Abstract

In the past several years, a flurry of queer fashion blogs and websites, new brands, and small retailers have emerged that feature clothing and accessories described as “masculine of center.” Targeted toward butch women, trans men, tomboys, genderqueers, and others who desire masculine fashions for bodies not traditionally recognized as male, this new movement in style and design affirms nonconforming gender presentations that are typically excluded from the bi-gendered fashion world. In this article I focus specifically on the sartorial objects of masculine of center style, arguing that they exert an affective pull on viewers, consumers, and wearers, acting as nodal points through which communities and desires cohere. I approach masculine of center fashion as embodied “queer affectation,” highlighting the everyday affective practices of dressing and the entanglements of flesh and fabric in the performative materialization of the gendered, raced, and classed body. While fashion’s revolutionary impact is certainly circumscribed by the neoliberal commodification of identities, I suggest that the queer lines of attachment enabled by masculine of center fashion are never fully predicted by capitalism’s agenda, and thus allow a glimpse of a queerer world organized around the embodied pleasures of and for the aesthetic.

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