I have never been a fan of magazines for males like GQ. I also abandoned the Playboy Philosophy early on. ” Come up to my pad, and see the etchings while I spin some California Cool Jazz and chill a magnum” wasn’t going to happen while I wore ratty jeans and lugged the guitar around from folkie coffeehouse to crummy dive bar. Besides, in those days Busking in dive bars and street corners did not require high couture. So my sense of style was rather individual and budget limited.
Quite a few years later, I noted at boat shows that many young men were in Wooden Boat Chic. Boat chic for the wooden boat crowd did not mean earlier generations’ gray tropical wool twill slacks, a blue blazer, and yacht cap. Instead, on display were tastefully ratty but very expensive foul weather gear, LL Bean accouterment, and a rarely used rigger’s knife prominently displayed in a sheath or lanyard. I was barely making booth fees and wondered what source of capital supplied the wealth for these aspirant Ishmaels. Then I remembered the biblical verse reminding us that the wealthy will always be with us.
Wearing another’s threads has always been a way of expressing identity while solidly within the ranks of conformists. If you don’t know where you are going style-wise, if there is no sense of pulsion in a particular direction, there is no harm in appropriating one as a place to start. Just don’t let it rest at that point forever.
Being novel or dressing with a touch of pizazz does not necessarily require great economic resources, but it does require some sense of who you are. If the threads fit poorly on your body, it is one thing, but if they are ill-fitting on your personality, that’s another.
This sense of self-style won’t develop in a week, month or year. You don’t have to purchase from high-priced stores or catalogs to attain your look. Instead, I’ve seen people put together grand-style statements from high-end second-hand stores, Salvation Army, and church thrift stores.
The important thing? A sense of genuineness – that you look at home in yourself, not like an imposter.