A Femme's Search For Casual Chic

In my home town of Albuquerque, NM, people don’t think twice about throwing on a pair of sweatpants and an old T-shirt for brunch.

When I moved to Manhattan, my New York City friends were mortified when I tried to pull off sweatpants in a restaurant. Moving to a fashion forward city quickly revealed a huge weakness in my queer femme style: I have no functional, casual, cool outfits.

I mean, I have formal covered. My closet is filled with a ton of glittery shoes and bejeweled cocktail dresses that are appropriate for a variety of special events.

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My obsession: shiny shoes. Oh…DEER! Stiletto (left) and Vince Camuto Marcin Bootie (right)

I also have that undergraduate-just-rolled-out-of-bed look perfected. But, I have nothing “in between.”

And, why would I? In Albuquerque — at least when I lived there in the 90s — you either dressed up for formals or threw on a beat up pair of jeans to hang out at Applebee’s. (I certainly wouldn’t wear the above pictured shoes to an Applebee’s!) There weren’t a whole lotta other activities that called for casual chic attire. In fact, the last time I visited home, I was the most dressed-up person at our only gay bar and all I wanted to do was change into a fleece pullover so I could stop listening to my friends call me “bougie.” But, especially during the years when I was in college, wearing an outfit like this to the lesbian coffee shop or Coronado mall food court would have only invited awkward stares and judgment (even if it was self-judgment for feeling out of place):

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(from thelovehanger.com)

But, now I live in NYC, where there are a ton of activities (lounges, rooftop parties, gallery hopping, brunches, queer events, etc.) that call for this “in between” look that I just can’t seem to achieve. This is the closest I’ve gotten:

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While the outfit works for gallery openings and people watching at lounges, the boots do not lend well to walking more than 15 or so blocks in the city. Urbanites know the importance of a good walking shoe. So, I have some work to do in the fashionable-but-functional shoe department and I most definitely need more than one casual chic outfit.

I’ve found a few outfits on Pinterest that I might be able to pull off. I’m going to take these images shopping with me and use them as inspiration. My goal will be to stay focused on the mission of getting those “in between” ensembles and staying away from disco dresses and metallic stilettos. I’ll keep you posted about the results. Until then…

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(from blissfull—thinking.tumblr.com)

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(from stylistsdiary.blogspot.com)

Anita Dolce Vita is the Managing Editor at dapperQ

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Anita Dolce Vita is a fashion and culture blogger who has been featured in Vice, Nylon, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Huffington Post Live, San Francisco Weekly, Everyone Is Gay, AfterEllen, Autostraddle, Diva, Curve, Canada’s Globe and Mail, Beijing Review, and Bosnia’s Manjine.BA. She is currently the owner, Creative Director, and Editor-in-Chief of the queer style blog dapperQ.