Editor’s note: we had a bit of a scheduling blip last week, but we are back on track! You can expect a new installment of Coat Check every other week.
Reade Wolcott is a songwriter, producer, & musician living in Los Angeles, CA. From the studio to the stage, she’s worked with an ever-growing list of artists, including Goldfinger, Skatune Network, and her own band, We Are The Union, who just released their new record Ordinary Life. Reade is also a trans woman, who came out in an interview in Spin magazine in a profile written by me. I was so honored to help tell her story there and was so excited to check in with her again about the most important thing in the world to me: Jackets. Let’s go.
INTO: Are you ready to talk about jackets?
Reade Wolcott: I’m so ready.
Because I feel like you kind of have an iconic jacket look sort of established already.
I do. It’s, it’s funny. Like, I have one now. But the original leather/pleather jacket vibes were actually all borrowed. A lot of my earlier fashion was actually borrowed from my girlfriend who has kind of stylized my entire character and helped me figure out what I wanted to do and helped get me there. So a lot of those jackets in the videos and all the photoshoots, like a lot of that is actually Rae’s (Rae Mystic, Wolcott’s partner and photographer/stylist). Yeah, it’s funny. They were literally photographers, stylists, makeup artists, absolutely everything, and they kind of taught me everything that I know. But I’ve always gravitated towards that sort of look.
“I’ve always been weirdly attached to like Joan Jett, that kind of look and vibe. It felt incredible to step into that.”
How did that feel to embody that for the first time?
Oh, it was amazing, it was incredible. I mean, I’ve always, even before I knew I was trans, been weirdly attached to like Joan Jett, that kind of look and vibe. It felt incredible to kind of step into that and, you know, look at pictures from those shoots and look at the videos and be like, wow, this is a look that I’ve been obsessed with forever. And I didn’t really know why. But once I stepped into it, it was like, oh, it’s because this is what I want to look like.
When you were thinking about coming out, did you run through various looks in your mind like, maybe I’ll do this or maybe I should do that?
Yes, but also it was very meandering. If it weren’t for Rae, I don’t think I would have executed it very well. I think I would have ended up in this Hot Topic shopper look because I didn’t quite have the skills or the knowledge to execute it myself, if that makes sense. And Rae was kinda like, okay, here’s what you want actually, and I’m super thankful for that because it was like, oh, okay, this is actually what I envisioned. Yes, this is correct.
So they saw something in you and were like, Okay, well, here’s how we achieve success here.
Yeah. Taught me everything I know
I mean, it’s funny I had this feeling when I first came out of well I’ll either go denim jacket lesbian or leather jacket lesbian, it sometimes feels like those are the two dominant archetypes, especially when you’re first coming out.
I also think it’s interesting that now that you’ve been able to go from here’s a character I portrayed in my coming out video to that character sort of becoming real life.
Yeah, definitely. And when I say character, I more so mean the sense of, you know, for every single high profile band or artists that we see, there’s a stylist, there is somebody who is like, okay, you want to look like this? Got it. They helped refine that image. And so it’s almost more of that kind of situation where it’s like, I use the word “character,” but I use it very loosely. It’s very much like, a real-life embodiment of an esoteric brain image. It’s how I dress pretty much every day now, it’s very much become what feels comfortable and what feels right. And what feels, you know, like I look in the mirror and I’m like, Yep, that’s right.
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Do you have a story or anything around the first time you put on what is, again, a now-iconic look for you? Do you have a memory of that time?
Yeah, the funny thing is, in the early days when we were really just kind of working on it, I was so dissociated. I dissociated almost fully from pretty much from when we shot the music videos and when we were going through the looks for that, pretty much until the record came out. Like a solid two months, where I was just completely, completely not present. I wasn’t able to be and I was just kind of, I have to just do this and get through it, and then we’ll process it on the other side. And so the feelings didn’t really come until later. Until I was able to—and this happens to me always with my art—step back from it and return a couple of months later once I was not so attached to it, and so in it. That’s when I was like, Oh my god, I actually, I did it. You know, I actually was able to live with this thing that I’ve always wanted. You know, whether I actively knew it was a desire or not. But yeah, it was. It was just an overwhelming feeling of confused excitement. Just like, I can’t believe we got to the end of this, and it turned out how I wanted.
“I was never a very fashion-centric person until I came out. And now it’s like, I can’t stop.”
That’s beautiful. I love that. Were there trans women that you saw that had a style, especially in terms of jackets, did you have somebody that you were like, Oh, yeah, that’s the vibe that I want to go for?
Honestly, no, it really was Joan Jett. I mean, it really is. She’s just always been like, the icon for me to look that I like kind of feel like I most modeled myself after, before I knew I was trans. I was obsessed, and I didn’t know why. You know? And that’s really been it. It’s been very Joan Jett. Like through and through. So as far as trans women, honestly, no, no, I was never a very fashion-centric person until I came out. And now it’s like, I can’t stop. It was almost like I didn’t allow myself to be interested in it. And it kind of became a focus after I came out. Like, if we started to incorporate those skills and started to be like, oh, now I’m starting to really refine and starting to look around and be like, okay, who do I find inspiration from, you know?
Well, that’s an interesting thing, too, because now that you’ve been out for a little while, how are you finding inspiration from like, especially other trans people that you know and see around now that you’re able to allow yourself to live in that space? Are you finding new inspiration and any of that?
Yeah. This is gonna be awkward, but every, every time you post a selfie, I’m like, Yeah, that’s a great look. So that’s one for sure. 100%
I can’t wait to keep that quote in.
Honestly, like, for real? But yeah, I mean, I honestly look to you. I love and I don’t know that I can pull it off, but I I love Laura [Jane Grace]. I love Laura’s just like no fucks given, just super simple. I love that vibe. I don’t draw inspiration from it in terms of like, what I want to do, I draw inspiration from it in terms of wow, Laura is executing a vibe flawlessly. Truly iconic.
Yeah, absolutely. It’s been an interesting one to watch, too. I think of my own transition of when I started, how I was in very much a different space, in terms of like, my personal vibe, than I am now. And I remember like reading the Rolling Stone article where Laura came out and seeing her style, and then seeing it now, I love it. It’s great. It totally works.
Yeah, it really does. And there’s another not necessarily somebody that I draw inspiration from in terms of like, specific fashion, but are you familiar with Plastic Martyr at all?
Yeah, I, I think Plastic Martyr is another person who I like to just as like a generally fashionable person. I’m like, Oh, my God, she looks amazing all the time.
How does it feel to allow yourself to think about fashion and about what do I want to look like?
It’s an incredible feeling to look at people and allow myself that thought of, Oh, is there something that I can draw from this? Is there something that I can incorporate into my own personal fashion and again, I’m so new to it, that it’s all very, my baby stepping into it, you know, it feels really free to be able to be able to look at to be able to look at women’s fashion and be like, yeah, that’s something that I want to do. I’m still trying to wrap my head around shoes. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it.
Do you have a dream jacket? Is there a jacket in your head that you haven’t found yet but is like the holy grail for you?
There’s a jacket that I wore actually all of MAGfest weekend that I worked for probably a full calendar year when I had accepted my identity but hadn’t really started transitioning yet. It is a am obnoxiously loud leopard print denim jacket that was covered in, like horror movie pins And I just loved that jacket so much. But it’s very much a men’s jacket. So, you know, it doesn’t it doesn’t really suit my vibe anymore. That was like the first thing that I ever bought that I was like, well, maybe I’ll try something that looks like a little bit interesting. You know? And I would love a version of that jacket that was a women’s cut, you know? They’re hard to find, I find I find a lot of like, moto cut, but I want a crop denim leopard print jacket. That’s what I want.
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around shoes. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it.”
Okay, I’ll keep my eyes out for one
But there’s something about the quality of that specific jacket. It was just like, you know, there are so many denim jackets that feel cheap and feel like they don’t quite wear right. But something about that jacket just felt very, like. feel very comforting. In a way. It was very comfortable to wear but also I would see myself in it and be like, people are probably going ‘What the fuck is that person doing wearing that jacket?’ And that’s kind of one of my favorite vibes, confusion from other people. I love that.
I always think the right jacket feels like home, but the wrong one feels so uncomfortable. You sort of alluded to this already. But just before you came out, were you trying to push to well, how far can I can I push my fashion sense within the confines of like, traditionally accepted cis masculinity?
Absolutely. Yeah. 100% Yeah, like I essentially started, you know, somewhat subconsciously, but also later on, it became very conscious, I started trying to dress like a lesbian. Or at least what I thought that meant, you know? Before I even really started transitioning at all, that was when I started allowing myself little moments of okay, what if I wore something, you know, that looks like what I think this person is, and of course, it was baby steps. And it was still like, men’s cut jackets and stuff. But you know, eventually that became like, slightly more cropped jackets. And now here we are.
Living the dream.
It was that leopard print and then there was also a black, another denim jacket. That was black with gray paisley. I wore the shit out of that jacket.
Do you have, I know the record just came out but do you have other stuff you want to promote?
Yeah, I mean, you know, the record. Ordinary Life is streaming everywhere. Fourth pressing vinyl is on sale now, which is very exciting. Amazing. We got that far. I mean, yeah. And it’s like, you know, it’s already like, over halfway gone. We’ve got shows coming up in the winter. Fingers crossed, hopefully, Delta allowing.♦
Photo: Rae Mystic