Interview with Saint Harridan: Queer Suit Stylists for the Girl in Pants
Saint Harridan: Queer Suit Stylists for the Girl in Pants
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If you've been on social media lately you may have heard about Saint Harridan's pop-up shops taking place all around the country. The Dapper Ladies and Transmen are stopping into queer friendly businesses in your city in an effort to introduce ready-to-wear clothing to the area clientele. Saint Harridan's breast and butter (yes that was on purpose) features premium off-the-rack clothing that is transforming the way queer people don their formal wear, which all too often fits within the description provided by their publicist: "Unfortunately in traditional mens suits, masculine of center women and transmen look less like a bold, barrel chested, business crusader, and more like a child playing dress-up in their father's closet."
So what to do? Saint Harridan has the answer.
They are heading to small and large towns to help masculine of center women dress to impress. I had a chance to sit down (virtually) with Natalie Colblentz, whose email signature cheekily reads "Hustler the 3rd for Saint Harridan." Hustler as in road warrior, rebel, advocate. Meet Natalie.
Thank you for chatting with me today!
Natalie Colblentz: First off, I read your site the other day, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE comedians. (editors note: leaving this shameless plug here).
Thanks Natalie! And I love, love, love people who are moving and shaking to make us all look a little more dapper in tailored clothes. As you probably know, there seems to be a much welcomed influx of suit makers that are targeting the queer community these days. Right off the bat, what makes you different?
Saint Harridan is an off-the-rack company. We aren't tailors as much as we are stylists. We have taken the time to study [queer] bodies and create precise and fitted patterns that fit us uniquely. That started with a narrowing of the shoulder and a widening of the hips. It's our goal that anyone can come into our pop-up shop and order comfortably off the rack.
What gave you the idea for a pop up shop?
We don't have a brick-and-mortar storefront yet, so we wanted to keep innovating. You can look up and order our stuff online, but we wanted to hit our community right where they live. When customers, come into our pop-up shops, they say things like, "This is what we have waited for our whole lives," and "It's so cool to see we've come this far in our lifetime."
Because they're right. We're all so used to sneaking around the men's section. To have clothing that is tailor-made for our bodies, yet still presenting as masculine, is pretty remarkable.
Exactly and that's the other thing that's so great about these pop-up shops. We measure you, so that there's no guess work in what will fit you best. We want you to feel comfortable in your clothes and in your community.
It sounds like there are two options when shopping with you. The ready to wear shirts, but also, the option to have a custom-made suit...
Yes, we have quasi-custom dress shirts, these are shirts that are already taken in to fit a queer body. We provide a friendly measuring system that is available on our website. We also have a tailored suit process, in which we will measure you as well as let you see 500 fabrics to choose from. All in all it usually takes eight to twelve weeks to receive your custom suit.
Wow, 500 fabrics. Why so many?
Well, knowing what you need a suit for is important, right? So is it for a wedding? Your Wedding? Is it for the office? Or just to be fashionable? There's a whole range of things to consider when buying a suit, and our experts will help guide you in the process.
My immediate thought is that it would be great to have a suit that would be cool to wear around L.A. for special events. Do you make all kinds of custom suits, like if I wanted a drop-crotch situation, do you design whatever for your client?
That's a great question. As cool as those are, we only provide classic masculine suits or tuxedo suits. But the fabric we could play with. Plus there's always accessories.
What accessories do you recommend?
We actually carry an accessory line. Bowties, skinny ties, pocket squares, suspenders, you name it. So I recommend ours of course!
My main thing is the shoes. It's hard to find small dress shoes.
I think it's an amazing time for queer fashion, so I'd be remiss not to endorse Nik Kacey and their Kickstarter campaign that's coming up at the end of the month. Their goal is to provide masculine shoes in all styles. They actually joined us in our pop-up shop in Santa Monica.
When can people reading this expect to see you in their city?
We've already stopped in a few cities but we need your help. You can keep up with the pop-up tour via our website, Let us know in the comments below if we're wanted in your city! We will try our hardest to make it happen.
I guess that's where "the hustler" title comes in.
This interview has been edited and condensed.