Bring Your Dyke to Mass, Part I

It’s a dilemma that many a good Catholic dyke has faced: how to dress for Mass without dishonoring one’s dykeness or, well, looking like a mess. Certainly, not every good Catholic dyke wishes to attend Mass, but for those who enjoy looking dapper at liturgy, their friends, and their family, we’ve got a few introductory style tips on how to bring your dyke (self or loved one) to Mass.

Many dykes wear dresses, skirts, or gender-conforming pants to church, but some prefer to offset their traditional Catholic behavior with some nontraditional attire—or perhaps to balance their traditional Catholic observances with traditional lesbo garb.

The old button-up and dark jeans is a mainstay of my own Mass attire, but since Sunday comes but once a week, sometimes I like to dress it up a little.

Vests

I’m sure that straight women wear button-front vests from time to time, but it remains a signature dyke look. And when worn over a simple button-up and pants, it makes you look a little more like you got dressed on purpose.

Mr. Shue Rocks the Vest

Women’s vests are made with your hips in mind and tend to be more fitted. Men’s vests tend to cover more and are available in more classic cuts. Either works. I once borrowed a men’s H&M vest for a college lesbian party, and, dykes, it made the panties drop. This may or may not be the effect you’re going for at Mass; I just want you to know your options. That being said, the vests I own are all made for ladies, and I have no complaints. I got some sweet New York & Co. vests on sale one summer, but when they’re not on sale they are not at all economical. Often, you can find pretty decent women’s vests at thrift stores. Boys’ vests are another option to consider–they’ll probably fit, and they’ll be a good deal cheaper than clothing made for adults.

Ties

Katharine Hepburn wore ties sometimes and you should too.

Katharine Hepburn

The wide Reagan-era ties in your dad’s closet are likely to make you look like a kid at a costume party (though in some cases it’s possible to pull off the wide tie look). Narrower ties are better suited to most women’s frames. Lucky for us, skinny ties are easy to come by these days, fashionable as they are thanks to hipsters and Mad Men, so get while the gettin’s good.

In addition to skinny ties made for hipster guys, ties for eleven-year-old boys tend to fit about right, though they are shorter (something to keep in mind when tying and adjusting the knot) and tend to have truck or airplane prints on them, which you may or may not appreciate.

There are many ways to tie a tie, but the most common are: the four-in-hand, the Half Windsor, and the Windsor knot. The four in hand is the one you see most often. It’s a smaller, asymmetrical knot, and it is the easiest to tie. The Half Windsor is symmetrical, triangular, and larger than the four-in-hand. Finally, the Windsor knot is, as its name would suggest, larger than the Half Windsor, and it, too, is symmetrical and triangular. I ordinarily choose the four-in-hand or the Half Windsor, as the Windsor knot is pretty substantial and tends to look best with wide silk ties, which I don’t have many of. Further, while a four-in-hand knot or even a Half Windsor can be worn pretty loosely, the Windsor knot is not particularly well-suited to such a stylishly disheveled look. It really looks best when it’s tightened all the way to the collar.

As for how loose or tight the tie should be: some dykes button the top collar button and wear the tie quite snugly, as men tend to wear them . I have more often seen women wearing the tie loosely, top two or three shirt buttons undone. Either look can be great; do whatever suits you and makes you most comfortable.

Now for tying the damn thing. The best instructions I have found online are by a gentleman named Hendrik, at http://www.tie-a-tie.net/. There are written instructions, diagrams, and videos–oh my! No really, it’s helpful.

Cufflinks

To wear a pair of cufflinks, you’ll need a shirt with French cuffs. French cuffs are big old wide cuffs, and instead of buttons, they have four of what look like buttonholes. You fold the cuff so that the four button holes are all aligned, and you use the cufflinks to hold the cuffs together. It looks good.

Cufflinks

Unfortunately, women’s French cuff shirts aren’t always easy to come by, and they tend to be more expensive than button-cuff shirts whether you’re shopping in the women’s or men’s department. If you’re only really intending to sport cuff links for Mass or special occasions, then one or two of these shirts will suffice. Unless you’re a daily Mass kinda dyke, which is also fine.

Confidence

Confidence, ladies. You’ve got to bring your dyke to Mass with confidence. It can feel a little weird to rock the gender-bending wardrobe in a traditional setting, but it need not be too uncomfortable. You can incorporate only one of the above at a time for a more subtle dyke look, or, if you’re feeling like a badass, wear ’em all. I have never been stopped, harassed, or looked snidely-upon for wearing any of this stuff to liturgy. One time, two of us went to Mass in ties, and an eight-year-old girl seemed confused, but that was about it–and I like to think it was an educational moment of some kind. Who knows, perhaps she’ll look back fondly on that event someday if she herself is a raging, yet devout, young dyke.

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