From the AE Archives: Butch/Stud Fashion Panel

AE: A lot of our readers (myself included) are young and don’t have a lot of money. What’s your advice for them?

Anita: Thrift! Put together a budget that includes tailoring. Then, hit the thrift stores hard. Remember: Purchase clothing that fits that largest portions of your body and get the rest taken in by a tailor. Tailoring can be expensive. But, by the time you tailor that $10 Michael Kors blazer you found, you’ll still have saved more money than if you purchased it full price off the rack. You can also find accessories and staples like ties, suspenders, shoes, winter coats, and work bags super discounted at thrift stores.

Danielle: My advice would be to shop cheap and look rich! It doesn’t matter where you shop, it is how you put it together.

Sara: Have patience. Don’t rush into getting an item as soon as it comes out, wait until it goes on sale – I can guarantee you that it will. If you’re worried about trends, remember they always resurface. Sign up for newsletters of your favorites to be notified of awesome deals. Make use of your thrift shop, and you’ll get designer goods for a bargain.

AE: Butch/stud hairstyles: what are your thoughts? Any do’s and don’ts?

Danielle: I love short hair. It is a style that I’ve wanted myself for years and finally gave it a go. There’s something about the contrast of the fade and the comb over. Plus it is a clean look with a suit. When I was a basketball player I wore cornrows, but it isn’t something I would go back to. Not a big fan of them as I’ve evolved.

Lea DeLaria

22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - ArrivalsPhoto by Dan MacMedan/WireImage

AE: Why do you think butches and studs are important to the lesbian community?

Anita: Butches and studs unapologetically dismantle the gender binary by simply being. The way they express themselves through fashion is a form of visual activism that has significant emancipatory potential not only for queer people, but society at large.

Danielle: I think aggressive women can bring a particular edge or masculinity to the community. I love seeing a group of clean dressed bois in menswear, whether that’s suits or streetwear. I think it brings a level of toughness or boldness that a feminine woman doesn’t always portray.


AE: Do you have any advice for younger butches and studs looking to find their personal style?

Anita: Find inspiration from everything around you: architecture, nature, music, style icons. It’s easy to fall into a rut when you’re trying to emulate what society is “selling” you as masculine. There are no limits to how you define your masculinity.

Danielle: Don’t be afraid to be you. No matter who you are, what you wearing, or even your sexual orientation. Someone will always find a way to judge you. Be proud of who you are and don’t be afraid to reach out to others for guidance and inspiration.

Sara: Try different styles until you find the one that you feel the most comfortable in and that suits you best. Learn about colors, patterns, and proportions. If you understand them, it’ll be that much easier to put an outfit together.

AE: What about older butches and studs who might be looking to update their look?

Anita: Don’t be afraid to step outside the binary. Some of the top menswear leaders in the industry are not afraid to take risks, including adding feminine touches.

Danielle: My advice would be to adapt to the new generation a bit. Continue to remain true to your aesthetic but make minor adjusts to fit, color, etc to make it more flattering for you.

Sara: Find someone’s style who you love and want to dress like, and let them be your inspiration. Research, reach out and ask questions if you’re not sure about something.

Hannah HartTribeca Digital Creators Market Screening: Electra Woman & Dyna GirlPhoto by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

*Note: Some answers have been lightly edited for clarity. If there is no answer from an expert under a question, it is because the expert declined to respond.


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