The Playful, Chill, Youthful Person
Black, somewhat oversized t-shirt that has in large yellow block letters at the top KYOTO, below it an outline of Japan. Skinny black jeans over Reebok high tops. The combination seems, or is meant, to emanate a sort of “Oh I don’t care what I’m wearing, just threw this on… It’s chill, I’m just young and having fun, you know” vibe, although it may be the case that having longer hair that you’re constantly having to brush out of your eyes is a must for this look (I have short hair). I honestly keep expecting to one day ‘grow out of’ feeling like this outfit is appropriate and okay to wear around, because I feel sort of juvenile when I’m wearing it, but who knows what that even means or what the implications of me growing out of a certain style are (like, what, I’m going to start wearing golf shirts tucked into baggy dockers?). Anyways, glasses are not really advised with this outfit, and I can’t really tell if I’m correctly imagining the idea it puts out or if it instead projects like “Dude who doesn’t really give a shit,” which in itself would not be all that bad, given the risks of appearing like you actually care, or “Dude who is boring,” which I guess would be something that I wouldn’t want. Either way, the fact that this analysis exists pretty much supersedes the outfit’s ‘truth’ – if you’ll grant me that – and as such basically makes me an inauthentic liar when it comes to how close my persona is to my Real Self.
The Well-Proportioned, Modest, Chill Person Who is Too Good for Style
Solid navy blue sweatshirt, black skinny jeans, white boat shoes. This look presumably gives off ‘well-proportioned’ because the sweatshirt seems to be only slightly too small (not ridiculously too small, which happens with dudes who, in my opinion, are taking the whole Too Small is Cool thing too far) and as such I guess accents the divisions of my body well – my waist from my abdomen, my abdomen from my upper torso, my forerarms from my upper arms. For some reason I assume that this aspect of the sweater combined with its solid, easily-ignored navy blue color gives off the impression of “modest” and “approachable” and like “just a cool but intelligent and down-to-earth guy.”
But this is all basically untrue and yet another testament to my inauthenticity, because in essense the outfit is a deliberate (or not-so-deliberate) attempt to make the onlooker feel as if I’m better than giving a shit about style; that hey, look at me, I’m wearing a well-fitted but ultimately boring small navy blue sweater, but I’m also wearing black skinny jeans, so you know, you can definitely put me in the cool category, just don’t forget to put me in the sub-category of so cool that he doesn’t give a shit about looking cool. Of course, I’m not a New Yorker and bought all my clothes from the bins or Urban Outfitters over two years ago, so neither one of those ‘cool’ categories could really be an option for me, ever, but what is individual style in the Western world if not a chance to manipulate someone into thinking that you’re actually cool?
The Professional Young Person Who Also Has a Sense of Style
Light blue and white buttondown that’s a bit too small for me, probably my glasses, kind of skinny gray jeans and white boat shoes. Substitute any of my buttondowns (I have two others: one pink and one denim) for the buttondown just mentioned; come to think of it, the only reason I have buttondowns is to look like the Professional Young Person Who Also Has a Sense of Style. Add my navy blue peacoat in cold weather. Admittedly this look is basically the opposite of the Well-Proportioned, Modest, Chill Person Who is Too Good For Style, sans the well-proportioned caveat, which, I assure you, I find troubling. I probably wear this outfit any time I’m meeting someone new, getting drinks at a bar that doesn’t serve beer for $3 a pint, going out to dinner at a nice restaurant, or generally just trying to manipulate someone into thinking I can be productive at the level of ‘adult.’ I’ve often had a sort of silent, pre-language sense of conflict with the skinny jeans part of this outfit, as I’m not sure if they disqualify me from being categorized as professional, but I often mitigate this conflict by imagining that skinny jeans have been around for a long time now, so long that it seems everyone is wearing them, and so perhaps my professionalism is simply enhanced by them because they indicate not only “professional” but “savvy.”
Easy Going Summertime Guy
The name of this outfit is really lame and maybe the outfit itself is really lame as well. It’s relatively simple: a t-shirt, black cut-offs which I made from a pair of black women’s jeans that I found at Value Village three years ago, and white boat shoes (no socks, never socks). Obviously this outfit is worn in the summer, and it’s sort of meant to imply that I don’t care what I’m wearing and that I’m enjoying the sun. Considering it, “enjoying the sun” is a sort of weird thing to want to project to people, but then, I guess it’s sort of like an inclusion thing, esp. in the early summer. Anyways, it’s actually completely crucial that no socks be worn with this outfit, because if socks were to be worn, it would completely kill the whole ‘chill’ vibe that the look recalls – don’t ask me why. But now that I think about it some more, the whole idea of trying to look “chill” seems pretty unseemly to me, like if I’m really going for it, maybe I should smoke some weed and walk around with a Bob Marley shirt and thongs instead? We can probably all agree at this point that this outfit is pretty bad.
Who knows if any of these outfits actually work for me. I honestly don’t know what other people think of how I dress, or what other people think of how they dress, but it seems logical to assume that other people actually have ‘looks’ and attempt to project some kind of idea with their outfits. But in the center of all this image production, decision making and identity flinging, one part of me (a significant part of me) just does not want to deal with this shit at all. Another part is pretty unsatisfied with every outfit I have, because most of my clothes are old – most of them I’ve been wearing for years. Wearing clothes for years is alright, but it does get kind of monotonous and – let’s face it – there’s pressure to look good in this world, and dealing with the same clothes every day makes that pressure hard to live up to. For me at least. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that like, some if not all of these categories, if they truly represented ‘me,’ are mutually exclusive (you can’t be ‘too good for style’ and also ‘have a sense of style,’ or for that matter, you can’t try to dress like you are ‘too good for style’) and therefore pretty much make me an inauthentic, confused human being that’s walking around passively manipulating any person that even looks at me (I’m like Medusa, only… when you look at my clothes you get immediately lied to). But such is life, I guess, as a modern human being. Such is life…