Wearing different hats: How to maintain one’s identity.

* This post has nothing to do with wearing hats, specifically.

There comes a time in one’s life when everything seems to take a 180 degree turn- whether it’s a new job, an unexpected lifestyle change, a big move to a new place, etc. Even before that, there are many small changes that we go through; however, they never seem to be as apparent or recognized until said life change. I feel as if I’m using the word ‘change’ very loosely.

Let’s clarify: when I say change, what I mean is we change certain parts of ourselves to fit a particular situation. This being a fashion blog, I’m discussing how clothes can change an individual: work/school uniforms, business casual dress for the office (if one has ended up in an office), and that little black dress for a night on the town.

Society, in general, requires us to “wear many different hats”- having the skills (and/or the look) to do whatever it is one may need/want to do. Of all of these ‘hats’, it becomes apparent that there’s only one that fits just right: the real you.

How in the hell can one incorporate this into everything else?

For me, I’m in no way a business casual kind of person; yet, my previous and current jobs have either required me to wear such attire. Of course, this isn’t a life-or-death issue, but it does give a feeling of misrepresentation. So, after reading over the guidelines for dress for my current employer, I finally realized how to avoid this internal conflict of mine: subtlety and styling.

Make a mental template of the basics- button down shirt, polo shirt, dress pants, nice leather shoes, etc.- and add small elements to it, such as a necklace, pins, a cardigan, and so on. It also helps to think about how one wears the items. For example, I don’t like that dress pants are very loose at the bottom and have a tendency to drag on the floor, so what I like to do is cuff the bottom of my pants. It’s hard to describe the look, but it is interesting enough that it takes the boredom away from the outfit.

If one doesn’t want to feel like a drone at work or school, take into consideration how you style the outfit and what one wants it to say. It’s all about making that hat fit just right.

Question: how do you add a personal touch to a mandated outfit?

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After thinking long and hard about the name of this blog, I’ve decided it’s not a good fit. So, I need some help coming up with a new name.

Are you up for the challenge?

(I really hope you are, because I have no fucking clue.)

image

I just like that skull. Thought you all may like it, too.

-Ben

Destroy to Rebuild

I would like to thank the folks at Urban Outfitters for the inspiration that started my own personal project, and this post- because I’ll be damned if I’m paying $50 for a shirt I can make myself.

So- UO is selling these great tee shirts with designs cut out in the back: crosses, skulls, etc. Love the idea, but pricing the shirt at $50?! Get the fuck out.

This lead me on my own mission to design my own shirts.

Here is design #1: image

I know- it needs better lighting/I should’ve just put it on to display…

Anyway, there it is. I added safety pins to keep the look together; it would’ve stayed in tact with the minimal fabric holding it all together, but after a few wears it became worn and started to rip, this it would’ve lost shape.

I’m not even going to post the second design. It was technically my original, but the shape of the design didn’t hold; now it looks like a Wu-Tang Clan logo.

What do you think? Any suggestions for future designs/design mods to get a better result?

-Ben

2 for 1

In the consumer world, a “two for one” deal is like a dream come true for one’s wallet. However, when applied to the fashion world, it’s an utter nightmare.

What I’m referencing is the trend of combining two trends into one piece, which makes no sense at all, to me. A prime example (and worst offender) – neon colored lace tank tops.

This is beyond gross, as well as a great example- stripes on the front and a lace back, all neon yellow?! Stop.

We get it- one wants to be trendy but only has a D.E.B. store available and this is the best one can do. One, however, would be better off without this garbage.

If I may, I want to equate this topic to the glitter-graphic ‘self confidence booster’ tee from days past; you know the one- bright pink, baby blue, purple, or any other color possible for a tee shirt, covered in glitter, sporting a stupid, egotistical phrase such as, “Diva”, “Princess”, or (my favorite),”Daddy’s Little Angel”.

What better example than this?

One other “trend” that has been combined too much would be the hipster/nerd glasses/shades. Ranging anywhere from distorting the classic Ray-Ban style by covering the frame in neon leopard and floral print, to having a metal (or plastic) mustache hang from the nose piece and dangle slightly above one’s lip. Great job on destroying functionality.

(Just because it’s on my mind after writing about it: please don’t wear shades in the club when it’s dark as hell in there. You look foolish.)

One combined trend I do appreciate would be the cotton jackets with leather sleeves. I think it’s because I love leather anything (other than faux leather leggings). This combo can stay.

Another combo that can stay- spikes. Put them on everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.

I’m sure that I’m missing some really big offenders of this sickening epidemic, so tell me what you’ve seen- what works for you as far as trend combos go, or what needs to be burned ASAP?

Stay away from neon lace anything.

-Ben

Something Borrowed

We’ve all done it- hipster or otherwise.

Thrifting is becoming an ‘it’ thing as of late…well, since pop culture decided retro fashion is in. Whether your reason for thrifitng is based on my previous statement or you’re just trying to ball on a budget, thrift store finds can complety change one’s wardrobe.

Basing off of my own personal experiences, I like to go into thrifiting with the mindset of “remake” (Tokyo Fashion followers know what I’m talking about)- taking a piece with tons of character, turing it into your own, and giving it life again. The beauty about making it your own is the choice to leave the garment as-is or get your scissors out and make modifications (my personal favorite).

To me, everything about thrifiting is the “best part”; the truely best part about thrifting is…

IT’S CHEAP AS FUCK.
(Which means you’ll have more money for booze, etc.)

Anyway, here are some outfits based on the theme of “remake”:

 

 

What do you think about thrifiting? Do you enjoy it? Do you have some sort of complex that prevents you from wearing used clothing? What’s your favorite thrifted outfit idea?

Stay thrifty,
-Ben

Look Ma, No Sleeves.

I’m in this phase as of late where I feel like cutting the sleeves off of every long sleeved shirt I have.

Crazy.

Actually, I just like cutting my clothes in general: Last Friday, I was under the impression that I was going to dinner with my family and had nothing to wear, so I took a shirt that I don’t wear that often and just hacked the sleeves right off. Now, I love it again.

My point is, I find the sleeveless collard shirt look interesting and versatile- it can be worn as is in the summer, or with a long sleeved thin shirt in the winter. Doubling the functionality of one’s wardrobe is always a plus.

Consider this one more item added to my summer must-haves.

What do you think about the look? Interesting or waste of clothing?

-Ben

My Summer Must-Haves

Since my last few posts have been very socially/politically charged, I figured I would bring the focus back to the point of this entire blog- fashion.

By the way: sorry it’s been so long since my last post. I understand how inconsistent I am with this, and I promise that I’m trying to get better about updating at least once every 2 weeks…when I decided I’m not bored with it and move to something else in which to quickly become bored with.

Anyway, I wanted to present my must-have items for this summer (and any summer, for that matter):

1) Rocking horse shoes- I’m completely obsessed with rocking horse shoes as of late, especially after I purchase my first pair; unfortunately, they’re knock-offs, but who cares. In my opinion, when worn with a fairly simple look, it really adds a lot of flare and that “finishing touch” to still make the outfit stand out. 

2) Short shorts (tight or baggy)- They just work. Male, female, ape, it really doesn’t matter who’s wearing them, as long as you have them. Granted, they don’t have to be ass-cheek short, just enough that it adds some kind of minimal piece to the look. Lately, I’m really digging the baggy short short look. And, of course- lots and lots of fringe and fraying denim (meaning, you made your own cut offs. Why not? It means one paid for 2 looks!) 

I hate to use Russel Brand for fuck’s sake, but he’s wearing what I’m taking about (for men, at least).

 

 

 

3) Denim jackets/vests- Yes, I know that this has been in for the last few summers now, but it’s just a great piece to have everyday, all the time. It’s versatile, one may pack it away for those cold nights at a bon fire or where ever, most likely drunk off of one’s ass (and yes, I’m talking about me). I’ve also taken one of my old denim shirts I don’t wear much anymore, cut the sleeves off and turned it into a vest of shorts. It works.

Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells

4) Oversized shirts- This is an extremely broad category. They can be long sleeved, short sleeved, t-shirts, off the shoulder shirts, etc. To me, oversized shirts add a special kind of mystery to a look; they also make one look skinnier.

5) Tank tops- ONE CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY TANK TOPS. Again, I prefer these to be oversized, and style doesn’t matter- muscle tank, a-tank, etc., as long as it’s way big on you.

6) Harem pants- all looks, all prints, all lengths. Get on that harem pant!!!! I love these to death and can’t stop buying them. I even recently purchased some drop crotch skinny denim just because I love the harem look so much. Again, to me, one of those things that just works. 

7) Spikes/chains/crosses- I really have a thing for spikes, crosses, and chains. They add an element of edge, scariness, and toughness that just makes me feel good…like I could kick someone’s ass. I guess it’s just more of a self esteem booster for me, but regardless, the look is too hot to pass up.

What’s not to love?

8) Floral print- all floral everything. Just wear it. Think of yourself as a glam rocker who dresses like a woman but can bone any girl he wants, whenever he wants. 

9) Tribal print/geometric patterns- I know, I know….you’re most likely vomiting on your computer because I mentioned this. Yes, it was way cool about 5 summers ago and has thrived each summer since then, but it’s just cool!

10) Leggings/man skirts- Everyday, all the time. Mostly for chilly nights. I would do a legging with loose shorts and a tank top. One could also do a man skirt (long length, of course) with an oversized shirt of any kind.

Jared Leto and crew.

Honestly, this list could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. I would love to know what everyone’s personal summer must-haves are. Would you be willing to share????

Stay hydrated,

-Ben

Who’s on the Cover of the Magazines?

A dear friend has brought it to my attention that we are faced with a dilemma in the world of fashion.

Recently, I have been following his posts on Twitter regarding African Americans in fashion- very seldom on the cover of magazines, chosen to be models for editorial spreads, etc. In a banter he was having with another Twitter user (who initially started this debate), he expressed to this user, “And I still don’t understand how the white man has privilege over the african american women’s vagina.” (this is all in reference to the user stating that my friend was ignorant on this topic i.e. White Privilage.)

My friend’s overall point was that this is not something unique to the Black community, as the other user in the debate is claiming; the point being made stems from a thing called, “the Caucasian standard”- designs, styles of fashion, and models used to display the pieces are either caucasian or are strongly centered around this idea, a European dominance, if you will. Asians, Latinos, Indians, and every other race and nationality is under-represented when it comes to fashion. The Industry seems to want to keep things on a more European level, which, by default, means Caucasian. 

Personally, I understand the point being made when it comes to models of color (if you will) being under represented and not receiving the same work as Caucasian models, but, isn’t fashion really about….fashion? I mean, the focal point should be the designs, etc., although I do understand that it makes a difference as to who you have wearing the designs. In this day in age, I would love to think that the issue of race has been thrown out of the window, especially in fashion; unfortunately, America will always be light years behind the rest of the world when it comes to ethics and humanity….kind of funny, considering that America was founded due to oppression and discrimination. 

What do you think? Are models of color under represented in fashion? Is one ethnicity discriminated against more than the other? What is your take on the Caucasian standard?

Stay Aware,

-Ben

The Boring Closet of Today’s Homosexual

Outside of those who do drag or prefer to wear heels and booty shorts (i.e. Jonte Moaning, who can pull this off better than ANYONE), I’ve come to the conclusion that homosexual men have absolutely no, I mean ZERO, style.

Yep. I’ve opened this can of worms, and I’m letting them crawl.

Of course, who am I to judge how other’s dress? I’m the one constantly screaming, “EXPRESS YOURSELF, DO YOU,” etc; I still stand by this. But, with the stereotype of gay men having a better sense of style than most, I have to say it’s just not true. Only about 20% of gay men can be held to this stereotype, because it’s true for them.

Here is where I pull my argument from: one walks into some sort of gay establishment and is instantly immersed in a sea of Abercrombie&Fitch, Hollister, Express, American Eagle, etc. It’s suffocating (speaking from example.) And they LOVE IT! Honestly, it’s like walking into a clone factory, or being a product of having an identical twin and your mother always dressed you the same as the other.

BORING.

Now, again, one may choose to wear what one likes, whenever they like…but, do not speak to me as a self proclaimed fashion guru and expect me to take you seriously as you wear an entire outfit consisting of A&F, even down to your undies….and a pair of boat shoes. Kick rocks, please.

However, there are those who actually give a damn and break the mold, and as we all know, I love breaking the mold. These are the ones who draw the line between looking completely like a man in drag and just another boy on the street wearing a Northface jacket. They realize that a t-shirt and jeans doesn’t ever happen on any runway in the world, let alone should it happen unless you’re a cast member of ‘Jersey Shore’.

I know I’m ranting. I just makes me upset. Out of ALL the stereotypes to not be true, and yet, still are believed to be the “go to” guys for fashion advice. My primary experience comes from the gays in good ol’ Columbus, Ohio- home to the Abercrombie & Fitch home office (as well as a few other brands), which is where a majority of people seem to work- and these guys think they are just the BEE’S KNEES in their graphic tee and boot cut jeans. This is a look for their everyday, office attire, and for going out on the town.

I wonder: especially in a place such as Columbus, why is this such a common look amongst the gays? Is it a “safe” look (meaning they won’t be judged by their looks, thus not appearing ‘gay’), or is this genuinely what they think fashion is? If they wore even half of the shit I wear, that’s when they would need to worry about being judged (no biggie for me).

Again, this is mostly another rant, and if any offense is taken, I apologize, and yet I don’t. I would love to know what others’ think about this topic.

My final thought: If a wardrobe full of just jeans, t-shirts, and polos is one’s idea of haute couture, please jump out of a window.

Stay Observant,

-Ben