Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Why I Wear A Cardigan
I was fascinated with the recored store clerk at the independent record store, Earth River Records, near the University of Oregon in Eugene where I attended college. Eugene was were I had my punk rock awakening. Hours would be spent inside if Earth River just looking at albums and 45's hoping they's be as good as the covers. "Mission of Burma? I guess. Oh wait this girl in Bow Wow Wow is fucking hot!"Most of the punks that worked at the store outfitted themselves in whatever they could find at the Salvation Army. Mostly old men's clothes from the 40's and 50's. And because the weather is cold and damp you spend most of the year in layers. This is pre patagonia thank God so sweaters were a staple. There was this one little red haired guy that worked there and his outfit was always the same, black cardi with pins of the Selecter, The Jam and The Who on it, an X t-shirt that must have been a second skin, brown cuffed trousers that were too short and black wingtips with thick white socks. He was losing his hair so he leaned into it with a mowhawk which is so smart. Dude was rad. And he was a total intimidating music dick. I would shamefully bring my albums to the counter knowing I was late on them. "Sandinista? Clash are fucking sell outs this is just a bunch a b-sides." I should have hated him but I didn't. He felt authentic. I decided that he came by his dress, his opinions and anger naturally. I liked that he was let down by the Clash. I didn't know why I should be let down by the Clash, I just I just liked their pants. Having grown up so suburban and wealthy I have always had too much admiration for those who clearly didn't. I was fascinated by people who had to forge their own way, even if that way wasn't the popular way. I hadn't gotten to that place in my life yet. I wanted to be authentic... so I started dressing like him. Sure that's a total contradiction but over time the clothes have become mine. So much so that after seeing me on TV some dude tweeted to me. "Dude ur funny but if I dressed like you I'd shoot myself." I sent him a sweater. I now have the courage of my convictions, even if sometimes they are only sartorial. Your fashion icons can just be people you know and admire. I wear the sweater as a reminder of that time, of that dude, his convictions, and that I was once a young wannabe record store employee and when I put on my black cardi I still am. ODTE!