“Remember guys, only one fedora per crew. We’re white dudes. We can get very unfashionable VERY quickly.”
The midnight strain of fashion runs quickly through the bar. We’ve been dancing – sweaty collared shirts and flannel, hiding beneath the blue haze of smog and funk, each person leaping their hands to the air as Emerson and Dysfunktional Family sort out all the masses, through clever quick puns and narcissistic babble. Old man hats are seen on awkward youths, dashing their hair to one side as the winter blues pull out accessories on men like women pull out feelings. The bearded man beside you in a white collared shirt is smiling, jumping around like a jackrabbit that ate too many carrots, his awkward motions allowing everyone to truly be themselves, because let’s face it, if he can do it, so can everyone else. Everyone is thinking the same thing, looking at this regarded youth clambering over hippies and ‘accidentally’ dropping things, just to bend and snap: he obviously doesn’t care. Pink merry go lights hovering now, going out in phases as green, blue, red, and pink border the mirrors and wood of Jackie O’s, as fashion inserts its own satire and gain on a river of people.
Jazz is playing now, a robust black woman singing like you’ve never heard, directing the flow of fedora’s, framed glasses, hemp necklaces entwined with topaz, rhinestone, or marble, as posh old man hats in green or stitched grey are perusing through deviant crowds. Straight bill caps of Phillies, Reds, or the Pirates on men who don’t care about sports, as women wear knit winter hats holding angelic hair in dreads or gold wisps. Accessories donned on skinny, pasty arms, – each bracelet made or stolen from friends or houses. Jewelry hanging loosely on droopy ears as beards and smiles cover everything from septum piercings and eye brow waxing’s. Women dance, men saunter, and the whole atmosphere is laundered in fashion.
James Brown speaks to me now in harsh tones, reminding me that it’s a man’s world. I hear tipsy advice on my choice of clothes, how my eyes don’t match the blue I sometimes wear, that if people didn’t know me they’d think I was a d bag. Awesome, I think. Backwards caps on fraternizers, furry caps of sororitizers: Athens shivers at the thought of accessories.
Every philosopher wants to be a writer, as every writer wants to be a philosopher. Philosophizing, memorizing, and accessorizing are the key elements in becoming a fashionable male in a city with numerous cliques and scandals. What do we think about, as men, when we go out at night? I am like you, but there is an entire battle within me:
Do I wear the normal?
Do I mix it up?
Do I dress as a woman?
Or do I bro it up?
Shoulder your feelings, man. To even begin to tell you what to wear would make me a bit prideful and judgmental, right? But what if you’re trying to fit in with that one crowd? You know, the one that judges you when dating a new girl, talking in whispers amongst themselves, declaring things they’ve heard or seen from others as your beard and curls fall dreary. Your enthusiasm is becoming less and less, sometimes beckoning for sweatpants and hoodies, going to the bar in an old t-shirt and cut jeans, or going to class in rumpled corduroys and brown Nike 6.0’s. Nothing matches, as your socks cry mournfully as you pluck them from the bottom of your dirty clothes hamper and old worn out shirts are the only thing headlining your day. You don’t know what you’re doing, you think.
What’s going to work? TEEEEAMWORK, the Wonder Pets chime. Things are falling now, as winter is mildly switching to spring, the groundhog burrowing deep into his nest, waiting for the fertile spring that Athens makes so prettily. And I, along with your friends, are here to help!
I am reminded of what a professor taught me of writing when I was a little younger. He said, “Keep it simple, stupid.” Well, that goes with writing, but never with fashion. The following is a list of essential key elements to sprucing up your clothing life.
Yeah…layering. I didn’t know what it meant until I went into the Other Place one day, tried on three outfits, and left with a free hoodie. She kept talking about V-Necks and how I needed to update my wardrobe, and I kept telling her not to tell me what to do with my body. But, she’s right. If you’re a man and looking to spice things up, consider layering. This means, a v-neck or plain shirt, with a jazzy sweater or hoodie, followed by a necklace and maybe a hat piece. Fashion is layering, especially for females, so using this advice for men should be equally understood. I am easy to please, and layering doesn’t really pertain to me, BUT, it is a good way to increase a look that you’re going for, even if you’re not trying to impress – which leads me to my next principle.
DON’T TRY AND PRESS…..but IMPRESS.
I’ve changed my style hundreds, maybe thousands of times. Did you know that in middle school I had highlighted hair and glasses, along with American Crew gel and a necklace from Abercrombie? So silly and ridiculous, right? God, I wish I could show you the pictures. I was so cool, in fact, I was elected class president, and made the first ever talent show. Yadda, yadda, yadda, J.D., get on with it. Any who, what I’m trying to say is that by pressing your fashion out there, you can be regarded and judged accordingly. Make it subtle: throw on a cap when your hair is having a bad day; wear a necklace with a cross with your wife beater, and drink a Dr.Pepper from a glass bottle, in the sun, and feel American. Be legit. Be yourself. Be original. Wearing an exact replica of someone else’s outfit is lame, man. Do it up with your own sense of heightened verisimilitude!
* Verisimilitude (or truthlikeness) is the quality of realism in something.
FEDORA’S ARE MAN’S NEXT BEST FRIEND
For some unbeknownst reason, Fedora’s are making a comeback….or did they ever leave? Obviously if you’re traveling in a crew, as the first quote of this essay mentioned, it will be doubly lame and make all of you seem silly and crude. Wear a Fedora that fits you, not those Jason Mraz ones you’ve seen in Wal-Mart and tried on hundreds of times, only to feel lowly because you’re trying to meet a standard of some pre-defined definition on fedora wearing. Just do it, man! Fedora’s have some sort of magic about them: men want to be you, women want to be with you, I want to punch you, etc. One tip though: don’t wear it every single day, for by wearing something every single day, it will define you as a person. Take those straight-bill caps, how many times have you never seen the person’s actual hair? I can count hundreds of times, and maybe they wear them because they’re balding, but trust me, being yourself and being okay with the lack of hair you have is far more enticing than someone who is always covering their hair up: it makes people think that you have something to hide. It’s science, really. Or maybe social psychology? Who knows.
OH MY GOD, SHOES
For realsies. Shoes are the first thing a woman sees. I’m not joking. Someone’s shoe is the first way to accurately know about them. Hippies are easy to point out, as well as hipsters, prepsters, monsters, and peddlers. I can look at a show and tell you exactly where he bought it, why he bought it, what he thinks about it, what others actually think about it, and why he’ll probably want a new pair. Shoes are THE hardest thing to shop for, because they are used not just in one outfit, but many. I’m wearing leather Oxford’s, I believe, that I bought at the Shoe Dept. They fit into most outfits and are appropriately tanned. Converses are everywhere, so are Chucky T’s, as shoes reign their own parade under garnered jeans and flowery dresses. I like it when I see a girl with a fresh set of converses, rocking a flower dress with beads in her hair, but that’s just me. Obviously, we know how women love shoes, and they rightfully should. Shoes are a great way to meet another shoe, almost how friends are a great way to meet other friends. If you’re a person with an awesome shoe, you better believe that someone will come up to you and say, “Awesome shoes”, or ask you where you got them. Spice it up though, go for some rad colors, especially since Spring is coming and colors be coming out the wazoo.
Ah, I am done writing. I’m sure I haven’t given this topic justice, because, I for one am not very good at wearing Fedora’s or having an awesome collection of shoes. I don’t even own a computer people.
So, how about a piece of a story I wrote about a friend of mine? Enjoy.
“I don’t want this to be some pseudo-bohemian one night stand,” he said. He was downstairs, having at it once again. Sporting a Woody Allen jacket and wearing a smile, that well, can make a woman purr.
“But, Fanjoy, I don’t know-”
“Shhhh,” he whispered, patting his index finger on her mouth and stopping her dead in her tracks. “There’ll be enough talk later.” He sat back and lit a cigarette, blowing smoke rings and looking around the black molded walls. The basement was leaking again.
“Oh, and call me Michael.”
P.S. Take care of each other people. We all have our problems, we all quit jobs, we all lose money! All you need is love. Spread your love like a fever, don’t ya ever come down! But seriously, be nice. Hand hugs at the bar tonight. K Bye.