As y’all know, I am a bit leery about the trappings of traditional weddings. This includes, not surprisingly, the whole “Say Yes To the Dress” phenomenon. Spend thousands on a dress you’ll wear once! Live the princess fantasy! The virginal whiteness! The sweetheart neckline! The squee-ing! The unrelenting girly-girlness of it all! It’s like every single cloying gender-normal ideal wrapped in a big toxic bow of paternalism!
So I loved this eye-opening article in the Washington Post with the tagline: Same-sex weddings open the door to finding the right male attire for women. Hallelujah! There are brides out there who don’t want to look like a Disney princess on their wedding day:
This is the sartorial plight of the sporty, the butch, the soft butch, the tomboys, the bois, the “Ellens,” the Big Dykes on Campus, the women who love women but don’t love wearing skirts and really don’t love those girly pleated pantsuits with princess seams and scalloped collars. The women who know how to buy work pants, play shirts, clubbing shoes and everything else, but who do not know how to buy formal wear (really, who does?) and are now navigating the experience for their now legalized weddings.
One of these brides said:
“If you’re a bride wearing a dress, then you have 400 magazines to work from for advice.” But if you’re a bride wearing a suit, Herr says dryly, “we’ve got what Ellen wore. And that’s about it.”
Personally, I thought Ellen (and her wife Portia) looked fabulous at their wedding, but she’s right, Ellen’s wedding suit is fairly femme in cut and color.
For brides–or any woman, really–who prefer menswear, there are websites like DapperQ. Their motto is “transgressing men’s fashion”, but, of course, they’re also transgressing women’s fashion and wedding fashion, which both positively BEG to be transgressed upon. An additional plus is that the newly vocal market has its own queer-friendly tailors:
Up until a few years ago, Victor Dash, the owner of Dash’s formalwear in Alexandria, had never had a woman come in for a suit. Now he estimates that he sees one every month or so. “The first one that called asked if I could make her a suit, and I told her I’d never made women’s clothes,” says Dash, who assumed that the customer wanted him to make her a Hillary Clinton-esque pantsuit. “She said, ‘Well, I’m not looking for women’s clothes.’ So then I said, ‘Well, in that case, I’ve done this thousands of times.’ ”
Part of the uptick in Dash’s female clientele might be due to a rave review he received on So You’re EnGAYged, a blog dedicated to same-sex couples planning their weddings. A few months ago, one local woman went to his shop, then wrote about the excursion on the blog. In pictures, she wears a black suit with subtle crimson pinstripes.
Anything that loosens the stranglehold of the underminer-y Wedding Industrial Complex is a-okay with me. And I love that the legalization of gay marriage is creating even more openness about other aspects of gay women’s lives, including the right to dress and look fabulous according to their standards and not the Patriarchy’s.