20 March 2010

10 Things I Wear Around You

Listening to: The Fratellis, "Whistle For The Choir." I have huge problems remembering song lyrics (I'm not an audio learner). In order to fully know a song, I have to sit there and just read the lyrics over and over again, basically pushing the words into my brain by brute force. Since that takes some time, I just generally start making up my own words when I sing along. It's just easier. But I really enjoy the lyrics for this song and want to learn it so I can sing with confidence and aplomb. Wish me luck.

I'll come right out with it: I don't know much about fashion. Yet I have a lot of opinions. It's one of those things where if you look good and can put together an outfit, people respect what you have to say about their clothing. If you look like crap and say things like "That really doesn't work for you," people will tend to ignore your commentary. Still, I'm a big believer of giving people unsolicited advice, especially if I'm ultra-underqualified to give it. I daylight as a useless advice dispensary.

Plus, with something like fashion and aesthetics, the opinion of the every man (or the poorly dressed man, like me) can be very valuable. If you'll recall, I recently conducted a "Who's the Most Stylish Guy" poll among my friends and I ranked pretty low -- no shock there. Still, I know what looks good on other people. It's kind of like giving relationship advice; I know exactly what you're doing wrong but can't stare at my own reflection with any honesty or insight.

On a related note, things I learned about fashion this weekend: five out of five girls prefer boxer briefs to boxers. Yes, boxers were over many years ago and I'm only finding out about this now. A direct quote from our conversation, "Boxers are for kids or douchebags." Truly I've had no friends who cared for me because they're only alerting me to this fashion change now. I'm going to Costco this very week to correct this oversight. Public service announcement to kids and d-bags everywhere: Boxers are way out, even I'm about to make the switch!

Having said all that, I saw this meme over at Claire's (SeeLight) blog, "Ten Fashion Basics," and just had to do it. It might go shorter than ten because I really don't even have that many items of clothing I would say fit the category of "fashion." I generally feel pretty lucky just to have ten clean items to choose from on any given day.

1. White t-shirts from Costco: It's hard to beat six t-shirts for about three dollars each. A few years ago I opted to dedicate my upper wear to white t-shirts. I've transitioned so successfully that now whenever I wear any color, people around me are instantly stunned. The upside is that in most US cities, I'm never far from replenishing my white tees stock. The downside is any t-shirts that cost more than three dollars makes me think about fashion versus value. Guess which one I generally opt for? Handy shopping tip: If it doesn't say "Kirkland Signature" on the bag, it's probably not the real thing. Don't be fooled and go for some higher end brand. Three bucks, that's the max you should pay for a t-shirt.

2. Camouflage shorts: I have three identical pairs, or triplets. It dawned on me a few years ago that having just one of a favorite item was inefficient. Why not buy multiples and wear them more often? So I found my ideal camo shorts (big pockets, traditional print, sturdy and doesn't fade with washings) at American Eagle of all places and just bought two more. Greatest decision of my life. Until recently when I realized these things are like way old and camo might have gone out of style five years ago. Now the great debate: Does camo ever really go out of style? Or can I just get another three pairs?

3. Army surplus belt, camo: Lacking hips, a belt is a crucial part of my wardrobe. I once had to convince the bouncer at some lame bar that I wasn't sagging. I mean, I was in my late twenties at the time and not trying to sag anything. I'm a grown ass man with skinny genes okay? My friend just kept saying to the bouncer, "He has no hips, he has no hips!" Needless to say I had to show the bouncer that my belt was properly cinched and that I indeed had no hips. I got into the bar and promptly left in under four minutes. Good times PB Bar and Grill, good times.

4. Phone holster with belt loop: Not surprisingly, also camouflage. Sensing a theme? My iPhone is my best friend and I believe in protecting my friends. Especially ones that contain all my secrets and cost me hundreds of dollars. So I have a plastic case on the phone as well as double bagging it within a belt clip holster. Do I look cool? No. But if there's ever an iPhone stand off, I would win because I can flip out my phone much faster than you can. So there.

5. Converse All Stars: I bought a bajillion pairs of Chucks at a clearance sale awhile back and I'm still digging out fresh pairs. White, black, grey, camo, red, I caught them all. For seven dollars a pair they were hard to beat. Why are Chucks so great? Versatility. You can go dancing in Chucks, you can go to weddings in Chucks, you can show your creative side by drawing on Chucks, you can wash Chucks easily, and you can play sports in Chucks (although I'd avoid the latter if possible). My social rule of thumb is if Chucks aren't allowed, I'm not going. Bonus here is that Chucks are arguably my only fashion-current piece of clothing because they're timeless and transcend style. Lucky me.

6. Uniqlo: This Japanese version of the Gap is like my perfect store. Cheap prices, basic colors, slim fits, a beautiful jewel of a store in Manhattan. And therein lies the problem, there's only one store in the United States and it's in New York. Sure H&M or American Apparel probably could fit the same clothing niche but I don't shop in either of those stores. Uniqlo is for me and I don't mind just shopping there once a year for the essentials. My must-haves from Uniqlo is their light zip up hoodies that have the double zipper. I don't know why you would need to zip/unzip from the top and the bottom but I enjoy the options.

7. No logos: This isn't a fashion basic as much as a philosophy. I can't do logos on my clothing. Socks, t-shirts, jackets, everything. If it's got a big design or word printed on it, I'm done. I could probably change my whole life around by just accepting some logos and brands (not to mention experimenting with patterns), but I can't do it. I'm a basics kind of guy. Gimme an ice water on the rocks, chilled.

8. Bed Head, Hard to Get texturizing paste: Otherwise known as "p√Ęte texturisante" if you're fancy. I've been wondering why beauty products are always printed in English and French. What's the reason behind that? I know, JFGI. Anyway, I dated a hair stylist once and she informed me that gel was no longer cutting it. She gave me this cool blue ball and a Bed Head hair stick. George stole the hair stick because she loved it and I started using the paste. Verdict? It's definitely better than gel. It smells good, it's got a strong grip, and it leaves your hair fluffy and not all stiff. Even though I'm on the verge of shaving my head again -- I get sick of it every six months or so and summer is coming -- I'm glad I dated this girl and now I have this product in my bag. Thanks Cupid.

I think I'm stopping at eight. I can't think of another fashion basic that I do. This pretty much just tells me I need a new wardrobe. But wait, I knew that already. I'd love to hear about your fashion basics though so thanks in advance for playing.

Update: Reena, Ameer, and Raymond's ten things!