Submitted by Nigel Whitfield, BLUF webmaster, Nigel, aka SubDirectory (3), 09 November 2011
Often, when I’m out and about in bars, the subject of leather comes up. When it does, I don’t leap in and say “I’m the BLUF webmaster.” Instead, it’s interesting to listen to what people say, especially if matters do turn to BLUF.
And when they do, very often there’s a perception that BLUF is a club that’s probably not for them, because they can’t afford the full leather Tom of Finland look, or they feel that existing members will look down at them if they don’t have all the right gear.
In my view – and I accept that some people might have different ones; I can’t speak for every single BLUF member you might have bumped in to – that’s simply not the case.
The stuff of fantasy
Yes, we have a fairly strict dresscode for BLUF; we still turn away many more members than we accept, overwhelmingly because applicants don’t seem to have read it at all. You’d be surprised by how many people think a cock shot or a rubber T shirt meets a dresscode that says “Leather uniform” and “No nudity.”
For many of our members, a full outfit from somewhere like Langlitz or VK79 is something they aspire to; there’s no doubt these bits of leather gear can look stunning on many men, and they’re certainly the stuff of fantasy for many of us.
But they’re also expensive, and they’re not all that BLUF is about. You really don’t need to break the bank to become a member; it’s possible to get together enough kit to meet our dresscode without using up all your savings.
Get the look
BLUF is the Breeches AND Leather Uniform Fanclub; that is, breeches aren’t a requirement for membership; and if you are wearing them, they don’t have to be leather. But our definition of breeches does include the ‘balloons’ on the side, so a pair of jodphurs doesn’t cut the mustard. So if you have an RCMP uniform with breeches, that’s perfectly ok. Or, you can find a pair of fabric breeches on sites like eBay – I have a pair of East German ones that cost me $19.95 Add a dress shirt, leather tie, belt and a jacket, and if it looks ‘uniform’ enough, then it meets our dresscode.
The BLUF dresscode doesn’t specify that a uniform has to be authentic, but we do require more than just a pair of leather jeans, and a shirt that has an SFPD patch on the shoulder. So the more elements you can add, the better – a sam browne belt, leather tie, cap, and gloves all help make things look smarter and more like a uniform. You don’t necessarily have to have all of them, but you do need more than the bare minimum. And most of those accessories can also be found by careful shopping online, at prices considerably lower than if you go to your local fetish store.
As long as you don’t get carried away, eBay is a great place to pick up bits of uniform, or police biker gear – remember that ordinary bike leathers aren’t in our dresscode, but police bike gear is. Some outfits, like the green German Polizei bike leathers, command a hefty premium, so why not look around for some of the less well known uniforms instead?
We’ll offer more tips for succeeding on eBay in another article, but always remember that, no matter how much you want something, there’ll be another one available sooner or later. Don’t pay over the odds, and don’t believe you absolutely must have that particular piece of kit. Be patient – it took me a couple of years to get the two parts of my UK Police Crusader leather outfit, but worth the wait – including postage, total cost for the jacket and trousers was under £80. Add £7 for a cotton uniform shirt, and a leather tie and boots to complete the look. The most expensive part of the whole outfit when I go out? The leather tie from RoB.
Of course, if you decide you absolutely must have a custom made outfit from one of the most well known of the leather makers, it’s not going to come cheap. But it’s not a requirement for BLUF, and while we have plenty of members in Langlitz and VK79, we have many more with police uniforms, and other leather gear, that hasn’t cost them an arm and a leg.
I can’t deny it if anyone tells me they’ve met BLUF members who are stand-offish, or fixated on exactly where you bought your leathers. However, you’ll find the same in most parts of the scene, including rubber guys who think made to measure is where it’s at, or gay skins who obsess about who’s a “real skin.” It would, I think, be hard to find any subculture that doesn’t have some participants who are convinced that they’re “more authentic” than others.
But what I can say is that you’ll also find plenty of friendly people at our parties, willing to talk to newcomers, and not just judge them instantly by the gear they wear. Many in London have told me that they’re some of the most social events on the leather scene, and a good alternative to the sex or music-focussed commercial nights that abound these days.
So, if you’re interested in joining BLUF and want to take the plunge, take a closer look at our dresscode. By all means save up for the likes of Langlitz and VK79 if you want. But remember that you don’t have to, and we’ll make you just as welcome in any leather uniform.