Tuesday, August 23, 2011
If In Doubt, Quote Oscar Wilde.
Fashion is temporary. Style is forever. And thus, five years ago, I was described as "King of Quirky Shirts" by the woman who I now share my world with. Wherever I go, whatever city, I always have two thoughts in mind - where's the record and book shops? and where can I find cheap, old unusual shirts?
Though it may not be apparent, I try to have a sense of style. Wether we mean to or not, we judge other people by what they wear, how they walk, and how they talk. Over the years, and probably in the last decade, my sense of style took a huge leap. I used to take things quite casually, and thought nothing of spending most of my life in jeans and a faded tour t-shirt for a band that had split up. A band that, in all probability, hadn't been split up quite long enough to go round the accordian of uncool to being retro again.
If I had to describe my style it would be thrift store retro. I don't see any point in wearing the same clothes as anyone else, looking like everybody elese. And whilst all our clothes are far from unique, they are made in factories and produced in the hundreds and thousands and hundreds of thousands, it is how we work with these elements that defines them, and therefore us. I scour shops for second hand, used, obscure clothing, looking for a very particular imagery and colour palette that no longer exists : shades of cream/brown, stripes, red and pink, a look that can best be described as 70's Communist Party HQ Wallpaper.
I don't want people to walk down the street and know I buy stuff from a certain place. It's easy, and obvious, and yes, it's lazy. I want my clothes to look unique and not part of the same world as everyone else to an extent. It won't always work. But a lot of the clothes I have, I never seen more than one of. Ever. Though i did see someone with a shirt very similar to one of my Classic Brown numbers the other day, and it really pissed me off. How dare he! .... but then I thought, that's a guy with taste. There's some cliche about flattery, I'm sure.
Reflected in the Harrier at the Tate
You can't necessarily see here in the reflection, but there's a thin line of brown in the cream on this shirt, which combined with a tie, and a watch that only shows the time when I press a red LED button, and I'm suddenly a 1970's bloke, without the 'tache or the Capri. There's enough of agap between then and now for me to feel unconcerned by what is and isn't fashion, only what is stylish. (Moby complimented me on my suit three weeks ago, which was unexpected).
In T-shirts, I'm wary of the ones with allegedly witty slogans : I'm not as thunk as you drink I am. Oh, I laughed. I look for something more than that. A subversion of the usual. At the very least something that demonstrates a vague sense of cultural awareness and style. Whatever style is. Something that is more than just a t-shirt with the name of a fashion house written on it. I may not get it right ; there's still the odd Iron Maiden one with a silly monster on it, for example, but, by and large, I look at T-shirts as walking billboards for graphic design. But also, they say something about me, and what they say is, I'm The King Of Quirky T-Shirts.
Rocking a certain shirt, at Paddock Wood