangs able to show and still function as a hat. I like having big hair so it makes it hard to deal. I have earmuffs that wrap around the back of my bouffant.

I shop like a magpie so pretty much anything sparkly gets my attention. A sparkly scarf is my day to day in the deep winter. Glenn Marla here models a glittery ascot. I’ve seen many of my hippest queer friends layering their scarves this year–so even if it is a thin glittery overlay you can put more layers under them. One girl showed up to a gallery opening with I think at least 5 scarves around her neck.
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Nothing says “I’m bringing a little winter cheer to this bitch” like wearing bright accessories in the depths of February.

2. Become a Maple Chaser.

When you’re confused about what to wear in the winter, look to our Canadian cousins. If anyone knows how to dress for insanely cold weather, it’s people who live it 5 months of the year. I like to cruise my Facebook friends to see what the Canadian fatties are wearing and then pester them with questions about where stuff comes from.

A visiting Canadian walked into Re/Dress this winter wearing the most gorgeous full-length fuchsia down coat. She also had fuchsia hair. I see a lot of well-dressed folks at the store and it takes an especially foxy outfit to stick in my memory like that.

It was likely this coat from Lands’ End. It’s still not on sale, but it might be by the end of winter.

3. Get some bangin’ outerwear.

I scour all year long for good outerwear (this is how you can get stuff for cheap). I found my calf-length down coat at a Marshall’s last January on sale for $40 when I was in there looking for some impulsive-make-me-feel-better-cheap-lingerie to buy. A plus size new with tags calf-length down coat is hard enough to find, let alone for $40. It is always worth it to rifle through the coat section of those places.

Sometimes it is a good idea to splurge when the time is right. My friend Miasia bought this coat from an online Parisian retailer. It’s INSANELY gorgeous, warm, and she got it on sale. I forget where it’s from or how much she spent but I say worth it. It’s form fitting, flattering, unusual and wool.

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Even Macy gets some amazing outerwear for the coldest months. This waterproof for the snow pink lame’ and silver coat was $2, new with tags at the goodwill (originally from Target).
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4. These boots were made for walkin’ not fallin’.

I am a faller. I hate falling. I don’t understand people who don’t wear snow boots. They have treads and are waterproof and keep your feet warm. I think snow boots get a bad rap as being big crazy duck shoes. They don’t have to be sporty like that! Online footwear shopping is your friend for snow boots.

My first winter as a working girl, I had to travel to do closings, so I needed a pair of boots I could tromp around Manhattan in that went seamlessly with my work wardrobe. I found a pair of Lands’ End fleece boots that are completely black, inconspicuous and have lasted for 7 years. The lovely part I’ve found is that, since they are black, they work equally well with tights, leggings or work pants.

Right now I am in love with these stylish Fitzwell Lesley’s. They’re spendy, though.

On the other end of the spectrum, Deb, the owner of Re/Dress, introduced me to these totally cute boots.

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I believe these are Tretorn Women’s Glad Rubber Boots. They’re about $48 and Deb reports very warm and keep her feet very dry!

Your boots do not have to sacrifice fashion for function!

5. Make the big reveal a good one!

As for the stuff underneath all of those layers, I like to wear polyester vintage dresses in the winter. They are extremely warm (nothing like a fabric that doesn’t breathe). I also tend to layer tights under leggings and wear wool socks. Because when wool gets wet, wool stays warm. (I learned the tights instead of long johns trick and wool socks bit from my winter camping training in Girl Scouts.) When you wear tights under your clothes it also doesn’t matter as much if they have runs or holes in them because they’re hidden.

When you dig your car out from 4 feet of snowdrift wearing tights and you fall in a snowbank, you dry off really quickly, where jeans will retain the freeze far longer. I’ve found this year’s crop of tights from Target and Avenue to have a good longevity.

I also like to put my scarf on right after I put on my perfume (just one neck spritz)** because when it comes off it retains a subtle whif of fragrance which is a really good olfactory seduction.

And no time is more of a special time for cleavage as the winter. Frankly, there’s just not as much and I like to do my best to defeat that.

I end this post with one of my favorite songs of the now (even though it’s a little old). It IS hard to be a girl in all seasons!!

*It was sold to Re/Dress by World Famous *BOB*, I bought it with store credit I got for trading in my white fur collar/muff/hat set that I never wore because it was too pristine. In turn, Australian burlesque performer Lillian Starr bought my set from Re/Dress. The beauty of resale!

**Always being mindful of people with scent sensitivities–that’s no joke! If you know someone who has one NEVER wear perfume around them. My mom is scent sensitive and perfume is like migraine-inducing kryptonite.

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