Fashion misfits are trailblazers and groundbreaking. Declaring myself a fashion misfit would be far too self-congratulatory and far less accurate. Clothing has played a defining character in my life. Mostly it has assumed the role of a visiting fly in my sleeping hours. An entity of which I wish to free myself. However, it has also been a gauge, a litmus test, or a warning light that I am living in the wrong age, or place.
My first pair of shoes were red canvas Nikes with a white swoosh and a single Velcro strap that held them in place. At least that’s the way my mother remembers. I remember a very different pair. I remember leather work boots. Boots that allowed me to bound over any hill or mountain. Boots that allowed me to envision my older self riding motorcycles, climbing into trucks, or resting a foot on the bottom rung of a wooden fence while I sipped coffee and gazed out across a high desert valley filled with wild horses. The boots were a portal to adulthood, freedom and a wild unknown. As a small child these thoughts are easily permitted as imaginative play. However, for me, such ruminations would remain consistent and present; only reincarnating themselves in different articles of attire.
A few years later while eagerly awaiting my teens, I fell in love with a full brimmed hat. While being somewhat topical due to the cinematic boom of Indiana Jones, it didn’t exactly fit the 80’s skate and surf culture of Southern California at the time. This wouldn’t have been an issue except for the fact that I was living in Southern California and I wanted to be a part of the surf and skate culture. I remember how mortified my older brother would be as we’d skate around town and I’d proudly wear my hat. He tried countless ways to get me to leave it behind and while I’d usually fold under the pressure of older sibling idolatry, there was a power in the hat that would encourage me to don it with a smile and head out.
Through college I was more focused on spending money on beer and liquor then any sort of clothing. I would wear my brother’s hand-me-downs as his fashion aesthetic has always been much more progressive than mine. I don’t remember how he came to give them to me, but I inherited a pair of worn out green corduroy pants. Worn smooth in sections. They were great except for the fact that I stand about 4 inches taller than my older brother and the pants fit like I was waiting for a flood. It’s a wonder a lovely young woman took a liking to me nearly twenty years ago and has stuck around since.
After college I found a different groove in the form of a high pompadour, crisp, cuffed jeans and cowboy boots. It was the most coiffed I had ever been in my life and it felt great. Like the Warren Zevon (Ed. American singer of the song "werewolves of London") line, “I saw a werewolf drinking a piña colada at Trader Vic's, And his hair was perfect.”
However, I’d still get the occasional, “What costume party are you going to? It looks so real!”
A few more years passed, somehow we ended up with children and old habits returned. My hair grew long again, I found I could, at least partially, grow a beard and work boots and purpose built clothing returned. Oddly enough however, I found that I wasn’t quite so out of place. There’d been a boom in work wear aesthetic and blue collar bourgeoisie. Trendsetters are now adorned in Dickies pants and old Levis jackets. Cowboys and bikers rule the west and the runways. It was never my goal to join a movement, but I had always wanted to be a grown up, a man, though maybe not the most responsible one.
This odd serendipitous cycle of outsider to on trend has begged the question, “what role has fashion played in my life?” And for me, the answer is not about fashion, but about that one piece. That one statement that isn’t so much for others, but exists for yourself. When you slide into those boots, throw an arm through that jacket sleeve, or get just the right hat for the snake skin band your father made, we are provided a portal; a time machine to that place that is our home.
This is my draw to Anglozine. It’s about that one piece that takes you where you want to go; in time, mind and function.