Recently, I was at a party and I had on one of my signature beanies, a look I have been steady rocking since high school, when someone at the party (an old friend from high school) says, “Wow you’re still wearing beanies? When do you get too old to wear beanies all the time?”
I. Was. Stunned.
I didn’t know how to respond. I thought about it all night and several days afterwards. Had a gotten too old to still be partaking in a style that had been with me for so long? Is it actually possible to age out of fashion? Was it time to ditch my signature look and embrace my frizzy disheveled hair?
After some serious soul-searching, I realized that a person’s sense of style is just like them, constantly changing, growing, and evolving into a better version of who they used to be. So I decided to take a look at my closet to see a physical representation of who I had become over the last few years. What I found were two completely opposite sides of a proverbial menswear coin.
There I was, a young man of 21 years, at a crossroads in life. I found myself at a point where I often feel I’m too old to be wearing half of the items in my closet (I wear a lot of beanies, tanks, and of course my comfy Adidas Joggers- what we’ll call “streetwear”), but too young to always wear the other half (my favorite “Nice Young Man” Sweater, loads of khakis and button up shirts, and ties- what we’ll call “classicwear”).
So, I made a decision. This decision changed my life, and my sense of style. I decided to become intentional about my personal style evolution by actively engaging in the act of fusing my two perceivable personalities into one. I began the slow work of integrating certain pieces into what would typically be the “wrong” look, styling a beanie (streetwear) with a more formal shirt and tie look (classicwear), or matching a classy sweater (classicwear) with my Adidas joggers (streetwear). This created a completely new signature style for me that left me feeling comfy and looking ready for almost any occasion.
I hypothesize that many young men (and women too) have a moment like this in their lives. Unfortunately, in some cases the evolution that I chose to be intentional about never happens (think of the countless episodes of “What Not Wear” in which people never ungrow their favorite tee shirt from when they were 14) and get stuck in their old school fashion forever.
In the fight between streetwear and classicwear, I found that their really isn’t one clear choice or winner, because no person has only one side of his or her personality. Some days you’re more of a street urchin, and other days you like to really show up. Fashion, just like most everything is a spectrum, and you can find yourself anywhere on it at any point.