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.
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.
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 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!
That’s the best–to wear basically all one color that’s completely unoffensive, like black, and then just go BOOMTOWN with your shorts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Patterns. Lots of them. Stripes, mainly.
I will 100% greet you at the door with a martini while wearing that striped tent.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.