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Style Thief: How To Button Up Like Marian in Drive-Away Dolls

The late-90s/early 2000s dyke style of Drive-Away Dolls is one of the many gay details to appreciate about the film. While Jamie has a very classic lazy butch aesthetic that will appeal to many, I found myself particularly drawn to the extremely buttoned-up looks of Marian. Marian reminds me of myself before I came out: a little prickly in the face of intimacy, uptight, and perfectionist in nature.

While specific items are linked, you’re encouraged to treat these as guides for how to style different pieces and to go out to thrift shops and find similar pieces! Get creative with your interpretation of the “buttoned up dyke,” which doesn’t always require actually buttoning your shirt.

For a Night at the Dyke Bar

Marian in Drive-Away Dolls in a cravat and blue blazer. 1. A black bow tie. 2. A blue double breasted blazer. 3. Dark green trousers. 4. Gold hoop earrings.

1. Black Bow Tie ($17)
2. Blue Double Breasted Blazer ($180, sizes 0-20)
3. Trousers ($128, sizes 00-16)
4. Gold Hoops ($65)

I am simply obsessed with this bank teller chic look Marian wears to the dyke bar at the beginning of the film. I know she’s immediately made fun of for it, but I think it might secretly be a genius move, because if you saw a bitch dressed like this in the club, wouldn’t you go up to her and talk? She stands out! This is some baby dyke ingenuity. I do think we should all be getting into cravats and neckerchiefs more in the year 2024. Who’s in? It’s a fun way to add some flair and structure to a straightforward, tailored look. This year, I am also taking a page from Marian’s book and getting really into the style of pants that I guess would be described as TROUSERS. I just thrifted an incredible pair a couple weekends ago, and they’re super versatile. They especially look good with a tucked-in shirt, and you can get them in a baggier fit or a more tailored one depending on your preferences. Uniqlo also has some great pleated trousers.

I’m being serious: I WILL wear a cravat to the gay bar this year. Watch this space.

For a Day of Being Gay, Doing Crimes

Marian in jeans and a denim buttondown in Drive-Away Dolls. 1. White t-shirt. 2. Mid rise loose jeans. 3. An oversized chambray shirt. 4. A silver heart necklace.

1. White T-Shirt ($45, sizes XXS-XL)
2. Mid Rise Jeans ($60, sizes 24-35)
3. Chambray Shirt ($62, sizes XXS-XXL)
4. Silver Heart Necklace ($20)

Here we have an unbuttoned look on the buttoned-up lesbian, and see how it still conveys an aura of being the buttoned-up lesbian? This is like a perfectionist who is PRETENDING to be wild and carefree with a very intentionally constructed casual look. It doesn’t get more classic than a pair of good jeans, a white tee, and a denim or chambray buttondown. You can style this a few different ways too! Leave it unbuttoned like Marian with a tucked in tee, button it up, or tie the chambray shirt at the bottom, which is one of my favorite low effort femme looks to rock. You can also roll the sleeves if you’re wanting to show off your arms, which is more of a Jamie move than a Marian move, but some of us have a little bit of both in us! I don’t think Marian ever technically wears a heart necklace, but she has heart necklace energy. While the tee above is COS, Uniqlo is one of my favorite brands for getting white tees.

Between both of the above looks, there’s a lot of room for playing around! Mix and match! Wear a blazer and good white tee with some baggy 90s-style jeans! Invest in some well made and well fitting basics: jeans, a white tee (I know it seems wild to pay a lot for a white tee, but cost per wear, baby!), a chambray shirt, and a nice blazer are great additions to your gay closet. And even though we’re talking 90s fashion, these looks are pretty timeless. Now, I can’t really make an argument for a cravat being a staple piece, but I do think it should be the Femme Accessory of the year. Let me know if you decide to take that on alongside me.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 870 articles for us.

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