5 of 5 – “Today & Tomorrow”
So here we are, finally, at the culmination of this month-long series. I’m rather excited to be here, because this is the post I was inspired to write all along. It grew into something more, and at that point I realized it would be best to split it up over the month, but today I get to talk about what I originally wanted to.
After last week’s post, I put away the family photo albums. I no longer had to research the past, because this final entry finds us starting in the present – yay, no more scanning! That makes me as giddy as a school boy!
As I said in the last entry, over the past couple of years I’ve been doing things with my style choices simply because they interest me. That aspect has always been there, and over the years it’s culminated to this. I’d always been interested in the long coats Kramer wore on “Seinfeld” so I purchased something similar (my famous brown coat). For Get Back, I re-purposed my pirate boots as part of my new costume for the movie, and during the year+ production time I began to wear them in my everyday life. I bought my first pair of Converse All-Stars over a year ago, and this summer I bought my first pair of 501 jeans – and a pair that FITS, too. I’ve finally started to really explore fashion ideas that have always interested me, and along the way I’ve discovered new things.
The weirdest part about it, the part that made me want to even write this blog… is that it kind of excites me. I’ve always loved style – the marriage of design and function, and I was finally seeing that come to slight fruition in my own life.
Oh yeah, and Nazis. I freaking LOVE Nazis.
NOW tell me you’re not interested in reading more ;).
As I mentioned in a previous post, I no longer wore shorts, so summer-time was a hard thing for me. How does one wear button-up shirts and long wool pants when it’s 90 degrees in sunny, southern California? I’d often have to sacrifice my interest in style for the sake of sanity and comfort… until this year, when I discovered the simplicity of nice jeans and an undershirt. Heck, that was pretty much all I wore this summer. A bit too James Dean? Perhaps, but it felt good. Part of the reason I enjoyed it so much, though, was for the very simple fact that these clothes actually fit me.
In June I started working at an office in Irvine. I wasn’t there long, but while I was, I was more excited about the prospect of finally being able to have the income to “fix up” my wardrobe than just about anything. I’ve become no longer content with even my off-the-rack fitted dress shirts which were once my saving grace amongst too-large ballooning clothes. I now see the value and interest in spending a little extra money and time in having clothes handmade and personally fitted, because generic fits simply are never very flattering… nor interesting.
For years I’ve had an interest in learning to sew. It was originally for the purpose of being able to create costumes for movies (beyond wanting to learn for basic clothing repairs, like fixing buttons or tears), and I even put together a dress a few years ago for a movie project that eventually fell apart. No, the dress wasn’t for me, but I thought the process was extremely enjoyable and interesting. I was able to choose the exact fabric pattern I’d had in mind (a blue and white check, adorable) and create the dress exactly as I wanted it to be. Really, in so few flamboyant and artistic words, I was able to exact my vision. As my patience wore thin, this year, with my ill-fitting clothes, my passion of sewing and design truly came together for the first time in more form than just a far-off idea. I realized that I could take this same concept of vision, and the fun and excitement which came with my adventure in sewing, and apply it not only to a movie prop, but to my own wardrobe. So-
“Wait a second, WAIT a second! Didn’t you say something insane about loving freaking Nazis??!”
Ah, yes, so I did. So I did. Don’t worry, my good pal, Nick, is one of them crazy Jews, and I love him to pieces, so it’s not the Nazi ideals I am in love with. It’s their interest in design. Even from as far back as high school, I have found something very appealing in the uniform design of the Nazis during the WWII era:
Do you remember the opening scene for the movie Hellboy? In just those few first moments, the villain Kroenen is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Yes, the concept of a villain that wears a fantastic mask and doesn’t speak appeals to me in other ways, but simply for how gosh darn amazing his costuming is, it’s the perfect example of why I said I love the Nazis.
It’s the fit, the form, the design. Quite frankly, I think it’s absolutely sexy. That’s right… sexy. And, just so you don’t think it’s that little swastika that’s REALLY turning me on, I love the Civil War-era coat worn by Ben Foster’s character in 3:10 To Yuma, as well:
Of course, I love THIS look just as much, so you can’t quantify my aesthetic interest in the first two merely by terms of coats and buttons…
Again, the reason that picture appeals to me so much is because of how gosh darn sexy the sense of style is – not just because of WHAT he’s wearing, but HOW
he wears it.
So, as I was saying before the brief Nazi detour, last week I took myself down to the local Salvation Army and bought myself a dress shirt for a few dollars. I made sure to find one that is basically my size, though not exactly. My intention is to start teaching myself the basics of sewing clothing together, and I am beginning by learning how to fit my own clothes. The prospect of one day being able to reach a level in which I can choose a fabric, use a design of my own creation (which I’ve made to fit my body), and sew together my own shirt, vest, or even pants… that really excites me.
Okay, not quite, but you know what I mean.
It’s not only a way in which to express myself, but also very much in line with what I consider to be one of the manliest of all traits – resourcefulness. That leads us into the other half of style, which I defined in the very first entry of this series: practicality.
My pants pockets have become the new jacket pockets of my Jr. High years. I don’t carry around crap I find off of the ground, but I carry a pen and camera along with my keys and cards/cash. I would love to carry around more, however. I’d love to have a sketchpad and pencil with me. I’d love to have access to a number of things that simply won’t practically fit in my clothing pockets, and so awhile ago, while searching for a solution, I discovered the beauty and charm of the Saddleback Leather Co.. One of my first purchases after finding a new job will be a small messenger-style bag from them… and I’ll take it with me everywhere. On another note of practicality, a little while ago I really began taking an earnest interest in a barefoot lifestyle. In years past, I wouldn’t have been able to consider such a thing, because why would I wear anything but dress shoes? My senses, however, have evolved… and they always will.
Ironically, as I began to examine my living barefoot, my feet became rather annoyed by my wearing the dress shoes I’d worn for years. So, I formed an idea in which I could make Converse All-Stars my general shoe of choice; collecting a number of pair, in a variety of colors. It’s a style choice that interested me, and so I’ve looked into it. It may not go anywhere, but that’s part of what excited me enough to want to start this series. The weather had been cold, so I put on a pair of slacks, a flannel shirt, placed a red scarf (in nearly ascot form) under my shirt and around my neck, put on my brown coat (buttoned to the top with the collar up), and topped it all off with one of my old-fashioned caps. Oh, and I had on my Converse, as well ;). You may say what you like, but it appealed to me. It was a combination of clothes, some of which I’ve had for years, that felt new and fresh – and I think it looked great. That is why I began to think of my sense of style which I have now yammered about for a month. I had taken the mundane and made it interesting, and because of that creative and stylistic satisfaction, I walked a bit straighter that day. I liked how I looked, and that’ll make anyone more confident. That’s become the whole point, for me – making things interesting. Even though my current lot of clothing is still limited to what I purchased in the past, due to my present financial inability to spend money freely, I am forced to work even harder to interest myself… and that’s certainly a valuable trait. I’m no longer wearing clothing for any other reason than that it expresses who I am and that it’s practical… which just so happens to be my very definition of style.
So, there we have it. A culmination of 27 years of clothing choices that have given birth to a sense of style which embraces the wide spectrum of ideas I’ve talked about here… and more. I am aware that this final entry may not have been the most entertaining one here, but for me, it’s my favorite. It reminds me that new ideas and possibilities are constantly bubbling about in my head, and that my sense of style is always evolving and growing. I couldn’t tell you what I’ll be trying next, whether it’s a fresh take on something I’ve done before or something as outlandish as to be inspired by the fashion of the 1800’s, but I can guarantee you that it will be wholly me, classic but a little eccentric, and above all else – interesting.
Even if I’m the only one who thinks so :).