Style » Fashion

What to Wear to the Black Party

by Steve Weinstein
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Mar 3, 2011

With "Rites XXXII," the Black Party returns to New York's Roseland Ballroom on Saturday, March 19.

The largest, most notorious fetish- and leather-themed gay dance event in the world, the Black Party has long since passed into legend. If you're thinking of attending, you no doubt have turned your attention to what outfit you're going to wear. Or not wear, since at this party, less is usually more.

So, as a public service, EDGE is giving you a few ideas. Consider them inspiration for clothes. Consider the models inspiration to diet and exercise.

We'll start with a self-professed Black Party newbie being outfitted by New York's leather couturier extraordinaire David Samuel Menkes:

David Menkes' atelier is located at 144 Fifth Avenue, in the teens, on the third floor. Go to the site or call 212-989-3706, because, like any designer, it's by appointment only.

Now, on to the clothes!

Warden Chap Pants

California Muscle is probably my preferred go-to site for fetish clothes. The designs are truly original, often outrageous and always damned sexy. Pleather is also a lot cheaper than leather (and, dare I say it, cruelty free).

I have no idea why this chaps-and-jock combination is called "warden." I don’t remember Queen Latifah wearing them in Chicago. No matter. They’re an all-in-one combination outfit -- and, at $97, a lot cheaper than custom chaps.

Beatcop Short

Again, I’m assuming (hoping!) that these are tongue-in-cheek (take that how you will) names for outfits. No matter. This outfit has the advantage of every part being detachable. Perfect for those in-between-dance jaunts around the hidden nooks and crannies of Roseland.

Male Power Enhancer Bikini

As the name implies, Undergear specializes in underwear, but these days, "underwear" is a pretty malleable concept. What were once referred to as "unmentionables" are now the garment that won’t keep quiet.

Underwear has become not so much a fashion statement as the fashion statement -- the proverbial tail that wags the dog, as it were. Many men wear underwear to the Black Party, and some of those garments cost more than comparable leather items.

This one is especially cool because it’s sheer everywhere but in the crotch. Hey, you’ve got to leave something to the imagination! The "enhancement," of course, is gay fashion-speak for a built-in cock ring. And it’s only $19! If you’re less modest, there’s a thong version; the squarecut-style trunk is also very cool.

Racer Pants

Anyone who’s been to Montreal has made a pilgrimage to Priape. This gay department store specializes in leather and fetish gear and is perhaps the single best source on the planet for this stuff.

You really have to visit the website, but here is one offering. These leather pants have a racing strip running up the side into the ass, which gives a nice line. Maybe that’s why you’ll see so many of them on the dance floor at Roseland.

You’ll also pay for them. Like most leather pants, they don’t come cheap at $349. Quality seldom does.

Latex Jock

There’s nothing sexier than latex, because of the way it clings to the body and its permanent "wet" look. This isn’t really a "jock" in any practical sense of the word; rather, it’s an ass-bearing pair of latex shorts. Terrifically sexy and, at $60, not at all expensive.

Rubber Jock 2.0

The name Nasty Pig pretty much defines the design ethos of this New York-based clothing company.

Rubber jocks: very big. You’re going to see a lot of them on the dance floor this year. Every fabric has its moment, and this is rubber’s. This jock has the right lobo, the right fit and that de rigueur strip running up the crotch line. Only $35.

Double Down Zip Racer

Also from Nasty Pig: These rubber racing shorts front closure and a zipper down to the knee, "for easy access," as the copy notes. Access to what: Use your imagination. $229. While in NYC, you can visit their store in Chelsea.

Neoprene Chaps

In the days leading up to the Black Party, the Leather Man, a Greenwich Village institution on iconic Christopher Street, is mobbed. But you can shop online.

These neoprene chaps are a lot clingier than the leather variety; and, at $195, a lot cheaper.

Neoprene Front Zip Pouch Shorts

Mr. S Leather is a San Francisco institution. Go to the site for a full range of harnesses, cuffs, collars and all that good stuff.

These shorts fit about snugly as anything. The neoprene is very thin, however, so you don’t have to worry about the dreaded scrotum scruntch. But they will show off your "assets" to full advantage. $99.95

Jock, detachable front

All of the jocks at Mr. S. Leather feature a detachable snap front. This is the basic leather jock, a true classic. $119.95

Roman Kilt

Leatherwerks in Fort Lauderdale disproves that notion that leather and the tropics don’t go together. There’s everything you need to outfit yourself for the party here, from top to bottom (!).

It’s impossible to discuss Black Party fashion without a nod to the kilt. I’ve always thought that this was a way more practical item of clothing than pants and am always envious when I see Prince Charles cavorting around the Highlands in his Windsor pattern.

For dancing, these are simply the best. And you can re-use them for a Scottish wedding! This leather model is light, at 5 ounces, and is a bit longer than some kilts, although if provides the same "easy access." $229.

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).


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