Heaven is a Place at A-Camp: Masculine-of-Center Looks For The A-Camp May 2017 Dance

If you were here yesterday, you may have spotted this guide to femme looks for the A-Camp 2017 Dance. Now we’re back with even more sartorial inspiration for you.

Sometimes you’re a masculine-of-center woman/person and wanna go full costume… and sometimes you wanna be “on theme” while also wearing an outfit you could potentially wear again in a non-theme setting. Well I have good news for you: that’s what this post is about! With some help from my masculine-of-center activity partner, I’ve put together some looks that you can definitely wear to San Junipero if that’s where you decide to go when you die. Or, I guess, if you are attending the “Heaven is a Place on Earth” dance at A-Camp. (Read more about that theme on Mey’s post.)

ETA: This post is not intended to be representative of what lesbians wore in 1987, but rather outfits that go with the ’80s beachy vibe of the “San Junipero” episode of Black Mirror, which inspired this year’s A-Camp Dance Theme.

Lunch Date

Look for spread collars and flowy, short-sleeve patterned button downs you can wear a little open, or over a white or black t-shirt, paired with jeans or shorts. Add some shades and an obscene Casio watch and you’re really gonna love that Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Top Row: The Ultimate WF S/S Button UpVans Old Skool TrainersPalm Leaf Short Sleeve Button Up Camp Shirt.

Bottom Row: Produkt Chino ShortsWayfarer SunglassesCasio Vintage Digital Watch and asos Slim Jeans in Light Wash (also comes in Plus sizes).


Congratulations, you got a gig tending bar at Tucker’s! You better roll up your short sleeves, get some bold prints (pair with a deep V), some sturdy boots and a strong attitude.

Top Row: Vintage-Inspired Shirt in White StripeLace-Up Leather Boots,  New Look Roll Sleeve T-Shirt In BlackGUESS Retro Script Tee.

Bottom Rows: Casio Vintage Calculator WatchReclaimed Vintage-Inspired Shirt in Stone Abstract FitRevere Collar Retro-Fit Shirt,  Levi’s 511 Sly Slim Jean

Miami Vice

A lot of the suit-related trends from the ’80s should probably remain there, forever (it was a particularly unfortunate time for lesbians because blazers), but with a modern twist you can still get the jist while looking cool and staying hot.

Top Row: Zara pink basic blazerWhite Viscose Mix Drop Shoulder T-ShirtBold Floral ShirtSartorial suit trousersWildfang Newton Ivory Long Blazer & Wildfang Elba Pants.

Bottom Row: Black Calvin Klein T-Shirt, Dusty Blue twill skinny fit suit jacket & Suit PantsPatent Leather Platform FlatsAsos loafers in navy metallicAndron Suede LoaferBlue Pima Cotton T-Shirt.

Also Pictured: Getting your own Rolex Oyster watch to look authentic Miami Vice will cost approximately five thousand dollars, so here’s a $25 watch that’ll do in a pinch.


If you’ve spent any length of time glued to John Hughes movies or waiting in line for Top Gun at King’s Island, you know that men in the ’80s were a little chilly a lot of the time. Major trends include the classic denim jacket, print/plaid oversized blazers (think Duckie in Pretty in Pink), trench-style coats, Varsity jackets, bomber jackets in general, and leather bomber jackets specifically. The leather motorcycle jacket remains a strong pick throughout the ages, but in the ’80s was mostly part of punk/biker looks generally.

Top Row: Asos Plus Knitted Cotton Bomber with Contrast Trims in Grey Twist, denim jacket, Lakewood Distressed Denim Jacket (with a puffer vest for Marty McFly style, or roll up the sleeves and pair with light wash denim jeans and high-tops or solid dark pants) Faux Leather Bomber Jacket (google “Top Gun”), Melton Oversized Varsity Jacket With Print (let your crush borrow it when she gets cold)

Bottom Row: Satin Souvenir Bomber Jacket (roll up the sleeves, pair with a black tee), Brooklyn Supply College Bomber, Wildfang Fraser Coat (looks good over a white button-up with spread collar) and H & M Leather Jacket (pair with black concert tee)

Endless Summer: Surf Looks

Undoubtedly, a lot of awesome people chose San Junipero for its proximity to the beach. Probably you’re in San Junipero in the first place for surf-related reasons, right? Surf brands were huge in the ’80s (and early ’90s) so you’re really set for life I mean DEATH.

Top row: Guess  1981 Acid Wash JeanMaui & Sons 80s Jumble Swim Trunks, Guess Oversized TeeT & C Surf Designs Checkered T-Shirt

Second Row: T&C Surf Designs Checkerboard Shorts, Nile Blue Sea & Destroy HatNeff Daily SunglassesVans Checkerboard Slip-On ShoesAlways Rare Donny Denim Short Black Acid Wash ShortsUP for UO Surfer-Striped Crewneck Sweatshirt

Not Pictured, But Should Be, Because It’s Gay: Keith Haring t-shirt.


Crested blazers, layered polos, argyle sweater vests, sweaters draped over your shoulders and tied in the front, pleated khakis, Cricket sweaters, topsiders, loafers, expensive watches — the ’80s were a time of Peak Prep, and left its mark on the early ’90s (see: Carlton on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). Style icons for this look include every character Andrew McCarthy played in an ’80s movie and the girls in The Facts of Life.

Roll up the sleeves on your Linen Blazer (not-pictured) and pair with Suit Pants and a Pink polo shirt (top row, first two) and pink loafers (bottom row, first one).

Other items for a preppy look include Top Row Items: Men’s Coast Tommy Hilfiger Cricket Sweater and Only & Sons Cropped Chinos.

Bottom Row: Ralph Lauren Argyle SocksSperry Topsider Men’s Boat Shoes (wear with bare feet), Blade + Blue Ribbon Belt and Oversized Circle Metal Eyeglasses Frame Clear Lens Glasses.

You can also do a lot with accessories: fanny packs, a single silver earring, sweatbands — the world is your retro oyster!! Or you could just dress like Duckie, that’s always an option.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3228 articles for us.


  1. Pshhh. Back in my dude days, my go-to outfit was plaid. Plaid and I were lovers. I am pretty sure if they made matching plaid bathroom sets, that would be me. Whew. Luckily I got out just in time…

    Nowadays life is so different. I can daydream and wonder if I am developing an unhealthy obsession with bohemian maxi skirts… >__<

  2. I Still have that Casio calculator watch at home. My grandma got it for me as a gift in the 90’s.

  3. I love the content that Autostraddle usually puts out and I’ve been reading the site for a long time but I never felt the need to comment on anything up until now. It irks me that a femme-of-center cis woman wrote this piece. I understand that they “consulted their masc identified partner”, but why couldn’t their partner have written it or get, I don’t know, a MoC identified writer to do it? I completely understand the problem that is femme erasure within the queer community, but while bringing femme voices to the forefront, you’ve not only forgotten about butch/masc voices, but you’ve silenced them. As a butch I used to think that Autostraddle was a place for all queer identities, but I’m seeing less and less content for those who identify as butch and it’s disheartening.

    • Hi! I’m the masc identified activity partner (lol)! I had a lot of fun pulling together outfit ideas for this piece – however, as you noted, I’m not a writer (I’m in school) and did not have either the time or the ability to turn my keen and daring fashion sense into a readable and useful article. I just wanted to put out there in the universe that I felt very seen and heard through the process of making this fashion guide, and that I personally do not feel silenced as a butch in this instance. But I definitely agree that there’s not enough content out there, anywhere online, for us masc-of-center folks, especially in the fashion arena!!

    • Hey Ace, you’re totally right that currently we have way less moc/butch writers than we’d like and it would’ve been way better if we could’ve found a moc writer to do this post. but basically what happened was that we didn’t realize the san junipero post from yesterday was gonna be just femme looks. as soon as we did, we knew we needed an moc guide immediately. whenever we need a piece with a 24 hour turnaround, a senior editor has to write it, and of all of us, it was decided that I was the best fit for that job, even though i had to push aside the rest of my to-do list to get it done. we didn’t wanna leave our moc readers in the dust. i was the best fit because, since 2009, i’ve been writing a lot of moc-leaning fashion content for the site, usually with the help of moc people who have opinions but don’t have the time or inclination to do the writing themselves, starting with alex, my co-founder, who is very good at fashion but doesn’t like writing.

      right now we are in the process bringing on a new fashion editor — we haven’t had one for almost a year now, so our fashion content has been very haphazard. we’ve flagged a bunch of fashion editor applications for her to bring on as fashion writers, most of whom are butch/moc. but FYI, most masc fashion has come from femme-of-center writers or editors — even the dapperq posts… the editor of dapperq is femme.

      we’re also bringing on a lot of new staff writers who identify as masculine-of-center, and do our best to bring those voices forward. we have zero desire to silence those voices, but also, our applicant pool is overwhelmingly femme-of-center and always has been.

        • Having read the links, this characterization of the conversation seems inaccurate to me. i.e. I read no mis-gendering or insinuation that butch means “not a woman”. Perhaps the key is context, but the blog/essay seems to be addressing queer spaces specifically, when discussing masculinity and how it applies to interactions within the community. The concept of “male privilege” is applied to queer-community interactions, but isn’t meant to suggest MOC or butch women are “male” or not women, but rather how behavior within queer spaces can mirror society as a whole.

  4. If I knew how to post pics, I would definitely post a pic of Megan Rapinoe in her pink blazer. She’d fit right in. Idk…just do yourselves a favor and google Megan Rapinoe pink jacket. So good!

  5. i want most of the floral shirts! i just wish they had an xs option so it wouldn’t look like i’m always trying on an older sibling’s outfits lol

    • Tons of brands have XS options for menswear that run even smaller than most. There are tricks to make your clothes fit better besides the obvious tailoring. Roll up short sleeves two cuffs on your biceps, do a front tuck or a “messy tuck” if a shirt is too long etc. Also be sure to check brands that offer some sort of slim fit. I highly suggest Original Penguin. The clothes are cut smaller, they sell XS, and the patterns range from business casual to funky florals. Trust me, I’m a 5’0 tiny boi who loves clothes and is fashion obsessed.

  6. 80s fashion poetry (by someone who was there)

    Tight, faded Levis
    Converse high tops
    Black t-shirt
    Slouchy jacket
    (Casually leaning against the wall)

    Skinny jeans
    Big hair

    Layers and layers of black fabric
    Tears held together by safety pins
    Spikey green hair

    Ripped jeans
    Ripped flannel
    (Rip out my heart)

  7. Why the f*ck do you refuse to use the word butch? Like what’s with the butchphobia here in terms of naming?

    • I think Riese used “masculine of center” because it’s an umbrella term that includes butch/stud/AG etc. People have a lot of different words that they use to describe their identities, and it makes sense to use an inclusive term when you’re trying to please as many people as possible. I don’t think she or anyone else at Autostraddle has a problem with the term butch (I’ve seen in used on the site regularly), it’s just not something every MOC person uses.

    • And if they did use the word butch in the title, someone else would be here angrily typing “Why the f*ck do you refuse to use the term masculine-of-centre? Like what’s with the erasure of MOC people who don’t identify as butch?”

      Honestly, it’s fucking exhausting seeing this kind of comment over and over and over again and I’m not even part of the team running the site.

    • ‘Butch’ may be the term used in your community, without exception, but many other people from different contexts use different words, including ‘masculine of centre’. Maybe this term doesn’t apply to you, but that doesn’t mean it is designed to exclude you. Naming changes over time.

      There are definitely people out there who are hostile to butches, but this isn’t an example of that. We need to pick our f*cking battles instead of assuming that anyone who doesn’t cater to our every preference is out to get us. And if you can’t tell the difference between Autostraddle using the term ‘masculine of center’ to celebrate clothing that appeals to butches (among others) and say, the people who are actively nasty toward us, perhaps it’s time to reassess your definition of butchphobia.

      How is it that Autostraddle actively tries to represent people all along the ever-shifting spectrum of gender and sexual identity, and yet people from virtually every group (butches, femmes, bisexuals, lesbians, queers, etc) constantly feel the need to accuse them of trying to harm or erase them? Why does everything have to be a fight?

    • I do think, though, that sometimes umbrella terms can block view of the specific identities beneath them. Butch is a pretty meaningful term to a lot of people, it’s a pretty tough thing to be without too many affirmations out in the world, and it would be nice to occasionally see it exactly, and not its cousins or family.

      Not saying that this exact post needs to be all things to all people, but that wanting some butch-specific content in general is okay.

  8. I’ve been reading articles here forever, but I’m kind of a jerk, so I never know who writes what, and not every article hits the mark for me; that’s just science, and that is ok. Nothing written here, or anywhere will ever be perfect, but when things published have been called out as problematic, the one thing I can say is consistent with Autostraddle is that they make a downright heroic effort to learn and improve. I’ve read many apologies, and those apologies have been followed up by substantial efforts to do better. That is incredibly important and so fucking rare. It is important that anyone who has felt excluded in some way by an article to call out what they perceive as a slight or even a bias, but another important thing we should all do is take a step back and ask what we are so worked up about, too.

    This is an article about the clothing that we as a culture have generally accepted to be representative of a Masculine of Center identity or expression circa 1980’s—but, is it? The 80’s were complicated. I’m ancient, so I was there when this clothing was hot, and I can reliably report that none of these outfits would have been representative of Masculinity, in fact, androgyny was more of the rage back then. Annie Lennox in a suit and buzzcut was no less feminine than Madonna. Prince, wearing high heels, was Butch AF because people like David Bowie and Patti Smith confused the hell out of everyone in the 70’s—it was fucking great. My point is that if we’re going to be true to the 80’s, then it doesn’t matter who writes this article or how they identify because it would not have mattered then, either. Same with the Femme of Center article, which I commented on without even noticing that it wasn’t necessarily about me; I was just excited by the 80’s. However, if this article had been written about our diverse queer identities as it relates to style and the 80’s, then yeah, they would have missed the mark. Completely. I could be wrong, though; I often am.

    That said, I think it is ok for someone who doesn’t look like me, dress like me, or identify as I do to write this article. Nobody is going to give me everything that I want; few even come close. If I want perfection, I should look for that in my work. I say this as a MOC writer who doesn’t have enough confidence in her work to imagine writing anything that anyone would want to read, though. I suspect I am not alone in this. Finding writers to meet the growing demands of a diverse queer audience is a challenge for Autostraddle that I do not envy, but I certainly appreciate their effort. If Riese and company had to scramble to get an article for publication that made people like (but not exactly like) me feel included, and someone who doesn’t present as MOC had to write it, then great! It is, after all, just clothing; it’s not a think-piece on what it means to identify as Butch or MOC.

    What I am saying in way too many words is that not everything has to be a fight. As a writer, I try to choose my words carefully, but I also understand that once they are out there, I can’t control how they are perceived. Reading is not a passive activity. We bring our own experiences and prejudices to everything we read. Seeing the omission of the term Butch and determining that it is a refusal to include people who identify as such is an assumption made on the reader’s part. No allusions are apparent here. The term Masculine of Center exists as a way to include a varying range of identities that skew on the side of what society considers less than feminine for a cisgendered (mainly queer) woman, so the “refusal” to include Butch is not an honest portrayal of this article. In fact, MOC is more accurately the refusal to exclude people who don’t see themselves as Butch but fall closer to that than they do Femme. Butch is part of MOC.

    I understand the knee-jerk reactions that we as a marginalized community experience on many levels because we experience so much oppression outside of our safe spaces, which are few, and appear to be dwindling rather than growing. Things are getting uglier out there. However, we have to check our reactions here, within our communities, so that we don’t break apart when facing the fight out there. If this had been a think-piece on gender expressions, labels, and identities, and how they are all over the place and nuanced, yet incredibly important, then yes, you should hit back—and hard. But it wasn’t. The erasure you see, the refusal to acknowledge butchness or the disappointment experienced in finding out who wrote the article might just be something you have internalized and it doesn’t do you or anyone any good if you don’t try to recognize and work through it. Jumping in with an angry accusation of harmful intent is not helpful to increasing Butch visibility, especially when that was clearly not the purpose. Even if one argues that intention doesn’t matter when someone has been hurt, the reality is, sometimes intention is important. It should be considered so that we can evaluate if we are the ones projecting our internalized feelings of rejection into this space where there is none. Even when I have behaved as someone I am not entirely proud of being, I, a MOC, Butch, lesbian, queer, or whatever person, have always felt accepted and included here. Maybe that is a product of my privilege, and that’s another topic we could write about for days, but we have bigger fights on our hands. 80’s fashion can’t be one of them.

    Unless, of course, the fight is who wore it better. The answer is Sheila E.

  9. JUST A QUICK FYI… this article is not meant to be representative of what lesbians dressed like in the ’80s — at all! Because it definitely is not. That would be a much more fun post to write, though… maybe I’ll do that next and see who gets mad at me

    It’s supposed to be representative of masc looks that fit into the beachy South Florida / SoCal late ’80s vibe of the San Junipero theme for the A-Camp 8.0 Dance, based mostly on outfits from the episode San Junipero of Black Mirror, which didn’t have any actual masculine-of-center women in it, as far as I could see.

  10. Hello! I completely agree with Mavi and Dialethea et al. I know MOC is an umbrella term, AS can’t do everything and what it does, it does damn well. I know there aren’t as many MOC writers. I’m not mad, I love AS!

    I’d love to see some specifically butch content though! Not in an exclusionary way, just, here’s a category that applies to some folks and is meaningful to them and let’s talk about it. There is not too much of my reflection in the world, and I’d love to see some on my favorite website.

  11. Oh wow, this has certainly gotten out of hand since I posted in response to some fashion tips on how to make menswear fit better…

    There are tons of feelings here that are completely valid. First of all, the original person who posted about this (Ace W.) discussed their concern about a lack of MoC content on Autostraddle and being “irked” about a femme-of-center person writing this piece. They commented in a respectful manner and Riese answered as such. However, how is that an example of “Fragile Masculinity”? I feel as though this term is just tossed around freely whenever a masc person speaks up. We’re not talking about laundry soap for men (I saw this the other day), or Q-tips for men, the discussion was about a marginalized group (AFAB Masc folks or Masc Women) feeling left out of the discussion. I will not delve into the subject of queer masc privilege, it does exist, and I’m personally aware of the privilege I have as a masc person within the queer community.

    As for the comments regarding the term MoC used instead of Butch, that’s grasping at straws and diverting from the main point (Lack of Masc content on Autostraddle). Lots of individuals who fall on the masc side of things don’t identify as butch (myself included), you can’t knock Autostraddle for using an umbrella term.

    There’s also a common theme on this comment section that “There isn’t any Masc writers!” This is a complete fallacy. How do I know this? I’m one of those masc writers. I’m a writer for my day job and I’m queer MoC fashion blogger/style consultant. I can personally name 10 or more MoC fashion bloggers off the top of my head. However, if you’re not familiar with that scene you probably wouldn’t know them.

    Autostraddle used to have some great masc content, I used to gobble up “Butch Please” like a plate of my mother’s homemade ravioli, but the thing is, writers come and writers go. Media outlets change focus at times (MTV used to play music videos!) Sure, some of the content isn’t really geared towards me right now, but Autostraddle and A-Camp are more than that, it’s a welcoming community of queer folks of all identities.

    • (and you’re also on the list of writers for our new fashion editor to reach out to!)

      and yeah a lot of the fashion writers you might be referencing have written here at one time or another, and we do reach out every time we find one, we do troll qwear and dapperq for writers — butttt not as much lately, b/c we’ve been sans fashion editor for a year!

      since aja left a year ago we’ve published a grand total of 48 clothing-related posts (as opposed to the 100-150 we used to publish each year), and of those: eight were Erin’s What I Wore: Subverting the Heteronormative Patriarchy column, 7 were Aesthetic rising (mix masc/femme), 16 were masc-focused, 10 were a mix, and 3 were femme-focused.

      anyhow yeah, we wish that kate and gabby were still here, but we’ve got a lot of new voices coming on and getting stronger in the wings.

      thanks for your comment!

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