Superficial Observations Post 2011/ Jaimeson’s Style Guide
I started out thinking about how weird it is to notice guys at school dressing the way that my dashboard looked two years ago, and ended up writing a lot more than I meant to.
Disclaimer: everything that follows has absolutely zero importance in the Big Scheme of Things, and in no way reflects my priorities or immediate concerns. I hope you don’t read the whole thing. It’s too long.
It’s interesting to see how high school “fashion” tends to go in a circle. When I first came to Granada almost 4 years ago, I was immediately struck by the fact that every socially apt male wore a size large t-shirt. Of course, I later found out that it was pronounced LRG. By the third month or so, I came to a series of conclusions regarding men’s fashion here. Essentially, you were to purchase whatever Zumiez had on the sale rack, and whatever brands in the Mainland store you remembered seeing on the kids in your 3rd block. And that was the extent to which my freshman mind would process.
Sophomore year, my continued introduction to urban dance culture also brought me into contact with a deplorable phenomenon lauded all too often on this website: the Hype. G-shocks, snapbacks, Nike SB’s, and Jordans of every imaginable color of the rainbow and then some. Tattoos covering every square inch of skin not covered by overpriced polyester. Raybans indoors. Raw denim. Deadstock sneakers. Offensively loud colors exaggerated by an equally offensive tendency to overmatch. And don’t forget a healthy disgust for any brands that you and your immediate group of friends don’t recognize. This was the high schooler’s version of streetwear. Streetwear on steroids. And speed. And the speed and steroids matched the exact shade of color on his overpriced, faux-vintage snapback and quickstrike nike SB’s. And maybe it’s because jerking rose in popularity the summer before sophomore year, but for whatever godforsaken reason, the colors and patterns were ridiculous. It’s safe to say that although Granada lacks any semblance of a sneakerhead population, this is the phase that the majority of our young men are trapped in at the moment.
Junior year, we managed to tone it down a bit. Realized that not every article of clothing in our closets had to match precisely with at least 5 others. This is when color combinations started to pan out. This is when we realized that it was not only permissible to wear a button-up to school, but commendable. Rather than judge a sneaker based on its price, or the number of pairs with which it was released or the blogosphere’s reaction to it, we started looking at them in terms of profile, hardiness, practicality, and material- design. We realized that slims were a suitable compromise between the comfort of baggies and the fashion-forward social labels that skinnies provided. We also realized that the most appealing brands were not necessarily the ones that overpriced their products by at least $20. Fit became more important than brand. What’s the use of a $45 Hundreds tee if it doesn’t fit well? But as for shoes, old habits die hard, and giving up the following of sneaker culture is even harder. Nike SB Larry Perkins will always have a spot in my heart, as well as Jordan 3’s and Bloody Gums. Not to mention the commotion that SB Tiffany’s caused, or the hustle for Air Max 90’s after they were retro’d. But with time, that too came to pass. And then snapbacks. Oh, snapbacks. Summer before junior year, we used to take such pride in collecting and thrifting, finding 10 or 20 year old pieces of sports history in garage sales and flea markets. And then the hype came and Mitchell and Ness destroyed whatever semblance of exclusivity there was in snapbacks. And New Era burned the remains.
On a sidenote, that’s another thing that I wish people would understand. Snapbacks’ appeal lies in their vintage history, the story behind the hat. A 1993 USA Dream Team snap, with the old McDonald’s golden arches stitched on the back, with patches of sponsor companies long since bankrupt, with a faded green underbill and double fastened snaps- that’s got history. A 2011 mass-produced Mitchell and Ness “Original Snapback” from Lids? That hat’s history only involves sweatshop children and FedEx. Respect the vintage, kids.
And then senior year. There’s a certain freedom that comes when you’re the uppest of the upperclassmen. Not just a freedom to invent adjectives like uppest, but a freedom to wear whatever you’d like and yet still be guaranteed the admiration and attention of a large population of underclassmen. It’s at this time that we can start leaving the hype behind. Leaving streetwear in general, even. Sure, once in a while you might splurge at Huf or Fatlace, but only on rare SF outings, to support your local underground outfitter. Not to mention the convenience of those Outfitters that are Urban, even if their prices are far from convenient. Senior year is an opportunity to get your grown man on. To transition from streetwear to menswear, and dabble with a bit of dapper before you’re a broke college student and reduced to cargo shorts and free tees. Trade in the raw denim for some khakis. Invest in some ties. Become familiar with Windsor, and a half. Learn to iron. Don’t get monogrammed cufflinks, but know the three button rule of sometimes-always-never. Wear cardigans. Wear vests. Don a scarf if you can and shrug it off if you can’t. Go thrifting, but not with a hipster. Invest in outerwear. Transition from trainers to leather, sneakers to loafers, rubber to suede. Take care of yourself. Dress nicely. But don’t forget to come to school in lazy attire at least 44% of the time. Because while your clothes may be nice, they function for your benefit, not vice versa. Inconveniencing yourself for the sake of stitched cloth is almost as absurd as wearing DGK. Put on the clothes you want to put on, however you’d like to. But make sure that you’re the one in charge in this relationship of donner and garment. Function over everything.
I once read an article that said, “Never forsake your wardrobe, because apart from your face and the bit sticking out of the cuffs, it’s the first thing people see.” True. But a wardrobe is no substitute for a personality.
Let your clothes be a supplement, not a crutch.
Keep the prices low and the flashiness lower.
And by God, make sure it fits.