Tag Archives: Dandi 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.”

saint harridan 3

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?’”


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




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.


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.


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


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.



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”.



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




All photos courtesy of Carbon2Cobalt website

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.




Photos courtesy of the

fabulous people of Tumblr


Lookbook 4

I call this one the rugged look for spring and fall.  I like to dress up like the next dandi but I mostly love fabrics that have been broken in and look like I’ve been out at the ranch all day.

Denim, cotton, linen…

LB 1

these are some of my most favorit fabrics to wear

LB 2

and live in.


Not being so serious all of the time

LB 6

can be a good thing.

LB 4

You can still rock style

LB 5

Henry Cavill for VMan Magazine

and be a bit ruffled.

Brown Bucks

You can dandi it up and still have a casual feel.

LB 7

The tones that best fit this look are blues, browns and greys.

CP 2

Or any color in a darker pallet.

LB 9

Yeah, even red can rock if done right.

LB 10

Either way dressing up or down never looked so good!



Related articles



HVRMINN is an emerging (and much tumblr’d) sartorial menswear label created by the soft spoken lead designer Minn Hur, and his business partner Kevin Wang.

Hur and Wang

Hur and Wang

They make made-to-measure suits for Dandi’s of all kinds,

Wang 1

with an alluring vintage (yet very modern) look,


(if you love their look check out their blog New Amsterdam Boys)


Wang 2


in gorgeous colors,

Minn 2

M and W 2

and a Bespoke fit (who could ask for anything more?)

Wang 3


M and W 4

M and W 5

M and W 3



Check them out at:HVRMINN





Lookbook (1)

I love the new looks for spring and the ones that are on the horizon for FW13/14.  I got to thinking that I would just do my own little personal tearsheet/lookbook and share it with you all as I come upon looks I love and ways of wearing it that will help the dapper dandi in all of us.

I probably won’t write very much on these, so that I can visit you all more often.

Let these pics be your guide to what’s going on in the fashion streets and how trendy dandi’s are wearing it.  Then make up your own way of presenting it.  That’s what makes fashion so much fun.  So enjoy and I hope to see you back here more real soon!



Dapper Chris Pine
Dapper Chris Pine


LB 2

Blue Brogue Shoes
Blue Brogue Shoes


LB 4

LB 3





Great Gatsby Look
Great Gatsby Look
Preppy redefined (I love it!)
Preppy redefined (I love it!)




Tie The Knot

tie the knot.org

Tie The Knot.  What a perfect name for the season.  And as more and more couples are looking to actually tie the knot, here is an opportunity for the Dandi to (k)not only look stylish (see what I did there!?!), but to also benefit a number of LGBT organizations.

Jesse and Justin
Jesse and Justin

Jess Tyler Ferguson and his fiance Justin Mikita have created this wonderful line of bow-ties for the dapper Dandi in all of us.  Their mission is to help LGBT causes as well as use their visibility as a couple to support gay marriage.

Bowtie 1

Stylish and very Jesse…

bowties 2

…and they just released their spring collection last week at Avenue in New York with a plan to add cufflinks for the summer collection.

Bowties 3

They are also looking to team up with a stationary store and create wedding invitations with the proceeds going on to benefit marraige equality.

Creative ways to raise money and raise awareness.  Got to love it!

Tie The Knot ties are available exclusively at The Tie Bar!

Things For Spring


So the dog days of winter are upon us and it’s time to not only start thinking spring but start shopping for spring.

So I too must follow suit and check out what’s in the stores to my liking.

Robert Graham
Robert Graham

And of course I found tons of things but all Dandi’s are on a budget of some kind so I did have to pull back and make smart choices.

Always take into account what you already have in your closet that you are excited to give a fresh look to for the new season.

And don’t forget to take into account any new activities that you want to start up or have over the winter.  Like these white shorts for me, since over the winter I took up tennis again.  These will be great to hit the courts in.

And so many of us are somehow still showing up at the gym since our New Year’s resolutions.  If you are feeling the need for a little incentive try buying yourself a new groovy bag to put your things in, that should keep you going for at least another month.


Kenneth Cole

And though I truly have no more room in my closet for new shoes, they are a must.  If your budget will not allow for a lot of new things, I always find a great new pair of shoes will draw the eye off of the clothes you may be recycling from last year and make everything fresher.


Sometimes all we need is a little pick me up to accentuate our wardrobe but don’t know quite what it is.  Well if you can’t use another bow-tie or pocket square you can never go wrong with another pair of colorful, conversation starting socks.





‘Tis the season when wedding bells ring, flowers are made into corsages and boutonniere‘s, and the blood pressure of many a lesbian bride and groom rises in anticipation of the most beautiful day of their lives together.  Now when it comes to that special day there are a lot of factors to take into account for the groom.


Certainly the groom Dandi should go forth and get a well-fitted suit, if in the budget perhaps even one tailored uniquely to them.  But as I’ve pointed out often in my blog many a time.  I like shoes, a lot.  So it stands to reason that I believe when you are getting dressed up, whether it be for the one time (hopefully!) special event of your wedding or some other more formal occasion


…one should start with their shoes.


I have noticed that a good pair of shoes can make you feel like a million bucks.  I think it’s mainly because it’s one of the few things that we can see constantly on our own person, unless we spend a lot of time passing a mirror for quick admiring glances.


That said, of course fit, matching your loved one in a complementary versus matchy- matchy way (unless you like that sort of thing) should be utmost in mind,


but a proper pair of shoes will take you a very long way.  Now as you’ve noticed with this last picture of fancy shoes I’ve put up it’s not as formal as the rest.   If dressing like you’re a cast member of Downton Abbey isn’t your style then definitely have fun with your footwear choice.  (It may be the only say you have in the matter. 🙂

Allen Edmonds Fifth Avenue - vtamour.com
Allen Edmonds Fifth Avenue – vtamour.com

Not wearing a traditional black tux?  Then black shoes are probably not going to be your thing either unless you are working with grays or blues.


And even then don’t be afraid to have fun (but do avoid looking like you are on your way to the prom.  Remember there will be pictures permanently reminding you of your choices.)


Not a formal kind of Dandi?  That’s okay too (of course it is!)  Even if you’ve been rangled into a tux you can still pull off some personality by adding an elegant kick to the mix instead of a patent shoe (which I assure you will increase your will to dance in the wee hours of the night.)



Esther Quek


Okay, maybe I do over use the word fabulous, but really, it’s such a great word to describe so many things…and people, and well Esther Quek deserves this word more than most.


This woman can rock some menswear and…


she knows how to help Dandi’s of all kinds do the same, in fact it’s her job.


She is the group fashion director of the classic menswear magazine The Rake (gotta love it!)


This fabulesta is not afraid to mix patterns (a very preppy approach to dressing) and she really does capture the masculinity of menswear dressing while still making it distinctly her own.


I encourage my readers to think outside the box of the sometimes boring American menswear magazine aesthetic.


It’s a good place to start and get ideas but I find European, Asian and other style influences to be beneficial and necessary to stand out as a Dapper Dandi.


Don’t be afraid to try new things, mix colors, patterns and textures.  This can be done simply with a scarf or tie, or with a colorful pair of pants or signature jacket. Whatever you do remember to have fun and that all-in-all fashion is a reflection of your greatest image of self.







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