Friday, March 11, 2011

Style: It's Not Genetic

Eli is very serious about his style.
I was not deprived as a child. I had all the best things a kid could ask for: a stable home life, siblings my own age to play with, a supportive mom, and plenty of space to live and grow. However, there was something lacking in my life: style. I told myself that I did not have the luxury to really develop a personal "style" when it came to my clothing and accessories, rationalizing that it was a failing caused by our poor shopping habits. We went school clothes shopping once a year, usually at K-mart, and my wardrobe was occasionally supplemented by second-hand clothing or costume pieces. Personally, I loved sorting through the bags of "hand-me-downs," snatching up whatever appealed to me, and trying new things. We always had "style shows" when we got new clothes, playing dress up as if it were a costume party. I remember a shirt I often liked to wear: it was green with a vivid graphic across the entire front. The picture was of a Victorian woman with a high collar and a feathered hat, more suited to hang framed on a wall than to grace the front of a polyester shirt; however, that did not keep it out of my "A" clothing rotation. I had striped knee-socks and gaucho pants, a baby blue faux leather jacket, and grey and neon pink sneakers. Sometimes I would wear these things all together. I was a mess. I'm glad that those were the days before People of Walmart, or I may have ended up on the internet for the world to see (and make fun of). As an adult, I stick to solid colored shirts, jeans, and neutral-colored slacks. I still don't have style, but at least I shouldn't embarrass my kids when I venture out into public. (At least not because of my clothing... I'm sure there are many other ways that I could find to be embarrassing.)

My son, however, is a different story. I think he came out of the womb wearing a fedora and sunglasses. He likes to layer, wearing a cowboy vest over a striped collared shirt, jeans, Reeboks, and always the hat. And, to beat it all, his clothing prospects are not much better than mine were: we buy things off the sale rack, he gets hand-me-downs from his cousin, and he gets the occasional gift of clothing from the grandparents, but we don't do any major spending. And yet, he always looks like a mini hipster, only cooler because he's genuine. My conclusion: style has as much to do with attitude as anything else, and he's got the personality to pull anything off. My best friend has declared that he will either grow up to be a doctor or win Project Runway. His plan? He's going to be a motorcycle cop so he can fight bad guys. Oh, yeah, and wear a cool leather jacket.

This is his "Everyday Hat." Personally, I think he wears it to
pick up chicks.


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