Power Palette: Basics as the Outfit of Now

Every few months or so I settle on an outfit that holds power.  It bounces me off the pavement, pushes me into new situations, and allows some sort of energy to emanate from me into the world. Somehow, through the steady gathering of clothing I love, find, buy, and layer, a “power palette” has been formed.

Lately, this has been my wellspring:

A men's heritage rainbow of texture and classic color.

Here we have a worn Filson canvas jacket, a 1980s Wrangler denim western shirt of a farmer’s blue, a herringbone overshirt from Eddie Bauer, a pair of stove pipe dark denim jeans from Levi’s (Matchstick fit and made in the USA), a pair of oatmeal-colored Smartwool socks, and vintage Italian wingtips steeped in Seattle mud. Accesorized with a Whillas and Gunn mechanic’s hat, and a vintage silver ring set with turquoise and opal.

All of these pieces have been selected over the last few years of my life for various reasons. Some purchased new, some bought for under five bucks at a thrift store, the ring procured from my favorite vintage store in Minneapolis, The Corner Store, off Hennepin for $40. The rodeo belt buckle, a thrift score in Norman, OK.

Vintage brown leather, is there anything better?

Turquoise for tranquility and Opal for emotional wholeness.

Rugged men on horses with handwritten letters in their gorgeous leather satchels. Just think of it.

The hat has an interesting story, and is the most recent acquisition. A beautiful man in Portland, who later broke my heart and turned out to be a borderline sociopath, gifted it to me because he couldn’t work it into his wardrobe. I highly respected this man’s taste. He had under 10 items in his wardrobe, all of the highest quality, because his belief was if he wanted to look good every day, he needed to wear his top-game clothing daily. His shit was truly beautiful. What I love about this hat, besides the texture and fit, is the oil paint smeared on the top. This gentleman was a highly skilled figure painter, and he wore this hat while working on his art. I’m a strong believer the hat didn’t want him.  I wear it not with a heavy heart, but with reverence.

'Whillas and Gunn' and Sunlight and Paint.

The neck piece below never leaves my body. It was a gift from my friend Nile, and holds a witchy power that keeps me safe. It’s a heavy silver pendant from legendary origins too intense to fully disclose. It also looks great with everything in my wardrobe.

Witchy origins.

So, I wear this outfit at least once a week. The layering is so important here, a texture and color rainbow of men’s heritage-wear. I feel autochthonous to my surroundings, and the color pop of my burnt-orange road bike sets me on fire down the Pike/Pine corridors of Seattle.

A gentle cascade of fit and pleasing color. These pieces were meant to lay on top of one another.

One of my dear friends Erin told me I seem to think about clothing like some folks think about gemstones and crystals, honing in on the correct set of stones for the day. I wholeheartedly believe this, and that the right outfit can attract the goodness of the day to you.

My back porch with its lean trees and dilapidated wood railings.

All of these pieces are points in my life. Points where I was traveling, loving my life, trying to love someone else, wanting to adorn my body with something beautiful. When pieces like these come together, it’s more than a store-bought look or on-trend acquisitions. I am wearing moments on my body: my time, my stories, my trials, my lovers. I am binding them together like a spell into the new day.

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About adamboehmer

Adam Boehmer is an artist, musician and writer living in Seattle, WA. Adam's poems have appeared online and in print journals including Spork, Gertrude, The Monarch Review, CityArts magazine, and the anthology The Full Spectrum, from Knopf Books. He has worked as a contributing writer for online entities such as Ironing Board Collective. His music project Tenderfoot works towards an unabashedly romantic collection of queer folk songs. Visually, his art is sculptural and assemblage-based, and stems from the desire to arrange and bind objects in a powerful way, recontextualizing building materials, masculine accoutrements and ephemera. He is currently producing a collaborative book, Sweaters & GLASS with LA artist Maggie Carson Romano.

4 comments

  1. Pingback: Lovely Links: 11/25/11

  2. Arinn

    this was a beautiful mediation on clothing choice. thank you for sharing!

  3. Kat

    Beautiful and true. I feel exactly the same way about clothing when I get dressed in the morning. It feels like putting together a piece of art. The clothes are my medium and my body is the canvas. I can never plan my outfits the night before, because I never know how I’ll feel when I arise in the morning.

  4. Pingback: How to Dress Cheap Without Looking Cheap (Unless That’s What You’re Going For) « Ironing Board Collective

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