Happy day after Valentine’s Day! I’ve been dying to get into the homes of these three couples whose style I admire, and took this occasion to do it! They are living a life of romance and fashion, people. And in many instances, interior design. Because a person’s style gets all over everything, it can’t be helped! Am I making sense? I overslept and my coffee isn’t working yet. Here we go!
Sarah Northrup (L) and Heidi Petty (R) live in a magical little cottage in a rainy neighborhood. Sarah is a stylist and does hair at Cowboys and Angels and last time she covered my grey she was wearing this amazing long swishy skirt and a flannel with little like ties on the shoulder or something – it wasn’t your normal flannel. And great big shoes. Heidi sort of looks like Freja Beha Erickson, that model everyone’s nuts about. Come to think of it, no one has ever seen Heidi and Freja in the same room . . . hmmmm. Heidi is a cinematographer and had been shooting a band all morning. She also is on the verge of being an actress after Sarah forced her to wait in line for three hours in hope of being an extra in Steven Soderbergh’s next film. And she got called back! She’s probably going to have to die of a gnarly plague virus in the streets of San Francisco. Okay, now that you know all their business let’s move on.
IBC: How long have you been together?
HEIDI: Almost two years.
IBC: Do you remember what each other were wearing when you met each other?
HEIDI: I remember what I was wearing. I honestly just remember her face. I was so nervous, I could barely – I remember you were wearing the necklace. She was wearing this locket and I was nervous and it was one of those things that I was like, “Oh what’s this?!?!” (lunges at Sarah) Do you remember what I was wearing?
SARAH: Probably skinny jeans, Chelsea boots and a big shirt. I was wearing cut-off shorts and tights and boots and a kind of crocheted top.
IBC: How as your style changed since you’ve been together?
HEIDI: It’s definitely evolved more because of her. She does a huge blog crawl and I’ll peek because we’ll be working together. Or, I’ll wear one of her jackets, and I’ll be like, Oh, I like the shape of this. It looks different on me than on her.
SARAH: We share a lot of the same clothes. It’s hard to put a finger on how my style has changed. Because we have a small place, if I bring something in I bring some things out. I only have things I really love.
HEIDI: I feel a little bolder in what I wear. We boost each other.
SARAH: We vibe each other.
IBC: What’s your favorite piece of each other?
SARAH: My favorite thing I got her. I get her a lot of stuff but the things I like most is probably this shirt she’s wearing. It’s new. And this shirt I’m wearing is hers.
HEIDI: I think my favorite thing you’ve been wearing is the flowy, long skirts with the Kate Bush t-shirt and the turban. She leaves before me and it’s always nice to see her done up. Oh, and when she wears her really high heels! But those make me feel something different, so I don’t know . . .
Aren’t they so totally cute? Emily and Channing live in Oakland, but the got together in Missouri. And their names are Emily, and Channing. Which I think predisposed them to cuteness. Some day soon they will wed!
IBC: How long have you been together?
EMILY: Just over four years.
IBC: Do you remember what you were wearing when you met?
EMILY: I don’t remember when we first met, but Channing used to work at a vintage clothes store, as the manager, so he was probably wearing something wacky. My friend was trying to sell some clothes and he said they smelled and had boogers on them.
CHANNING: They did smell and have boogers on them. Emily and I were in the same scene, that’s why we don’t remember the first time we met. It was probably in some crowd.
IBC: How has your style evolved through your relationship?
CHANNING: As Emily would happily or unhappily tell you, I dress a lot more boring than I used to.
EMILY: You used to have a lot of cool cat vests.
CHANNING: I used to be the manager of a second hand store / costume shop, and my then-fiance was the owner. None of us really got paid that much so we could take what we wanted and bring it back. I didn’t have a grown-up job. When I moved out to California a lot of things influenced me dressing a lot more boring. I wanted to reinvent myself. I also didn’t have access to a lot of early 90s womens’ blazers. I think I wore a lot of ill-fitting secretary clothes.
EMILY: When Channing moved out here he decided his style inspiration would be 90s dad, which is cool unless you grew up in the 90s and had a dad. Then it’s not cool.
CHANNING: Emily’s a punk rocker. She’s a crust punk. So she wears all her same clothes all the time. Nowadays I describe my style as ‘casual professional’. I like a blank t-shirt.
EMILY: You’re trying to look like a grownup. Boring! I sit at a desk at my job and I wear wacky clothes.
CHANNING: Yeah, but you hate your job.
EMILY: That’s true. I’m a test administrator. So, I watch people take standardized tests all day, which is pretty boring. But I’m also in grad school for library science.
IBC: What are your favorite pieces of clothing of each other?
CHANNING: Emily doesn’t have any because I dress so boring now.
EMILY: Wait, I’m supposed to say that! I like your snowman sweater. Which Channing only allows himself to wear inside the house.
CHANNING: When I’m sick. It has these pockets that open in different ways. Basically Emily is mad because when I moved out here I stopped dressing 90s mom and started dressing 90s dad.
EMILY: All your shirts look alike. Boring! I actually like this dream catcher shirt. I made this for Channing.
EMILY: Can I tell the story of the dream catcher shirt? Channing has nipple hairs that kind of hang down in a dream ctaher fashion and so he calls them his dream catchers. So I made him this shirt so everyone could see his dream catchers, in a more abstract way.
CHANNING: It’s funny because people will look at the shirt and think they’re strippers’ pasties, or championship ribbons.
CHANNING: This is a favorite piece of Emily’s. Did you just find this in a van or something?
EMILY: No, it’s my friend’s band from high school.
EMILY: That’s the one I found in a van. And I tie-dyed it. I used to live in a house, the guy who owned it was a sort of hoarder. He had a lot of stuff, including a van that was filled with clothing. Me and my friend went through it and picked out clothes and dyed it.
K.M Soehnlein (Karl, being dipped) is the author of a bunch of books, including the Lambda-award winning The World of Normal Boys, and it’s recent follow-up, Robin and Ruby. Kevin Clarke (the dipper) is a graphic designer, a painter, and an actor whose performance in the play Bent once made me cry.. Together they are a super stylish dynamic duo and also of the funnest couples ever.
IBC: How long have you been together?
KEVIN: Officially coming up on twelve years.
KARL: We had the famous eight-month flirting with no contact.
KEVIN: We were sort of interested and stalking each other and not fucking.
KARL: We went to see Bride of Frankenstein at the Castro and I sat between my ex-boyfriend and Kevin, who I wanted to be my next boyfriend.
KARL: Wash N Dri. As our friend Johnny said, Everything in the neighborhood has been gentrified but that laundromat.
IBC: Do you remember what each other was wearing?
KEVIN: I remember what he was folding, he still has it. A pale yellow t-shirt with cut-off sleeves with green fuzzy iron-on letters that say COACH.
KARL: On one side it said COACH and on the other it said STYKERS. With a Y.
KEVIN: (The next time Kevin saw Karl) He was wearing kelly green coach shorts.
KARL: Gym shorts.
KEVIN: But they were high. He was sitting there in the Dolores Park Cafe working on Normal Boys and I just saw this thigh, and I was like, well . . .
KARL: I remember spotting you at gay pride with your shirt off. But that’s what you weren’t wearing.
KEVIN: I would go to Faye’s Video to get two cups of coffee, I would figure out when he’d be leaving for work and I would put on these cute little outfits. I remember one day putting on overalls after some email exchange about ‘the farm boy around the corner.’
KARL: You might have been the only boy in San Francisco to get a date wearing overalls.
IBC: How has your fashions evolved throughout your relationship?
KARL: I would say Kevin is a little less clowny than he used to be.
KEVIN: I wear theatrical clothing.
KARL: I’ve probably gotten a little more theatrical in my clothing because of him. I now own a cape. One of the big differences between us and our clothes is I actually don’t buy a lot of clothes, especially not top dollar. Kevin is more extravagant. I’m more of a peasant.
KEVIN: I’ll buy stuff and just wait for when my hair will be able to pull it off.
KARL: Two-thirds of all clothing storage space in this house belongs to Kevin.
KEVIN: Most of the time when we leave the house to any event we look at each other and say, We are not in the same movie. We look mismatched. But we’re not glued together when we go out at all.
KARL: Kevin wears fruity pants.
KARL: I was thinking about this today. I have this philosophy, which is If you go out you have to make an effort. I think a lot of guys just don’t.
KEVIN: Make an effort. Put something on.
KARL: Last year he started buying old ladies’ sequined dresses and cutting them up and sewing sequined panels onto menswear.
KEVIN: You want it always to be a surprise to pull out a sequined thing. You do it once, so its not like, “Oh, he’s the always-going-to-be-wearing-sequins-guy.”
(At this point Kevin reveals that he scored a Miu Miu suit for cheap somewhere, but will not share where.)
KEVIN: It’s expensive, though. There were a pair of Gucci – I call them jellybean shoes. It’s a men’s shoe that’s just a big shape with a point at the toe. For 300 bucks, and of course they were 1,000!
KARL: We went to Ver Unica on Hayes Street and I tried it on and it fit perfectly. It was like 80, 90 or 100 dollars, and I was like, if I love it I’ll come back for it. And I did love it, but I never went back for it. Six months later it showed up wrapped, because Kevin got it for me!
KEVIN: I went back and brokered a deal with Ver Unica. Like, if he comes in, let him have it so he won’t be sad.
KARL: We’ve learned a lot about men’s neckwear knotting. That’s actually how our fashion has changed. More intricate neckwear. That’s where our fashion has gone.