I’m Going to Color Bomb You, New England


Soon I am moving back to New England. The Bay Area has officially priced me out of it. Additionally, I need a space that is reasonably comfortable with a strong opinion, as I run my mouth on the regular. That place is not Nor Cal. Nor Cal likes to take shit real easy and keep shit real calm. That’s fine, but I have a lot of strong opinions that I’m never particularly committed to. I just think that anyone and anything can be argued and may the best arguer win.

Have I told you not to wear something or TO wear something over the course of this year in blogging? I just had a strong opinion. If you made a good case for wearing that thing, and if your argument was structured more logically than mine, I would concede. Except when it comes to dudes looking lumpy. It’s a visual affront that I won’t ever abide by.

Anyway, New Englanders have a lot of opinions and they’ll just put them out there all over the place. I like that in a people. What I don’t like in a people is a commitment to a neutral color palate, North Face as fashion, cargo pants, and wave after wave of style snore-fests. Frankly, San Francisco hasn’t eactly killed it when it comes to style, and North Face abounds here as well, but at least there’s some color. From what I remember of New England, you could fling a rock in any direction without hitting anything other than black, grey, and tan. Being an oppositional personality, I’ve worn mostly black and grey on the West Coast. Therefore… lookout, New England! You’re about to get a Michael von Braithwaite color bomb!

What follows is a step-by-step guide that exists in my brain to making New Englanders look at me askance.

Step one:

Purchase various pants and shorts in odd colors. I love brightly colored pants and shorts. I just bought a pair of salmon-colored pants and everyone is already making me defend my decision. But I like them. They make me feel like I might be jaunting away on a yacht somewhere European or Mediterranean or something.

This is a rough approximation of what I'm wearing RIGHT NOW!

In a former post, I believe I talked about the time I went to visit Boston in August and I was wearing kelly green shorts and people literally paused in mid-stroll to look at me. Yeah. I want more of that. It’s like a weird game I play. Getting confused looks from boring young strangers.

These are a little too skin tight, but they're TURQUOISE!

These turquoise pants would guarantee weird looks. New Englanders don’t talk about money–it’s tacky. Many things are tacky to the born-and-bred New Englander and I’m guessing somehow bright colors made it onto that list. I’ll have to go to various New England states’ archives to find the original charter, but I KNOW turquoise pants got some witches burned. That’s a grant proposal right there.

Wait. That was a really sad time in our country’s history.

Look at these shorts!

This girl is a win

That’s the best–to wear basically all one color that’s completely unoffensive, like black, and then just go BOOMTOWN with your shorts.

How can you look so confrontational in canary pants? ANGRY BLONDS, RISE UP!

Never a fan of the dangly chain belt, but the lightweight button-up shirt and handheld satchel bag thing is an ensemble I can totally get behind. I’m also pleased that the blond looks so pissed off, rather than “wholesome” or “cute.” Enough with the cute! No one around here is four years old.

Wool pants won't fly in the Summer, but I'm all over this in the Fall.

Oh p.s. Eurpoean girls generally have what is closer to my gender presentation. As a child I could more often than not be found scrambling to the upper most branches of various trees, pretending to be a CIA operative, setting traps for my younger bother, and following mole hills through my backyard in an effort to track an unwitting mole and make it my blind little friend. In other words, I was a raggamuffin whose heroes were more Ramona Quimby and Punky Brewster than they were the prattling conversational stylings of The Babysitter’s Club. Which is to say, as an adult I don’t fit in well in the U.S. with all the long hair and uber femme prioritization and whatnot. I’m still a raggamuffin at heart. Hence, the fact that you will rarely find me in a skirt.

Step two:

Embrace the color orange, which is all over runways this Spring and Summer and also is just a fun color to use to highlight almost any outfit. Apparently it’s Michelle’s power color. My power color is purple. But the point is that everyone should have a power color.

Bad. Ass.

I would never have the balls to wear a sheer shirt with nipple covers, but I am so glad that someone in this world is fuck-all enough to.  This woman is teaching us all how it’s done. This was a teaching moment.

"ow, my hair!"

I don’t really care for satin pants, but I thought it was hilarious that her hair looks like it’s weighing her down, man. This is totally how I would feel if I grew my hair out.


This is how stylist Elisa Nalin treats her day

Step three:

Patterns. Lots of them. Stripes, mainly.

Jil Sander > you

I will 100% greet you at the door with a martini while wearing that striped tent.

Nautical + Misery= This Model


Step four:

Topsiders are to New England what Tom’s are to San Francisco and Oakland. So purchase Espadrilles and weird sandals instead. You know, because you’re oppositional.

The Fidela is oooookkkaaaaay!

Espadrilles are so gay

My favorite part of the Espadrilles website is how the copy randomly proclaims, “A basket full of Espadrilles!” What? Why? Ok! That sounds like fun!

These sandals are all numbered for some reason

When I was 19 I had sandals that looked like number 3. on the shoe menu and my friend told me they looked like Jesus sandals and so I stopped wearing them because I didn’t like Jesus. I mean, Jesus, whatever he was or was not , if he was at all, is fine. He’s basically a hippie, so no harm there, but who wants to look like they’re copying his footwear? Answer: EVERYONE IN 2011! I should have just kept those bastards and worn them as a more secure 31-year-old. Dang.

Me and my Jesus sandals see you, New England.

Step five:

Not wearing a bright color? Wear all white. I’ve always wanted to do this and then I finally did when I was on vacation and I don’t ever want to go back to NOT wearing all white.

Here she comes! The only bitch on the street in a monochromatic outfit

New Englanders obviously aren’t a monolithic culture. There are always great exceptions to the neutral color palate/sports fan fashion. Like this person:

But it’s a regional culture that’s so often so set in its ways, it’s fun to tease. Also, I’m on my way to find a home in Providence, which might subscribe to a different style than Boston, my former home. Maybe RISD keeps shit fresh. We shall see! Either way,  moving adventures and real summer make for a great excuse to change looks! And nothing complements summer style like the New England landscape, which might have invented summer in the first place.


About Michael von Braithwaite

Does it look like I'd wear it on a boat, at an eccentric person's estate or accompanied by a peacock on a chain? Yeah, I'll probably buy that.


  1. amal

    who’s making you defend the salmon pants?! they’re spectacular!

  2. Beth

    I have those turquoise pants and for three years running I get comments on them. People stop in their tracks when they see turquoise pants and a fine ass. Brava, Michael- wonderful post.

    I have to CHALLENGE your views on “Babysitter’s Club.” Those girls were BUSINESSWOMEN. Consider this, VonB- try re-conceptualizing the prattling conversations as prototype Board meetings. There was money to earn, infrastructure to build, minutes to take, and officer to elect. They had to TALK. Don’t get me wrong; I watched Punky and obsessively read Ramona books but while those kids were dying oatmeal blue, fighting with Beezus and playing hide-and-go-seek in refrigerator boxes, MY girls Kristy, Mary Ann, Stacy, Dawn and even big dummy Claudia were gearing up to build stock portfolios. They inspired me to create my own invoices at age 9 and approach all the bitchy neighborhood girls to see who wanted to go into business with me. Now, ZERO took me up on the offer but look where I am now and look where they are now. I say a hearty Thank You, BSC!

    Okay, back to work.


    • Michael von Braithwaite


      Now THAT was a logically structured argument! Well played. In retrospect it’s really interesting to think about BSC’s girls preparing to be Wall Street execs, but as a nine-year-old, it just wasn’t as compelling as rumpled little girls playing tricks on and outwitting all manner of people. Maybe my lack of business savvy started earlier than I thought.

  3. meg

    RISD does, indeed, keep it fresh… and colorful. i love when the new school year starts and the new students are out in full plumage. there should be some sort of parade.

    there’s a dash of the downcity hipster who is too cool to wear anything but flannel, but there’s certainly plenty of color to go around. i don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

    check out:

  4. 1. I LOVE bright and basically any color pant/jean, I’m trying to collect the rainbow and you in those salmon pants totally fierce. (I may or may not own salmon colored jeans)

    2. WHAAAAAAAAT You are moving to New England??? Seriously I can’t take anymore gaymazing people leaving the Bay Area for the east coast!!! I mean this is all about me right? I need time to process this…

    3. I’m still processing and discussing with my dog, who tells me to stop being an asshole and be excited for you doing an awesome cross country move! YAY! You will have an AMAZING summer!!

    4. I have to go comfort myself with Harry Potter.


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