In our new series, “Stuff I Use,” celebrities and influencers share their shopping styles and the everyday basics that help them get it all done.
Caldwell Tidicue hates shopping. Belovingly known as Bob The Drag Queen, the non-binary performer,podcast host, activist and now fashion designer would rather catch up with a friend or play Super Smash Bros than spend a day galavanting between shops and stores.
“Shopping stresses me out,” Bob,who uses he/him and she/her pronouns, told HuffPost. “Particularly for clothes. I have childhood memories of having to try on clothes at TJ Maxx for hours. It felt like hours, just hours, of trying on clothes at TJ Maxx.”
Thanks to living in New York City for 12 years, Bob said that shopping conjures images of blisters, being too cold outside but too hot in the store (or the other way around) and carrying more bags than there are seasons of “Drag Race.”
“There’s no going back to your car. There’s no place to hold your things. The first thing you buy, you’re still holding it when you buy the last thing,” she said. “A lot of that has carried over with me, here in LA, even though I have a car now. When I go shopping, I want to get the one thing I need.”
Though she’s now become famous for her distinctive style, Bob shared that growing up in Atlanta, she wanted to dress like her peers.
“When I was younger, I was really into, like, trends,” she said. “Like middle school and high school, the trends of the Atlanta young Black scenes. I was wearing race car jackets. I was wearing these like anime shirts, like these button-up shirts with anime all over them. Hawaiian shirts were really big for some reason... I was really into that.”
Ironically, following trends is what inspired Bob to start making her own clothes, in her own style ― something that’s helped her stand out and succeed through her career.
“I got into this one model where it was cool to like, bleach your pants, like customizing your own pants,” Bob said. “It was the first time that it didn’t have to be a label. An old pair of knockoff jeans or cheap jeans or Walmart jeans —you could tie them up and spray paint them, and do all these things to customize your clothes.”
“It’s called House of Bob. We’re gonna drop it in the next couple of months,” she said. “It is size-inclusive, gender nonconforming, it is very comfortable and I’m excited for you all to see it. I get to make clothes that I know I’d wear. I have an out-of-drag aesthetic that I really have a lot of fun playing with.”
As a touring queen and TV star, Bob travels a lot. She prioritizes comfort and function, and would rather call for takeout than make a four-course meal at home. Whether she’s penning new jokes or laying out business plans, Bob keeps everything digital. Not one for notebooks or sticky pads, the self-proclaimed “Google Docs girl” wants it all on one place — her 2018 MacBook Pro. She’s into oral hygiene, audiobooks, plain black socks and quick trips to the big box stores closest to her house.
Most of all, Bob the Drag Queen is encouraging people to be — and dress — as themselves. Though she may hate shopping, Bob cites thrift stores and the gender section you’re not used to shopping as the best places to find unique pieces ― that, and getting yourself a cheap sewing machine and teaching yourself how to sew.
“Fabric is just clothes that have yet to become clothes,” she said.
"All my socks are black, so I never have to match my socks. That's a life hack that people aren't doing enough. All my socks are the same brand, the same kind, the same color. So I never have to match my socks. It changed my life. Truly changed my life.
"The thing about black socks is, you can wear those athletic black socks with, like 'nice' clothes, like if you're dressed up. You can't dress up with a pair of white socks, but you can dress down with a pair of black socks. I usually wear Hanes."
These socks come in men's 6-12, and extended sizes in men's 12-14.
"I don't keep food in the house. Which is expensive, I will say. But even when I wasn't making a lot of money I have always, always eaten out for every meal. I don't know what the deal is. You know, I just didn't grow up in a house with a mom who cooks, so I just never liked cooking. I don't I don't get any amount of joy from cooking. It stresses me out. I would just rather spend the money and have the food show up."
"All we have [in the fridge] is drinks. The top shelf is all this is all soda water. My partner really loves ginger beer. And then he has a lot of almond milk in there." Here's the brand that's currently in Bob's fridge.
"Typically speaking, I don't have a very varied aesthetic, to be honest. Like it's kind of like a non-binary bohemian professor of African American studies at a community college is kind of the vibe that I'm used to going for, or just functionality. Those are the two things. Like I'm going to be working out, so I need some shorts.
"I don't want to tell you because it's so basic and it's not great: I can just go to Target because it's closest to my house. I go to whatever is closest, and I live near a Target. I go to Target, I go to the running clothes section and I buy a couple of shorts."
These shorts come in 13 colors in men's small to 3XL.
"I'll shop online if I see someone wearing a particular bit of athleisure wear or athletic wear that I like. I love this new function that Instagram has, where you can tag like a company, but you can also shop. Like, if you like someone's shorts, just you can buy the shorts right then and there. That's really cool. I love buying online because you just buy things and then like in a week they just show up at your house.
"I do not try clothes on [in stores.] Me and my partner went out shopping at a thrift store, and I saw something I liked and I didn't know if it would fit, and he goes, 'Try it on!' and he was trying on things, and I was like, as a rule, not as a rule, almost every time I do not try things on in stores. It just brings me back to the time, being in that in that dressing room in TJ Maxx, what in my head felt like three hours of putting on 20 pairs of khakis that all look the exact same to me, but my mom swore they were all different. Very different."
"Going to thrift stores is remarkable. Wearing clothes from the past, wearing clothes with stories, wearing clothes that you're also almost positive no one else will be wearing. It's just really fun. Thrift stores are a great place because they have the largest variety. There's no common denominator except 'this is all donated.' Most clothing stores are following some sort of a trend, whereas in the thrift store, it's literally just, 'What can we get that that's been donated to us?'"
"In terms of wanting to step outside of the gender binary and express yourself and have fun with clothing, on a day-to-day level, a simple thing you can do is just try going over to the other aisle. So if you're used to shopping in the 'women's' aisle, go to the 'men's' aisle. If you shop in the 'men's aisle,' go to the women's aisle. You will be shocked at how much it will broaden your horizons and your perspective to the shop in the aisle you're not used to shopping in."
Google Docs for everything, on a much-used MacBook Pro
"I know people who write stuff down, that's very cool and hip of them. I am not one of those girls. I type everything and I put it in a Google Document. I'm a Google Docs girl. I really, really believe in Google Docs. You can share things so easily. I don't really write things down. I have horrible penmanship, half the time I can't even read my own handwriting. I'm very forgetful. I lose things all the time. So I really rely on typing.
"I have a MacBook Pro, it's like 2018 so I probably I'm probably due for a new one. Every once in a while has like a little bit of a problem, just because I use it so frequently, but I mean it's done a lot of work for me over the past couple years."
"The best thing you can do to start doing drag is learn how to sew. Because fabric is a lot cheaper than clothes. Fabric is just clothes that have yet to become clothes. Learning to sew is really genuinely the best way to save money as a drag queen. Hands down.
"Makeup lasts you a pretty long time. Depending on how often or how frequently you're doing drag, foundation can last you for a couple of months. Same with lipstick and eyeshadow and all that stuff. But you don't want to be wearing the same dress every time you go out, so learning to sew is a real game-changer. That's helped me a lot in drag. You can really become the image of your own mind.