Tag Archives: Butch Fashion

Reinventing Menswear

Saint Harridan

Reinventing Menswear for Masculine Women and Trans Men

“We’re saying that masculinity is an equal opportunity aesthetic.”

Menswear-inspired fashion for women isn’t exactly new, but masculine-presenting women and trans men still have a hell of a time finding cool threads.

“It’s been part of my story my whole life,” says Mary Going, the owner of Saint Harridan, a clothing company that caters to butch women and trans men. “Standing in the closet when I’m supposed to be getting ready for my kid’s concert at school or somebody else’s wedding, and just hating what my options were.”

Saint Harridan founder and CEO Mary Going

Courtesy of Mary Going/Saint Harridan

“I’ve had a lot of experiences just feeling uncomfortable in my clothing,” she adds.

For Going, the tipping point came in 2008, when she had a suit custom-made for her wedding. It wasn’t just the experience of having garments tailored specifically for her, but the feeling of finally wearing a suit that not only fit her body, but looked the way she wanted it to.

So, in 2012, Going launched a crowdfunding campaign for her own label, one that would specialize in clothes for women like herself, as well as trans men looking for high-quality duds.

saint harridan

Saint Harridan

In a way, Saint Harridan is a reaction against how mainstream fashion has consciously feminized menswear pieces for cisgender women.

“What we’re doing is saying, ’I’m being masculine,’” Going explains. “We aren’t making a menswear-inspired suit for a woman; we’re making a suit for a woman’s body and it’s highly masculine. You could wear heels with it if you want to, but that’s not our intention. We’re very intentionally masculine. We’re saying that masculinity is an equal opportunity aesthetic.”

saint harridan

Saint Harridan

Conscious of the limits of gendered language, Going is quick to put air quotes around terms like “women” and “men,” “male” and “female.” The name Saint Harridan itself is a comment on those limits: “If we were to use words like ’stud’ or ’butch,’ we would inevitably represent some people, but leave others out,” Going explains on the company’s website.

“We looked for a word that could expand our options. A ’saint,’ among its many other definitions, is a founder, sponsor or patron of a movement.” As for “Harridan,” Going has reclaiming the word, which means a mannish old woman, and was used as a slur not long ago “to keep women from venturing too far from societal expectations.”

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But to re-envision classic men’s garments for female bodies, Going and her team’s task was more complicated than they expected.

“The suit was definitely the hardest thing, because it’s so highly constructed,” Going says. “But all the garments we put through the same process of looking at what works and what doesn’t work, ways to improve the fit.”

Some of the changes were obvious—reducing the length of the jacket, lowering the rise on the pants—while others were less apparent. Differences in men’s and women’s posture, how they walk, the way they hold their arms when standing—all affected construction.

Saint Harridan

The result is a line of masculine clothing cut for bodies that traditional menswear companies have never considered.

All Saint Harridan’s suits are custom-made, starting at $1,200, and require an in-person fitting at the brand’s Oakland flagship store. But customers can order a number of ready-to-wear dress and casual shirts online, as well as pocket squares, bowties, tie clips and other accessories.

harridan USE

Going hopes to eventually offer more ready-to-wear pieces, including pants, jackets and full suits.

But Saint Harridan isn’t just the story of a particular niche company—it’s also the story of a way of doing business. “I actually kept hoping someone else would start this business!” Going admits with a laugh.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 1.28.54 PM

She was no fashion expert going in, although a six-month sartorial boot camp overseen by fashion blogger Sheree L. Ross helped Going get her bearings. Her real strength was in recognizing a need the market wasn’t meeting.

“That’s what I bring to the table—thinking, ’What about this could change to make it more efficient, more cost effective?’”

harridan

Saint Harridan

To that end, Saint Harridan is completely crowd-funded: Garments are preordered before going into production (to reduce waste) and are usually made in small batches. Essentially, Going has done for Saint Harridan’s business model what she did for its garments: deconstructed and reinvented it to work for people like her.

There’s an Audre Lorde quote on the front door of Saint Harridan’s flagship store in Oakland: “The master’s tools will not dismantle the master’s house.” As the costume of those in power, men’s suits and ties are in a sense “the master’s tools,” but Going is quite literally dismantling and reassembling them to empower people like her.

saint harridan X

Saint Harridan

“Blurring the line between the binary sexes is incredibly important,” she says, and can have an impact beyond just fashion.

“We have to work within the context of where we are. When I’m in South Carolina and I’m walking through the airport [in a Saint Harridan suit] I am making a very big statement.”

And a mighty stylish one, too.

You can shop Saint Harridan online or at their flagship store in Oakland, California

Article From NewNowNext

xo,

PB


HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Well, as we near the end of yet another year, I would like to thank all of the Preppybaba-ites for a fantastic 2015.

May your 2016 be cheery and bright, and until then…

xoxo,

PB

Here are some holiday look ideas to get you through the next week.

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All photos courtesy of Google!


Carbon2Cobalt

So I got this catalog in the mail yesterday and it really caught my eye.  Not because of the clothes, per se, there is nothing at first glance that is particularly revolutionary between its pages, in fact you can find just about every style they offer in many catalogs and stores where you go to buy well-made casual menswear. What I liked about it was how it made me feel. It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up a catalog that made me actually want to peruse it.

Catalog

It is a subtle but definite step into the direction of making flannel, khaki’s, Chukka boots and leather jackets a little more modern, yet keeping it rugged.

Carbon2Cobalt

There is a sense of whimsy about it and the clothes really fit the brand.  The whole of it evokes camping or being in the woods in the winter. Or even yet, being a well dressed-down hipster.

Brown Jacket

Shirt

In looking on the website, because I honestly thought this was a spin-off company from a larger retailer trying to appeal to a hipper audience, I didn’t find much that made it personal to the founder Matt Cooper. But the designs are true to his design muse.

Shoes

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Like the name insinuates, he likes polished carbon and rough cobalt.  Matt’s intention is to “design unique details into the clothing that will enhance your individual style”.

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The quality of their product looks good overall and they do a fine job of offering a nice variety of categories, though very curated.

Carbon2Cobalt

xo,

PB

All photos courtesy of Carbon2Cobalt website


Rainy Days and Mondays…

It’s been pouring down rain in my neck of the woods. So much so the ever popular music event ACL got rained out or rather flooded out yesterday.
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When the rains come the last thing you ever want is to be without your fabulous raincoat to keep you dry or at least  keep you looking good while getting wet.  So here are some style ideas and brands to help you on your way to a dandiliciously dry Fall and onward into Winter!
Me in my London Fog.
Me in my London Fog.
Gieves & Hawkes
Gieves & Hawkes

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Harrods Italian Made Raincoats
Harrods Italian Made Raincoats

 

Me and my boots in the rain.
Me and my boots in the rain.

 

The Look.
The Look.

 

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ASOS Trench
ASOS Trench

 

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ASOS Trench
ASOS Trench

 

Stutterheim raincoats
Stutterheim raincoats

 

 

Rains
Rains

 

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Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo

 

Stay dry my friends!

PB

 

Photos courtesy of PB and Tumblr

 


LookBook 5

Though I am a spring baby and always look forward to shedding layers when that time rolls around, loving fashion as I do, I admit that there is no better time for putting your best style foot forward than in the fall and winter months.

If you can ;ayer like this and not look like a stuffed turkey I say go for it!
If you can layer like this and not look like a stuffed turkey I say go for it!

 

Tim Coppens F/W 2013
Tim Coppens F/W 2013

 

Gieves & Hawkes SS2014
Gieves & Hawkes SS2014

 

Simple and gorgeous!
Simple and gorgeous!

 

Cashmere Melton Varsity Jacket
Cashmere Melton Varsity Jacket

 

Suspenders are the style accent piece that sets you apart.
Suspenders are the style accent piece that sets you apart.

 

"I don't always smoke, but when I do..."
“I don’t always smoke, but when I do…”

 

The always fabulous Esther Quek!
The always fabulous Esther Quek!

 

The Fem version.
The Fem version.

 

Aymeline Valade
Aymeline Valade

 

Don't be afraid to take it there.
Don’t be afraid to take it there.

 

PB

 

Photos courtesy of the

fabulous people of Tumblr

 


Fall Is Upon Us!

Okay, maybe it’s not yet here and now but it is coming.  I mean Labor Day is tomorrow or if you are just waking up and reading this, today.  And no you don’t have to put away your whites (shoes or clothes) if you don’t want to but I’m certainly gearing up for wearing something besides shorts and a t-shirt so here are some of my picks for your next shopping spree, as well as some style ideas.  Enjoy!

 

Zonkey Boot
Zonkey Boots

 

Fairisle scarves by Drake’s London  Lambswool, hand knot fringes Handmade in England
Fairisle scarves by Drake’s London
Lambswool, hand knot fringes
Handmade in England

 

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Layering done well.

 

High-top Converse are always a hit!
High-top Converse are always a hit!

 

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Some accessory ideas to go with that Saint Harridan
suit.

 

Add color with socks.
Add color with socks.

 

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It’s nice not to always wear a jacket.

 

Leather is in top or bottom (Viktor & Rolf)
Leather is in top or bottom.
(Viktor & Rolf)

 

Take your style up a notch, even with the basics. (Giorgio Armani)
Take your style up a notch, even
with the basics. (Giorgio Armani)

 

PB

 


Saint Harridan Has Done It!

From the Saint Harridan website:

 

Oh My God … They Fit!


Day one of our first Pop-Up Shop is finished and the news is fantastic: We did it! We absolutely did it!

We set out to make an impeccable men’s style suit that will fit hansdsomely on women and transmen … and it worked! Person after person came in the store – different shapes, different heights, different weights – put on our trousers and jackets, and looked fantastic!

Hey Bay Area, Don’t Miss Day Two!


So, it’s really happening. And for one more day (today!) you can experience it. You can walk into our Pop-Up Shop, knowing you’re our expected customer. You can try on a suit you will love, and it will fit your body. You can experience the beginning of this era we are entering: a time when the clothes you wear validate the life you live.

If you feel right in a suit, come try one on!

Saint Harridan Pop-Up Shop
Sunday, August 18, 2013
10am-6pm
LOCATION: Show & Tell Concept Shop
1300 Clay Street #160, Oakland – at City Center
1 block from 12th Street Bart

And remember, you don’t have to live in Oakland, California to get yourself some Saint Harridan threads!
Saint Harridan’s web store is open 24/7!
When we openned the shop this morning it looked pretty good.
But as the day went on, it just looked better,
and better,
and better!
Copyright © 2013 Saint Harridan, All rights reserved. 

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