Oooooooh, what is the dapperQ to do about this whole suit situation? Time and time again, we have stressed that, regardless of your gender presentation, it is nearly impossible to find a suit that fits perfectly “off the rack.” So, your options are to (1) find a suit and ensure that it fits the largest parts of your body before taking it to a tailor or (2) get a bespoke (custom) suit made from scratch especially for you.
The cool thing about the latter option is that you don’t have to search far and wide for a dapperQ-friendly bespoke clothier, because one already exists: Butch Clothing Company (BCC). I interviewed Shaz Riley, Founder and Director of BCC, to discuss the company’s mission and get more information about how BCC can help our readers design a great suit that fits like a glove!
dapperQ: What is the mission of BCC?
BCC: BCC is a bespoke clothier that recognizes that “Butch/Lesbian” is an identity, a way of life, and a way of being. We have embraced the idea that a fashion house for Butch/Gay women is an exciting and exhilarating concept that can only enhance our lifestyles.
The concept of our brand is simple. It has proved very difficult for many years for butch women to find attire with a perfect fit. So, we help all our clients design suits specifically for them. Although, let us be clear, since launching the business, we have had a multitude of clients, all of whom identify in many different ways, and we welcome everybody!
dapperQ: What inspired you to start BCC and can you give us a brief history of the company?
BCC: I founded The Butch Clothing Company in the summer of 2009. We launched for business in June 2010. Our aim was to create a company that could provide suits; jackets and trousers; shirts and waistcoats; even overcoats and accessories that would ultimately fit a butch woman perfectly. The idea was born from my own personal experience of having no choice but to purchase suits made to fit guys. So, although the style and color were great, the fit was always terrible, with overlong arm lengths, low hanging crotch length, shoulder pads like American footballers, etc. I decided it was time to research and develop a process of creating suits that on the outside look like classic male style.
dapperQ: We always stress here on dapperQ that a suit is an investment on which you should not skimp. Can you impart some additional wisdom on that?
BCC: Yes, a suit is an investment in YOU! Most people can only afford one suit every few years, but the important thing is to remember that this investment will and should be well used and well loved. I always encourage my clients to design and purchase a 3-piece suit with a bespoke shirt or two. This way, you will have a great suit that will last you for the next 15 years. The pants can be worn with any shirts you have. The jacket and vest will look great with jeans. And, the vest looks amazing with a t-shirt and shorts. Suits are so versatile and fun. This level of investment and the great feeling of a perfectly fitted bespoke suit should be enjoyed and used to its full potential.
dapperQ: In this economy, many of our readers can only afford one good suit and want to get the most out of their investment. Some style guides suggest investing in a black suit, while others strongly recommend a blue or gray suit to avoid looking like the masses. What do you recommend?
BCC: I always recommend taking a look at the colors in your wardrobe. This is normally a good indication of a color of fabric you will actually wear. Sometimes I agree it’s great to try a new color; I find this happens with clients that order more than one suit. But, if it’s your once only classic investment, then I suggest you choose a fabric you are instantly drawn to. It’s that simple.
Now, there are those that say the classic black suit should be seen only for funerals and interviews. I disagree. Many people look amazing in a black suit with a crisp white shirt. And, if you attend many social occasions, theatre, work events, etc. that dictate the need for a suit, this [black] is an excellent choice. If, however, you have a more relaxed style, perhaps a grey or a blue fabric would work well. If you’re brave, there is always a variety of browns. These work so well with the funkier fabrics, like tweeds and herringbones. It’s all really about your own personal preference. Listen to your inner voice on this one.
dapperQ: Can you tell us a bit about your own personal style and how it has evolved?
BCC: I have to confess – socially, I am quite a casual dresser. But, I will always be seen out in a tailored shirt and often a waistcoat (vest). I do wear my now perfectly fitted jackets with jeans, and because they actually fit, in a formal environment like work (when seeing clients), meetings, weddings, theatre, etc., I wear an array of my different suits! I love the feeling that each bespoke garment fits me to perfection and I know they look good. I have always struggled with my weight and yet in my bespoke garments I feel great and it actually inspires me to want to look better. I believe a lot of my clients agree.
dapperQ: BCC is based in London. Does BCC offer consultations to those located in different cities?
BCC: Absolutely! We are actually based in Kent, about 50 mins from Central London. So we are easily accessible for our UK clients, but our Video Skype Consultations work exceptionally well for our overseas clients. If you require further information please email [email protected]