Autostraddle 2010 Fall Fashion Guide for Various Shapes, Sizes, Gender Expressions

Style Editor Becky:

Hi! Fall is just around the corner and I’m here to whip you into shape and make you look cool like a prism in the sun so girls will be attracted to your rainbow magicalness and ask you to go apple picking with them. THAT’S MY JOB DESCRIPTION, BITCHES. WELCOME TO THE FALL STYLE GUIDE/THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

We have a lot of special guests today but I am going first.

1. Bow Ties

“Hi! You might remember me from that time I played the almost-lesbian in Mean Girls. Do you like my bow tie? I’m wearing it because I think I’m in a promotional photo for a movie I was in about a catering business or something but you should probably just note how good I look in a bow tie and wear one to your first day of classes.”

bow ties

Look at these from Laurent Des Grange for inspiration, and then go hunt for one or two of your own. There are some nice ones over at Amazon and Topman. If you’re ambitious, maybe even try making your own. Bow ties are approved by my golden rule: WWJBD? If the answer is, he totes. would, then you should probably do it.

bow ties
Of course the very non-gendered American Apparel has them for $19 (as seen above).

2. Long-John Pants

In my opinion, just plain wearing long-johns are essentially the “men’s” version of wearing leggings.

But I really like the look. It manages to incorporate “bagginess” without having to wear your pants below your bum and it maintains the “skinny” look of the pant our generation is so fond of (and I’m partially glad, even if it’s just to keep the return of the bell-bottom at bay for a few more years). Also there’s no worrying about camel toe and they’re hella-comfortable.

Now these types of pants go by a million different names. Personally I like “carrot pants” but I think most people refer to them as harem pants which kind of makes me uncomfortable. They’re also often called “drop-crotch pants” too I believe. Which is nice and umm… descriptive.


a. Asos Harem Lounge Pants

b. Monrow Fleece Harem Pants

c. Delia’s Drawstring Harem Pant

d. Asos Jersey Harem Pant

Essentially, these are like low-crotch, skinny-leg, light sweat pants and I stand by the claim that they’ll look baller with some heels or classy work boots and a blazer. You can find whatever-the-heck-you-want-to-call-them pants from places like Asos (as seen above) But if you’re on a budget, you might consider just wearing long johns.

And because we believe in non-gendered styles/clothing ’round here – let’s here it for the boys:


a. Topman Drapper Pant

b. Topman Carrot Cropped Short

c. These are from Topman as well, however we don’t have a link at the moment. But don’t they look awesome with boots?!

If you don’t know this already, Topman is a UK brand so the sizes here run slimmer than the usual american style, which means it’s more female-figure-friendly.

Also because I know 95% of you aren’t going to be down with the above suggestions, look!

Corduroy pants from Alloy!

3. Work Boots

Work boots are like hiking boots only not as ugly (sorry hiking boots, you help me get up mountains but rarely help me get dates).

(Above: GDC Union Work Boots)

Look around Ronnie Fieg for inspiration, get a feel for what’s out there, and then find the pair that fits your budget. Work boots are more clean cut and classy than hiking boots or combat boots; unfortunately outside the land of Doc Martens it isn’t uber easy to find boots like these that are women-friendly…i.e. in smaller sizes. Unless you have big feet. In which case I envy you pretty hard right now and you should get yourself over to a Topman.

Here are some others:


a. Topman Hi-Cut Canvas Boots

b. Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Ranger Boot

c. Sebago Boots

d. Red Wing Classic

4. Wrap-Around scarves

Speaking of clean-cut, here’s a trend that started late last fall but never really got it’s feet off the ground. Like the carrot pant, these scarves have a million and a half names including but not limited to: connected scarf, infinity scarf, loop scarf, circle scarf…YOU GET THE PICTURE IT DOESN’T LEAVE YOUR NECK EVER.

These scarves are great because they keep your neck warm and you don’t have to worry about loose ends shifting around and looking weird or uneven or getting caught in a door and choking you to death like you do with regular scarves. You know? In my opinion, the trick to this look is getting a scarf that’s not frilly or sequined or stringy or ruffly or overly fuzzy. Just keep it classy or simple.


a. J.Jill Infinity Scarf

b. Collection XIIX Scarf, Gauze Infinity Loop

[Not pictured] Gray Shredded Loop Circle Infinity Lightweight Scarf: On Amazon, inexpensive and cute.

5. Leather

Leather jackets are timeless. So are cuffs and nice leather belts. Luckily, there’s a place for most of that. A GAY PLACE. It’s called Lucky Dog Leather and it seriously rocks. Like srsly. I myself just got a cuff and a belt from there and NO REGRETS. I feel like a bad-ass cow-hand AND I’m stylish which hasn’t happened since the cowboy boot trend. So get on that.
Lucky dog Leather
What I like about Lucky Dog Leather is that their products are about as custom-made as you can get on the cold, unfeeling internet–as in, they’re really thorough about sizing and making sure you’re happy with your purchases.

6. Carry-ons

I know a place where the grass is really greener. It’s called Supermarket and it’s full of independent designers and you can leaf through their stuff and decide if you like / want to buy any of it. It’s kind of like a supermarket. Anyway designer Sarah Porter has these far too adorable coin purses:

That make me not want to discard/ disregard my loose monies and instead keep them in a tiny pouch with a gerbil on it so I can save up for penny whistles and moon pies.  You know?

Also, peep these plaid wallet/holders:


a. Plaid Pattern Extra Thick Fatty Flat Women’s Wallet w/ Checkbook Cover

b. Mishka wallet

c. Enjoi Skateboards Panda Plaid Wallet

d. Business ID Card Holder Case

7. Solid Colors

Okay, so maybe I’m getting more and more abstract with each numerical increment. But I’m just as serious about this suggestion as I am with the others. With all the leaves doing their tye-dyed dying fox-trot, it’s a good idea to not compete with their patch-work brilliance. Because you will lose. That’s really my main advice to you. Don’t try to upstage the leaves. This is their last hurrah. Would Justin Bieber do it? No. No he wouldn’t. And guess what? Fall palettes of the fashion world are going to conflict. So if you want to know which solid colors you should wear, I’m going to have opt for the annoying but true “seasonal colors are a social construct”.

Just look around and see what you like/can afford/ follow your heart/ the northern star or something.


a. Luke Meier x Vans Syndicate Zero Low “S”

b. Gap Slub Crewneck

c. L.L. Bean Rope Belt

d. Forever 21 Pencil Skirt

e. Wet Seal Basic Platform Pump

f. Swell Thermal top

8. Cardigans

It wouldn’t be fall if you didn’t at least browse through some cardigans. Gap has some nice hybrid jacket/cardigans like this ‘Varsity shawl collar cardigan‘:

I’m also really digging these ones from Topman. They’re totally on sale for only $20 (marked down from $50.) GET IT GIRL.

9. Flannel

You wouldn’t be a lesbian if you didn’t at least have a soft spot for flannel (see what I did there?). And yes, I know I just said solid colors, but let’s make an exception for what’s basically the unofficial uniform of the dykes. Also, these ones from Acne are just plain wonderful:

Oh, and don’t be fooled–flannel is a material, so you can still enjoy this super coze shirt without the plaid design. You know, in case you have an irrational fear of dwindling fades.

10. Blazers

(Above: British Tweed Blazer)

Blazers are the love of my life. You can do anything with them. You can wear them or hang them up in your closet or use them as a magic carpet or take them to the dry cleaners unless you’d rather wash them in a stream. The best part is that blazers are conducive to bow ties and carrot pants and boots and scarves and cardigans ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

a. J.Crew Navy schoolboy blazer

b. Paxton Tweed Blazer from Delia’s

c. BB Dakota Douglas Blazer

Also! BONUS:

They’re baaaack.

Denim Vests and Jackets from J.Crew


Next Page:
Fashionista Lily and Special Guest Blogger Nicolette give their fall picks.


Pages: 1 2See entire article on one page

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I'm Becky. I write about style because I think anybody can look great and I think everybody usually does. I'm into self-expression. I'm into being expressive. When I'm not writing about style for Autostraddle I'm usually trying to make a film. I'm also a dancer, so I will Gahu with you anytime, anywhere.

Becky has written 23 articles for us.


  1. let me be the first to say that this is what paychecks were made for. also, denim vests make my life

  2. Those long john pants freak me out. My daughter wants bow ties and I like clunky shoes so all the rest is great!

    • if your daughter wants bow ties, then please check out the link above. its high end stuff, so not cheap but you get what you pay for and they ship for free globally. its a young swedish designer who has a real eye for the latest trends

    • while i do shop at urban occasionally (mostly from their clearance section), be wary- they steal a LOT of independent designers’ ideas!

  3. Love the boots and bags. I actually can’t wait until it is cold enough to finally wear this stuff.

  4. Unless you’re counting the one reference to men’s pants twice, calling this a guide for various *shapes* is quite the stretch.

    You have a great taste for clothes and style — don’t get me wrong — but there’s certainly no divergence from super skinny sexy here.

    • You’ve gotta consider what they’ve got to work with though – most shops have smaller models for their catalogs/websites/whatev. Autostraddle doesn’t really have the budget to do their own photoshoots. A lot of the styles pictured would look good on a range of sizes.

    • Make sure you check out the second page Danielle.

      But also, don’t we get a little credit for including 1) mens flannel shirts 2) mens cardigans and 3) mens work boots in addition to the pants? ALSO BOW TIES. I know, most of the images include skinny models. Nothing we can do about that.

      Most important I believe are Nicolette’s plus-sized items though. Be sure to check those out!

    • Also, look closer at the links made by the non-plus size bloggers – Alloy and Delia include sizes up to a 24 (I think), which is better than many plus-size specialty stores. This post blew me away in its inclusion of plus-size clothes in a non-fatshion blog, and I say that as a seasoned fat girl shopper.

      A lot of the clothing styles posted here are versatile – for example, cardigans come in all sizes, and can be made to look either incredibly masculine or super feminine.

      That said, I think a lot of people assume that “shape” and “size” are the same thing, i.e. euphemisms for HEY DID YOU KNOW THAT PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT BODY TYPES? And no matter what *size* you are, a lot of clothes that look fantastic on straight-up-and-down folks might not be flattering on hourglass folks or top-heavy folks or bottom-heavy folks or however people are shaped. And yeah, that’s rough. There’s a lot of styles I think are cute on the rack, but don’t look good on my body, and that has nothing to do with what *size* I wear, but how I’m shaped. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of people. And the only advice I can really give you to fix that is to be patient and try on lots of clothes.

      • glad you enjoy! i’d love to do more of these for Autostraddle.
        I’m pretty passionate about not separating fat fashion from straight-sized fashion. at the end of the day, the trends are the same regardless of size, right?

    • Hear hear. Don’t dis the bellbottoms, ladies, because my ass looks fan-tastic in them (unlike these stupid skinny jeans that just won’t go away…)

    • The ASOS Curve line, which Nicolette links to, goes up to UK26 and has both feminine and androgynous styles. I’ve bought such great pieces from them once they go on sale.

      ASOS Curve:—Sizes-20-26/Cat/pgecategory.aspx?cid=9577

      They have carrot pants, “boyfriend” cut jeans, oxford shirts and hella cute dresses. Right now shipping to the US is free both ways, so if you’re anywhere from a size UK20-26 (US 16-22) it’s a great site!

  5. The fact that this post started with Lizzy Caplan in her pink Party Down bowtie just made my evening!

  6. this just makes me want to go on a shopping spree rightnow. seriously. last time lily made me buy boots and i can’t buy more things.

  7. Hey what color are the Ralph Lauren work boots? I don’t see the exact same shade on the website.

  8. Hm, I have a hard time seeing bow ties being pulled off successfully. JB did an okay job, but he’s also on a skateboard and wearing flannel pants haha.
    +1 on the wrap around scarves and blazers.

    p.s. The Delia’s & J.Crew blazer hyper-links are switched :P

  9. Becky, I seriously laughed out loud at your envy for big-footed girls. I wear a size 12 (men’s!), and finding shoes has been a nightmare since I stopped fitting women’s shoes. When I was eleven.

    Let’s swap feet, okay? VIA MAGIC.

  10. One of my friends has a huge superman-cape-colored wrap-around scarf that totally makes him look like a cartoon character and I LOVE IT.

    But what about the places where fall (and all other seasons) means copious amounts of water pouring down from somewhere above your fabulous outfit? I hate raincoats. Can anyone give me a reason not to?

  11. Yes, I would like all of these things. Now I really wish I hadn’t spent all my money on a haircut yesterday.

    Also for fall, I love Gap men’s v-neck sweaters. I bought one and have been bringing it around with me in the hopes that I’ll walk into a cold building.

  12. so if Autostraddle ever does a “make over that lesbian” segment, i’m putting my hand in to get one.
    my t shirts are dope and so are my shorts…but damned if im not hurting for a grown and sexy educated look….

  13. Things I need immediately: a circle scarf, more wedges. I am pretty sure that I will be a late convert to the high waisted pants, but, hell, I don’t wear pants too often anyway.

    • It took me a full couple of minutes to realise that when you said you don’t wear pants too often, it meant that you probably wore skirts/dresses, rather than regularly frolicking nude from the waist down.

  14. Great post, I *love* clothes and my bank account kicks me in the arse constantly for it.

    About the high-waisted pants though, anyone notice how irritating they become after a while? They’re ubiquitous on my train (ELL to Fauxhemian Land), last night I saw a lady wearing high-waisted shorts. I believe I also spotted an S.O.S. flag waving from her crotch.

    One more thing, great place to find tights/leggings real quick and has a variety of sizes–that little tights store in Penn Station of all places!

  15. I love the choices. Head to toe including makeup tips. Great collection, references and showing prices next to the item makes it much easier than checking the link. Fantastic post for all sizes. I am also so glad I held on to some of my old items which are making a come back. Thank you for the share.

    • “showing prices next to the item makes it much easier than checking the link.”

      I am definitely taking note of this, so I can do it for ALL the items. Thanks for the feedback!

  16. Holy center justification batman!

    Anyway, love the post! You had me a bow ties. I recently purchased a tuxedo, and fell in love with the local men’s store I got it from. They were super, super awesome with the whole me being a lady thing. AND they told me to come back regularly for free bow ties. They’re happy to give me the ones that haven’t been selling, and they’re cool with haggling over others. If y’all need bow ties, I’ve got the hook up!

    • wait, do the centered section titles not look good? Now I’m self-conscious! Should I center less things next time?! HALP.

  17. as much as this may be ‘what paychecks were made for’, do any of these items have links for less-affluent/not-willing-to-pay-104-dollars-on-long-johns-lesbians? seriously, what in the world.

    • check out! they have really awesome, fashion forward pieces at great prices – especially if you can hold out for their sales/clearance. I’m talking like, $14 for amazing pants and less than $20 for dresses. And shipping to the US is only $6.

      Also, is a great resource to find similar items at different price-points.

    • We linked to Delia’s drop-crotch pants, that run for $24. The others including asos are around $60-70, and of course the Topman men’s kind runs higher cause Topman is like that and I usually wait for a sale.

      I understand the frustration, I don’t pay that much for pants either, but I’d like to think that we did our best to link to things in different price ranges.

      What Nicolette said re: shopstyle! Its a good resource :)

    • I don’t know…
      They kind of give me this irresistible urge to grab people’s crotches, which I hear is not okay.

  18. If you’re wearing a bowtie please tie it yourself. I know its usually a tad more expensive but it looks a bajillion times messier and sexier than a perfect pretied. Plus pre-tieds go askew and turn diagonal much more easily than self tied bows.

    I’ve been wearing bowties for two years now and have tried all manner of pretied, they just aren’t the best.

  19. “Also because I know 95% of you aren’t going to be down with the above suggestions, look!”

    Becky you read my mind!

  20. I wore a bowtie at my birthday party last night. We thought it might be too much and I was afraid I’d get made fun off. But it totally made my outfit and I got lots of ‘omg so cute! I love your bowtie!’ comments. It also helped that my family had actually bought me a Doctor Who cake.

    Moral of the story- do not fear the bowtie!

  21. Can there be a reader-created fashion guide where we submit photos and videos of our favorite outfits and where we got them?

    Also I think it’d be hecka cute if there was an on-going feature where people submit videos of their haircuts and how they style it. Queer visibility and diversity, yeah?


  22. dope suggestions
    nice job
    + I like the approval of fancy sweatpants for outdoor usage
    they’re just so damn comfortable

  23. I really appreciate how inclusive this style guide for fall is, and it certainly gave me a few tips–denim jacket, thanks, going to get one!–but I really think some attempt should be make to cite some reference points from “the world of fashion.” Even if the writer was to watch just a few videos for fall 2010, I feel like the style guide would just be more…dare I say it, stylish? And more relevant. There’s a whole wide fashion world out there just milking the lesbian look. Lesbian has gone mainstream and I really think any style guide for lesbians should reference some designers/designs.

    check out (no affiliation) if you want to check this out/get some reference points.

    • We’re always into having guest contributors/writers, Kate — HINT HINT.

      Also, thanks for that link, I’ve been looking for another good lesbian-themed tumblr to follow. Srsly.

  24. I love you for being inclusive and knowing about the whole gender expression thing. And for not be afraid of flannel and men’s clothes.

  25. Dear Becky et al,

    Many thanks for a particularly enlightening guide to fall fashion. As a gay gal who is keen on clothes, it’s quite a treat to read about fashion from a queer perspective. Way to take classic pieces (blazer, boots, etc.)and give them that homosexy edge. I appreciate your desire to fuck with gender – an admirable action that should be incorporated into everyone’s wardrobe.

    Bravo, bravo, bravo. And good call on the bowties – I’m a huge fan. Nothing looks cuter than a short-haired lady with a bowtie around her neck.


    • Also, I’d love to hear more re: critical analysis of the ‘harem pants’… Deconstruct them for me, please.

  26. Maybe it’s just my laziness in skimming the comments, or maybe it’s my residence within a very much NOT fashion-forward region. However, am I the only one who totally loathes the “skinny pant” trend? To me, even when it’s done “right” and worn by a person with the body type this supposedly best fits, it just seems like a pair of wooden peg legs wrapped in some fabric.
    Yeah, I can agree that massive bell-bottoms are probably silly, for me, a moderate amount of flair or boot cut is what works best. At the very least, some sort of movement room needs to exist at and below the knees.
    And the mom jeans throwback?
    No, seriously, I will take the ass crack over an augmented FUPA look any day. Next you’re going to tell me that the 80’s era shoulder pads my mom rocked as a bank teller are going to be the rage.

    • I also loathed the skinny jeans trend, since I am really short and I thought they made me look like an ice-cream cone from the waist down, basically. I was converted, though, once I moved to a city that only has 36 sunny days a year and pretty much perpetual rain. Skinny pants + boots = no more bunched up jeans tucked inside socks to hold them in place. WIN.

  27. Why did you include for all sizes in the title of this piece if there are no models of size or clothing geared at showing off bigger bodies?

  28. All those are great, can I hope it all hihi. Sorry my post is so late but I couldn’t leave the page without a comment.

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