For DapperGirl, style is all that belongs in the closet

DapperGirl owner Molly Barrett.
DapperGirl owner Molly Barrett.
Jessica Christie

When she set out to create the online clothing retailer DapperGirl, Molly Barrett drew from her own experience, and the difficulty she encountered finding clothes that fit. But "fit" wasn't just about the physical aspect -- Barrett wanted her clothes to encapsulate her style, personality and who she was -- inside and out. "I saw a need," Barrett says of her own search for more gender-versatile clothing. "I was looking for clothes that present as masculine and fit women well."

And so DapperGirl was born, and this Saturday, May 5, the site will officially launch with a full range of suits, vests, blazers, button-ups and more. Offering what Barrett calls the "quintessential power presentation, but for women," DapperGirl will carry masculine styles with feminine detailing on cuffs and collars, along with fits and sizes made for women's bodies.

"For me personally -- and I think this is something true for a lot of lesbians -- as I started coming out, I found that my fashion has changed a lot," Barrett says. With that in mind, she built DapperGirl's collection with an eye to making it a place where she herself would shop.

Though certainly not the first apparel retailer of its kind, Barrett believes that DapperGirl has zeroed in a clientele that has been neglected. "There are some lesbian-owned and -operated sites that sell apparel, but it's primarily specialized -- like bow ties and tailored suits," she explains. While Barrett thinks these sites are beneficial to the community she's serving, she says she still sees an opening for a head-to-toe retailer that is reasonably priced.

Barrett hand-picks the items sold on DapperGirl from overseas designers, but as the business grows, she wants to base future inventory on customer feedback. Logos are minimal or non-existent on the pieces, since she thinks its not important for DapperGirl to be a brand unto itself -- instead, it's designed to be a resource for women who want to find great clothes.

Barrett herself is a walking billboard; the keenly dressed owner of DapperGirl sees every public outing as an opportunity to tell others about the retail site. And she's an excellent advertisement.

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