He Said/We Said: Laid-Back in Vermont

dapperQ is geeked to present our first ever Vermont edition of He Said/We Said (HS/WS)! It gets bleeping cold in Vermont, so the dappers there are not playing around when it comes to style that is both fashionable and functional. As such, dapperQ and photographer Liz LaVorgna selected the Mark McNairy Fall 2014 menswear collection as inspiration for the shoot. The collection is rugged, stylish, and perfect for cold weather wardrobes.

For a quick refresher on the HS/WS series, check out creatress mastermind Anita Dolce Vita’s plan behind the HS/WS magic:

“The models fashion their very own looks – I give the inspiration, they give the interpretation. They come to the shoot camera ready: hair, make-up, their own clothes, accessories and props. I didn’t want the series to reflect how to recreate menswear from an individual stylist’s point of view. It’s always a wonderful surprise to see what each model came up with and all of the different translations of the same inspiration.”

Here’s what photographer Liz LaVorgna had to say about the inspiration and overall experience:

I loved everything about this project, from selecting the Mark McNairy collection to working with the amazing models and the fun photo shoot at the iconic Brooks House in Brattleboro, VT. The Brooks House was built in 1871 and is currently being renovated after a devastating fire, so it was a nice mix of traditional grandeur with tasteful modern flair.

This photo shoot was about embracing who you are, being inspired and making it your own. The Mark McNairy collection really echoed the laid back style of Vermont with an element of haute. The models were a dream to work with and we had such a great time. We had the pleasure of stylist Stasia Savasuk assisting us with ideas and thriftspiration. Stasia helps people “achieve congruency in their style so their clothes are a mirror to their soul.” Her daughter Raisia loves to dress in boi style and we asked her to join in for one of the group shots because their story is amazing. I applaud Stasia for supporting Raisia in what she chooses to wear that expresses who she is. It gives me hope that acceptance is growing and I am thrilled to be part of it.

Raisia & Stasia Group

Inspiration

Inspiration (1)

Interpretations

Group

From left to right: Izzy, HB, Rostin, Silas, Jodi, Cyrene

 


Rostin_ 7

Rostin Lee/Ryder Rivers

Age: 25
Occupation: Student/Military/Transgender Advocacy for Military and Veterans
Outfit: Denim Vest, Goodwill. Headphones Sweater, H&M. Jogger Pants, Against All Odds. Supra High Top Shoes, Journeys.
Outfit sobriquet: Urban Underground
Song that best describes your look: “Thriller” by Michael Jackson (Dubstep Remix)
Whose wardrobe would you raid?

Channing Tatum

Where are your favorite places to shop?

H&M, Journeys, PacSun, Goodwill, Savers, Express

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

V-necks/Beanie

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

It is an honor to be a part of a project that I have such a passion for. The fashion and hair industry is my career focus, so to help others find their own styles that build their own confidence — to recognize their own beauty — is something I strive for.

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

The entire shoot was amazing. I had a great time meeting all the models and the location of the shoot had so much potential for the styles in this line; I really enjoyed the jokes, conversations, and the photos from the rooftop I feel like the cold wind helped bring us all together and really made for more of a “natural” setting for the group shot.


Jodi_10

Jodi Clark

Age: 41
Occupation: Educator, Community Engagement Professional
Outfit: Glasses, Dharma Eyewear “Algebraic” frames. Cardigan, Van Heusen. Shirt, Clockworks. Pants, Banana Republic. Socks, Happy Socks. Shoes, Bass.
Outfit sobriquet: London Coffee Shop, Reading the NY Times
Song that best describes your look: “Wouldn’t Have Noticed” by Joy Kills Sorrow
Whose wardrobe would you raid?

Jude Law’s.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

Van Heusen Outlet, Banana Republic Outlet, Boomerang (Used & Vintage Clothing, Brattleboro, VT)

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

My black leather, Amish-made belt. It goes with everything. It is so beautifully crafted. And when I have men’s cut pants that otherwise look amazing, EXCEPT the waistline just not fitting right (like having way too much extra material in the back), it totally saves the pants and looks awesome.

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

Similar to what I mentioned about the story with Raisa and Stasia, I think it is so important to express our authentic selves. Doing this kind of photo shoot reminds me of how important it is for me personally. But I’m also so honored to be part of a project that can also give ideas and inspiration to other women, transmen, or really anyone who is looking for ways to express themselves in a joyful, powerful way through their clothing.

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

My absolute favorite moment was hearing from Stasia about the journey with her daughter Raisa and her gender expression through clothing. I was so moved and honored to hear their story about Raisa’s exploring expressing her true self through clothing, specifically masculine/boys clothing. And when we found out we were going to have the opportunity to meet Raisa, I was simply over the moon with joy. My favorite part of hearing that story was when Raisa shared with Stasia how she could run faster and jump higher when she was wearing what she wanted to wear. That deeply resonated with me, and I think all of us. We are more powerful when we are expressing our true selves both inside and out. It reminded me of just how important it is to be brave and express who you are. It also reminded me of how important it is to have the most important people in your life love you and support you. It makes being brave a lot more possible.


Izzy_24

Izzy

Age: 37
Occupation: Lead shipper at C&S Wholesale Grocers. Michael Jackson impersonator. Crowned first ever Mr. Northampton Divas 2013.
Outfit: Beanie, handmade. Jacket, gift from a family member. Shirt, Walmart. Pants, Walmart. Shoes, Walmart.
Outfit sobriquet: Urban Sport
Song that best describes your look: “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars.
Whose wardrobe would you raid?

As an MJ impersonator I would love to raid his closet. I would put all of his clothes to good use in any and all of my future performances.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

I love to shop at Walmart, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and K-Mart.

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

I cannot live without my black and white jacket. It was a gift to me from my niece who has moved away. She was trying to find a letter jacket like the one Michael Jackson wore in “Thriller.” She couldn’t find one like it. The fact that she would even try to find one for me means the world to me. That is why I cannot live without it.

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

This project means a lot to me because I never wore clothes that would define me as feminine. Although I am female, I feel more comfortable in a suit and tie as opposed to a dress and heels. I feel that everyone should be comfortable in what they choose to wear regardless of gender.

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

I had several favorite moments from the photo shoot. The first one was watching the excitement in Liz LaVorgna’s (photographer) facial expressions as she showed us all the different spots we would be shooting. My second favorite moment was in the solo shoot when she found a piece of equipment that matched my beanie and us both being excited about that. My third favorite moment was in the group photo shoot and her lining everyone up in a certain way that only she could envision.


HB_28

HB Lozito

Occupation: Executive Director at Green Mountain Crossroads; Founding Collective Member at HomoPromo
Outfit: Vest, Dickies. Glasses, Warby Parker. Hoodie, Carhartt. Belt, Howard’s Leather. Buckle, Liberty Tool. Pants, Old Navy. Shoes, Fluevog.
Outfit sobriquet: My Sister’s Wedding’s Shoes
Song that best describes your look: “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis
Whose wardrobe would you raid?

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s for the cosmic ties!

Where are your favorite places to shop?

Clothing swaps, thrifting, the LL Bean Outlet store close to my mom’s house

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

Hats. I wear a hat every day. Actually, this photo shoot is the first day I haven’t worn a hat since at least 2006. I have always loved hats! When, as a kid, I discovered that the world of hats is broader than baseball caps, I never looked back.

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

Two things pushed me to participate: I think Liz (the photographer) is amazing and I was excited to work together. And two, I also personally enjoy exploring my own sense of style and clothes that make me feel good. I think it’s vital for folks to be able to wear clothes that make them feel good and that fit their bodies in the way they want their clothes to fit which, as a working class, fat, rural, genderqueer person is not always easy for me to find!

And then there’s the thing that nearly kept me from participating. While it is exciting, for me personally, to see growth in masculine-leaning gender non-conforming clothing lines/fashion related things (Scout’s Honor, St. Harridan, Sharpe Suiting, Jack Tar 207) because it’s what I like to wear, I frequently find myself asking the question,”If these clothing lines/projects claim to be androgynous/for everyone/busting gender stereotypes, why aren’t there trans women involved?” Actually, I find myself asking that question about most projects, fashion-related or not. Just replace “clothing lines” with well, pretty much anything. I am consistently surprised (read: not surprised) when I discover that what many folks mean when they say phrases like “androgynous bodies” is every body but trans women’s bodies.

I felt like I owed it to myself to participate in this project for me (to have fun, to feel good in my body, to do a photo shoot in Vermont!). And that I would also be rightly really critical of myself if I did not attempt to bring attention to the lack of trans women involved in these (and other) projects. I should mention that I just learned that QWear is hosting a fashion shoot on Nov. 15, specifically looking for trans women.

Clothes like the ones I’m wearing in this shoot are what make me feel good (and could also be what makes anyone else including trans women feel good!). But showcasing masculinity isn’t the only, or I would argue even the primary, way we should be celebrating people tearing up/playing with/experiencing/living/performing gender.

What I’m saying is: ugh patriarchy, size-ism, and misogyny. YAY more people finding clothes that work for their bodies, that are affordable, and mostly MORE TRANS WOMEN.

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

We did this shoot in The Brooks House which is a building in downtown Brattleboro, VT that burned and has been closed since early 2011. It recently opened some of its spaces again to the public (several restaurants, and two colleges in addition to living spaces) and I loved that we got to go into places that I’ve never been into in that building! It’s a special place for our town and was great to be able to shoot there.


Cyrene_19

Cyrene Blanchard / Shameless DeVille

Age: 28
Occupation: Chef; Drag king; Ms. Lesbian of Western MA
Outfit: Jacket, OBEY. Shirt, H&M. Pants, jogger. Shoes, zip down combat boots. Watch, Newbury Comics.
Outfit sobriquet: Urban Chic
Song that best describes your look: “Fashion Killa” by A$AP Rocky
Whose wardrobe would you raid?

Usher

Where are your favorite places to shop?

Forever 21, H&M, Newbury Comics

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

Earrings/plugs/gauges

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

My entire life I’ve always had low self-esteem. I was shy and insecure. To have people and photographers interested in using me for this project means the world to me. Knowing I’ve overcome and grown out of my childhood insecurities feels amazing!

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

My favorite part of the photo shoot was meeting the stylist’s daughter. She is a 7-year-old girl that very much reminds me of myself growing up. She’s happier and more herself in masculine clothing. She owns it and she rocks it, I admire her for that.


Silas_6

Silas

Age: 43
Occupation: Lawyer — but I only use my powers for good
Outfit: Glasses, FACES. Shirt, JC Penny. Pants, LL Bean. Socks, Sams Outdoor Outfitters, Boots, LL Bean.
Outfit sobriquet: College Prep
Song that best describes your look: “She Blinded Me with Science” by Thomas Dolby
Whose wardrobe would you raid?

Ellen DeGeneres

Where are your favorite places to shop?

LL Bean, UNIQLO

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

Fun and comfortable socks

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

It was fun to go for a ‘look’ as opposed to what I need to wear on a daily basis at the office (suits) or stacking wood. It made me think about how I can ‘dress for fashion’, close the gap between high end and everyday wear but still reflect who I am on the inside.

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

The camaraderie within the group and the photo shoot up on the roof of the Brooks House.


Credits:

Photographer: Liz LaVorgna
Location: Brooks House

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16 Comments

  1. I am a huge fan of this series, but I have to say, I’m pretty disappointed that this column features “Vermont,” however its models all seem to be from out of state. There is a huge queer community here (yes I am a native Vermonter) that could have been represented, yet for the most part, it appears that the models were imported from Northampton and other locales.

  2. OMG. Please do all of my clothes shopping for me. I would wear down vests and flannel all year round if weather permitted.
    Also- I love all the Goodwill love here. So many times i can’t relate to articles about fashion because I just can’t afford the stuff they’re wearing.
    Also- HB Lozito- can we please raid Neil deGrasse Tyson’s wardrobe together for cosmic ties, please??
    Seriously. I normally HATE shopping for clothes. But this has inspired me to actually do some clothing shopping.

  3. Everyone here looks awesome. Live for plaid.

    Cyrene’s interview had this section.

    “What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

    Earrings/plugs/gauges”

    I wholeheartedly agree. But Cyrene didn’t give a why…i can give my why for never going without a gauge – My cousin told me my ear looked like a Cats bum hole when I didn’t have it in! She’s a gem.

  4. I want to personally thank and honor HB Lozito for their acknowledgment of how these “queer” shoots too often mean AFAB and how androgynous queer style is almost always code for AFAB bodies. How DapperQ combines trans men, bois and butch women together is, from my perspective, problematic and continues a coalition which classically follows the marginalization of trans women in a lot of queer communities. I’m am glad they’re finally having a fashion shoot involving trans women-spectrum persons… it’s about time and long past overdue. HB is, to my mind, the first person in this long running series who even bothered to bring up the issue.

    • We were so honored to feature HB’s amazing style. dapperQ, as well as the He Said/We Said project, always welcomes masculine and androgynous women to model in shoots or submit individual fashion profiles. (One of our favorite dapper trans women was included on our 100 most stylish list of 2014.) As a group of volunteers with full-time jobs in other fields running the site on our free time, we rely on volunteer models to respond to our online calls to participate (we do not pay models for participation) or reader nominations for style lists. Please feel free to submit at dapperQ [at] gmail [dot] com

  5. All of these folks are total babes. I like the age diversity. It’s nice to see queers who are a little older than 20 to 30 age bracket. HB Lozito makes some really good points about androgynous fashion. I also want to steal HB Lozito’s shoes.

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