Live and Let Live
Illustration by Me, Desmond Kinlaw
Look inspired by:
Rayban Wayfarer Sunglasses
Givenchy Leather Quilted Kilt
It’s funny that in the year 2014—with its infinite amount of theories, ideas, and concepts—it’s still encouraged to have hard, black-and-white opinions on things. As if there’s no room for growth and adjustment. Allow me to issue you a challenge: for the next six minutes (or however long it takes you to read this), find it in your hearts to float objectively in the middle with me.
I’ll start by listing off some of the major subgenres that menswear has split into in the last few years: hipster, preppy, minimalist, normcore, lumberjack, hypebeast, peacock—ok, I’m stumped. I mentioned all that to say that the height of men’s style is no longer the guy in the well-cut three-piece suit. It is not the super chill guy in Japanese selvedge denims, bespoke oxford shirt, and English-made wingtips, either. The height of men’s style is looking like the best version of you. This may sound contradictory coming from a style blogger who spends his time giving you tips on trends and essentially telling you what you should be wearing. But I only consider myself a resource who simply does a little legwork and presents the findings. I would hope that my readers know to cherry-pick what’s for them and respect what isn’t. But therein lies the problem. I don’t think there’s enough respect. There’s not enough respect to recognize that something isn’t for you and just leave it as that. I’m of the mindset that every creation is beautiful in its own way. It just depends on your perspective. Somewhere along the line, we were told what is and isn’t beautiful. What is and isn’t acceptable. And my favorite, what is and isn’t menswear.
#Menswear came about as a revolt to the notion that men didn’t give a rip about fashion and the only ones that did also happened to enjoy the romantic company of other men. In the early 2000s, southern rap had taken over the nation. Insert baggy clothing, flashy jewelry, and duffel bags from French and Italian fashion houses nearly older than Abe Lincoln. Then, all of a sudden, the pendulum swung all the way to the other side. Men were now able to wear suits for no special occasion without a second look. Now there’s bow ties, tight trousers, and skinny jeans. Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z do a song titled “Suit and Tie” where Jay-Z announces, “It’s time to wear tuxedos for no reason.” Everyone jumped on this #menswear bandwagon—me included. But everything was new to me, and I didn’t understand. Now, the pendulum is slowly starting to settle in the middle. Men’s style icons are beginning to appear less buttoned up and more relaxed. For Christ’s sake, sweatpants are a legit thing now. Sweatpants?! It is my hope that soon the menswear pendulum will fade away into obscurity altogether. It will sway to neither the right nor the left. It simply won’t exist.
I consider fashion to be an art. An expression of a mood, feel, or idea. No one should be allowed to criticize that. Just appreciate it for what it is, and move on with your life. There is no longer such thing as being outside the box because the box went away with the pendulum. I understand that for product marketing purposes, there must be a women’s category and a men’s category. But what if a man wants to wear clothing that is marketed to women? (Side note: There is a fine line between men wearing women’s clothing and a man “trying” to look like a woman. I’m only referring to the former as the latter is another topic all together.) But I pose the question: what’s the difference between a woman wearing trousers (which was deemed downright offensive from about 4000BC up until around the 1920s) and a man wearing a skirt? Ask those living inside the imaginary box and you will hear that that man is queer. But I say that maybe the guy really liked the skirt and has the figure and styling know-how to pull it off—good for him. If you look back through fashion history (as I’m fresh off that course in my college studies), you will notice that in more than a few periods men of power wore skirts, kilts, and tunics. They wore leggings and hose. And when it was time for battle, they would slit your throat without a moment’s notice. So why is it now an assumption of femininity? What changed? Honestly, who cares? Right now, with all our many differences, why is it so hard to just live and let live? Or better yet, wear and let wear. That’s the message in all of this. We’ve come too far as a species to be so closed-minded about things. What gives you the right to toss your negative unsolicited opinion in someone’s direction? Life is too short to get caught up on things that don’t affect you. WEAR AND LET WEAR!
Edited by Felicity Rhode