Original WAYWT post here
What this looks like: A guy who probably is A-OK with snakes
“Yeah, for a few years. Dealing art, mostly. Some other things on the side.” Your friend sweeps a hand over his desk, scattering pens and inkwells. “Here you go.”
“Well, welcome back. Do you really need so many pens?”
“They’re all different,” he says, as you put your computer down and open up a chart.
He ruffles his coat, pulls the collar up over his face and groans. “I hate these things.”
“You didn’t have a computer in Egypt?”
“Oh, we had them all right. Satellite work and fund transfers, mostly. I never bothered. I like my pens.”
“Okay, but bar graphs are the way of the future, and you asked for help. Look, I’ll show you how to use Excel to organize your expenses. Can you list them for me?”
He leans back, putting his feet up on the desk and arching his head over the back of his chair.
“Expenses, huh? There were several artifacts of ancient, unspeakable evil that I moved for a friend – Oh, and that led to some deals involving Sentient Relics and Tomes of Power. I’d say those ran in the millions. Of lives saved, that is. Can I write those off?”
“Sadly, I don’t think that saving the world from ruin has a federally-assigned value. You really didn’t have anyone to help you with spreadsheets over there?”
Coat: Helmut Lang
Cardigan: Maison Martin Margiela
Trousers: Christophe Lemaire
"Well, I suppose the best way to talk about the evolution of my style is to begin by talking about the evolution of my relationship to (caring about) style itself. I started reading internet fashion forums late relative to many others here—after college and while in graduate school. In fact, the way I found SF was while searching for a good pair of dress shoes, as I was gearing up to be a teaching assistant for my first class and I figured (1) I’d better dress up a bit, and (2) if I was going to buy a good pair of shoes, I might as well do some research to figure out which shoes were good, just so I wouldn’t have to buy a second pair later on. (The irony here is not lost on me.) Even after I discovered SF, it took some time before I started browsing threads on SW&D, as I spent awhile captivated by the fact that one could score Banana Republic shirts for $15 on B&S.
It’s not that I was wholly uninterested in style five years ago, but rather that I thought having a certain kind of interest in how one dressed expressed a form of superficiality. After all, it involved spending time and energy focused on how one appears to others rather than on things that actually matter. I tended to dress largely in the outdoor clothing that I’d already acquired for backpacking and rock climbing trips, thinking that taking this route largely placed me outside the social-appearance game many others were playing. A standard outfit was something like: fleece jacket, ironic thrift-store t-shirt, Levi’s 514 jeans, trail running sneakers, and climbing pack. It didn’t take too much reflection later to realize that even this approach to dressing involved the very sorts of (to my mind) objectionable interest in self-presentation as did the approaches I rejected: it broadcasted that I enjoyed outdoor pursuits, that I was savvy and well-off enough to buy niche-brand-X rather than niche-brand-Y, that I was quirky enough to notice the humor in my thrifted t-shirt, and so on.
So one significant element in the evolution of my style was the realization that for self-conscious social creatures like us, there is no getting away from having an interest in self-presentation. Even the guy who wears a football jersey and sweatpants everywhere has in mind some mélange of archetypes that he’s aiming to channel. What taking an interest in style allowed me to do was step back from the limited number of popular archetypes and choose more deliberately which ones I wanted to play with. And “play” is a crucial notion here, since over time the reflective distance that comes from thinking about style allows one a kind of playfulness and creativity in how one dresses—adapting and tweaking common aesthetics, and being open to wholly different alternatives.
When I first started changing the way I dressed, I made the same mistake that countless others have: too slim everything. It took quite a lot of experimentation and looking around—especially at fit pics of people here, such as Asobu and Ivwri—to settle into my current (“relaxed tailoring”?) groove. As for what I wear these days, I’d say my two favorite labels are (Helmut-era) Helmut Lang and (mostly older) Comme des Garcons. I’m not sure how to summarize why these labels appeal to me other than by saying that they “feel right.” By that, I guess I mean that their garments are elegant but relaxed, thoughtfully constructed out of nice materials yet minimal and unfussy, and have design details—such as cut and fabric texture—which are beautiful and quirky, but quietly so."
Original WAYWT post here
What this looks like: Clothing is Sin!
“It was never meant to end like this.” Your friend turns to you, face half-hidden in the swathe of fabric that coddles his neck. “It was never meant to go this far.”
The wind howls up the cliff, snaps at the tails of his jacket and pushes you back from the void. You shiver, cold in the flat light of pre-dawn.
“You took everything!” Your voice cracks, blusters back at you, and you fall to your knees. “How could you?”
“How could I not? You thought this was a game, thought it was something you could win. There is no end. There are no winners. No heroes. You were a collector - a slave!”
“My closet! You just threw my closet off a cliff! Thirty-one white shirts! One for every day of the month! What will I do?”
“A closet of the mind is stronger!" He gestures towards the edge. “I have freed you from your servitude. Regimented. Regulated. Always the same shirt. Were you wearing it, or was it wearing you?””
He tosses you something. You unravel its shapeless bulk, a skein of fabric that unfolds in your hands. You look down at your dirty white shirt, the final thread of an old life, and the sun bursts above the horizon, burning away the last of the shadows.
Hat: Isabel Benenato
Glasses: Oliver Peoples
Jacket, Cardigan, Shirt: Damir Doma
Pants: The Viridi-Anne
I’m not sure my “style evolution”, at least in terms of the “what”, has been anything particularly interesting. Like a lot of people on SF I didn’t pay much mind to clothing until some Formative Young Adult Experience™ introduced me into the world of fashions, in particular raw denim, workwear, #menswear, and the world of StyleForum. From there I found my own way. J Crew to EG, EG to TOJ, TOJ to Devoa, Devoa to Damir and The Viridi-Anne, the entire process facilitated by lots of lurking, researching, buying, reselling, friends making fun of me, etc. While fun, I don’t think the process was particularly interesting. What I do find interesting is why do I, as a young, introverted, nerdy kid, choose to put myself out there? Why do I wear a giant double-layered wool cowl parka monstrosity? A deconstructed leather bomber with straps everywhere? Obnoxious high tops? Why not go back to wearing baggy jeans and band tees?
A lot of it comes out of viewing clothing as having a weird kind of wish-fulfillment, confidence-enhancing function. I hear similar things from the lolita community––wearing lolita provides a sense of safety and confidence that day-to-day clothing cannot. I can understand that. There’s something about “putting yourself out there”, be it in a sickly-sweet frilly pink jumperskirt or Fremen-esque Damir robe that feels good, feels safe. It’s a fantasy. Brands like MA+ and The Viridi-Anne, designers like Raf and Damir (at least in their earlier years), they all give what I want––clothing for astronauts, nomad shamans, iterant mecha pilots, characters from the space operas and cyberpunk novels.
The function of clothes has changed for me and I think that’s a more interesting kind of style evolution. When I was first getting interested in clothing I wanted to “look good” in this nebulous sort of GQ way. I was about to leave for college––there was a real possibility for me to change how I presented myself, to start over, to make an impression. And so for a long time clothing was a tool for “looking good”. Casual blazers, skinny jeans, Clark’s desert boots. I don’t want to knock people who genuinely enjoy wearing that stuff, but at some point I realized it wasn’t for me, and that I was playing dress-up. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin, and so I suppose I got a little more selfish. I stopped wanting to look good for anyone but me. I remember a couple of summers ago hanging out with an old girlfriend who had seen me in every phase: baggy jeans and band tees, skinny jeans and Clark’s, EG blazers and obnoxious workboots. That day I was wearing Rafstros, tattered Cloak pants, a hugely oversized loose-knit…thing. She looked me up and down. “Why don’t you wear blazers anymore,” she asked. “Men in suits look sexy.” Hey, maybe they do, but I don’t want to look sexy for people unless I absolutely have to. I want to be comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t say that, but I should have.
Original WAYWT post here
What this looks like: A disturbing lack of faith.
It’s after lunch, and your path is cut off. Sweat prickles your neck and beads on the tip of your nose. You don’t move to wipe it away, don’t dare. You’ve been here before, at this intersection, in this heat – a lifetime ago, maybe.
Looming across the hallway, the hooded figure stares you down. His right hand twitches. The broken air conditioner whirrs down at you. You don’t have much time.
You bolt, sprinting for the exit and stumbling through the office, knocking over the small trash-bins that line the cubicles.
Booted footsteps follow you down the carpet, and you can hear his heavy breathing over your shoulder. Twenty feet. Ten. You reach the door first, throw it open and hurl yourself into the single empty stall, and he barrels into the wall seconds later. Fingers shaking, you lock the circular latch and crumple to ground, basking in the cool quiet of the tiled floor. There, shining before you in all of its porcelain glory, is salvation.
Through the bolted door, you hear the wail of a man who has abandoned his humanity.
Coat: Rick Owens
Sweater: Daniele Alesssandrini
Tee: Void the Brand
Jeans: Dior Homme
"What was I wearing five years ago? If my memory serves me correctly, I was going through an obsessed period with jeans, particularly Dior Homme. I believe I had more than 30 pairs of jeans at one point. It was idiotically insane, 4 pairs of UMCs , 3 Jakes of different iterations but nevertheless, I wanted more. I even tapped into the raw selvedge abyss. Then about two years ago, I noticed my focus was shifted to monochromatic minimalistic street goth. What changed? Can’t say for sure but I do recall being intrigued by an all Rick’ed out sq4you fit. I began to research designers such as Rick, Ann D, Plokhov, Ria Dunn etc to understand their labels, aesthetics and visions. Perhaps that was the beginning of my ‘evolution’? For the past year or so, I started to incorporate other labels such as Yohji and Engineered Garments into my wardrobe. Partly because I’m adventurous and also I can’t help but get inspired when I see an Ivwri, shah fit or skim through the EG thread."
Original WAYWT post here
What this looks like: According to my girlfriend, Spacepope.
“I’m telling you” you say. “it’s because of the straps.”
“I like the straps,” says your friend.
“Well, that’s great, but you have to realize that not everyone is into the goth thing.” You put your hands behind your head as you walk down the street next to him, enjoying the spring sunlight.
“It’s not goth, dude.” It’s impossible not to enjoy pushing his buttons.
“It is goth. They’re goth clothes, and you’re a total goth.”
“It’s not gothic at all. If anything it’s romantic, with maybe a hint of the industrial.”
You sit down on a bench under an apple tree that’s just beginning to bud. The park is full of people enjoying the changing of the seasons.
“Just stop wearing so much black. It’s springtime! You’d probably – ”
There’s a ‘thunk,’ and you look down to see somethineg embedded in your foot. Before you can scream, your friend tears one of the strips of fabric off of his waistband and wraps it around your shoe, where it’s immediately soaked through with blood.
“You’re gonna be okay,” he says, but you’re hyperventilating. “Goddamn lawn dart smugglers. I’ve seen this before.”
A girl runs up, apologizing, and then stops when she sees your friend.
“Hey,” he says, standing up and forgetting your foot.
“Hey,” she says, as your world starts to go black.“I like your straps.”
Mostly Alexandre Plokhov
"When I was younger I was determined to stick out from the crowd in any way possible. I didn’t feel ‘normal’ so I didn’t want to look it. All I succeeded at was looking like all the other kids who wanted to be different (docs, flannel, etc). Part of the excitement was the attention and weird looks you’d get from strangers I think. As I got a little older and less angsty, I basically fell in line with the rest of the people in my fashion wasteland town. Gap/mall brands were the best you could do. You had to travel 45 minutes to a bigger mall to find an Express, which I thought was high fashion. I knew something was wrong. I cared about clothes and wanted to look a certain way, I just had no idea how to make it happen or what was even out there. Moving to NYC was a rude awakening. Not everyone here has great style but now and then I would see one person that looked so cool it made me want to reevaluate my life. I wanted to look grown up and put together while retaining some of the edge I always loved. That urge to align the way I looked with the way I felt is what led me to SF. After a lot of trial and error, lurking and being inspired by other SF-ers, I was able to discover brands that made the kinds of things I knew I had always wanted. I would have loved Cloak, Geller, Plokhov, and Rick, when I was a kid. I think I’ll love them years from now. Moving forward, I think it’s about refining. I’m interested in pursuing things like wearability and comfort but always with that unique/interesting quality. Basically I’ll probably go full Yohji when I get old."