Thursday, June 23, 2011

Suit shopping for a BUTCH BRIDESMAID

Dear East Side Bride,

My niece is getting married in January. We're a big Latino family and like to get way too involved in each other's lives so we're all helping her plan the details.

My niece is having her two lesbian sisters as her MOH and bridesmaid. The MOH has no problem wearing a dress, but the other older sister is a bit of a tomboy. She's more likely to dress up in slacks and a dress shirt and after some discussion and her freaking out about not even know what an 'updo' was we agreed that maybe it was best she didn't wear a dress after all. I wouldn't want to teach her to walk in heels anyhow.

I think that she'd look awesome in some sort of suit or tuxedo cut for a woman's body. What do you think? She's a tall girl and plus-size. Do you have any affordable suggestions? 



Second, I started to write: "Buy a men's suit (or a tuxedo, if the groomsmen are wearing tuxes) and have it tailored...."

But this isn't quite my area of expertise.

So I brought in Christina, who is a recovering stylist (c'mon, you never really get over that do you?) AND the wife of an incredibly hot woman who likes to wear men's clothes.

Here's what Christina had to say:

first of all. designers, take note: there is a lack of great "mens wear" out there for women. there is definitely a population of women who prefer to wear pants, suits, and the like and would greatly appreciate clothes cut for them. in the meantime, let's deal with the issue at hand.

i know many, many women, who have worn suits at weddings. here are a few great examples: {amy & ana} {corinna & julie} {julia & tracy} {sarah & nat} {tracey & angela
} {alaine & jenna}

[pictured above] wore men's pants, a dress shirt and vest, but it all definitely needed to be altered. i would suggest going to any "affordable" menswear stores and try things on. keep in mind, the clothes aren't going to fit perfectly, they will definitely need to be altered.

avoid double breasted suits--they look boxy. i'd definitely recommend the shirt/pants/ vest combo. it's a great alternative to the jacket/suit as it's much easier to alter and it's chic. see: {stori & tausha}

you're not going to be able to walk into the men's wearhouse and buy a suit off the rack. because of the extra curves, the pants might fit but the jacket that goes with it may not. also, the size pants that might fit your hips might be extra long in crotch, and the waist might need to be taken in. because of that issue, the jacket & pants might be easier to buy as separates. mix and match...get a shirt at h&m or urban outfitters or even sears, it doesn't have to be expensive. tie can jazz it up too. don't get a clip on tie...learn to tie it.

most dry cleaners have an alterations person & most are pretty savvy to the menswear on women issue, especially here in los angeles. we go to a place here in silver lake to do a fitting and they don't even bat an eyelash when patty walks in with menswear.

vintage is also another great way to go, as sometimes the men's sizes can be more forgiving, plus you can get more bang for your buck. in los angeles, there are lots of great places. wasteland {four locations, the studio city one is great!}, decades, iguana vintage, aaardvark's, squaresville, to name a few. it can't hurt to check out goodwill {hint: go to a goodwill in a nice neighborhood}. you'd be amazed what you can find. but it takes some time & patience...

the shirt and vest can match the color combo of the other bridesmaids...or you could even have something custom-made to match the other sister's dress. it's not as pricey as you'd think and you can get a great fit.

you can also try to find a women's suit that works. in the "professional" or career sections of most stores, the suits can be pretty great and don't have to be altered. they just don't usually have the same menswear fabrics, so tend to be a bit more feminine, but worth checking out because of fit. i'd try macy's, nordstrom, ross, sears, h&m...

by the way, there's a new trend of wearing casual shoes {ie converse} with a suit. patty says it's not cool. stay classy.

Editor's Note: Dudes who aren't precisely 5'10" + 175lbs might find some of these tips helpful, too.

First Image: Marcel Castenmiller by Jonas Kesseler, styled by Emi Kameoka, via Wearing the Pants + COUTE QUE COUTE. (Okay, Marcel is a dude. But he's so pretttttttttttty.)

Second Image: Patty Schemel by Chris Strother


  1. As a plus-size woman with serious hips who bought new suit jackets at Men's Wearhouse yesterday, may I say that the magic words "Executive Fit" may be helpful. (This is the cut they used to call "portly"; all I know is it both made me look good AND made me feel my fashion choices were being narrated by Eddie Izzard.)

  2. If she is anything like my wife (which for shopping sake I hope she isn't) then she won't even think of trying on women's clothes. If that is the case there are only two options I can think of: buying a men's suit cut to the largest part of her body and having it tailored down (like buying a crappy BM dress) or having one made. We had Ang's suit made at My Suit NY which is about on par with Men's Wearhouse but only does made to order custom items.

    And check out Fit For Femme's blog b/c she really knows how to dress her tomboy.

    If she is willing to wear women's clothes and is a bit more adventurous then there are so many options. It just comes down to what she envisions herself looking like a million bucks in and where she is accustomed to shopping.

    Some BM pant insperation:

    I've been able to slip some women's button down shirts by Ang without her noticing until she realizes the neck and/or sleeves fit properly. With her men's shirts the sleeves are always too long so she rolls them.

    We are both plus size which ultimately means more effort and time put into shopping. And I completely agree with Christina - casual shoes are juvenile - but Angela would disagree.

  3. @ABBFT i think you mean PANTSPIRATION

  4. My husband had a great experience getting a custom made suit through What made me think this might also work for ladies is that they ask you for super, super detailed measurements (and give you video instructions about how to take them yourself). And then they reimburse you for any tailoring needed up to $75.

  5. A custom suit may be the way to go. It's certainly an investment, but oh-so worth it.

  6. Another custom suit company to check out is Lots of fabric choices and great customer service

  7. @ESB our blog, of course. And yes, I stand corrected- pantspiration.

    Ang's 3 piece custom suit cost around $750 including any alterations.

  8. @ABBFT: i almost linked to the 2nd pic you posted {the rockabilly one} that suit is so so hot. but in the end i wanted to link to *your* wedding! super stylin'

  9. and esb, i almost called foul with your first pants pic of a BOY, but you're right HE is pretty...

  10. Awesome advice! Thank you Christina and everyone else who chimed in. There are so many options to explore here in LA. Muchos Gracias to ESB!

  11. They are just getting up and running - only with shirts at the moment though.

  12. I just came across this article by accident... let me clue you in... Lesbians have come up with the solution to this problem... and and and and google the rest under butches in suits. there are more choices for women then men will have you believe.