Posts Tagged ‘accessories’

Review (& Photos!): Aslan Leather TG Chest Harness

October 27, 2013  |  reviews  |  6 Comments

Last year, Carrie Grey, creator and owner of Aslan Leather, custom built me one of his leather TG Chest Harnesses. I’ve worn it a few times over the past year, like at IMsL and to a couple of smaller play parties, but just this month I wore it to Folsom Street Fair—and whoa that was quite the experience!—with rife and his dog.

aslan2

I really don’t like crowds, or hot weather, so being in an extremely crowded blocked-in couple city blocks on a sunny day was not my ideal situation. But it was really fun to see so many kinky people in one place. Fascinating, really. (I particularly liked Vivian Fu’s photo essay of this year’s Folsom.) We eventually made it to the women-and-trans area, and then promptly camped out and didn’t leave that space until we were ready to head back to Oakland. I liked their gender policy: the women-and-trans tent included anybody who does identify as a woman, has identified as a woman in the past, or will identify as a woman in the future. Clever, I thought.

I got a lot of compliments on the Aslan Leather chest harness. It’s hot and comfortable and unique for someone with a chest like mine (36DD) to be wearing something like that. I left it over my binder and tee shirt all day, but had it as a possible option to wear it bare chested.

Here’s the Aslan description:

Ever wish you could wear a chest harness out to a party or event without a T shirt underneath? ASLAN’s new TG chest harnesss is designed to function like a binder and a chest harness. The 3- 4″ wide leather chest strap can effectively flatten up to a C cup chest. The harness pictured has a 4″ wide strap. This harness is made with comfortable heavy weight glove leather, wich allows you freedom of movement for all types of play situations, and because it’s an ASLAN you can be sure it is guaranteed for life!

To order please provide the following measurements: Chest, cup size (if applicable), height. This is a custom piece made to order so please remember to include your measurements.

Please note! The measurements part is important. When I wrote to Carrie requesting this piece, I gave him my measurements, but I was wrong. Very wrong. I gave him old measurements that I thought were accurate, but did not account for the weight I have recently gained (lots of which, let’s be honest, ends up in my chest). That sucked—the first binder he built for me didn’t fit, and he had to go back and basically remake the whole thing.

Don’t send the wrong measurements. Get someone who knows how to measure bodies for outfitting well to measure you, and get a current measurement.

Carrie snapped a few photos when I tried it on in the Aslan studio in Toronto last fall:


aslan2 aslan aslan1

I kept hoping to wear it during a photo shoot and get more better photos of it, but I haven’t had many (any?) photo shoots since I picked it up (oh except for that one with Meg Allen, but we were taking professional shots and not really kinky ones, which is why I didn’t wear it then). I’d still like more better photos of me in it, but I don’t want not having the perfect photo to hold me up in telling you about how awesome this is. And hey, the holidays are coming up, right? Don’t you need a great present for somebody in your life, or yourself?

I like the way it looks! And it feels really good and fun to wear. I even like the way my chest looks naked underneath it. I wouldn’t have expected that.


Clipped from http://www.aslanleather.com/tg1chestharness

 

Thank you, Aslan Leather & Carrie Grey! Pick up your very own Aslan Leather TG Chest Harness over on Aslanleather.com.

Sugarbutch Star: blckndblue, “The Pink Dress”

January 1, 2012  |  dirty stories  |  8 Comments

Do y’all remember the Sugarbutch Star stories? It was a series where readers sent in a scenario and I wrote up the story. This is the last of the 5 stories from the 2008 “contest,” the others being Eileen, Matt, Green-Eyed Girl, and Maze. This story idea comes from blkndblue.

Warning: This story is long, about 18 pages. Click the “read more” at the end to read the final scene (it’s worth it, promise). I figure it’s a good way to kick off a (happy, sexy) new year.

Thanks to Dacia & BB Rydell for help with edits!

Sugarbutch Star: blckndblue
THE PINK DRESS

Emily emerges from the dressing room slowly, suddenly shy, though I’ve seen her naked in dozens of compromised positions. She fidgets with the dress, her hair, sucks in her stomach, but her eyes are lit up and she’s biting back a playful smile. She wants to wear this dress. Her inner three-year-old princess is aflame. “What do you think?” Emily asks; but the question isn’t really about my preference. She wants me to want it so she has permission to wear it. Then she doesn’t have to want it for herself; she is absolved of her own desires. I want to her to have permission to want anything on her body that she is drawn to, regardless of its gendered implications.

I finger the skirt of the baby pink dress, its satin fabric, abundant for its near-full skirt. She looks amazing in the plunging neckline in a gentle scoop, which shows off her round breasts generously. Sleeveless, it gathers at the waist where a thick white band wraps around, tying in a ribbon at the back. It could have been a bridesmaid’s dress, or a prom dress, or maybe someone’s fancy party dress. She’s been eyeing this dress in the window display, and today was the day it came down. She asked them to set it aside for her.

“So?” She is trying so hard to be patient. The words come out in a rush. “Do you like it?”

I come up behind her as she looks in the full-length mirror barely visible behind racks of gently used clothes. I wrap my arm around her waist, pull her gently back to me as she sighs, then smooths the skirt down.

“I think it’s perfect,” I say, my lips next to her ear. “No question.”

“Really?” She’s not sure I mean it, but she wants me to. “But it’s so … femme.”

“Yeah, it is,” I say.

“But, I’m not femme!” She argues.

“What do you mean? Of course you are,” I say.

“No, I mean …” she struggles for the words. “I’m not high femme. I hate that term. I almost always wear jeans and tee shirts.” We’ve been dating for on and off for a few years. We both have primary partners, but we make time to play and go on dates. When she dresses up, she adds heels and lipstick, rarely anything more. She has some impressive lingerie, but seldom wears dresses. She wears power suits for her professional office work, where she has to keep control and is in charge of a dozen people’s activities on a daily basis. She spends a lot of time looking put together, climbing the corporate ladder, and fighting the male privilege in her office, and she’d rather kick around in something comfortable and durable when she has the option.

“I know that’s what you prefer, and it’s perfect—your ass looks great in jeans,” I counter. “Look, you’re twice the femme most self-identified high femmes are. You’re at home in your body, awake in your skin, not judgmental about your own waistline or anyone else’s. And you have your circle of femme friends without gossip or backstabbing. If that’s not high femme, I don’t know what is.”

“Yeah, but you have to say that.”

“And I want to. I know the dress is a stretch … but it’s amazing on you. It looks like it was made for you. Doesn’t it?” I ask the passing sales girl. “Doesn’t it look like it was made for her?”

“It is, like, so cut perfectly for your body,” the girl, probably barely twenty, replies. “It makes your curves look even more curvy. It’s practically, like, perfect.”

“Yeah. Perfect,” I echo, and Emily grins at herself in the mirror.

“It is, isn’t it. Yeah. Okay,” she kisses my cheek and zips back into the dressing room, and buys the dress.

*

The date is my idea, and a surprise. I enlist her friend Sam, a gay boy also known as Serena, who does a fierce drag queen act and has every feminizing, over-the-top accessory one would need. We’ve been out drinking and galavanting dozens of nights in the past few years. Sometimes Emily and I go see him perform. Last time, he did a Judy Garland number with an incredible outfit from the forties that made him look like a black and white movie star.

“I could never do that,” Emily must’ve whispered to me five times that night, but the spark in her eyes told me that she wanted to. I knew Sam would love to see Emily all dressed up.

And tonight, with this pink dress, he’s going to help. I enlist Sam because Emily doesn’t have the femme things I need, and I can’t afford to buy them all. I meet Sam around the corner and pick up the fluffy underskirt that’s used to puff out full skirts, called a crinoline.

I knock on Emily’s door, and she throws it open. “I’m here to pick up the dress,” I say, after kissing her hello. She fetches it from her bedroom, still in the thrift store’s lavender-colored paper bag with their logo on it, and hands it to me across the threshold.

“Thank you. Now, you remember what I told you? What’s the plan?”

“First, I’m getting my nails done across the street. Then I’m going to go to Sam’s at 5pm to get my hair and makeup done. Then I’ll come meet you at your place, and bring the bra and panties.” I know she doesn’t wear the white bra and panty set with the lace trim often. I like that she saves it for me.

“What time, at my apartment?”

“Seven thirty.”

“Good. Perfect. Don’t be late,” I add. As if she would be. She shifts her weight from foot to foot very slightly and I can see her ears beginning to flush pink.

I tuck the box with the crinoline under the arm that holds her dress in a shopping bag and draw her to me with the other, smiling as our faces get closer, drinking in her skin and hair and the sweet way her body fits.

“I won’t. I promise.”

“Good girl,” I say, and kiss her.

*

At seven twenty-eight, she knocks on my apartment door. I greet her with more kisses and lead her into the bedroom before she sets her purse down. Some of the things are laid out on the bed: the crinoline skirt, white thigh-high stockings, a white garter belt, and her new pink dress, which I had dry cleaned and pressed just this morning. I see her hand flicker slightly as she reaches out and touch the dress, then pulls it back and makes a fist.

“Are you ready for tonight?” I take a seat in the small armchair in the corner of my bedroom and I take a sip of the glass of water I’d poured just before she arrived, with extra ice so she can hear the clink of it in the glass. She nods. I notice Emily picks at her nails, then stop when she realizes she is probably chipping her nail polish. She must be nervous. The icy liquid is cool in my mouth and I feel it run down my throat. Her chestnut hair is mostly a silhouetted shadow, but I can see it is piled on top of her hair in spirals and curls in a way that is much more complicated than she would usually entertain. It reveals the curve of her neck, which swoops into her collarbone and, later, will lead right to her cleavage.

“Did Sam send you with jewelry?” I ask.

“Yes.”

“Get it out, and put it on the top of the dresser.” I cleared it in anticipation. She goes to her bag, removes a couple small boxes and a tiny clutch purse, then arranges it all so each are neat and not touching, then goes back to standing, shifting her weight from foot to foot and looking around the room.

“Take off your clothes,” I say. “Slowly. Fold each piece and put them on the bed.” She starts with her v-neck grey fitted girly tee shirt, quickly pulling it over her head. “I said slowly,” I say, and she pauses, moves a little slower. She folds the thin fabric easily and places it on the bed, then steps out of her low, simple black flats. She’s not wearing a bra; she often doesn’t, not encouraging the curve of her breasts to be shown off. Her bare skin glows in the lamplight. She pulls down her tight blue jeans and steps out of them, folding them a little thoughtlessly, but I don’t tell her to slow down again. She slides her plain black cotton underwear down over her legs and adds it to the pile. She fingers the worn grey tee shirt and looks at it longingly, then glances at the lingerie laid out on the bed and moves her hand to touch it, smiling as her fingertips make contact, her face relaxing.

She stands again, naked this time, crosses her arms in front of herself, then drops her arms and holds one wrist with her hand. After a moment she straightens up, and clasps her hands behind her back like she is presenting herself to me, a blank canvas. She shifts her weight from foot to foot, drops her hip, but tries to stay still. She bites her lip.

“Very nice,” I murmur from my corner. I uncross and recross my legs, ankle to knee, and pick up the cane from next to my chair. I can see her nipples, even in the shadows, hard and dark. “Get the bra and panties out of your bag, lay them on the bed.” She does. “Now, get dressed. Start with the garter belt.” She takes a breath and turns to the bed, picking it up and sliding it up her legs, securing it in place.

“Now the stockings,” I say. “And the bra. Leave the panties off, for now.” She dresses quickly, fumbling a little with the clasps and the delicate fabric, sitting on the side of the bed to fasten the stockings to the lace. “Now the petticoat.” She looks at me a little questioning, then realizes I mean the white crinoline skirt, and pulls it in a flourish from the bed to step into it.

“The dress,” I say. She pulls it over her head, evens it over the petticoat, and does her best to tie the white bow behind her back. With the extra layers of under the skirt, the pink dress is even more stunning than it was in the store. “And the jewelry,” I say, as she admires herself in the mirror hanging over the dresser. She takes a step closer and puts small two-stone droplet earrings in; they’re delicate, just an inch or so long, hanging just enough to move when she does and sparkle when the light hits them. She reaches for the matching necklace and raises her elbows to buckle the clasp behind her neck. Her fingers tremble and it takes her three tries to hook it correctly.

Emily steps back and looks at her reflection, buzzing, hardly containing the thrill of happiness at her own reflection. Her smile is as big as I’ve ever seen it. She turns her head, then shakes it to see the sparkle of the earrings, tilts her chin down to see her fancy hair-do, fluffs the skirt out to the side, and finally twirls, watching the dress in the mirror and laughing, giddy.

“Come here,” I say. She turns her head to me and takes short, quick steps across the room to where I am sitting next to the window in her stockinged feet. She notices the cane I have been stroking.

“Is that for me?” she asks.

“It’s for your ass. For later.” I set it on the table with my glass and reach out for her waist, pull her on to my lap. “Very nice,” I say, stroking the skin on her arm, the the slick fabric of the top of the dress, brushing my fingers against her breasts and nipples. I offer my mouth for a kiss and she wraps her arms around my neck, opening her mouth, gently kissing back. “You look gorgeous.”

“You really think so?” she bats her eyelashes. She looks like a sunrise, peeking over the horizon, breaking the dark, reaching up into the sky. She still looks like herself—just polished up a little, enhanced, prettied.

“Really. Very much.” We kiss again and I get lost in her lips, her tongue, the way her hands grasp gently at my neck and shoulders. I let my hands trace her stockings, wander up under the many layers under her dress. “Do you like the crinoline?” I ask.

“Oh yes,” she breathes. “Is that what Sam gave you?”

“Yes. On loan.”

“It’s so … pretty.”

“You’re pretty, sweetheart.”

She smiles shyly, kisses me again.

“Did you like getting your nails done, and your hair and make-up done?”

“Yes! It was really fun. More than I thought it would be. I thought it would be weird but it makes me feel fancy. And important. And … ” she lowers her voice, her eyes a little and brings her hands up to straighten my tie, pinch my collar between her fingers. “And I knew I was doing it for you. That you would like it.”

“Mmm. And you did a very good job getting all ready for me.” I find the patch of skin at the top of her stockings, her sweet smooth inner thigh, and rest my hand there gently.

“I like doing what you say.” It lets her mind rest, she’s explained to me, and is a relief to trust enough to follow orders instead of second guessing and being in charge of everything.

“I know. And I have a few more things to do before we go to dinner. Are you ready?”

“Yes.” I toss her a questioning look and she corrects herself. “Yes, sir.”

“Good.” I take a breath. “I’m going to warm you up for the evening. I want to give you something that will serve as a reminder that this body—” I shift my hand quickly and palm her pussy, making her gasp, then quickly attempt to maintain her composure and keep her eyes open, looking at me, “—this pretty little body of yours is mine to play with tonight.”

She nods, quick, tiny movements of her head, and her eyes flicker with a hint of nervousness.

“Are you worried?”

“No, sir. I know you will take good care of me.”

“That’s right. Good.” I move my hand away and she breathes in, her thighs quiver. I lean in to kiss her again, bring my hands to her waist and then up to cup her chin, neck, the back of her head, careful not to mess up her hair. She relaxes, her mouth softens. She tastes like cream.

“Get up and bend over my lap. I’m going to make some marks on your ass before we go out.”

She delicately places herself over me with more care than usual, though we’ve been in this position many times. She doesn’t want to muss herself. This chair is perfect for over-the-knee spankings, with wide, low arm rests. Her stockinged tiptoes just barely reach the floor. She arches her back automatically, presenting her ass and slit to my right hand.

I caress her neck and shift my arm to cradle her collarbone and begin peeling up the layers of her pretty pink dress and petticoat. The peach of her ass is perfectly framed by her stockings and garter belt, the layers pushed up to her hips. Softly, I bring my hand to her thighs and ass and begin caressing.

“So nice,” I murmur into her ear. I start with some rapid tap-tap-taps with my fingers tight together on the sweet spots on her ass, the ones that make the flesh shake and that makes her muscles relax. She sighs, keeps breathing, keeps filling her lungs and breathing into the increasing sensation. She’s done enough yoga, we’ve played with enough sensation play—she knows how to open.

I keep going with light taps and occasional full-handed gentle swats until I can see a pink flush starting, just a hint. She loves being hit; she snuggles down into it as if I was reading her a bedtime story. I increase my swing, raising my arm higher, and give her a few open-palmed, but not too hard yet. Her skin is fair and it is easy to leave long-lasting marks, easy to bruise and break capillaries on the surface of her skin.

Which is exactly what I want.

I continue, warming up her ass until it is bright and hot, flushed and red, beginning to show some darker parts where it will be easy to leave marks. She moans, sinking into me, humming with pleasure. When we are both warm, when my shoulder feels like it is loose and liquid and easy, I raise my arm high and let fly a few hard wallops, pausing in between, but just for a moment, to let her react. Her body shudders and I feel her tense, then relax, over my lap. I can feel the impact of my hand through her and onto my thighs, can feel her growing heat and intensity. I let my hand down again, and again, allowing gravity to pull me, sucking up the power she’s handing over while I have her upturned and stunned, ready to take more.

I lean down so my mouth is by her ear again. “You are doing so well. Your ass is nice and red and starting to bruise. I’m going to get my cane out now.”

She manages to move her neck slightly, twists her head and looks up at me, and nods just a little. I grip the cane from the side table and it feels hard, solid in my hand. It slices through the air with a hiss and I love the way it extends my arm. The last time we used the cane, she told me every time she sat down, she thought about what I’d done and how I’d used her. That it made her wet to have to act like she could sit normally, when really it was excruciatingly painful. That’s how I want it to be tonight. Something to take away from the terror of being so femme, over the top femme, in public. Something to distract her.

The first hit with the cane is a little off, and not too hard. She gasps but does not squirm. The second is two centimeters toward her thighs and harder. Immediately a light stripe appears. She jumps a little and lets one arm drop, grabbing on to my pant leg, as she lets out her breath in a long thin stream through her teeth. The third, quicker now, is at a different angle, crossing the first two. She sucks air back in and lets out a laugh, bubbling like champagne, thrilling and tickling my nose. Good. She’s warm, dropping into that blurry area past the sharp pain and into sensation.

The next dozen or so are more rapid, in succession, some lighter and some fiercely hard and biting. She takes it well. She gasps and begins squirming, but not away, not off of my lap, just to wriggle and shake off some of the building energy. I fall into a pattern of hard-hard-quick-quick-soft-caress where my eyes glaze and my cock hardens. I can see her slit becoming wet, swollen, as pink as her sweet round ass cheeks.

The striping is beautiful, thin welts rising on bull’s eye circles where my hands bruised her first. I can already see some small places where my handiwork reveals itself.

I lean low against her ear again. “It’s going to hurt for a while when you sit,” I say, as a slide the cane away and bring my hand to her singed bottom. It is so tender and sensitive, like stretched skin over the frame of a drum, reverberating with every touch.

She moans. “Thank you, sir.”

I bring her up onto my lap again to hold her for a minute, her ass already uncomfortable. Sitting at the restaurant is going to be excruciating. I stroke her hair and neck, offer her some water and she takes it. She snuggles against my chest, lets me sooth her, then rocks a little on my lap and I realize she is searching for my cock.

“Looking for something?” I ask.

She falters, remembers herself. “No, sir.”

“Later.”

She nods, tries not to look disappointed.

“I have one more thing for you before we leave. Ready?”

She nods again, brings one hand up to her mouth to bite one finger, a childish gesture of nervousness.

I almost laugh. “Nothing bad, sweet girl. This is a present. A surprise.”

Her eyes light up as she slips off my lap. I go over to the closet where I stashed the bag, then sit on the bed, patting the bedspread next to me. She shuffles slowly over the thin carpet in her stockings, smoothing out the skirt of her dress and walking slowly because her legs are still weak from being bent over my lap and beaten. She brings her hands behind her, to touch her ass, as she walks, and I can tell the muscles are already sore.

I hand her the bag. She gives me a shy smile and pulls the shoe box out of the plain white shopping bag. Her eyes widen. She realizes she only brought the flat black shoes she came in.

“Oh!” She exclaims when she opens the box. They took me a few days to find: the exact pink shade as the dress, with a small strap over the arch of her foot, delicate white trim, and a tall, thin four inch heel. She pulls them both out and pushes the wrapping aside on the bed, holds them flat in her hands, grinning. “May I?”

I slip off the bed to kneel in front of her, holding my hand out. She blushes—adorable—and hands the shoes to me, offers me her foot so I can slide them on, one at a time.

She laughs, and twirls. “I feel like these are fancy shoes from my fairy godmother, and I’m Cinderella!”

“You look amazing,” I say, standing up, and offer my hands to help her stand. It may take a minute to get used to them. I take her in my arms again and she melts into me, offering her mouth for more kisses.

When I pull away I take the delicate white panties still laid out on the bed and offer them to her. “Put these on, we wouldn’t want you getting your dress any more wet than it already is. Freshen up your lipstick and let’s go to dinner. Are you hungry?” Her lipstick is smeared from kissing me, and she hasn’t noticed. It’s probably on my mouth. I quickly wipe my mouth in the bathroom mirror and when I come back in, she’s sitting on the bed to step into her panties, pulling them up over her shoes and stockings, leaving them on the outside, so they can be the first thing that comes off later. She stands and picks up the tiny clutch purse she laid out on the dresser, checking her make-up in the dresser mirror. I slide my suit coat over my shoulders, watching her twist the lipstick up and pucker her lips. She would never do these things on her own, but she is flushed and giddy and thrilled, ready to go.

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The Sugarbutch 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

November 30, 2011  |  reviews  |  14 Comments

Here it is! The sixth annual holiday gift guide for those of you who need some inspiration for the holidays. You’d be surprised how many folks tell me that they (or their partners) are lousy at gift-giving … it is definitely a skill that, like any skill, gets better when worked on, and it’s something that I love being good at. Sometimes my gifts are duds, but I try and have had some good wins this past year.

A tiny piece of advice? The best thing to do is to hone your observation skills, and keep an eye out for things that they covet, and do a little poking around to see what it is about that shirt/dress/accessory/handbag that is so appealing. It took me a long time to figure out that what Kristen loved most about the purses we kept looking at was a kiss clasp (and then a little longer to figure out what the name for that metal closure dohickey really was), but then I found a really great purse for her last year during the holidays.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Occupy movement lately … I think it’s really important to put our money where our mouth is and to shop locally and buy from indie and queer artists as much as possible this holiday season. It really does make a difference to make some specific choices about what to do with your money. Spend the time to find things locally, if you can. Spend the time to shop at independent stores. I know it’s more time consuming, but sometimes it can be really easy.

I’ve tried to link to as many local, small business type of places as possible. Sometimes I’m linking to Amazon not necessarily because you should get it there (though if you do, and use my links, thanks for that—I do get a teeny little kickback), but because I’m trying to show you what the product is so you can go find it at whatever source you might have near you.

Hope it is helpful!

THINGS I’M WISHING FOR

‘Cause Santa, I’ve been a very good boy.


A black leather belt (with a removeable buckle), also called a “belt strap,” usually comes all by itself for around $20. I love belt buckles. I have a bunch of belts, but somehow I am missing a good solid black leather belt—and I mean good leather, I bought one last year maybe that ended up being “man made leather” and has frayed and broken down and warped and feels lousy. So here’s some suggestions: Easy, simple distressed leather belt from Amazon. Beltmaster has some good ones in various styles. A nice one on etsy that comes with a buckle, very plain and simple, comes in nice color options, great to start somebody out with a belt buckle collection if they haven’t started that yet. And last but not least, if you’re looking at this for a kinkster, you might consider scrapping the interchangeable buckle belt and just going for a bondage belt from Aslan Leather. Don’t forget, you might have a local leather store! Shop locally! And if you want to get them started with a belt buckle collection, too, there is every kind of belt buckle imaginable on etsy. Whatever their interests, just put that + “belt buckle” into the search box and you’ll find something rad. (Bird + belt buckle; car + belt buckle; bicycle + belt buckle; you can even get ‘em customized.)

probably time to purge a few


Neckties … Kristen at some point said she’d never know which to get me, since I have so many. I said, you know, it’s not so much about getting me some special one that I don’t have as much as it’s about picking out one that you like, which will remind me that it came from you when I wear it. She has since bought me two that I really like, a lavender one with filigree that I wear frequently and a striped bowtie that still needs to make its debut. I would love a few more bowties for my collection. I keep going back to thetiebar.com because they have great sorting options, but there are also plenty of local stores and discount outlets (Filene’s, Century 21) that are excellent tie sources. I tend to prefer non-silk ties these days because the silk ones are a little more formal, but then again a good silk tie is pretty darn great. A good tie bar is also a great thing for someone you know with a tie collection … I’d love one with something fun on it, like a personal message on the back (etsy has everything), or little flame.

some of my favorites, though Maker's Mark is currently my #1 choice


A really good bottle of whiskey is always a good gift for me, right size and color, as they say. I like having a little bit of a whiskey collection around … and I haven’t tried the Maker’s 46 yet, though looking forward to that. I’ve been collecting a bit of the whiskey accoutrements lately and have some really nice glasses and a small bitters collection, but I’d still like a big ice cube tray that will make extra big ice cubes. If the whiskey drinker in your life doesn’t have any bitters yet, the Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Aromatic bitters are the classic. Pick up an awesome book about bitters while you’re at it.

My cufflink collection is still in progress, I don’t have very many, though the ones I have I really love. I went to get a pair the other day and realized they’re scattered all over the drawer where I keep all my accessories. I could really use a nice box to keep ‘em in. And of course, etsy is an amazing source for custom and indy artist cufflinks, they have every type of thing there you could want (and a few you—or I, rather—would certainly not want, like I just caught a glimpse of molar cufflinks). Cuff Daddy has great options, too—I’m still lusting after these Superman cufflinks.

On the more expensive side, I’d love a pair of leather chaps. But I don’t even know where to start to get those … probably the Leatherman here in NYC. That goes on the dream wishlist.

I’m kind of going back to the old staples of butch accessories here, I realize, but these are actually the things at the top of my list this year. I tried to give some ideas and options and not just say “a belt” and “a tie.” Hope that is helpful!

Toys that deserve to be in your toy chest

What’s that? You want to turn it up, buy some explicitly sexy stuff? Oh yes that is a great idea. Here’s a few suggestions for my favorite stuff.

Liberator silk binding sashes. Especially lovely if she (you) likes to be dressed up as a present you (they) can unwrap. Can also be used as a belt for a little black dress. You know, just sayin’.

Aslan Leather Handy Cuff. I am kinda in love with this thing right now.

The new Pete packing briefs from SpareParts (the ones who make that Joque harness that everybody loves). These are comfy and awesome and perfect for a little soft pack. Get ‘em at Babeland or your local sex-positive feminist queer sex toy store.

I’m in progress of building a Cock Confidence Product Guide, where I’ll have a bunch of cock-centric stuff listed, like harnesses and accessories, all of which I recommend highly. So if you’re wanting something in that arena as a gift this holiday, know that is coming soon (and why they’re left off here).

See also: 2011 Valentine’s day gift ideas for more sexy things.

things I’ve bought kristen that were a hit

I can’t tell you what I’m planning for her this year (obviously, she reads this site), but I can tell you some of the wins from the past year, and I’ll link to the places I got ‘em. Mostly Etsy.

I’ve been keeping an eye on these ever since I saw Natalie Portman’s Lolita clutch while she was promoting Black Swan (remember that? I remember looking it up and it was like $258052) and I found an amazing Etsy store I kept checking back on periodically. Eventually I saw a cookbook, with a checkered cherry lining, and it was perfect. Book purse by prettytheory.

Hanky flowers by Shilo McCabe, aka kinkycraft—she’s on vacation until 2012! But you can be notified when she comes back and this is a necessary gift.

Custom door knocker earrings by bestnamenecklace. Kristen’s say “feminist.” (Sadly, I don’t have a great shot of them and she’s working late today, so I’ll have to get her to model them later.)

Garter Flask by youniquegarters . (That was for our second anniversary. Our third anniversary is coming up in just a couple weeks, and we’ve got a romantic weekend getaway planned.)

Glass cake stand. Tons of places make these, I think I found the one I gave Kristen at Century 21. Here’s one on Amazon. I worried it’d be frivolous and just take up space, but we use it all the time, kind of as a bread box.

Also, Erotica

Don’t forget the dirty books! Makes great stocking stuffers, if, you know, you’re into that.

    

You may also want to check out the gift guides from years past, since often they aren’t date-specific anyway and there might be some good ideas here: 2007 gift guide, 2008 gift guide, 2009 gift guide, and 2010 gift guide.

Alright! That was all I wrote—now tell me, what do you really want this holiday? Any gifts you are particularly lusting after? Any gifts you gave in the past year or so that were particularly well-received? I’d love to know more gift-giving secrets or tips, if you’ve got ‘em.

Holiday Ideas for Butches

December 16, 2008  |  miscellany  |  13 Comments

I know it’s a bit late for this, but here’s five (fairly traditional) ideas for the masculine-leaning butches and bois and boys and transfolks in your life:

1. Belt Buckles

A good solid belt buckle is an essential butch accessory, in my opinion. I’ve always liked belts, but it took me way to long to graduate from regular buckled belts to belts with detachable and interchangeable buckles – they’re heavier, for one, and they look amazing, plus there are so many styles.

Etsy is amazing for buckles – do a search and include a keyword of one of your butch’s hobbies (like bikes or birds or beer) and it’ll turn up some amazing vintage or handmade results, many for less than $20.

(Belt buckle shown from Lucybluestudio’s Etsy store)

2. Cufflinks

I kind of hate to give it away, but Cuff Daddy is my current favorite place for cufflinks. They have everything! I haven’t even searched through all of their little figures and all the fun categories. They have cufflinks that are watches! Levels! Compasses! I’m currently coveting the Superman emblem cufflinks, myself.

Don’t forget Etsy for cufflinks, too. Ditto to the belt buckles, put in a couple key words – pinup, Obama – and you’ll get all sorts of great results.

If she’s already got some cufflinks, and probably doesn’t need more? Consider this cufflinks box in black leather.

(Betty Page cufflinks from Bellamodaartist’s Etsy store)

3. Ties

Uh, okay, Etsy for-the-win of #1 and #2, I should probably say something else for #3, right? Well, you already know that you can search Etsy for vintage and handmade ties – add a keyword and you’ll come up with awesome skull ties, striped ties, butterfly ties, whatever your butch happens to like.

If that’s not quite fancy enough for ya, perhaps consider a Tie of the Month Club. J Crew is doing one now (it’s a 888 number to sign up, I can’t seem to link to it on their website directly). They’ve got some great ties.

4. Pocket knife

Consider a Vintage pocket knife, and perhaps a pocket knife sharpener too.

Or if a knife isn’t really her thing, what about a pocket watch?

5. Shaving Kit

Even if it’s occasional, or for gender play, how hot would this fabulous shaving kit look on her dresser or in her bathroom?

Maybe you can recreate the famous k.d. lang and Cindy Crawford 1993 Vanity Fair photo shoot.

If that’s not enough good ideas for ya, take a flashback to the 2007 Butch/Femme Holiday Gift Guide that I wrote last year, maybe some of those will pique your interest.

Femmes … what would you absolutely love to receive from your friends & lovers this year? C’mon, help us out with some ideas.


A few friends and fans and readers have emailed me about sending me something, and in the spirit of the holidays, here’s a few things you can do for me, if you feel so inspired … Read More

eye candy: the gay prom

September 2, 2008  |  miscellany  |  19 Comments

I’m getting a PhD in political science,
and the time I don’t spend actively fucking with gender
I’m usually in a coffeeshop. – lc

LC also included a couple more shots from a recent gay prom celebration, including a hot shot against a brick wall and dancing with a hot redhead femme.

telling her what to wear

July 28, 2008  |  essays  |  15 Comments

I have in the past thought it kind of funny that girls would ask me to tell them what to wear. My feminist/analytical brain would pipe in with interpretations of beauty, insecurity, self-worth – but I really don’t see it that way anymore.

I see it as part of the larger conversation of gender as a fetish, as a performance, as a subversive display of sexualized gender presentation. And I see it as a very specific toppy/bottomy play, more specifically butchtop/femmebottom play.

It has also at times made me uncomfortable when girls wear things – or buy things – specifically for my tastes. I do have a couple particular enjoyments when it comes to femme clothes & shoes, and it is quite a gift when girls work to dress up for me.

I’m not sure why it’s hard to accept. Possibly because it’s hard for me to accept gifts in general, that giving is easier for me than receiving (I am resisting the connection here to my top identity, though I’m sure you already went there). Possibly also it is hard for my desires, and for me, to really be seen, heard, witnessed, acknowledged, because if I never let you know what I really want, you can never withhold it from me.

But my heart is more open than that old wound and lesson, generally. I like to practice revealing myself. I like to practice being vulnerable, I do find great strength and connection there.

And lately, I’ve had much better language, palette, for my particular desires. This website has helped that tremendously, as has playing with multiple girls over the past two years. I’ve been actually trying to notice and articulate when I find myself aroused into a state of desire; to be mindful of when my internal butch cock stirs and to ask why, to take note of the answer.

So when a girl asks me what kind of femininity display I like, I try to tell her. I explain – without pressure or expectation – what really does it for me, what gets me going, turns my crank. Underlying this conversation is also both of our acknowledgment that femininity – and indeed masculinity – is performed for the purpose of attracting and turning on your partner/lover/date.

And taking it a step farther by telling her what to wear is a step saying, this is how to turn me on. This is how to drive me wild all night. This is how our clothes are tools for flirting, this is how gender is subtle cues and clues and a language for sexuality.

It is a top/bottom game, if looked at this way, and I see it as very empowering to a bottom (you know, assuming being told what to wear is a game she likes playing, and doesn’t feel like it is controlling or patronizing or condescending behavior).

So, where is a bottom’s power? At least in these two places: 1) in enticing desire, and 2) to (actively) giving her power over to her top. In enticing desire, she turns on her top to the point of excruciation, to the point of bottomless desire and power. And when she gives over of her power, she places her power on a silver platter and presents it to her lover on her knees.

(This is why power play is deliberate: the bottom gives her power to the top, the top does not take it without permission. Unless, you know, that’s part of the scene, in which case there is still some sort of underlying permission, some level of giving freely.)

So: I (as a butch top) tell you (as a femme bottom) what to wear on our date (a short skirt, bare legs, strappy sandals, something white). You give power to me by giving up your own choice in what you wear, by obeying a request of mine (something that always turns me on), and by wearing something enticing that follows an aesthetic I particularly enjoy.

This is perhaps where power and surrender for the top and/or bottom gets blurred. Who has the power here? She does – the bottom – because all night I am uncomfortable and turned on because I got what I wanted, writhing at the sight of her in those lovely clothes, turned on by our gender and power foreplay. And then comes a turning point in the night where I stop feeling so reactive and (have to) surrender to the power she’s giving me, to the power and sexual energy I feel building. I give over to it, let it flow through me, let this be a way to tap into my particular well of it.

I love these kinds of power exchanges. I love the push-pull, giving in, giving back, empowering each other to feel sexy, desired, wanted, powerful, beautiful.

[ What I'm really trying to say here is: I have a blind date with a girl who sent me a wonderful photo of her in strappy sandals, and this was my complicated reaction. ]

in praise of femmes: fishnets

July 13, 2008  |  journal entries  |  8 Comments

Some meditations on fishnets, and femmes:

Alison spoke of fishnets once upon a time, and well, speaking of fishnets … it got me thinking. I have a bit of a fetish.

I have a thing for legs anyway, which is why I try not to surf sites like Sock Dreams at work, because it really does get me hot & bothered in the way that porn does. Photos like this one of the raw-edged fishnet are so very erotic to my gender-fetish brain … I’m not sure exactly what it is about fishnets, but they are just so sexualized in this culture. They’re practically fetish gear, except that they can be worn by women to offices, to fancy parties, to the opera, as dress-up, and it’s also totally appropriate. Maybe that’s it – they can be good-girl stockings, can be fancy and seen as totally normal and even some sort of traditional femininity, but they can also be so dirty, in such a delicious way.

Then there’s that little criss-cross that the net actually does, and the way that garters – if you’re using them, and oh, that’s an entire other bit of lingerie to be in praise of – tug on the net and show just a little bit of strain in holding them up. The way that the stocking gets pulled, which is so very visible on nets where the little diamond shapes get pulled. I like the subtle force there. I like the subtle strain.

I think it might be also why I like corsetry and lacing and the criss-cross ribbons that are on some lingerie, too – it’s an implied little bit of bondage, this implied ribbon that I could use to restrain your wrists or ankles, that I could use to tie your knees up and back.

Plus there’s the idea that perhaps with just one little tug, the whole thing will unravel, and leave you bare.

It’s the hint of bareness that is so much more sexy than the bare revealing itself. There’s really something to that idea of leaving something to the imagination.

And then the skin. Because the thing about fishnets, which is not true of other stockings, is the bare skin that is exposed. I can feel these tiny spots of smooth under the pads of my fingertips, the direct contact is intoxicating. You’re not actually protected by these nets, not actually held in or hidden, your skin is revealed, fishnets aren’t about control-top or nude tinting or hiding, they’re about decoration, about texture.

And oh the implied force of it all. Because fishnets rip, they get holes, they just beg to be destroyed. The stockings are layer I can (possibly, maybe, if permitted, if our relationship allows it) rip through in order to expose your skin bare, use a sharp blade against your skin and pop through the tiny tied nets, use my teeth and pull until I hear the ripping.

eye candy: hot pink hat

June 18, 2008  |  miscellany  |  7 Comments


The Sugar Butch in the photo is Azaan Kamau – the author and publisher of
In The Midst of My Blackness. Azaan loves jet skiing, writing, boating,
taking photos, and fighting for LGBT Rights! (Photo Credit: Azaan Kamau)

Interview with stylist ariel? ariel!

May 7, 2008  |  essays  |  2 Comments

Ariel has been my style consultant for a while now, and when she’s not too busy being a matchmaker, I’m often asking her basic style questions like “should my socks match my shoes or my trousers?” and ”how do I wear summer clothes and still be cool in Mexico?” and “I’m going on a fancy date. Help!” Masculine high fashion is new to me, and I find it fascinating, but sometimes very daunting. That “not butch enough” feeling comes up in me all the more because I’m not familiar enough with the culture. I’m learning, though, and it’s so fun to have Ariel in my life to talk to about this!

I sent Ariel some interview questions recently, and here are her thoughts. Thanks A! 

I could spend the rest of my life talking about fashion. I love it. I love the act of creating visual codes for gender and how we want to be taken in the world. Fashion appeals to the formalist in me: take a structure, learn to speak it, and then figure out how to make it your own.

Fashion is hard because it is an aesthetic exercise about personal expression. There is a whole school of fashion that says you should just do whatever you want and fuck the rules. The hard part about that is that fashion is how other people code us and gender us, and for a lot of people who will identify with the world of butch fashion I imagine that controlling that gendering is incredibly important. I am of the “you can’t break the rules until you know what the rules are” school of thought; it is important to build your eye and build your ability to analyze what is going on in an outfit — proportion, line, color, pattern, cut — so that you can more artfully manipulate the code to suit your own purposes.

I also have to say this: I am not going to define butch for you. Honestly, my personal fashion has much more to do with how to match your gold lamé neckerchief to your lavender trousers than it does with how to pass or be unremarkably masculine; I also refuse to be in the school of thought that says only more feminine people can wear things like skirts or high heels. I think more knowledge is better knowledge! That said, I am focusing a little bit more on clothing that has been traditionally masculinized, at least in part because I imagine readers of Sugarbutch will find it useful. Images in this post are all menswear because that is what I am obsessed with right now, and also because I think menswear fashion is somewhat less out there than womenswear fashion and it is useful to learn to dissect the pieces of masculine fashion. Mostly, though, it is because I look at that Rykiel Homme jacket 50 times a day and think things like “I can spend twice my rent on one piece of clothing! Imagine how often I’d wear it!”

Seems to me that there are many different subtle styles – athletic, preppie, punk – but that there are not as many variations in men’s styles as there are in women’s. Do you have particular thoughts about how to find your own style?

I think what is exciting about fashion is the way it gives us a visual language to show the world something about ourselves. I am a believer in fashion and I feel like it is an aesthetic language everybody should learn to speak.

Men’s fashion is just as nuanced a language as women’s fashion; it just speaks in different words. The main difference between women’s and men’s fashion, at least as far as I am concerned, is that men don’t usually wear skirts or dresses. Colors, different pant cuts, different styles of shirt; I think the fun of it is mixing and matching. The whole point of fashion is figuring out how you show the world whatever it is you want to say.

suit_1_sartorialist.jpg    suit_2_sartorialist.jpg
Scott Schuman/The Sartorialist 
Two different suits, same fabric –
completely different feels!
Both shot on The Sartorialist.

It is also so important to remember that fashion has a set of rules that it is worth learning — and then worth breaking. I am a believer in anarchist fashion where you do what you want how you want but I think it is important to do it knowing what you are working with. I also want to say that there are many versions of “fashion” — race, class, gender, aesthetic, all of these things combine to make different kinds of looks.

I think the best thing to do is look at people. Look at fashion websites; look at flickr.com pictures; look at people on the street. I am always scouting for great looks on the street. The Sartorialist has great pictures of a certain classic kind of look; men.style.com has pictures from all the shows. And shop but take time shopping, and take pleasure in it — think about what you are drawn to, what you like, and how you want to come across. Do you love the cut of your shoulders? Do you love your collarbones? Your biceps? Your ass? Your lower legs? Your chest? You can highlight all of this based on what you’re wearing. Look at pictures and think about how you want to execute. When I shop I always have a vision of who I want to be and that is who I am trying to dress. Seeing what other people wear is the easiest way to build technique and build your eye so this can happen flawlessly.

What four really basic pieces should butches own & learn how to rock?

1. Button-down dress shirt

If you are going to put yourself on masculine-spectrum clothes, you need to get a button-down dress shirt with a nice collar. Blue, white, or black depending on your style, but this is pretty much masculine dressing 101. Men’s section, women’s section: the only real difference is that women’s section shirts tend to be cut for what are traditionally considered women’s bodies (breast allowances, hip allowances), are cut shorter (they’re not designed to be tucked in most of the time), and button the other way. (Why, you ask? There are tons of different answers floating around; the accepted cultural wisdom is that women used to have people to help dress them, so the buttons went the other way to make it easier for their dresser.)

(Women’s shirt sizing is a opaque mystery involving S-M-L-XL and numbers that at one time meant something but now are just symbolic — exactly what am I 16 or 18 of? I am not even going to try to explain it: start at this Wikipedia article, and then click from there. It is a mess of vanity sizing to make people feel smaller. In general, the more diffuse/downmarket the brand, the larger the sizes will be; a Target size 4 is bigger than a Dolce and Gabbana size 4. For men’s sizes other than S-M-L: the small number is your neck size (somewhere in the teens/twenties) and the large number is your sleeve length, taken from the middle of your neck down to where you want the sleeve to hit on your wrist (somewhere in the 30s.) You can measure this yourself with a friend — here is a guide — or nicer stores will have someone there to measure you. Remember, hips will not be accounted for! Play around with sleeve lengths (because that is really the shoulder girth) and see what fits best for you. Also, different men’s brands and lines have different fits/cuts/amounts of taper: a skinny shirt will drop in further than a relaxed shirt, et cetera, et cetera. Find the one that you love and can depend on; this will take some work probably.

2. Shoes!

You need to have at least one pair of shoes that make you feel amazing. Have a killer pair of sneakers. Have a pair of great boots. Have some baby-soft tassle loafers. Four-inch heels. Your shoes are the foundation you stand on and if you need to be economical you can get away with only having one pair at a time. But think about it: if all you wear are big cargo shorts, you better be very deliberate in choosing to wear them with dress oxfords. Things to pay attention to: what are you going to be wearing the shoes with? If it’s pants, how do the pants break at the shoe? If it’s a skirt or shorts, how will it finish your leg?

dries_van_noten.jpgimage credit: Marcio Madeira//men.style.com
Dries Van Noten Fall 2008 show
Look at these shoes!
This outfit would be fundamentally less interesting but the shoes add fun and punch and take this from sullen to powerful. The cuffed pants and the heathered socks make this feel fashiony and funky to me; it would be a different look with the pants down over the shoes.

3. A great jacket.

It can be hot pink (Marc Jacobs did it!), it can be tweed with elbow patches. Put it over a t-shirt, put it over an oxford, put it over anything, this is a staple and it lets you do so many things AND it will keep you warm. I wish I had more to say about this but I don’t. Women’s jackets are that same sizing mystery as everything else. Men’s jackets are a chest measurement across the widest part of the chest; another good trick is the jacket size should be six to eight inches larger than your pant size (men’s suits come with a six inch difference between the waist of the pants and the size of the jacket).rykiel_homme.jpg

image credit: Marcio Madeira//men.style.com
designer: Rykiel Homme Fall 2008
caption: This jacket kills me. Kills me! It is such classic tailoring but the color is so unexpected. The whole outfit is “almost classic” — the sweater/button down/tie, the cut of the trousers — but look at the density of patterns on the shirt/tie, and the blue and the purple are just right together.

4.  A great accessory

 Pick something: a watch, a scarf, a belt, a neckerchief, lipstick a pipe, a tie, a purse, a hat — have at least one awesome, fun accessory that turns your clothing into an outfit. I believe in signature styles or pieces to decorate and adorn fairly classic looks — pink hankerchiefs with cardigans and t-shirts, neon ties with classic oxfords and trousers. This is how you can buy classic pieces and still look interesting. Look no further than the fashion around men’s suits, which are exercises in subtlety and using details to tell a story, for help on this one.sartorialist_terron_schaefer.jpg

image credit: Scott Schuman/The Sartorialist
Look at that pocket square. Look at the detail! It is such a simple, plain, classic look — with such interesting details that really take it past just another boring suit.

What should butches avoid?

I am never one to tell anyone to avoid anything on a gender-prescriptive basis! I would say avoid things that make you look bad and avoid things you don’t feel confident in. Don’t wear a suit and tie if you feel weird in it! Don’t wear a dress unless you feel you can rock it! Fashion is about portraying yourself. It is all so fraught with gender conformity — even within the queer gender galaxy — and it is hard to have the audacity and fortitude to stick it out and find what makes you feel hottest and most yourself, especially if your body and gender are not the body and gender you are “supposed” to have. Be bold! Be brave! Pay attention to what you feel goes together, and why — think about what you are wearing and how you think it hangs together — but I want every single one of you out there to avoid not doing things just because you don’t think it’s butch enough.

Do you love it? Do you feel hot in it? There you go. That’s all you need.some_kinda_blue_sartorialist.jpeg

image credit: Scott Schuman/The Sartorialist 
Look at it! It’s perfect — suit, pants, turtleneck, hat, pocket square — the color is so bright, but it works and it is undeniably what it is.

(This guy has my heart.)

Ariel spends a lot of time playing the toy accordion and window shopping the expensive floors at bloomingdale’s. she encourages you to go to queer
yenta.com
to find whatever it is your queer heart desires, and ariel?ariel! if you really have some time to kill.

just what I wanted

April 6, 2008  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

I’ve been busy, the last few days! My birthday this year consisted of red velvet cake, prosecco, a queen, the film 21, dinner & drinks, dinner & drinks, and dancing! I feel oh-so-blessed to have great friends & community around me.

29 is going to be a fabulous year!

Thank you, everybody, for the lovely birthday wishes, in print & in someecards & in photographs of your fabulous accessories. I guess I didn’t make it clear, but any shoes or hats or glasses or belts or bags are welcome - or hell, any photos for that matter. A few folks have mentioned that they’re going to send me photos, but haven’t yet - if you’d still like to, please do! I’ll post ‘em in a second roundup.

Without further ado … thank you:

birthday - ladybrett
Lady Brett Ashley, who also does drag
and hinted at sending another photo … yes please!

birthday
“My Vintage Puma Romas, My favorite belt – D&G Seatbelt
(yes, real men wear pink), Prada Sunglasses -
and being butt naked when taking the pic.” – Marcello

birthday - sam 2 birthday - sam1
“I’m not a huge fan of the strappy sandals, I much prefer boots and heels.
And another one of my favorite accessories, jeans” – Samantha

birthday - greeneyedgirl
Delicious silver heels from Green-eyed Girl

birthday - curvydee
“In honour of this auspicious occasion,
a rare event indeed – me in heels.” – Curvaceous Dee

birthday - avarice
Cutie heels from Avarice

birthday - einstein
Last but not least, Molly found this one!