Tag Archives: Dandy 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?’”

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


Carmina Shoemaker

I really love shoes.  I really do.  I think if I could only pick one thing in fashion to splurge on it would be shoes and Carmina Shoemaker has some of the most beautiful and finely crafted shoes on the planet.

Carmina 910

This brand was started by Matias Pujadas in a small workshop in Inca, Majorca in 1866.

Cordovan

Many generations later…

Rubi Cordavan

Rubi Cordavan

…and after a downturn in the market for luxury shoes in 1997 (what were they thinking?) Carmina Shoemaker was born.

Llubi

Llubi

Created by Matais great-great grandson Jose Albaldejo and family, they decided to…

Oscaria Last

Women’s Oscaria Last

…provide some of best hand-crafted shoes to the world.  And I must say, they have definitely succeeded in their mission.

80438

I mean, just look at how beautiful these shoes and boots are.

Rain Snuff Swede

Rain Snuff Swede

And the styles are also incredibly timeless. Not an easy “feat” to pull off, (yeah, I did!)

Simpson Last

And yet they are also very sexy.

Women's wingtips and tassels

Women’s wingtips and tassels

And what I really love about this company is the fact that they also do gorgeous women’s shoes…

Women's Carmina

…that are inspired by their masculine counterparts.

Women's Carmina 2

I have such a big foot I can wear men’s or women’s shoes, but for the Dandi’s out there with smaller feet (but a bigger budget because these shoes start in the $400 range) this is definitely an investment well made.

xo,

PB

Photo’s courtesy of:

Carmina Shoemaker tumblr

CarminaShoemaker.com


Madhatters

Daks

Ah, the Brits.  Some of my favorite dapper Dandy’s in all the land.  They just really know how to pull it all together in such a refined and often very colorful way.

Daks Greys

Okay true, this look is not that colorful but gosh darn if it isn’t still wonderful.  And who is this designer I am referring to?  Daks, of London.

 

Burberry-esk

Very low key, very elegant.  This collection was inspired by formalwear (if you couldn’t tell)…

Browns

It really modernizes the look and makes it approachable for everyday.

Orange

Gotta love all of the top hats.  I do say that the idea of a single pop of color used with the top hat and (maybe) gloves ( if wearing a black tux on your wedding day) can be a very memorable and signature approach to making it your day as well.

Leathers

Now I know spring is approaching so the last thing anyone is thinking about is going out to buy leather.  But the key word here is spring.  And in many climates a sweet new lightweight leather jacket or pair of pants might just be the ticket.  Certainly this collection is for F/W 2013 but I say take your inspirations from everywhere.

Mustard

I love everything about this look.  Chic, minimal and striking.  Done!

White and Grey

Talk about bringing the formal into the everyday.  I think this does it beautifuly.  Those stylsh Brits do it again!

PB


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