Harnesses are a quintessential part of gay culture. Leather straps slung over your shoulders transcends the leather scene and has permeated gay culture forever. You’d be hard pressed to go into a queer clothing store without seeing a rack of harnesses. Knowing what type of harness is right for you, and how it should fit are important details to know when purchasing a harness, so you don’t go out and accidentally have a wardrobe malfunction, wear it incorrectly, or have it too loose or too tight.
It’s important to understand the history and background of harness culture. Harnesses came about after World War 2 in the gay ghettos of San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Gay men needing to remain closeted due to the era would wear leather to distinguish themselves as queer in a sort of undercover code. Eventually, leather harnesses became clear indicators in the 1970s and 80s that you were gay and looking to play.
Today, gay men have embraced harnesses for more than just leather enthusiasts and worn at leather festivals. Harnesses are worn at circuit parties, Pride festivals, for Halloween costumes, on the dance floor, at after-hours parties, and virtually any time a gay guy takes off his shirt. In 2018, it’s completely normal to wear a leather harness to any gay event. While you might not want to go to church or a business meeting in one, Olympic figure skating medalist Adam Rippon proved harnesses can be just as black tie as all the rest of the penguin suits.
Harnesses come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. The most popular and longest lasting harnesses are made from leather. The best harnesses are designed and made by the leader in all things sexuality: The Stockroom. Located in Los Angeles, California, The Stockroom has a deliciously sexy assortment of harnesses.
The HomoCulture team has picked out our four favorite harnesses out of The Stockroom harness collection to help you determine what harness is best for you, depending on your body type, comfort zone, style, and experience with leather fashion and culture.
If you are new to harnesses and want to dip your toe into the harness pond, or you are more into simplistic and minimalism, the Contender harness from The Stockroom may be the right choice for you. The Contender, which is two crisscrossed leather straps, is simple but sexy. Available in two different sizes, The Stockroom’s The Contender has adjustable, nickel-plated snaps for easy access. A stylish circle frame over the shoulders completes The Contender’s simplistic look.
The Bruiser Bulldog is another fantastic harness for newbies or seasoned vets looking for an upper torso piece. Framing your shoulders, back, and pecs, the Bruiser Bulldog is a hot harness to show off any shape or body type. Less obtrusive than other harnesses, the Bruiser Bulldog is a harness you can easily wear under clothing, revealing a sexy bit of leather strapped to your chest. This chemical building block-shaped harness comes with nickel-plated snaps to secure it snugly but comfortably to your chest. The Bruiser Bulldog, from The Stockroom, is everything you need as an introductory into the leather world.
Feel like you could conquer a small island nation or live out your wildest Roman warrior dreams in the Gladiator harness from The Stockroom. Less constricting than other harnesses, the Gladiator is an asymmetrical leather harness with two nickel-plated buckles above the nipples, perfect for customizing to your size. You’ll be ready to head off to battle or at least your nearest leather bar. The Gladiator is a signature look harness that will make a statement wherever you go!
For everyone that wants to be a winner, the Champion harness from The Stockroom makes a statement. A Y-shaped harness great for wearing out or underneath virtually anything other than a Speedo, the Champion is a different harness for those looking to stray from the grain. With an adjustable over-the-shoulder strap and support straps that run under the arms, The Champion is outfitted with numerous nickel-plated steel snaps and no buckles, providing maximum adjustment for the wearer. As a result, The Champion, as a result, is light, comfortable, and is a great harness for the gay man on the go.
There are ordinary harnesses, and then there is The Brigade by The Stockroom that sets the bar to new heights in harnesses. The Brigade combines military fetish sexiness with the ultimate, broad shouldered, upper torso harness. You’ll be a master and commander of your troops all day long. The Brigade is masculine, strong, and features under arm leather straps that attach with nickel-plated snaps for easy in and outs. But you won’t want to take this harness off. The Brigade is the harness for all situations: wear it with jeans, leather pants, a jock, or even a sweater or blazer for a more conservative look.
Harnesses have a long history in the gay male community, and the reality is that they are here to stay. Whatever your harness wants or needs, The Stockroom has you as covered (or uncovered) as you want to be. There’s a style, shape, size, color, and variety out there for everyone!