Friday, May 4, 2012

Formal Friday: Checks and Stripes

I am not a huge fan of brown suits generally.  Something about them just makes me think they look too rural or informal.  This suit, however, is an exception. 

I love the contrast of the stripes of the jacket and the checks of the vest.  This is a great example of how playing with complimentary patterns can really add an eye-catching element to your standard suit.  Here, the colors are the same but the variation in the pattern arrangement gives the outfit a sense of depth and vitality.

Also, check out the bowtie/ascot/scarf.  Little twists like this can really pull an outfit together.  Taking something like a scarf or handkerchief and tying it around your neck as you would a bowtie gives a brazen edge to an otherwise put-together look. 

Lastly, make sure to slick back your hair and look super serious and you will OWN that brown suit.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Asked & Answered: Summer Work Style

Reader North writes:

"Want to do something on summer clothes for queers?  I have a hell of a time finding anything even approximately work appropriate when it's 100 degrees."

Hot weather gives most people an excuse to relax into an informal wardrobe of shorts, tees, and sandals.  Even some of our more feminine friends from the professional real can get away with short sleeves and breezy skirts in the summer.  But you are not the average person - you are a Lezsquire.  So although it may be 100 degrees outside, it's important that you still maintain a professional appearance.  Follow these tips to keep it classy through the heatwaves. 
  •  Lighten your fabrics.   This applies to both the color and the weave.  Darker colors absorb light and make you hotter (in a bad way), faster.  Lighter colors, on the other hand, reflect light and keep you cool.  So go with a lighter color scheme - whites, light greys, and more pale colors (yellow, blue, pink, green, etc).  As far as fabric, ditch denser fabrics such as wool, pinpoint oxfords, or (shudder) polyester blends and go with natural, breathable, and light fabrics such as linen, silk, and cotton.  
Linen Perfect Shirt by J.Crew
  • Ditch the suit?  As mentioned above, wardrobes tend to get more informal in the summer.  Does this mean that you can ditch your suit?  Well... probably not.  It will depend on your work environment.  A good trick is to take cues from what your (more fashionable) co-workers and bosses are doing.  One option is to ditch the jacket altogether and don a vest and matching slacks instead.  Still professional yet breezier than a suit.  I personally would feel uncomfortable without a suit at work - but there is a compromise!  Bring your suit jacket draped over your arm.  You can hang it in the office in the event that you need it, and stay coolly jacket-free in the meantime.
  • Summer Suits.  Again, try to go with breathable cotton or linen suits and avoid wool.  An unlined suit (one that ditches the inner layer of fabric completely) or one that is half-lined is also a good option.  Though you may need to wear a dark suit for more formal occasions, for everyday wear try a light grey, kahki, or cream colored suit or (if you're daring) white or seersucker.
  • Under the suit.  If you are wearing a suit, there are a few tricks you can do to keep cool as well.  There are a number of short-sleeved or sleeveless shirts that look like your average button down when worn with a jacket.  No one will be the wiser and there will be one less layer of fabric between your arms and breezy freedom.  Also, as a woman (not required to wear a necktie), you can get away with a number of other sleeveless or short-sleeved, or tank-like (yet still professional) tops under your jacket, so use this to your advantage!
  • Summer footwear.  The sockless look has been in in recent years, and if you're looking to pull it off (again, for those "less formal" workdays), make sure you use some shoe powder in them or wear "invisible socks" to keep them dry and clean.  If you're wearing socks, again, go for naturally breathable fabrics like cotton or silk.  Avoid polyester blends at all costs.  Italian-style loafers or dress shies are also a good summer choice and made from lighter and softer leather than most of their counterparts.  I do not advocate sandals, ever.
  • Tip of the hat.  If you're going to be outdoors (even if it's just walking to your office from your car), now is the ideal time to bust out that sweet panama hat you have been looking for an excuse to wear. 

  •  Shades.  When the sun is beating down on you, don't forget your eyes' health.  Sunglasses are a very personal thing, so pick out a pair unique to you.  If you're struggling to find the right fit, Ray Ban Clubmasters or some squared-off aviators are a good place to start.  

Hold these tips in mind and you'll make keeping your cool at work look effortless (even while you are smoldering with hot hot style).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pick of the Day: Sole Survivor Leather Briefcase

Every working Lezsquire needs a good briefcase. 

And you'll be hard pressed to find a more awesome briefcase than Style No. 1005 from Sole Survivor Leather

Let's face it: after law school (or once you otherwise enter the professional world), a backpack will no longer cut it.  Your supervisors, clients, and co-workers expect you to look put-together and adult.  So being the young'un who marches into work with knapsack slung over your shoulders (no matter how cool it may be...) is a big mistake.

Those of us with more masculine taste in style get a hard rap when it comes to bags.  Feminine women have a plethora of purses and totes to choose from.  It's a bit tougher finding something that suits those erring toward the other side of the gender spectrum. 

Reminiscent of the harness belt, this sole survivor briefcase has striking good looks, classic styling, and a bit of an edge (hello "tongue" clasps).  The fixtures are solid brass, so you know it's built to last.  I think this is the perfect type of briefcase for the working queer who is going for professional respect while still remaining style conscious.  At $350, this bag is an investment but quite a steal compared to some of those designer purses our more femmey friends may tote.  And my bet is that it will last a lifetime and then some. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Look of the Day: LA Style

Lezsquire readers!  I am happy to report that I am back from my extended business trip to Ohio.  Although some excitingly gay events coincidentally happened while I was in town, I have to say... damn, it's good to be back. 

(And before you ask regarding my trip: No, I sadly did not see one fashionable outfit [besides those in the mirror] the entire month I was away.  Better luck next time.)

In honor of my triumphant return, here is a slice of quintessential LA lesbian style for you.

Note the artfully slicked back, sun-kissed hair, dark aviators, and double breasted black suit.  The perfect look for effortlessly doing justice on the idyllic palm-lined streets of LA. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Suits Me: Power Dyke Couple

What's the only thing better than a hot power lesbian?

TWO hot power lesbians! 


I'm really loving this picture for several reasons.

Androgyny.  Nothing gets me like androgyny.  The ladies here are rocking their looks with masculine confidence and feminine grace.  The poses (wide legged stance, jaunty hips and shoulders, squared jaws) give every indication of assertiveness while subtle cues (the tilt of the head, grasping of hair) belie a tender vulnerability.  The perfect combination.

White suit.  This is an excellent example of pulling off the white suit.

Vest & Oxford.  A great way to look professional but not too uptight.  After (or during) a hard day of work, it's okay to take your jacket off, roll up the sleeves, and keep on being awesome. 

The Hair.  Here is an excellent example of how one can still have "longer" hair and pull off a masculine look.  The standing figure has more meticulously groomed locks while the seated figure has a more free and unkempt style.  Both look great. 

I can't get enough of the hot lesbian power couple.  So use the comments to tell me about any such experiences!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pic of the Day: Lady Gaga in Drag

... Does that make her Mister Gaga?

In any case, Lezsquire is a huge fan of the incomparable Lady Gaga.  Today for your viewing pleasure, Lady G lets her more masculine side out.

Lady Gaga makes quite the dyke.  I'm loving her James Dean-esque hair in this picture and the artful tailoring of her white fauxedo shirt.   Once again, being a hot lesbian (or anything else, for that matter) is all about attitude.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Look of the Day: Go-to-Hell Pants

The go-to-hell pant is back envogue, and Lezsquire couldn't be happier.  I've always harbored a little not-so-secret love for prep style ever since I first laid hands on a copy of The Official Preppy Handbook as a young Lez.  Aptly named, the go-to-hell pant is a fashion conundrum.  The button-downed prepster's Ivy League attempt to bring a bit of punk rock abandon into their lives. 

Dandy and white suit wearer Tom Wolf is credited with first coining the phrase in an article for for Esquire about the elite preps vacationing at Martha's Vinetard.  He writes:
The jackets were mostly navy blazers, and the ties were mostly striped ties or ties with little jacquard emblems on them, but the pants had a go-to-hell air: checks and plaids of the loudest possible sort, madras plaids, yellow-on-orange windowpane checks, crazy-quilt plaids, giant houndstooth checks, or else they were a solid airmail red or taxi yellow or some other implausible go-to-hell color. They finished that off with loafers and white crew socks or no socks at all. The pants were their note of Haitian abandon… at the same time the jackets and ties showed they had not forgotten for a moment where the power came from.

The above look is a great example of how to pull off the go-to-hell look.  Things to note:
  • Subdued accompaniments.  The most important part of pulling off the "go-to-hell" look well is to not go over the top, or you'll just look like a clown.  This means going for an overall "conservative" look with one shocking element.  Here, note that the classic look of the sweater, button-down, shoes, belt, and watch really allow the pants to shine.  
  • Get the color or pattern right.  It's called "go-to-hell" for a reason.  Now is not the time to be shy.  Go with the boldest and most clashing color or pattern possible.  Think yellow, salmon, red, or seafoam for solids and big bold plaids for patterns.  If you go embroidered pattern route (tiny sailboats, flamingos, or the like), make sure it's something representative of your personality.
  • Boat ShoesSperrys are a prepster essential, so if you're planning on pulling off the go-to-hell look anywhere near an ocean, make sure to grab a pair. 
  • Fun socks.  Also envogue nowadays.  Just 'cause it's too cold to go sockless doesn't mean you can't have fun "down there".  Spice up your Sperrys with some fun patterened or striped socks.  
So when you're feeling a bit punchy at your next work picnic or romp with the friends, consider telling the world to go to hell. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Suits Me: More Milla Jovovich

If you haven't noticed already, I think Milla Jovovich has (or had, circa the 1990s) the perfect hot lesbian look. 

Check out that haphazardly slicked back mane.  Professional with an edge.  In addition to the spectacular lesbian hair, Milla is rocking one excellent grey suit.  This lighter shade of grey is particularly great for springtime.  Pop the collar a little.  Because you're a badass. 

But the best part is the gaze.  Threatening?  Playful?  Dismissive?  Enticing?  Aggressive?  Challenging?  All of the above?  Yes please.

The hot lesbian look is all about attitude. 

(And with that kind of attitude, who needs a shirt?)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Deal Alert: Land's End Riding Jacket

There have been rumors around the fashion community that Land's End is the "poor man's J. Crew".  Depending on who you talk to, this could be a good thing or a thinly-veiled jibe.  Well, Lezsquire is a blog for the young professional.  Like many of my readers, I have student loans to repay, bills to take care of, and other things to save up for.  So although I tend to feature a lot of nice, and consequentially pricey, items on my blog, I recognize that most of us can't always have everything we want.  Therefore, although I appreciate good quality, I also appreciate a good deal.  This Land's End riding blazer appears to be both. 

Land's End Riding Blazer
This gentlemanly riding jacket is a herringbone wool blend and comes fully lined.  It features a fashionable ticket pocket and playful yet sophisticated notch collar.  The description says it has a little extra length, which is great because there's few things that peeve me more than a jacket that's not long enough (something that has become a veritable plague in modern women's fashion).  It also says it's "great for times when you don't feel like carrying a purse".  I.e., when you are a dyke.  The best part?  It's on sale for only $99.97. 

Since I already made a big blazer purchase this weekend (more on that soon), I don't see this jacket in my future (also, I tend to be more of a size 4 nowadays and the smallest they have is a 6).  But, some dapper young reader out there needs to get this!!!  It's just too awesome to pass up.  And when you do, dyke it up and send in the pictures so I can feature your fabulousness on Lezsquire. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Formal Friday: Cufflinks with French Cuffs

As you might recall, I do not remember the first time I saw a woman wearing a suit.

I do, however, remember the first time I saw a woman wearing cufflinks. 

It was mind-blowing.  Intimidating, sexy, and sophisticated all at once.  The essence of masculine power worn as a token on a female body.  I was wrecked. 

The essential companion to the cufflink is the french cuff shirt.  The french cuff/cufflink combination is dressy.  It's for select occasions.  Unless you've already made your first million, it's not your everyday wear.  It's for those select times when you need to be at the height of your power. 

And god... when that power is harnessed.  The things you can do with it. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pic of the Day: Youthful Professional

Not every professional occasion calls for an all-out matching 3 piece suit.  As a young professional, you can still have some fun with mixing and matching your business wardrobe while avoiding the dreaded label "business casual".

Khakis and a nontraditional belt can be paired with a subdued gray or navy blazer and button-down for a sophisticated yet youthful look for springtime.  Put on a nice watch and your favorite pocket square, and you're good to go!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Packing for Business Travel 101

I have been traveling on business lately.  So since it's been on my mind, today's post contains tips for what the lesbian professional should pack for business travel.  These recommendations will assume that 1) you will be away for more than a few days, and 2) that you will be needing to wear "business attire" during at least part of your trip.

1. Be aware of your destination.  This seems like a no-brainer, but there have been several times that I (as a Californian) have failed to realize how cold other parts of the world can get at varying times of year.  Does your destination have tropical rainstorms in the summer?  Tornadoes in the spring?  High liklihood of a blizzard?  Check the weather predictions for your destination and do a little research into it's quirks.  Then think of the key items you will need for this weather - coats, umbrellas, etc.  Keep in mind that cold weather clothes are bulkier and will require more packing room.
2. Build your wardrobe bottom-up.  And by bottom-up, I mean first determine what color of shoes you will be bringing.  Shoes take up a lot of space, so if you're traveling for a week or less you should consider bringing only one pair of business shoes.  Black and brown are the business traditionals (black is typically seen as more professional), so pick one of the two.  (And for god's sake, don't wear those horrible bulky slip-on "business travel shoes".  Having to take 2 additional seconds to untie your shoes at TSA won't kill you.)  Ok, picked your shoe color?  Then throw in a matching belt.  Now choose a classic suit that goes with it.  You get the idea.
Some classic black shoes like these wingtips from H by Hudson will serve you well on business travel.

3. Wear bulkier items on the plane.  Wearing bulkier items on the plane will both save you packing space and protect you from the extreme temperatures of air travel.  Consider wearing bigger sweaters and other items on the plane.  Wearing one of your suit jackets or blazers on the plan will better protect it from wrinkles than leaving it in the bag. 

4. Versatility is key.  Packing space is a pain and airline baggage charges are insane nowadays.  So it's important to think of outfits that will be versatile. You'll have to come to terms with the fact that due to limited space for accessories and different wardrobe pieces in your luggage, you will probably not be the height of fashion during the duration of your business travel.  Nonetheless, you can still build a basic, sharp and professional wardrobe for your trip. While I am not crazy about the exact outfits, think of the below picture as a guide. As you can see, the outfits all build off of the same scheme of a dark suit, black shoes/belt, and a couple of button-down shirts and sweaters worn in different combinations.  You could technically only have one or two basic suits or blazers for a week or longer, but by mixing and matching smaller pieces you can create vastly different looks.  Bring a couple of different colored button-downs, then try  layering a vest or sweater in different combinations on different days.  On more casual days, you can ditch the suit jacket and go with some slacks and a sweater or one of your more casual button-downs.


UPDATE: Also check out this awesome infographic from Style Girlfriend for inspiration.
5. Bring some key accessories.   There are several smaller accessories that are small and easy to pick that can spice up your basic business wardrobe and be mixed and matched with the pieces discussed above.  Think about bringing a few small accessories like pocket squares, ties and tie clips, patterned socks, sunglasses, scarfs, or gloves.

Cool accessories can bring a spark to an otherwise plain business travel wardrobe.

6. Consider your clothing's comfort, too.  Suits should be kept in a garment bag and packed properly while traveling.  Shirts should be wrinkle-resistant, or (if you enjoy ironing like me), make sure there is an iron available at your hotel.  As much of a pain as it is to unpack everything, hanging up your suits and shirts when you arrive will keep them looking nice until you need to wear them. 

7. Take advantage of your employer's business travel allowances.  Most employers will cover checked luggage fees.  They also might reimburse you dry cleaning expenses while on business travel.  Look into your employer's policy and take advantage of this!  If will help ease many of the stresses of deciding what to pack and whether you have too much or not enough.  

With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to a successful business trip, Lezsquire-style.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pic of the Day: Vest, Hat, and Photography

Today's Pic of the Day is a simple outfit.  A plain white button-up shirt, a black hat, and a black pinstriped vest. 


But it comes together in an amazing way.  Most of the time, looking stylish is more about attitude and confidence than the actual articles of clothing you are wearing.  This picture embodies that notion.  The look, the stance, the way she is handling  the camera - these all convey that the wearer is a serious professional intent on executing her art.  The gaze is at once confrontational and alluring. 

Just the way we like it.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lezsquire in... Ohio?

You read that right.  This California lawyer will be heading to Ohio later this weekend for an extended business trip.  When I was first informed of this several weeks ago, my first instinct was to do anything possible to get out of it.  Don't get me wrong - though I live in LA, I wouldn't consider myself a big-city person.  I lived a small-town life for several years and was quite fond of it.  But although I am a worldly and well-traveled Lezsquire, I have no experience in what I will endearingly call "Middle America".  Further, outside of work-related matters, I know next to nothing about Ohio.  Google tells me Ohio a red state whose motto is "with God, all things are possible".  Christ.  Separation of church and state, much?

I had a series of conversations with confidants that went something like this:

Me: "I could do a few days or even a week, but a whole month is going to be horrible.  No one will like me and there will be nothing to do and when I'm not working I'll be sitting in my hotel room crying."
Friend: "Why would you think that?  You're friendly and likable and attractive.  I'm sure they will love you."
Me: "I'm from California, I'm liberal, I'm a professional woman, I'm a feminist, and I'm gay.  Dealing with prejudice and getting acceptance in California is hard enough sometimes!  I'm pretty sure people like me get hate crime-d or lynched out in Middle America!!"

In short, I was afraid that people would judge me negatively based on stereotypes before they got to know me.  Then I realized that was exactly what I was doing to Ohio.  Acting out of fear before I gave it a fair chance. 

I also learned that this was a non-negotiable assignment, and that I would get giant piles of travel pay.

So, Ohio, I am going to try to get to know you.  To begin, a positive impression.  Below is what I imagine to be an "Ohioan lesbian outfit". 

Definitely not your typical big city business attire, but still dapper.  Still Lezsquire-friendly.  Is this what people actually look like in Ohio?  I don't know, but I'm going to find out.

So, if there are any Lezsquire readers out in Ohio or the surrounding areas, drop me a line.  Show me how great the rest of our country can be.  (Or at least, show me where the gays hang out.)

Formal Friday: White Hot Suit

I'll admit to owning a white suit.  I was warned against buying it.  Unknowing friends gasp when they learn that I have one.  But on the special - and I mean special - occasions that I wear it (think Easter and bourgeois croquet-picnic parties), I always get compliments.  The white suit takes major daring to pull off.  Perhaps a bit of imprudence.  But if you have the audacity to go for it, the results can be fantastic.  You may just become a shining lesbian savior in a dark world of wayward fashion sinners.  Just check out today's Formal Friday image of silent film actress Myrna Loy in a white suit. 

It's amazing how "right" those actors and actresses of yesteryear got some things.  I think a hot lesbian donning this look today would look just as fabulous and fashion-forward as Myrna looked back (in the 1930s?) when this was shot. 

For me, wearing my white suit always makes me feel like Valentine Michael Smith from one of my favorite novels, Stranger in a Strange Land.  Sometimes you wear an outfit to please others. Other times, it is something special that you put on to please no one but yourself.  The white suit is the latter.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pick of the Day: The Popover Oxford

When you're a professional with a masculine sense of style, the button-down oxford shirt is likely to be ubiquitous in your life.  It's a style staple that is worn dressed up with a suit and tie, dressed down on weekends, and during many occasions in between.  Sometimes it's fun to switch it up a little - a spread collar here, french cuffs there.  Today's Pick of the Day is a spring-inspired playful twist on your classic button-down: the popover oxford.

The popover oxford is essentially an oxford shirt with only 2-3 buttons, so that you pull it over your head like a polo shirt to put it on.  While this is definitely a more casual take on your traditional oxford, I think it could also be worn at work, if done right.

Pink Pullover Shirt by GANT

The popover looks classy yet fun on the weekends and off the clock. At work, wear it with a sweater or vest and no one will be the wiser until the weather warms up.  If you're feeling daring, try pairing it with a classic blazer and see if the boss bats an eye. 

New Haven Oxford Pullover by GANT
The thing to keep in mind with a popover shit is to keep the cut slim - otherwise it runs the risk of looking like a nightshirt.  GANT (featured above) has some pretty sweet popover shirts in both the "men's" and "women's" sections (the look is androgynous, so wear whichever fits you best).  Ann Mashburn also has a great collection of popover shirts.  But you'll see these popping up occasionally at J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, and other places as well.  So keep an eye out and consider adding a playful popover to your spring Lezsquire wardrobe.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pic of the Day: Studious Lesbian 2.0

Here is another take on the "studious lesbian" look featured on Lezsquire last Thursday.  I really love the jacket here (from Katherine Hooker).  It's casual yet well-structured - perfect for a day of informal research or hitting the books.

I think this is an overall androgynous look that could go in either a masculine or feminine direction.  The jacket is made for women and definitely tailored to a woman's body, but because of the clean lines and sharp structure, it gives a crisp look that definitely treads into the masculine end of the style spectrum.  With the brass buttons and stand-up collar, it is reminiscent of a more sophisticated take on the baseball jacket.

Style this with a button-down and a nice pair of slacks and belt, and you'll be an academic all-star in no time.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pick of the Day: Harness Belt by Sole Survivor Leather

I'm about to run off to suffer through a boring yet potentially comically ironic straight-people-oriented event (more on that later, perhaps) but before I go I wanted to share this find from Sole Survivor Leather. 

The description calls this a "harness" belt with a "long tongue".  Ladies!  Need I say more?

1 1/4 inch Harness Belt Style No. 915 by Sole Survivor Leather.

Well how about this: every Lezsquire should own at least two belts: one brown and one black.  Lezsquire warns against those two-sided "flip belts" due to the shoddy construction of most of them (they are usually fused leather and the sides separate after regular usage), but they are permissible if you absolutely must and are on a tight budget. 

Also, belts are somewhere that a young professional can have some fun.  It's hard to tell because I haven't seen this in person, but I would probably try to pull this off at the office.  The belt looks professional but with a twist because of the "tongue" (heh, heh) on the buckle.  So while I probably wouldn't wear this to a court appearance, it has the potential to get some compliments on weekends, parties, or even less formal days at work.  Plus it's made in the USA.  Can't beat that for the price.

So when that hottie litigator from your local LGBT bar association asks about it, don't be afraid to explain how the tongue and harness work on this thing.  ;-)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Formal Friday: Glasses and sweaters and suits, oh my!

I hope all my readers out there are having a wonderful Formal Friday!  Tonight I am the happiest little lawyer ever because I'm starting work on my first pro bono legal project since becoming a licensed attorney (lawyers out there should recall that we should all strive to do at least 50 hours of pro bono work annually).

As you can see, I am not afraid to loosen up a little after work.  Notice the unbuttoned shirt cuff.

Brooks Brothers double breasted navy wool blazer.  Silk shirt with oystershell buttons.  Gold watch.  Posh.
So while I won't be demurely perched above a pinball machine like today's Formal Friday pic, I will still be keeping it classy.

The herringbone blazer in this picture is awesome.  I love how it brings out the tie's complimentary pattern.  The slim lapels of the suit give this look a a stylish modern touch.  Also, note how a classic pair of glasses can really pull a professional look together.  Great for lending credibility during your after-hours legal work.

Because even when you're doing it for free, you should still look like a lawyer.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pic of the Day: Studious Lesbian

Today's Pic of the Day reminds me of my days spent in the carrels of the law library.

This look just may be the pinnacle of masculine fashion for the lesbian law or graduate student.  It is simultaneously professional and casual.  Jeans are totally acceptable for day-to-day wear if you're still a student.  Pro tip: if you are going to wear a tie, tuck in your damn shirt and wear a belt.  Anything otherwise looks sloppy and haphazard.

I like the gingham shirt with the plaid tie.  There is some old rule of fashion that states you are not supposed to mix and match patterns.  This rule has been superseded.  You should feel free to experiment with mixing and matching different kinds of patterns and textures, and as you can see here, great results are achievable.  The trick is to go for complimentary colors and differing scale of patterns.

I'm also a fan of the layering of the vest and sweater.  Libraries, classrooms, and offices can get cold.  It is totally acceptable (and advisable) to keep a tasteful sweater handy if you find yourself in such a situation.

Nail a look like this at your next study group with the cutie from Civ Pro and you will give new meaning to the term "hornbook".

Asked & Answered: Shopping in the Men's Section

Welcome to Asked & Answered, a new feature where the questions you ask are answered by Lezsquire.  Reader Mallory recently wrote in asking:

“I am so glad to have stumbled across this blog; it's been so helpful already. I'm a 2L and am having trouble figuring out professional dress. I love those Levi's you have on here. I would like to buy some, but the thought of shopping in the men's sections intimidates me. Have you ever thought about writing a "how to" post on shopping in the men's section?”

Mallory, I am happy to help in any way I can.  Believe it or not, I also did not start shopping in the men’s section until late 1L/ early 2L year.  Don't get me wrong, I have always loved men's fashion.  But until that point I had allotted all of my shopping time in a desperate and more often than not futile attempt at finding "masculine" clothing in the women's section.  Why?  Growing up I had few if any queer friends for guidance, and coming from the highly conservative environment I grew up in, it just wasn't something that was done.  When it finally clicked with me that shopping in the men's section was an option, I experienced a personal style Renaissance.  A whole new world of fashion opportunity had opened up to me. 

With that in mind, I present Lezsquire's guide for to shopping in the men's section for lesbian women (& co).

1. Bring a friend.  There are some lesbians out there who have always shopped in the men's department and have no problem marching in there with all the dudes and picking out what they like.  For the rest of us, shopping in the men's section really means overcoming a social taboo.  A friend will vastly lessen your anxiety about venturing into this uncharted territory.  Particularly useful here are LGBTQ friends or a significant other.  They will be sensitive to your needs and, more likely than not, render fabulous style advice.
Turn to your LGBTQ friends for shopping support. (Source)
2. Know your size, roughly.  You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, but it’s better to go in knowing what you are looking for.  Knowing your measurements beforehand will give you a good place to start.  If you're only used to shopping in the women's section, men's sizing can be confusing at first.  You can find shoe, pant, shirt, and other conversion charts online.  You might even want to make a "cheat sheet" and bring it with you, so you can jump right into the sizes that are likely to fit and adjust up or down accordingly. 

4. Don't settle for the "wrong" fit.  One common mistake of women buying men's clothing is that they will settle for clothing that they are virtually swimming in either because they think it is the closest approximation to their "women's" size, or it is the smallest size available in the men's section.  My rule is to keep going a size down until I can no longer get the clothes to fit.  Then I go one size up from that.  This results in clothing that is well-fitted and tailored looking.  If the smallest men's size is still too big, my advice is to pass on it.  You may need to look in the boy's department if that is the case, and there is no shame in that.  Also keep in mind that stores targeted at younger men tend to have slim/ tailored fit clothing, which is more likely to flatter and fit your body than the alternatives. 

3. Pick the right stores.  Let's face it.  Some stores will be more lesbian-friendly than others.  This will be a judgment call on your part.  If you're new to shopping for men's clothing and anxious about it, stores that have collections of both men's and women's clothing in the same general area are a good place to start (and will be less like walking into a cave of leering men).  Places like H&M, American Apparel, J.Crew, and some department stores come to mind.  As you gain experience and familiarity with men's clothing shopping, you will be more comfortable with the prospect of venturing into "men's only" clothing stores if you so choose.  Also, keep your objective in mind.  Are you looking for shoes, a suit, or casual clothes?  Thinking about these things beforehand will help direct your plan of attack for where to shop.

4. Shop online.  Once you gain some familiarity with men's clothing sizing, how items of different sizes fit you, and the styles that look good on you, you can take your knowledge to the online marketplace.  Often I will find something I like in a store but they just won't have the right size or color that I am looking for.  Rather than giving up, make a note and see if the item you desire is available online.  The other great thing about the internet is that you will have a vast variety of men's styles that you couldn't find at your average trip to the mall at your fingertips.

5. Shop thrift and bargain stores.  The majority of my most prized pieces of attire are vintage or thrifted.  Thrift stores generally feature both men's and women's clothing, often times mixed in together.  At its best, this breaks down perceived gender barriers and allows you to assess a piece for it's intrinsic worth rather than its socially constructed gender value.  Ok, maybe I am getting a little too philosophical here.  Anyway, keep in mind that thrifting is more of a hobby or "process" than a shopping trip.  You can't go in looking for any particular item because you are unlikely to find it.  But when you least expect it, you might just find that perfect vest or vintage leather jacket that you never knew you needed, and it's all worth it.

6. Find a good tailor.  I am reluctant to recommend this because I have not yet in my life found a "good" tailor and I thus question whether this is a worthy investment.  Your first ditch effort should be to get clothes that fit you well from the get-go.  But, this can be difficult with men's clothes that were not made with lesbian bodies in mind.  So if you have the fortune of knowing a good tailor, take note that a nip and tuck in the right places can take your look from passable to outstanding.

Communication helps your tailor achieve the look you want, so be articulate.
So, Mallory, I hope that his article will be of use to you in your future Lezsquire shopping endeavors.  If something comes up that wasn't addressed here, you know where to find me.  My style advice is free and plentiful. 

Do you have a question you would like Lezsquire to answer?  Contact me to have your question Asked & Answered!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pic of the Day: Suit, Bowtie, and Glasses

Lezsquire doesn't really do bowties (except with a formal tux).  Don't get me wrong, it's just a personal preference.  If you are a Lezsqurire with a thing for bowties, more power to you.  However, if I were to look into a mirror whilst wearing a bowtie, this Pic of the Day is about what I would see.

 Ok... I am more handsome (better ears).  Still, this is pretty close without revealing my secret identity.

Things to note about this pic:
  •  Check out "my" sexy hairstyle.  Roguish yet professional (still too short to approximate MJ's luxurious locks). 
  • Glasses!  I wear contacts most of the time, but glasses are good once a week or so to give the eyes a break.  Plus, sometimes an outfit just looks better in glasses.  This look in particular is especially litagator-ish.  My glasses are virtually identical to those featured above.  Note: fashion-forward yet still professional. 
  • That silk pocket square.  Sigh.  One can never have enough of these beautiful things.  
Now off to find and seduce my bowtie-wearing doppelganger.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Suits Me: Milla Jovovich

Lesbian hair is a wonderful thing.  We look hella sexy doing all kinds of fun things that our straight counterparts just can't quite pull off.  Ok, well... Milla Jovovich might not technically be a lesbian, but... well, just look!
The hair, the suit, the penetrating gaze, the pouty lips.... you're sending off all the signals, MJ!

Right now my hair has been going through a succession of "Iceman from Top Gun -> James Dean -> Twilight vampire" phases (only partially joking here).  It's been shortish for a while, and I'm thinking I'll let it grow a little shaggier like Milla's in the picture above.  I only wish that my hair was able to curl/ wave like hers is here.  Lezsquire thinks curly hair is THE BEST.  While I am fortunate to have an incredibly thick, luxurious mane, it has a mind of its own and stubbornly resists all such attempts.  Or to stay styled in any way through a whole day, for that matter (while this gives me a roguish, handsome look, it's appropriateness is questionable for a late meeting with the boss or court appointment). 

How do you wear your lesbian hair?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pick of the Day: Lowly Gentleman Driving Gloves

Lezsquire believes gloves are exciting yet oft-overlooked piece of wardrobe.  As I understand it, in less temperate climates than Lezsquire's native California, gloves are worn for function rather than form.  While gloves might not be strictly needed in above-freezing weather, they are still something unexpected and novel that has the potential to take your look from "meh" to "A-mehy-zing!".  I especially like the idea of driving gloves because: 1) I drive a convertible, and 2) my hands are always cold.  Which takes me to our pick of the day: Driving Gloves by Lowly Gentleman.

Lowly Gentleman Driving Gloves
Just look at those lovely things!  They evoke some of my favorite memories: driving up and down the California coast on miscellaneous road trips and adventures.  The kind of trips where you never know what to expect, but you always know you will come back with a story to tell.  Even if you are just wearing these on your drive to work, they'll make you feel (and certainly look) like adventure and good times are just around the corner.
Unfortunately that is not my car.  (Source)
Apparently, glovemaking is a dying art in the US.  Lowly Gentleman had to scour the mean streets of Los Angeles to hunt down a third-generation Hungarian glove-maker for this pattern.  I think "The Monterey" tan color would go best with my car and wardrobe, but "The Hollywood" dark chocolate brown is also striking. 

I have some vintage gloves I wear driving occasionally (such as on the above-mentioned road trips), but nothing as awesome as these.  If I did I guarantee I'd be wearing them both on my daily drive to work and weekend trips to the beach.  Point being: if you don't have any nice gloves, consider investing in a pair.  They'll look smashing with a matching outfit and roguishly dashing hanging out of your back pocket.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pic of the Day: Layered Suit, Silk Pocket Square

Here we have a different sort of twist on the same kind of look that was featured in my St. Patrick's Day outfit yesterday.  I like this look of a slightly non-traditional blazer (dark forest-y colors in plaid), layered with a button-down sweater and oxford shirt.  The style is masculine but has an approachable softness to it.  And as has been mentioned previously, layering is the way to go for the transition from winter to spring.  

(Via A Distinctive Taste)
A Lezsquire may or may not always be comfortable in a tie, given her situation and environment (a subject I will be touching on in later posts).  This looks sharp and appealing in a way that the tie-shy will appreciate. 

But I think my favorite part of this outfit is the silk pocket square.  I have more than a slight obsession with these things.  They are such little, soft, beautiful, works of art.  The blue and gold here really pop and put the outfit over-the-top as far as style.  And just like a knight in shining armor, you'll always have your colors ready to give to a lady in need.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lezsquire Style: St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's day is great.  It's a holiday that combines two of my favorite things: whiskey and Guinness.

In honor of the holiday, Lezsquire is showing her true colors - and they are green!  For today, at least.

With this lucky golden four leaf clover lapel pin, I am sure to have a great St. Paddys day. 
Green wool blazer by Brooks Brothers.  Perfect shirt by J.Crew.  Watch by Emporio Armani.  British khaki trousers by Levi's.  (Belt, woven wool tie, and boots from the Lezsquire vintage collection.)
When trying to pick a great St. Patrick's day outfit, remember that you don't have to go over the top.  Maintaining your unique sense of style and adding a green clothing item here or a discreet clover there is the way to go to have the ladies lining up to kiss you (regardless of whether or not you're Irish).

What are you wearing for St. Patrick's Day? 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Formal Friday

Lezsquire has had the fortune, in her short time since moving to LA, of befriending a gentleman who is a member of the Academy of Magical Arts.  Yes, this means I know a fucking wizard.  This also means that I have an ongoing open invitation to the Hollywood Magic Castle - a super exclusive club for magicians and their guests.  Let me just say, this place is amazing.  From the secret passage entrance to the elegantly dressed guests to the richly decorated interior, this place is Awe - wait for it - Some.  (And yes, before you ask, I did meet the Academy's President, Neil Patrick Harris, at the grand re-opening earlier this year.)

Let today's Formal Friday photo serve as style inspiration if you ever find yourself a guest at the Magic Castle:

There are few occasions in life where one is justified in wearing a top hat. This is one. 

Also (not that this needs repeating on a site like this) but don't be afraid to wear a tuxedo, men's suit, or fauxedo to a formal event.  I know it can be an intimidating prospect at first to be the only lady wearing a tux in a castle full of women in gowns.  Don't let this phase you.  Think of how awesome and empowered you will look!  (Last time I was there, the ladies and gays went bananas for my ensemble!)

Readers, seriously, do not pass up the chance if you are ever invited to go here.  When you have the opportunity to look like a Victorian era English gentleman, you have to grasp it!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pic of the Day: Dandy Hats and Gloves

Lately, hats have been on my mind.  People seem to naturally either look fabulous in hats, or look horrible in them no matter what style they try.  I am one of the blessed few who looks great in almost any hat.

The hat in this picture is phenomenal.  What type of hat would you call it?  A felt panama hat?  No... the brim is too small.  My fashion vocabulary is at a loss.  Someone please educate me.

(Source: calivintage)
This is a great layered look for the turn of the seasons from winter to spring.  Also, that fisherman's style sweater is a great way to give yourself a nautical look.  And the gloves... so adorable.  Gloves are an oft-unincorporated bit of wardrobe that can really put your style over the top.  I love how the shoes, hat, and gloves all pop.

Add a navy blazer, and you're good to go to pull this look off at work.  

Just make sure to take your hat off when you come inside, Gentleladies.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pic of the Day: Dykes and Bikes

(Source: Fonseca del Sur)
So much is right with this picture.  Just look at that dapper pair of ladies!  The tweed jackets.  The cute shoes.  The shy yet yearning (pre-makeout) gazes.  The glasses.  The sweaters, ties, and button-downs.  The dutch townbikes.  The flask. 

It is with a sad twinge that this picture reminds me how much I miss riding my bike to law school every day.  (Yes, Lezsquire is incredibly nostalgic about law school.) 

(Ladies pictured, if you are reading please contact me to claim your Lezsquire first-place ribbon for whatever competition this was.)

Pick of the Day: Brooks Brothers Classic Single-Breasted Blazer

I have been coveting this blazer for a LONG time.  Like since I first discovered fashion.  This was a classic in the 80s, it's classic now, and it will be a classic 20 years from now.  Don't believe me?  You'd better consult your trusted copy of The Official Preppy Handbook.

If you only ever have one blazer, let this be it. 

Brooks Brothers Classic Single-Breasted Blazer 

I have a double-breasted Brooks Brothers navy blazer... but it's just not the same.  While providing occasional amusement, the double breasted blazer is an object of fickle fit and tumultuous trending.  Not at all the ravishing and steadfast lifelong style companion that is the single-breasted navy blazer.  So I continue to await the day this lovely blazer will waltz into my life and wrap me in its silky embrace.  (Alas, delayed gratification is part of the art of being a Lezsquire.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pic of the Day: Suspenders and Scowls

Love this pic.  Sometimes after a long day, there is nothing left to do but scowl and be sexy.  This picture captures that sentiment.

(Source: Dapper & Dandy)
This pictures also embraces the sentiment that Lezsquire tries to convey of having a masculine sense of style while still embracing your body.  There is no question that the woman pictured is dressed masculinely, but she's not hiding in her clothes.  Her shirt and pants are just tailored enough to hint at what is underneath.  You can still see that she has a good body without her character being "feminized" in any way.  The look exudes confidence and is sexy as fuck. 

Also, the suspenders.  Love.  Glad to see them popping up more often in fashion nowadays. 

Do you wear suspenders?  Moreover, how do you relax after a long day at work?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lezsquire Style Icon: Julian Kaye from American Gigolo

Lately I have been slightly obsessed with this scene from American Gigolo.  In it, Richard Gere's character Julian Kaye is coordinating outfits to get ready for some hustlin'. I don't know if I'd typically consider Richard Gere to be a style icon, but Julian Kaye's style is spot-on.

I love how he's relaxed and in his element, picking and paring items of his wardrobe in the same manner that an artist might choose and apply colors to a painting.  Of course, having a wardrobe full of Armani doesn't hurt. 

There is just an effortless American simplicity that the character exudes, while still looking polished and stylish. 
American Gigolo style (image via
Do you choose your outfits in advance like the American Gigolo, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow, "I'll put on whatever I am moved to before I head to work" person?  I tend to be the latter, so this week I decided to experiment by coordinating my outfits beforehand.  Today's whs a monochrome gray getup with a lesbian twist inspired by the above video.

Questions, comments?  Enter your verdict below!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekend Wear: The Biker Jacket

Here in balmy 85 degree LA, I tend to forget what season it is supposed to be.  Then we get a one or two day cold snap (a chilly 56 degrees!) and I remember that it's winter!  So for some seasonally-appropriate weekend wear that is Lezsquire approved, let's take a look at a Lezsquire favorite: the biker jacket.

Joan Jett in Lewis Leathers (source)
A brief history on the leather biker jacket:  Did you know that the original bikers who wore leather jackets were former fighter pilots?  After retiring a need for speed and dangerous activity still pulsed in their blood, so they donned their leather flight jackets and took to the highways on motorcycles - perhaps the closest grounded approximation to hurdling through the air at hundreds of miles per hour.  How cool is that?  

I have a deep and abiding love of the biker jacket.  Though I am a professional Lezsquire by day, I have been known to occasionally moonlight as lead singer/guitarist for an all-female rock band (a calling which has sadly been put on hold since moving to LA).  I also have a slight motorcycle fixation.  The leather jacket works double duty as pure rock and roll and a wink and a nod at our lesbian leatherdyke foremothers. 

The classic American biker jacket is the Schott Perfecto.  This is the black leather jacket that was worn by the likes of Marlon Brando and James Dean.  I have to admit, I'm not as big of a fan of the Schott Perfecto as one might guess.  Reason being the wraparound waist belt and the tiny front pocket that diverts my attention from any of the other magnificence of the jacket (seriously, that tiny front pocket is bothersome).  On the bright side, the stars on the epaulets are awesome and the jacket is an American classic.  

Schott Perfecto - Available at
In my opinion, the ultimate biker jacket is unequivocally the Lewis Leathers Lightning.  The Lightning is a British take on the classic American leather biker jacket.  It's a more streamlined while still classic "biker" look because it eliminates the weird tiny front pocket and replaces the large wraparound belt with 2 smaller side belts on each side. This allows for adjusting the fit around the waist without any awkward dangling.  Also, one of my favorite features about the Lewis Leathers jackets is the red inner lining and it's contrast with the black leather.  Pure sex.  Worn by members of The Clash and the Sex Pistols, this jacket also appeases Lezsquire's love of British punk.  (Leather non-wearers take note, Lewis makes a canvas version.)

Lewis Leather Lightning - available at
Also - how awesome is this - if you visit their London store or send in your measurements, Lewis Leathers will literally create a made-to-measure leather jacket just for you!  Sadly, I am not yet at the point in life where I can in good conscience spend over $1,000 on a leather jacket.  My biker jacket is a vintage (and probably knock-off - the brand labels are missing) take on the Lightning from the late 70s that I got off of ebay.

Kate Moss in Lewis Leathers (via)
I suppose I'll know I've really made it in life when I book a flight to London to be measured for the jacket of my dreams.  It's good to have ambition.

Looking for the perfect leather jacket for you and want Lezsquire's advice?  Curious to learn more about the history of the motorcycle jacket?  (I seriously know an absurd amount about this stuff.)  Submit your verdict below!