Here come Dick, he’s wearing a skirt, here comes Jane, y’know she’s sporting a chain
November 8, 2011 9:56 PM   Subscribe

I'm a guy in NYC interested in dressing more femme without, strictly speaking, wearing drag. Think Kevin Barnes or Zac Pennington.

Snowflake info: Mid-20s, NYC, 5'9", about 160 lbs. More info accessible in my profile. Previously.

Inspired by this thread, I'm interested in wearing women's clothes and makeup in a context that doesnt try to hide my masculinity. I obviously have no shame, since I'm posting this under my real name, so I'm ok with going into mainstream stores to purchase things. And I'm not aiming to look like a girl so much as a really hot guy in a dress; effectively the opposite gendered equivalent of a stylish butch girl. In a word: androgynous.

But aside from enlisting my more open minded female friends, what other resources are there for me? Things like fashion tumblrs with fancy lads, approximate sizes corresponding to mens clothes, makeup for men guides, etc?
posted by modernserf to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Self-link alert: mefite Help, I Can't Stop Talking! and I both post to the tumblr Well Hello, Sir! and we include a lot of this kind of stuff (if my read on your question is correct).
posted by hermitosis at 11:26 PM on November 8, 2011

well, here's something from a content farm on make-up as a guy...
posted by midmarch snowman at 12:03 AM on November 9, 2011

This NY Times piece was linked in the blue recently, I believe.
posted by hermitosis at 12:09 AM on November 9, 2011

You might find some inspiration at genderfork.

As to sizing? Women's sizes don't have any consistency across brands or even within the same brand between years. I wear everything from a 14 to a 4X depending on brand.

Youtube is full of makeup tutorials--there are probably ones for men, or you could just try the "female techniques" out and see how you like the look.

Google Andrej Pejic. 1, 2.

PS: Bowie.
posted by mollymayhem at 12:53 AM on November 9, 2011

Candy Magazine has some great inspirational looks.
posted by guessthis at 3:58 AM on November 9, 2011

I can't link because I'm at work, but if you google "genderqueer" and "tumblr" you'll find some good stuff. There's also a guy named Jasper (again, can't link, work) but probably if you google "Jasper" and "queer" and "fashion" and "blog" you'll find him with a little effort. There are some tumblrs for queer/genderqueer women that would probably give you ideas - the folks involved dress in sort of femmey butch style - innerfatgirl is one of them and there's tangledupinlace.

Just IME, I find that the more pictures I see of gender non-conforming folks of all shapes and sizes doing various gender non-conforming things, the more ideas I get for fashion stuff - it doesn't have to be only dapper faggy-dressing genderqueer people in their thirties who are a little bit stout but basically muscular and tend to veer into prep if they aren't careful (ie, people exactly like me).

Also, a blogger named dapper kid - his blog is mostly high fashion, but there's a lot of ideas if you scroll around.
posted by Frowner at 6:31 AM on November 9, 2011

Off the top of my head, and I am likely to come up with more later: To buy women's shoes, add three to your men's shoe size. So if you're a size ten men's shoe, you're a size thirteen women's shoe, though variance in manufacturers means you may be able to get yourself into a twelve and a half.

If you've never walked in high heels before: Start by basically walking on your toes. Over time, put more and more weight on the heel until you're used to it. Practice.

Frederick's of Hollywood not-so-secretly caters to men as well as women. Most of their stuff isn't likely to interest you but they do good cheap corsets. I personally believe more people should own corsets.

Practice the makeup, then practice it again, then practice it again. Most makeup will come off with Noxzema, except eye makeup, which you need to remove with eye makeup remover. Don't use anything else. Select your foundation carefully. Don't powder too much. If your foundation is too different from your skin tone - most people err on the side of too light - you'll look like a corpse.

This is a really good book.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:41 AM on November 9, 2011

If you're not familiar with makeup, I suggest going to a MAC store. They tend to have both male and female sales associates, and they specifically cater to both men and women. Additionally, the makeup is less expensive than most high-end brands (but more expensive than most drugstore brands). They will help teach you how to wear it if you ask for assistance, along with helping you find things that suit your coloring.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:28 AM on November 9, 2011

Best answer: Femme-y things that I think look great on guys:

boatneck tops: these broaden your shoulders and make your waist seem smaller but also show off delicate collar bones

eyeliner: start with dark brown eyeshadow and a teeny tiny liner brush and apply in short strokes above but as close to your lash line as possible. Start at the middle of your upper lashes and go out to the end. You want the majority of the color to be on the outside of your eyes away from your nose to make your eyes look bigger and wider-spread. Then go back and do light strokes from the middle to the inner corner of your eye. Get good at this and then try a soft pencil. When you're good at that, you can try liquid liner.

White silky shirts with lots of little buttons on the placket instead of the normal spacing

Nail polish: Start with your pinky, use 3 strokes per nail. Middle, then left overlapping the middle stroke, then right, also overlapping. For thumbs you can have 5 strokes if you need.
posted by rmless at 7:30 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

If I was in your position, and those were the looks I'd like to pull off, I'd head down to Allsaints Spitalfields and try on some clothes. It's a mix of grunge, industrial, glam, urban, apocalyptic fashion. Kind of expensive for the quality, but you can probably get a little sparkly vest or layered tunic dress thing that would work with some tight pants and hot boots.

Apparently Tableau Vivant would also work.

And of course, Patricia Fields is the most well known drag shop, but it will have some useful pieces for you, e.g. leather zip mini! Hot!
posted by barnone at 10:08 AM on November 9, 2011

Oh man, sorry. Tableaux Vivant is apparently a Second Life fashion label? Well, you deserve can be well-dressed there too!
posted by barnone at 10:11 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ha. That was very weird. Tableau Vivant is indeed a SL clothing brand and for a minute there I had the super-strange sensation of going "Wait what? They opened a real life store? What?"

Anyway what I really popped in to say is: welcome to the eyelash dye! This gives you all of the benefits of mascara without runny mascara. It reallu opens up and defines your eyes. Here's an example. You can go any color; I have dark lashes naturally so I go Blue Black, but there are also very dark browns. Any salon can do this for you.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:44 AM on November 9, 2011

Best answer: Incredibly hot, and fun! Going by your previous askme about dating issues I'd say you want to avoid the common trope of guys wearing makeup which errs to the goth sort of side. That puts out signals that are less femme and more hard-edged. So avoid dark eyeliner, monochromatics, buckle-covered boots.

Take time to enjoy the pleasures of girly accoutrements, which in my mind have the following qualities: lots of different textures, brighter colors and patterns, a level of tailoring that allow people to show off the shapes of their bodies, a certain amount of fussiness (not in a bad way, more like in the way that says "yes, I did this on purpose because I can.")

So look at yourself and figure out your favorite parts of yourself. Do you have nicely colored hair? Do you have a slim waist or strong arms or long legs? Find clothes to emphasize these things. Long legs: skinny pants or leggings or stockings (thigh highs on guys? yes please) paired with a short skirt or decorative belt to rest snugly on the hips. Strong arms: tops with sleeves that have detail on them like lacing or ruffles or embroidery to draw attention to them.

To have fun with your hair I suggest dying it some color you've always admired on other people. Definitely do the salon thing, this is one of those situations where putting out more money usually gets you better results and they will try their best to choose a variation of the color you love that works well with your other natural coloring. For less permanent fun, get yourself some product, look at photos of women's hair styles at lengths similar to yours, and go wild in the bathroom mirror until you hit on something that pleases you. I also love a guy who can pull off a hair accessory - it can be as simple a few crossed bobby pins to keep the bangs swept the side, but it calls attention by way of detail and can be rather coquettish. There are lots of shorter hairstyles categorized as female that are absolutely workable for a man, it's just all demarcated by a level of time commitment needed to achieve the look. Youtube videos are super helpful for learning things like how to curl and straighten and which gels and mousses to use when.

Shoes: guys in heels can be scary or hot or sometimes both. If you have small enough feet to go shopping in a normal women's department, start out with things like colorful sneakers, embellished flats, and cowboy boots, which always have a bit of a heel. Even if you're comfortable in heels, don't overdo it - if you're going less for drag and more for androgyny (yay my favorite!) then high heels are a HUGE feminine signifier, so you'll want to tone down the girliness in the rest of your outfit. Make sense?

Texture: clothes are for fun so don't forget that while you've working with different colors, patterns and shapes, you've also got texture to contend with. Feminine fabrics are things that are flowy and transparent, soft and fuzzy to the touch, or slick and shiny. Take pleasure in pairing these up in one outfit. To keep it from being too busy keep a simple color scheme when you have a lot of textures going on.

Don't go wild with accessories. Remember what Coco Chanel says: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.”
posted by Mizu at 12:13 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Follow-up: My ladyfriend and I picked up some cute stuff at H&M. I tried a lot of different items, but I ended up with some pretty basic top/skirt/tights combos, as the dresses I tried looked (even more) weird on me.
posted by modernserf at 9:02 AM on December 5, 2011

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