Inspired by “Black Dandies Fashion New Academic Identities,” our new series “Dress Smart” will be featuring masculine-of-center genderqueer and transmasculine dapperQ professionals and academics who, through their personal style, are fearlessly challenging traditional expectations about gender and sexuality.
“‘Stylin’ out.’ That’s how Monica L. Miller, an associate professor of English at Barnard College, describes the way black people have used dress to expand definitions of blackness, gender, and sexuality. Men in particular have “styled their way from slaves to dignified human beings,” she writes in Slaves to Fashion (Duke University Press, 2009). The first book-length study of black dandyism, Miller’s work is part of a growing scholarly interest in how clothes fashion our lives. It also signals the blossoming of black dandyism—fedoras, silk ascots, flashy socks—on the streets of major cities. Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Outkast’s Andre 3000 have made it cool to rap in Polo shirts, bow ties, nerd glasses, and boat shoes. The NBA’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Durant pull off dandyish without being pretentious. And now black dandyism is trending in the halls of academe.” – Stacy Patton via Black Dandies Fashion New Academic Identities.
Like many people, I’ve been an animal lover my whole life. I got my first dog, Popcorn (a miniature poodle), when I was 5, and there hasn’t been a time since that I haven’t come home to at least one four-legged creature greeting me with wags, wiggles and smiling eyes. I grew up in Louisiana, and graduated with my DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) from Louisiana State University in 1996.
Photo by JD’s partner, Jess
[Outfit details: I am wearing a orange and navy argyle sweater from Old Navy. The jeans are Levis. The white belt is from Urban Outfitters, and the navy coat over my shoulder is an old Fed Ex jacket I found at a thrift shop. The whole outfit is of course finished off with white Converse. With me in the photos are my dogs, Toby, a French Bulldog, and Lenny, a Pomeranian. They are both 10 years old. Toby was an inspiration for our logo for DC MetroVet, which features a silhouette of a cat and a french bulldog. Just a side note, my sister Jessica, owner of Fox and Brie, also designed our logo and website.]
I am a member of AVMA, AVSAB, and LGVMA, and have practiced in rural Louisiana, north-eastern beach towns, and in the metro area of our nation’s capitol; I’ve co-owned my own practice, worked for and volunteered for non-profits and animal shelters, served as an animal cruelty investigator, been active in competitive obedience and agility training, worked with Therapy Dogs International, and have worked for practices both full time as an associate and as a relief veterinarian. I’ve tried to expose myself to as many learning opportunities as possible, and am proud of my career and commitment to excellence.
Photo by Laurie White
[Outfit details: The brown vest is the same vest in the other photos. It was a thrift store find. The white belt is from Urban Outfitters. The jeans are from Banana Republic. (Jeans are one of the few items I will spend good money on as I have found the better quality do tend to last.) The brown shoes are Sketchers. The brown plaid long tie is from Express.]
My approach to general veterinary medicine is one that takes both the pet and the owner into consideration, and one that also relies on the active involvement of the owner in the diagnosis, treatment and general health of the pet. Behavior medicine, one of my areas of interest, in particular, requires a huge amount of dedication by the owner in order to achieve the desired goals. There are never any guarantees, but it certainly is rewarding when you see an animal that once was suffering from anxiety or a frustrated owner finally relaxed and enjoying each other again!
Photo by Laurie White
[Outfit details: I love this outfit! The page boy hat, small brown men’s vest, and brown corduroys were all thrift shop finds. (I told you!) The orange plaid bow tie is by Fox and Brie and was a limited edition after being featured in Southern Living magazine! The white belt is from Guess. The white socks and Converse just tie it all together. (At least in my weird world of fashion.)]
Now on a more personal note: I turned 40 last year. That was a big one. I don’t feel 40, and I suspect most of my friends would say I don’t act 40, so that’s good news. I’ve always been (and continue to be) a child of the 80s. I had the Big Wheel, Stretch Armstrong, Atari, Lite Bright, and Cabbage Patch Dolls. My bright yellow Sony Walkman Sport (who else had one of those?) played cassettes by the likes of Duran Duran, Cyndi Lauper, and Journey.
Photo by Laurie White
[Outfit details: This outfit really speaks to my 80s roots and my typical casual style and color selection. The jacket is an old Fed Ex coat I found at a local thrift store. The orange hoodie is from Target. The jeans are by Levis. The Atari shirt was an ebay find and a gift from Jessica. The orange striped belt is from Old Navy. The blue converse are a pair I’ve had for many years, and are my go-to every day shoes.]
It was pretty disappointing when I became a girl. I was pretty happy being a boy as a kid. But then my body rebelled. It was pretty frustrating that all of a sudden I was expected to like games and clothes I never liked before. My family and friends knew me as Jennifer for close to 30 years, but it suited me less and less as I grew more and more into my own self. JD, as I’m currently known, is a much more suitable name, and I have adopted it over the last 10 years. It reflects an ambiguity that pours over into most of my daily life, be it purposeful or not.
Photo courtesy JD
[Outfit details: This is a pretty typical outfit for me. The brown jacket is a corduroy men’s jacket from Old Navy. The argyle sweater vest was another eBay find. The brown and white polka dot bow tie is by Fox and Brie. The brown belt is a reversible brown/black belt from JC Penney. Phase 1, in the photo, is the nation’s oldest continually operating lesbian bar, so it’s a pretty neat historical item of note. Many of the staff, including the manager, Angela, are both friends and clients of our house call veterinary practice.]
My wardrobe is pretty much entirely menswear. Dress wear and shoes are more difficult to properly fit, but I make do. My sense of style is all over the place. And I’m fine with that. My best attempt at categorizing my style would be that it is retro eclectic thrift shop geek with a bit of pizazz and flair (when appropriate or I just feel like it.) I am constantly misgendered, whatever that means, as I don’t really identify solely with one gender or the other.
Photo by Laurie White
[Outfit details: The hat is from a local thrift store. The brown corduroy jacket and Houndstooth sweater is from Old Navy. The brown button up shirt is from Target. The messenger bag “Veterinarian by day, deadly ninja by night” was bought on line either through zazzle or cafe press. The Twitter notepad is a nod to my Twitter obsession (@argylestyle). Though I am a veterinarian by day, I am a mad Tweeter by night, mostly tweeting about politics (warning: I’m a raging liberal), pets, and what I’m eating.]
I would actually prefer a world where in which your gender is irrelevant. I’d certainly much prefer a world in which your gender doesn’t dictate how you are treated or what you are supposed to do or like. That world doesn’t exist, though, and I find many people are extremely uncomfortable not knowing which box I belong inside. On my worst days that makes me tired and on guard. On my best days that makes me proud.
Photo courtesy JD
[Outfit details: This is the suit I wore on my wedding day. My partner, Jessica, and I were married in Washington DC on June 25, 2010. We live in Maryland, but we did not yet have equal marriage rights in our state at that time. Jessica and I co-own our business, DC MetroVet, a house call vet practice serving Washington, D.C., and the DC metro area of Maryland.
The suit is a 3 piece blue and white seersucker pinstripe from a Macy’s. The white suede shoes are Bass. I picked this suit because it was comfortable in DC’s summer heat, not something you see every day, but while fun still quite stylish and dressy.]