A few weeks ago, I enjoyed the wondrous occasion of Veteran’s Day. Since I work with, but not for, the federal government, I have to work that day if I want to get paid. However, the federal holiday is the most peaceful day to work because there are no distractions. And I get to wear whatever I want. It’s that rare day when I can chuck the tie and tie on the Chucks. I love it.
So, leading up to Veteran’s Day, everyone I work with got an e-mail proclaiming November 11th as “Casual Day”, which is better than “Business Casual Day”. When the 11th arrived, I wore casual; meaning, I wore jeans, a Virginia Tech t-shirt, a long-sleeved pullover t-shirt from Old Navy (my new favorite shirt), and my favorite shoes, the blessed maroon Chucks. (Someone must be happy right now that I have an actual Favorite Pair of Shoes™. I digress…)
Everyone else at work wore the standard DC yuppie uniform consisting of a black shirt, stylish jeans, and hip shoes. The other four guys I work with noticed the difference. Jason said that I would “fit in on any college campus in America.” I remarked on the “uniqueness” of their clothing before thanking him for the compliment. My brother (yes, I work with my brother… quaint, no?) rolled his eyes and shook his head, a vey common reaction to my style and interests.
I don’t do stylish because I don’t care. I like what I like and that’s fine. If I catch a trend or fad, that’s a bonus that means nothing to me. If I still like it when the trend or fad is gone, I’m going to continue wearing it because I never realize that the fad is over. I’m not cool because I’m dense to shifting trends. Ain’t that just the shittiest luck?
Last weekend, I caught a lucky break. In the new issue of Details (December 2004), Whitney McNally wrote a helpful fashion article in the dossier / style section (Pages 88-90) titled “It’s Time to Chuck the Chucks”. Now I know ahead of time that I’m behind the times again. Please wait while I take a moment to cry… sniff, sniff…
After wiping away the salty bitterness, I wondered what a square 31-year-old male could do to catch up. I read the article. So that you may be style-educated, consider this useful explanation:
“It’s the same thing as the punk movement,” says Jim Merlis, former publicist for the Strokes. “Everyone wants to dress differently, and they wind up looking exactly alike. I walk down the street and I always think I’m spotting Albert or Fabrizio. And I worked with them.” Merlis himself started wearing the sneakers in the spring of 1990 but recently untied his Chucks because of their ubiquity. He’s moved on. To Puma.
After I invested all that money in Chucks, I need to toss them out and buy some Pumas? How did I miss this? And fuck, I don’t even know who Albert and Fabrizio are. I need some remedial coolness help. Now! I continued reading, only to discover that Whitney must be a superhero with a cape, because the answer is in the article. Can you believe that, the kindness of a stranger stepping in to save me from making an ass of myself? Telling me that the trend is over and then explaining what to do about it? You rule, Whitney McNally! God bless Details.
So that you may know, I present THIS:
“Having endured the saturation of trucker hats and vintage rocker tees, we all know where that ends up. “How edgy are they when you see them on 10 guys on the train?” asks Michael Bastian, men’s fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman, who approves of Converse only if they’re worn with chinos in a preppy-casual way – preferably on an island, far away. And as [Ermenegildo Zegna fashion director Djordje] Stefanovic reminds us, it’s the accessories that make the man. Which means that unless you can dress them up with Drew Barrymore and a mike, lose the Chucks.
If only I had Drew Barrymore’s phone number and a bit of musical talent, I could continue wearing my Chucks. Alas, I’m screwed. Whitney makes it very clear with this sentence:
In short, Converse are fine for guys who think ramen noodles are cuisine – but they’re not for grown-ups anymore.
Wait a second… Really? Really? No, you’re kidding me? There’s a loophole in the death of the trend? Holy crap, I feel like I’ve won the lottery and I didn’t have to buy a ticket. I get an exemption because I’m not a grown-up. I’m really just a 12-year-old girl.