Kinky Fashion Report: IML Weekend Chicago, 2012 (NSFW)

Hello Darlings,

Hope you all had a wonderful three day weekend! Memorial Day weekend is a very special thing in Chicago, because we host the INTERNATIONAL MR. LEATHER pageant (aka IML), which is SRS BIZNIS!!! What is International Mr. Leather, you ask? It’s an annual competition where (mostly) gay leathermen compete for the title of International Mr. Leather, of course! It’s kind of like a very homoerotic, kinky version of the Miss America Pageant. (Except not.)

IML is a full four-day event held at the Hyatt (and yes, they rent out the ENTIRE HOTEL for it) full of parties, workshops, pageantry, and lots and lots of hotel room sexxx. I don’t bother with the general festivities, but I try to pay a visit to the Leather Market each year, held in the basement of the hotel. You can buy everything from porn to floggers to sex toys to latex clothing…It’s not for the faint of heart (though it’s open to the public, they check your ID and make you sign a waiver before you can go in), but it’s great fun for people watching!

 The Leather Market is more than an excuse to go shopping, it’s also a social event, meat market, and  exciting pants-optional fashion show! As one of the few women in attendance (accompanied by my guy pal Brazilian Maik), I decided to get a little dressed up for my visit on Sunday. I wore a floor-length black halter dress from Torrid, paired with a black leather and chain chest harness I picked up for a mere $20 from Brown Elephant’s “Leather and Porn” section. Brown Elephant is a thrift store chain in Chicago benefitting the Howard Brown LGBTQ health center, and they have an entire roped-off nook dedicated to gently used leather clothing and dirty books and videos at the Halsted St. store in Chicago’s gay district. Although these harnesses tend to be more popular with men, I think it’s a very flattering look for my boobs. I also  flagged a black hankie in my cleavage, which I mostly used to mop up sweat since it was literally 100 degrees outside. (Read moore about the hankie code and femme flagging here!)

I didn’t do much shopping, but I was very pleased with this charming mustachioed cookie I picked up from Sugar and Vice Bakery as a treat for an absent friend…

Sooo, I didn’t compete in IML, obz, but I did take the stage at Parlour on Clark for the inaugural International Mx Lace competition sponsored by queer dance party magnates Northern Lights! This party was thrown as “A Response to (the) Butch Pageantry” of IML (Mx is a gender-neutral term of address pronounced “Ms,” I think.)

I regrettably didn’t get any good photos of my outfit, but you can see me standing towards the back of the photo in BLUE! I wore a pale blue salsa skirt from Gypsy Streetwear under a butterfly accent royal blue chemise from Fantasy Lingerie, a black PVC corset from Galleria Serpentine, and platform motorcycle boots. The Intl. Mx Lace title went to MsBehaved’s beloved Femmily (shown at far right) who wore a deconstructed stretch lace gown (also from Fantasy Lingerie, she got super creative and turned the sleeves into stockings) with the La Femme harness from Stockroom underneath. Everyone looked so great! You can see more photos from the event over at A/S/L_.

Hope your weekend rocked as much as mine did!

<3 Bianca James

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