Category Archives: Style & Fashion

Laziness + Cheapness = Cool

I need a haircut. As happens too quickly in my life, my hair goes from the halfway decent, fresh from the barber look to the shaggy, colic. I usually realize this while standing in the bathroom at work at 7:59. My bangs are curling and I have colic that only cement can cure.

Lately my hairstyle plan has been to cut it so short you can’t really comb it. It works great for winter. I put a hat on, I take my hat off, my hair looks fine. That is until I reach the inevitable shaggy state. Then my hair stands to attention like a soldier.

I need a new look. Tonight I went for the bandanna. Unfortunately, the gang look doesn’t exactly mesh with the dress code at work. I’m tempted to grow my hair long. I don’t exactly know what that means, other than the fact that I’ll have to go through a painfully long shaggy state where my hair doesn’t know what to do, and neither do I. But I take encouragement from my balding friends at work: grow it while you got it. My hair will surely abandon me on the day when I need to feel my youngest, so I might as well enjoy it while I can.

All this talk about hair makes it actually seem like I care about style. I don’t. I’ll probably end up with the disheveled look, which is so two years ago, but not for stylistic reasons. Shear laziness will be my primary motiviating factor. In all honesty, laziness paired with cheapness are the inspiration for most of my fashion choices.

Will there come a day when I like myself again?

You want to change the world but the world won’t change for you.

I wake up in the morning and wonder where I am. Come to my senses try to put my best face on. It’s not so easy before the sun rises. I’ve got to make an impression, got to be the one all the boys want. That’s what I’m talking about. You say it’s not true, but you don’t know the way they look at you. That look can mean so much, it can be everything.

You find the clothes that look best today. Whatever happened to my favorite pair of jeans, that comfy sweater that reminds you of rainy Saturdays and Monopoly? That doesn’t cut it any more. I dress with my back to the mirror, not wanting to know the latest. Maybe tonight I’ll be in better shape to face the music. I know what the magazines say, but my body doesn’t want to cooperate on Monday mornings. You wouldn’t cooperate either if you had to get up this early, with this little sleep, with this much to do.

By the time I walk out the door, I wonder if I’m really myself. I don’t listen to my mother’s makeup advice anymore. Nobody does. Someone from New York whom I’ve never met tells me how’s it done. That’s who everyone at school listens to, and I do the same. Once upon a time it was normal to be yourself. But no one’s interested in this self anymore. So I do what I can, I try my best to make myself presentable, acceptable, likable, lovable.

I never quite know if it works, if I can manage to pull the wool over their eyes, over my own eyes. Sometimes I just pretend it works, and ignore the fact that my pants are too loose or too baggy, that my shirt is too tight or not tight enough, showing too much cleavage or not enough, showing enough of my stomach or not enough. Sometimes I pretend my thighs are slim and my stomach is taunt and my breasts are just right. Sometimes I don’t give a shit.

Sometimes as I walk to the bus stop I wonder if I’ll ever look in the mirror and see myself again. I wonder if on the other side of the adolescent jungle is something worthwhile. I wonder if adults go through the same self-flagellation, or if we grow past this pathetic phase of gratifying total strangers and jilted popularity mongers.

Will there come a day when I like myself again?

I never want to be that cool.

Orange is the new red. Punk is the new preppy. Thrift shop is the new casual. Old school is the new school. Trends and the latest in are so out with me. I get a kick walking around the mall and seeing the styles stores are trying to peddle as the latest and greatest. Everything is so phony. They’re manufacturing cool and selling it at discount prices.

My favorite is the new chic punk. The tough looking clothes that once defined rebellion are now sold in soft girly yellows and pinks, toned down and trimmed to be a hackneyed copycat lacking the soul of the original. But it’s okay, cuz you’d look so cute in that.

A close second is the fabricated retro. It used to be cool to shop the thrift stores, buying actual clothes from the seventies. But who needs frayed tees that smell like your grandma when you can have the same thing with artificial logos and a brand name? It incorporates all the style of Salvation Army with none of the price.

And finally, the only thing falling faster than the stock market is the waistline of women’s jeans (“Here Come the Buns”). The low-rider is suddenly back, but it wasn’t enough, we had to have hip-huggers again and ultra-low rise and really really low rise, and this-is-so-freaking-low-you-can’t-really-call-them-pants-anymore-low riders. And low-rider jeans coupled with the thong spells trouble for the DEA: plumbers aren’t the only ones dispensing a little crack.

It’s getting to the point where prissy little pre-teens need to coordinate before going to the mall. Are we going fake sweat suit casual or preppy punk? Because you’d hate to mix genres while hanging with your friends. But you don’t want to overdo it. I saw one dynamic duo at the mall that were a little too coordinated. They were going for the chunky tennis shoes, split-side bell-bottoms, and retro rugby shirts. They looked like a pair of walking mannequins.

I never want to be that cool.

Bugle Boy? Umm… no.

The other day I felt like a modern suburban American. I was wondering through the mall on a Sunday afternoon and the only thing I was missing was a cell phone. Pop culture puzzles me.

Retro is in. However it has to be simulated retro, not authentic. Every storefront was sporting the latest style from twenty years ago at today’s prices. Apparently going to Goodwill isn’t good enough.

And while I’m on the subject of malls, what’s up with Sam Goody? That store charges $16.99 for a CD on sale! Regular priced CDs were $18.99. What idiots are buying CDs there and keeping that place in business?

It’s also bothersome that you can’t buy plain clothing anymore. You have to become somebody’s walking billboard. And the worst part isn’t that you have to submit to having some corporation’s logo plastered across your chest, the worst part is that’s what determines how cool you are. Abercrombie? You’re cool. Bugle Boy? Umm… no.

Another thing that bothers me is magazines trying to make ends meet. Rather than try to improve their content to bring in ad revenue, they run several full-color pages of their target demographic wearing trendy wares, and then tell people where they can buy each item of clothing and for how much. Killer ad placement.

I’m also bothered by magazines for teenage girls that feature stick-thin models on the cover, and then have articles moaning about stick-thin models and warning of the dangers of anorexia. It’s magazine-orexia. Then there’s the magazine’s for guys, put out by the same companies, with nothing but pictures of rail-thin women and articles about how to score. It seems we’ve mastered the art of selling magazines and ruining a generation’s concept of self-worth–at the same time! What a deal.

And finally I love the attempt to be on the cutting edge. Every teen magazine and website has a little trendsetter’s club you can join and share the latest trends. It sounds like a totally fresh and out there idea until you realize the magazines are just culling you for information, taking your fringe, soon-to-be-cool trends and putting them on the front page so they can look hip and sell more magazines.

Is there anybody out there that actually cares about people?

The Epitome of Superficiality

The world can be a scary place to live. Especially when you spend a few hours flipping through teenage fashion magazines. If a horny little 15-year-old guy is looking for some soft porn, there’s no better place to go than women’s magazines: Cosmo, Mademoiselle, Vogue, Seventeen, YM. And we wonder why girls have self esteem problems and develop disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

What’s even better is when one of these magazines runs an article on eating disorders, pretending not to be a cause of low self esteem and the source for insecurity. Today I even saw an article about breasts that started off talking about how all the images in society can cause young women to feel bad about their boobs. The article didn’t say anything about the breasts splashed across the cover or the previous page of that very issue.

The double standard is pretty ridiculous, but it pales in comparison to everything else. You can’t distinguish the ads from the content, and sometime the content is advertising. It’s materialism at its best (and it’s certainly not limited to fashion mags). Sex is simply all over the place, with tons of articles on how to do it, how to do it better, and how to avoid any risk while doing it. It would shock my mother and grandmother, but it’s to be expected. In a world with no values, why not tell a teenager how to give the best oral sex. Especially if it sells magazines.

It’s the epitome of superficiality. It’s rebellious in a conformist sort of way.

What I find truly frightening is that while the world is modeling this kind of thinking and lifestyle for young women, what is the church doing? Not much. And I work for a publication that caters to teens. The best thing I can think of that comes close to even addressing the issue is Brio magazine, which quite honestly, fails. It’s a Focus on the Family magazine for teenage girls, and they don’t do much to tear down the messed up ideals that girls need boyfriends to be something, that beauty is only skin deep and can be improved with the latest product from L’oreal.

The last time I checked God said that the lilies of the field were decked out better than anyone on People Magazine’s Best Dressed List. Superficial beauty doesn’t last. It’s not the shade of your lip-gloss or the color of your eyeliner that makes you beautiful. It’s not your cup size or the curve of your hips that matters worth anything. Every big-boobed, bathing suit babe will one day be wrinkled and old, and every guy that ogled and fantasized about her will be long gone. She’ll be old and alone and her days in the spotlight will be a distant memory, hardly worth holding on to. Some things are more important. Some things are eternal.

We’re losing a society of young women to the god of vanity. They’re powdering their noses while their souls rot. What are we going to do about it?

Discontented Jeans

That’s it. I’ve had it. I’m not putting up with it anymore. I came to a point today where I realized I am completely discontent with my jeans. That’s right, denim pants. I’m fed up with mine. Maybe it’s just the static in the air that’s making the material suction to my already skinny legs. Or maybe I’m actually getting bigger. I don’t know what it is, but something is causing me to be completely dissatisfied with my jeans. I’m not sure what it is, but they just don’t fit right. I walk around feeling self conscious like I’m stuck inside some 80’s music video where everyone’s wearing tight pants and t-shirts with no sleeves.

Sometimes I need to work my jeans in a little bit. They come out of the wash a little too stiff and that first day is a little uncomfortable. But by the second day they’ve loosened up and feel fine. That hasn’t worked lately. The second day is just as bad as the first, and at that point I’ve given up by the third day.

Not only do my jeans not fit right, they’re just not as cool as everyone else’s. Maybe I just don’t buy my jeans at the right store. Maybe I shouldn’t let my mother buy them anymore. Everyone else’s jeans are torn and ragged in just the right spots. I wonder if they do that on purpose or if they wear like that. Everyone else’s jeans are the right color, the right fit, and have just the right amount of grunge. The closest I have to grunge is my most comfortable pair of jeans. I had to resort to them today. They used to be very grunge. A ragged whole in each knee–air conditioning. But the holes kept getting bigger and they had to be patched. Which launches my fashion far beyond the grunge and into the patched realm–which isn’t anything cool and original. I stole the idea from my fiance (she was the one who patched them).

It’s my jeans-dilemma, and frankly I’m tired of it. I’ve decided I’m heading to the closest thrift shop and buying cheap jeans that fit. So why is this worthy of my daily thoughts? I don’t know, I’m too fed up with my jeans to worry about it. You can draw your own connection between my discontentment with my jeans and the state of our society.

New Haircut Experience

I got a haircut today. It’s odd, but sometimes these minor events are worth thinking about. I used to love getting my haircut. When I was a kid all you had to do was sit there and they snipped away. I could always hide behind my shy, childhood exterior and no one bothered me. But now that I’m in college I can’t do that anymore. I always dread going to the barber. It’s the cheapest place around (aside from having your roommate do it–and walk away with an Eddie Munster do) so that’s where I go. I think the barbershop, as it’s come to be known in America, is dying. Barbershops used to be friendly places where the old people in the town hung out. Everyone would talk and joke and it was a happy place. Not anymore. Now you walk in and give a brief nod to the barber. He nods at you and the victim in the chair gives a brief nod. Nods all the way around.

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