October 15, 2019 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

L.A.-based Sharpe Suiting Offers Gender-Neutral Apparel

If you’re a queer, non-binary, or gender-neutral person who’s ever had to enter a formal environment, you’ll most likely be familiar with this struggle: You want to appear professional and respectful, and you want to be taken seriously.

But you also don’t want to have to compromise your identity and sense of well-being just for the sake of some clothes. And you certainly don’t want to have to feel like you’re in “work drag” or even “wedding drag” all the time. For those of us who already feel like we’ve spent a good deal of our lives wearing clothes that simply didn’t fit who we were, having to go back into that headspace can be triggering.

So why aren’t there more companies that cater to those of us who want to step out in style without putting on drag? A few years ago, a big deal was made out of Rae Tutera’s Bindle & Keep, a bespoke tailoring company based out of New York City specializing in gender-neutral styles and meeting an unexpectedly high demand. The West Coast equivalent of Tutera’s business model is L.A.’s own Sharpe Suiting, an outfit (pardon the pun) created and run by Leon Wu, whose approach to suiting is nothing short of revolutionary.

Since opening in 2013, Sharpe has collected “4000+ body metrics from over 250 clients, both women and men” and has “developed a revolutionary new gender-neutral sizing standard,” as Sharpe told Autostraddle. Not only does Sharpe believe that fashion has a lot to do with a person’s identity, he feels that clothing doesn’t essentially need to be broken down into the traditional binary of male and female. Instead, Sharpe uses his own system of measurement that’s fine-tuned and highly customizable to reflect the customer’s personality and taste, not their gender.

“For hundreds of years,” Sharpe Suiting’s website explains, “tailors around the world have used Anthropometrics, the study of human measurement, to design clothing for men and women, clearly delineating the two. At Sharpe, we developed Andropometrics — our patented way of measuring the body to create a more masculine or feminine silhouette, reflecting your style and identity. Based directly on real measurements from our many clients, we know how to suit you.”

Andropometrics is about personal style and body movement. It also puts the control into the hands of the customer rather than working from an arbitrary gender standard.

“Bridging the gap between menswear and womenswear is going to have a large social impact in that it defines the acceptance of queer identities, as well as advancing gender equality in the larger straight community,” Wu told the Huffington Post. His point is already being proven daily in the news with talk of gender discrimination and harassment exposing the huge inequalities in the American workplace.

The importance of fashion seems to grow stronger in our culture every day. We’re already told from a young age that “clothes make the man.” But what if the man, or woman, or non-binary individual, had a bit more control over what they wanted their clothes to say?

Related Posts

“The L Word” Gang Moves to Silverlake?!

February 26, 2019

February 26, 2019

And 9 other exclusive reveals about the reboot season of “The L Word” Fans of “The L Word” rejoiced last...

GAY L.A. COLUMN: Meet You On the Other Side

December 19, 2018

December 19, 2018

Remembering L.A.’s last great piano bar. Earlier this month, the New York Times ran a profile of Steve Ross, one...

10 of the Best Trans Resources in L.A. County

October 29, 2018

October 29, 2018

With the recent news that the Trump administration plans to define us out of existence, compiled with the revelation of...

The Radicalized foundation of PRIDE for the LGBTQ+ Community

October 12, 2018

October 12, 2018

Considered a more radical LGBTQ+ activist group, Personal Rights in Defense and Education (PRIDE), was founded in 1966 and paved...

Los Angeles, Get Ready for Lamda LitFest!

September 28, 2018

September 28, 2018

The second annual Lambda LitFest Los Angeles is just around the corner! Designed to celebrate contemporary voices honoring and expanding...

Omar Rivero Seeks Democratic Answer to Fox News

October 23, 2017

October 23, 2017 2

Omar Rivero wants to use the same tactics as Fox News to break down the Trump administration.

An Elliott Smith Brunch Experience in LA? You Betcha

April 20, 2017

April 20, 2017 148

In Silver Lake, of course!

50th Anniversary of Black Cat demonstration celebrated tonight in Silverlake

February 11, 2017

February 11, 2017 235

While the Cooper Donuts action preceded The Black Cat as the earliest protest in Los Angeles’ LGBT history, a civil rights...

Where Harry met Rudi, Chuck and Bob and Dale…

October 8, 2015

October 8, 2015 85

⚫ BY WES JOE  Not code for an organized crime initiation or the name of a Eurasian land feature –...