Describing something American as minimal may seem sarcastic at a first glance. We are used to big things coming out of the U.S. be it in clothing, cars, food portions, ideas, movie productions, you name it. Though there is a distinct minimal element to the casual traditional American way of dressing. Few pieces purelly practical, used either for their warmth or efficiency and durability, the dress-code of the cowboy and lumberjack, of the wilderness explorer.
In the days we living there is not a whole lot of wilderness left. Our cities though have become much like jungles, thus calling for a new breed of adventurer to emerge. One that can carry on the torch our forebearers both in spirit and practice. Thus the clothes of old become relevant to the present day. through their simplicity and familiar lines they bridge the gap between the old and the new in a perfect and elegant way.
A flannel shirt paired with heavy cotton chino pants and a denim jacket with sherpa linning over your shoulders can make you feel at home, regardless of your suroundings. Simple and practical meet, classic and sharp in an outfit that combines the best of both worlds. Instead of the time-worn sturdy leather boots of the usual cowboy, I prefer to wear my skate-hi’s. I don’t get as many opportunities to ride a horse as I get to ride my board, nowdays.
Riding might have changed in the urban landscape to boards and bikes, but the rider has essentially remained the same. The look, the feel and the clothes all follow the same path of cool essential simplicity. Minimalism handed down from one generation to the next, serving the same purpose of freedom and expression.
The homeless/punk aesthetic of distressed clothing has grown into a cult the last couple of years. Normally you wouldn’t even consider of going out with a sweatshirt filled with holes but today it is considered normal. Distressed fashion is on a rise and not only because of it’s musical or socio-political references. Tattered and torn clothes contibute an element of authenticity and a down to earth feeling in an outfit. They help tonning down formal-ware lending an aura of casuallity and playfullness. A prime example of this kind of styling is pairing a blazer and shirt with torn jeans. Easy to wear, smart yet casual at the same time.Combining pieces fomr different sides of fashion in order to take advantage, of their individual streanghts is nice and all, but what happens if you wanna wear all your distressed clothing together? Well inmy honest opinion DON”T DO IT. Unless you are a rockstar so it’s fine. Seriously though don’t. Try wearing a single big piece that is torn to shreds. Everyones loves black skinny torn jeans but, it is quite different visual effect if you pair them with a shirt or T-shirt, than with an also distressed crewneck for example.
You wouldn’t an old lady lending you a couple of quorters thinking your homeless now, would you?
Hoodie: Sneak Aces
Jeans: Represent Clothing
Shorst may be considered a standard garment of everybody’s summer closet but that wasen’t always the case. Shorts have their origin in late 19th and early 20th century school uniforms. Aside from seperating men form boys they served a practical purpsose since youngsters tend to dirty their clothes more often , so shorts saved some time at the cleaners. That all changed with World War 2. A lot of soldiers got assigned to fronts with a tropical climate thus leading to them wearing shorts. That got shorts to get “accepted” as part of an adults wardrobe and changed forever the perception of childness and immaturity they used to have. Grown men beeing seen in shorts is one thing, wearing them properly is quite another. Most people tend not to pay attention to how or when to wear shorts. Basically you wear shorts when the weather allows you too, meaning it is suffieciently hot to do so and when you are not attending an overly formal event or occasion.
As long as wearing them is concerned first you go to choose how long you want you shorts to be. There are some prety short ones as I previously described and some pretty long ones that reach all the way dow to your ankle. In my opinion knee-high and a couple of inches above the knee is the best lenght but your personal refferance may differ. Then you got to choose the style.
There are simple shorts like the ones I am wearing in this shoot and more extravagant and flashy with more pockets, patterns or overly more complex. Be weary that the style and also the color you choose also affects the formality of you total outfit so choose according to your plans.
Now what to pair them with. Most people would pair shorts with a T-shirt, a pair of sneakers and get out the door, but I think we can be smarter than that. I like antithesis, so my favorite way of wearing shorts is with a long-sleeve shirt or T-shirt. Playing with revealing and hiding your body is a really nice way to “smarten-up” a rather caual and common piece of clothing. Especially wearing an Oxford shirt really enchances the whole “feel” of your outfit.
Getting lower, not any shoe will do. Low-top shoes with short socks work the best here. You can use high-top sneakers and boots if you like but, be mindfull that the rest of your stylistic choices must be according to your footwear. I have used low-sneakers with min-length socks because I like the whole schoolboy/boyscout look.
As a final piece of advice i would like to stress one important visual trap of wearing shorts. The “chicken-leg” effect. That happens because shorts add volume only to the top part of your legs, so choosing an overly loose pair magnifies that effect even further. In order to avoid it opt for more fitted shorts that shape and tone your figure.
Longsleeve T-shirt: Vans
Socks: HUF Wordlwide X Thrasher
Shoes: Vans Era
Street Style, the most uncoventional and hard to describe style category off all. In most other cases like bohemian, romantic, bussiness, outdoors and so on, we can give a clear definition of what they or how they are represented. But what is Street? Is it another word to say casual? Is Street anything that we see someone wearing while walking around in a city? Is it a mesh of punk and rock with a couple of sportswear items thrown into the mix? Honestly I believe that Street Style is a playground. It is the place were all the old-school styles go to play, mingle and maybe have a couple of drinks. What comes as a result is a fresh look in concepts that we thought of as old or obsolete. Wearing suit trousers with oversized T-shirst and jean jackets, a lbd with sneakers or simply your sweats with a flannel over a hoodie. Casual sportswear and even more prepy clothes mix in a plethora of new ways and the result is interresting new looks that surprise in their simplicity.
Here lies the trap though. Not everything that fits the previous discription is a street style look. In other words wearing whatever and putting on a pair of sneakers doesn’t make you a street style aficionado, it just makes you lazy. Go outside your comfort zone and explore some more unconventional stylistic approaches towoards your wardrobe.
Street Style is about always finding ways to wear what you got in a new and exiting way. It never ends and once you get a grasp of it, it becomes pretty fun.
Re-imagine. Re-invent. Create.
T-Shirt: XbyO for Adidas Originals
Shoes: Steve Maden
A street style staple the parka coat is another piece of garment that has come a long way through history to reach the streets. Originally the first ever people to wear it were the Caribou Innuit which made theirs out of caribou or seal skin. Layer it was adopted by the U.S. Army and the snorkel parka was born. It was used for personel stationed in extremely cold weather conditions. It gained the common name of “snorkel parka” because the hood can be zipped right up leaving only a small tunnel (or snorkel) for the wearer to look out of.
Another type of the parka coat is the fishtail Parka. It was inveneted and first put to use by the U.S. Army during the Korean War. The name fishtail comes from the fish tail extension at the back that could be folded up between the legs, much like a Knochensack, and fixed using snap connectors to add wind-proofing. The fishtail was fixed at the front for warmth or folded away at the back to improve freedom of movement when needed.
Both styles are popular in the street with slimmer more elongated form of the fishtail being more common that the snorkel. That’s also due to the heavy use of the fishtail in the 1960’s by the mod subculture. Traditionally colored sage green, the parka coat can also be found in a plethora of colors.
Since a coat isn’t always a direct stylistic element of your outfit I would suggest that you make it so! A great outfit is composed of everything you wear, so choose the color of you parka with care. Green works for most people, but why be the same as everyone ealse? The way we dress expresses our personality and emotional state. So don’t be afraid to break from the norm and choose a color that really is you!
Fishtail Parka : Sneak Aces
Denim Jacket: Lee Jeans
Oversized. The cozy, easy to wear winter trend. But aside from wool sweaters and coats, blowing things out of proportion is a global trend. In the fashion industry the “making things bigger” movement translates into making clothes that are in some ways disproportionate to the wearer. Longer sleeves, more lenght on the waistline, huge hoods. In sort no need to buy one size bigger anymore in order to look more hood or street. The designers have your back!
From a stylistic point of view there are two ways of matching oversozed clothes. The first is big and small. Use only one oversized piece and fitting pieces for the rest of your outfit. For example match an oversized T-shir or hoodie with skinny pants. The opposite also aplies. The second option is going full oversized. But if you don’t want to end up looking like Morgan Spurlok in “Super Size Me” you should carefully choose your outfit. A monochormatic or tone to tone outfit would achieve the prefered look in a classy and more minimalistic way.Always keep in mind that oversized clothing was,is and always will be a big part of streetculture and streetware. But, before N.W.A, Biggie, RUN D.M.C. and a lot of other hip-hop artists, wearing clothes that are bigger than normal has it’s roots in the 1920’s and the women emancipation movement. Slowly women started wearing men’s clothing as a sign of rebellion. As time moved on and came WW2, women had to work in factories in place of the male workers that were fighting as soldiers in the war. So the sight of women in what used to be striclty male clothing was even more common. Designers were fast to recognize the turn of events and how they shaped ,the way people dressed. That is when oversized as a concept officialy entered the fashion world.Ever since then, it has been used a lot and by a wide variety of the fashion spectrum. From Coco Chanel and Alexander McQueen to Stussy and Kanye West’s Yeezy Collections. In all it’s iterations, oversizing has reamained true to it’s “street nature”, always used to make a statement, to stress a certain point, to make an impretion.
Hoodie by: N.D.G. Studio (from Dangerous Minds store)