Editor’s note: CorporateQ is a series that focuses on how masculine presenting gender queers are bringing their dapper selves to the workplace. In this interview with dapperQ Editor-in-Chief, Anita Dolce Vita, brand strategist and event producer Charlotte Glasser discusses dressing dapper queer in a variety of settings, from corporate to nightlife. *Feature image by Kelly Balch
Photo by Kelly Balch
Anita: So, can you start by telling me a little about you and where you work (or have worked)?
Charlotte: I’m a jack of all trades and modern day “renaissance (wo)man.” Currently, I’m a Partner at Hot Rabbit NYC event production company and Creative Director of The Vintage Brands. Hot Rabbit, one of the most successful LGBTQ events companies in New York, produces a wide variety of nightlife and cultural events, most notably dance parties, supporting and entertaining the LGBTQ community on a weekly basis. Aside from my work in NYC’s nightlife scene, I am also the Creative Director of The Vintage Brands, a diamond and jewelry company working out of a prestigious office on Madison Avenue. Because that isn’t enough, I moonlight as part of the management team of a multi-talented new recording artist/designer out of Los Angeles named Bago. I have a passion for keeping busy, pushing ideas into bigger and better realities, and am most often credited for my ability to link my wide network of connections together, strengthening community through collaboration and support.
Photos by Kelly Balch
Anita: I noticed that you have an impeccable sense of style whether you are dressing for the corporate world or nightlife scene. How long have you been dressing dapperQ?
Charlotte: Impeccable style is the best compliment. My friend DJ Leah V recently described me as “swagger defined.” I am very “smiley” in hearing all of this. My first corporate sales position, I wanted to be a Mad Man like Don Draper. I started suiting up more and finding ways to be formal, yet chic and stylish. I think now I am in a happy place with this day-meets-night look. I work constantly, so I never want to be caught not looking any part. I need to blend in with any scene I encounter from brunch to basement parties.
Anita: How would you describe your aesthetic? Does it change between your daytime and nighttime professional roles? If so, how?
Charlotte: I really struggled with my aesthetic and self-expression when I first came out, feeling caught between masculine and feminine and my own blend of those interpretations. As I got more comfortable finding my own groove, I started to experiment with style. Mismatching on purpose, really appreciating contrast and using signature pieces of clothing to form perfect outfit concepts. I go from topcoat to leather coat usually after dinner – sometimes it is as simple as just taking my snap back hat off. This is NYC, so the fact that I wear 50 shades of grey or black is pretty common. My role in luxury brands helps me use accessories in a professional and fun way – I love to memo pieces from the Vintage Malibu inventory and switch up my looks.
Photos by Kelly Balch
Anita: Prior to meeting you in person, I had only known you as a party promoter and producer. But, you are also a brand strategist. Tell me about where you work and how that influences how you dress for work?
Charlotte: My nightlife persona absolutely gives me an image that can be both exciting and difficult. Often in dating, girls get the wrong idea about me. I have been told I come off “douchey”, arrogant, sometimes intimidating. I think there is a negative connotation sometimes associated with being in this industry in general. It doesn’t help that I am a personality on a microphone and attempting to exude confidence even when I am nervous! Working in luxury brands really made me pay attention to brands and the way I am put together more than ever. I work in very beautiful places with very beautiful people surrounded by beautiful things. It was really easy for me to start focusing on my work clothes in a big way. I have found in the past few months that I own my style independent of those around me and that I really try to create an aesthetic that blends with the luxury world while at the same time remaining true to my identity. I like to be dapper in general, so my added edge has always set me apart and I think benefited me professionally.
Anita: You definitely know how to step up your style game, garnering respect from your clients and inspiring your colleagues. On the flip side of that, have you ever had any negative experiences because you dress masculine? If so, can you share a bit about your experience(s) with our readers?
Charlotte: There was one role I had years ago back in Boston where my masculine presentation made a company I worked for uncomfortable. I felt I wasn’t taken seriously and was less respected because I wasn’t what my colleagues considered to be what a female should be. I tried to conform for awhile, but I wasn’t as confident presenting in a way that was inauthentic. I eventually couldn’t take it and left the company. I was pretty loud about my disagreement in terms of their standards and ethics when it came to employee professional presentation. Since this move, I have never conformed my look for anyone. I am really lucky now that Russell (Russell Kwiat who I work for and with directly) is not only supportive but enthusiastic about me being myself and doing my job confidently and effectively – as I am.
Photos by Emily Reese
Anita: Marketing and brand strategy in the jewelry business is a primarily a masculine, cis-male dominated field. Do you feel that you gain a competitive edge by dressing masculine, rather than dressing feminine, even if you do identify as a woman? If so, why so? If not, why not?
Charlotte: That’s a really interesting question. I noticed pretty quickly that there were not many LGBT [individuals] in the field, especially not female. I sort of thrive being part of the minority. I am not sure if I feel like I have an edge because of my look. I am incredibly blessed to be part of a team (mostly straight cis men) that treat me and work with me completely equally. It’s a bit of a boys club, but they have gone above and beyond in understanding me – me understanding them. We work together as friends and colleagues with no effort. It has been so rewarding and exciting to be part of this team. I am not sure I would be as engulfed in a straight group of friends without this role being given to me. Our team transcends societal norms, as I am both one of the boys and the token girl, neither babied or bullied. It makes me a more open minded well rounded person and member of the team and I think I provide the same for them. The world is made up of so many different kinds of people and working outside of your own bubble is so important to facilitate GREAT work.
Anita: What can our readers expect next from you?
Charlotte: I am so excited about all of the projects I am working on. I really want to be sure that each one makes an impact in its vertical as well as with all communities, LGBTQ and otherwise identifying. I think the most exciting is The Vintage Brands has been in talks about improving the engagement industry making the process more inclusive and unique. Simultaneously, Hot Rabbit has been branching out all over the country and will continue to promote collaborations in nightlife over competition. It is our goal to keep LGBTQ spaces safe, accessible and exciting. I am meeting so many incredible people through all my work and it makes every day inspiring and motivating. I love learning and gaining experience I can’t wait to do MORE.
Want more of Charlotte? Follow her on Instagram at @cbglasser