Why dapperQ? Fashion IS Political

dapperQ is for anyone who wants to make any element of men’s fashion truly their own, but it’s also for anyone who aspires to deeper levels of personal authenticity.

On one hand, it’s for all of us who have been discouraged – in a million and one subtle and not-so-subtle ways – from gleaning for self-expression from the rich and robust universe pioneered over centuries by dapper gents and today reflected in glossies such as GQ, Details and Vogue for Men.  On the other, it’s an on-going celebration of maveriQ’s like Ellen DeGeneres and Rachel Maddow of whom America can’t get enough.  

One piece of the brilliant poem Transcendental Etude by Adrienne Rich describes it like this,

“…We aren’t virtuosi, or child prodigies, there are no prodigies in this realm, only a stubborn cleaving to the timbre, the tones of what we are–even when all the texts describe it differently…”

I am instigating this community now because I believe that is needed now more than ever. It’s not just the fact that mainstream designers are only now beginning to find the lucre in styling dapper clothes for our bodies – be they female, trans or anything not straight up male.

It’s not the fact that our money often simply isn’t good enough for clerks who guard the chasm between men’s and women’s sections informing those who dare to transgress that we aren’t welcome even in single, self-contained dressing rooms where “gentleman” vet the merchandise. (Beware the impending dapperQ shame on places like Loehmann’s on 7th Avenue in one of NYC’s queerest neighborhoods!)

It’s not the fact that, except in urban centers, anyone female or trans who doesn’t do male clothing in a manner readily acknowledged as “cute” or “ironic” literally endangers themselves. (Even in Brooklyn, last week a man felt free to speak to me his truth on the street, “Look, it thinks it’s a man.”) While this community I am launching will gleefully celebrate both cute and ironic, it will do so having chosen from a much broader palette of options.

I believe that this community will grow exponentially because it reflects an evolving sense of possibility, in a world that has conspired to withhold from us many goodies infinitely more important than fashion.

I also have a hunch that most who will be drawn to this community see fashion not as an end, but as a expression to our ever-evolving capacity to advance change in a world that sorely needs it.

But I don’t intend to let the conversation deviate too far from the transgressing of men’s fashion and the inspirational lives of those brilliantly personifying this instinct. While there are an infinite variety of conversations being had about sexual politics, fashion, and gender, there is a dearth of information for and about those of us simply dressing to fight the good fight each day.

Susan pictured with her wife Shannon Lynch.

Susan Herr, Transgressor-in-Chief

10 Comments

  • Sharene says:

    LOVE seeing a new forum for stylish women!! Look forward to seeing more – and a year from now, maybe a magazine? A channel?? Onward and upwards!!!

  • Melinda says:

    Awesome, beautiful site. My closet leanings always come out in the men’s section of a vintage store. Why can’t I wear that? I clearly remember the excitement I felt (back in the 80’s when gender bending was cool regardless) going through my grandfather’s closet and finding that his tuxedo shirt and jacket fit me. I still have his padded flannel shirt jacket, twenty odd years later. It embodies a particular way of being in the world that I feel denied. Hmm, its cold outside. Think I’ll go put that baby on.
    Susan, bravo on the site, I look forward to following it. xo

  • Albert says:

    Great site, Susan. Love the stories and the pix. Now I’m thinking of launching a community called frumpyQ.

  • Sonic says:

    As a modern dandy, I must say I’m thrilled about this site. *straightens ascot*

  • Caroline says:

    Susan, as a friend and a person who has had the privilege of vintage shopping with you (in San Francisco, no less!), I am so happy to see you galvanizing a community around this issue. Congrats on your boundary-breaking efforts!

  • woodstock says:

    Thank you for starting this. Sartorially, the web has been a wasteland for women who don’t aspire to traditionally feminine attire.

  • Fredrik says:

    Hello.
    I found this site via pansexualpride-sociological images-the boi’s department.
    I thought “wow! finally a community discussing this perspective I happened to have on fashion”.
    Still, it’s nagging me a little I don’t have it “transgressing of men’s fashion”, but “transgressing of women’s fashion”. It should be the same thing, but I don’t know.
    Cya!

  • Lauren says:

    Fredrik makes an interesting point!

  • DapperQ says:

    I noticed that!

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