I’ve decided to try something new here on the blog and considering that I spend more time on Instagram than I do on here, I figured it would be a good idea to integrate some of my posts there onto this platform. This new series is what I call ‘Fit Features’ because A) My parents paid many thousands of dollars for me to go to private junior high, high school, and college so I could learn alliteration and it would be woeful indeed if I wasted their well-earned wealth and B) I feel that denim blogs spend too much time and effort on individual products and fades instead of actually commenting on style.
A major reason that I am starting this series is that I honestly feel like a very large amount of people that are a part of this raw denim/heritage workwear scene do not know how to dress all that well. This obviously makes me sound like a massive asshole, but I’ve never been the type of person to keep opinions to myself. This heritage workwear/raw denim/repro clothing world we are in suffers from a pretty strong case of buying nice clothes and then wearing them poorly. This is a problem in all fashion scenes, but being a person who does pay attention to fashion and style outside of the heritage workwear world, I would have to say that this scene is the worst offender. Sure, I have seen dudes just throw on nothing but Haider Ackermann or YSL and look like tools, but what I see far more often is a guy in raw denim, Red Wings, a flannel shirt, and a denim jacket who just looks like he went on instagram and just bought all the items that someone like sel.vage, raw.denim, Johan Malik, or inn8chiro are wearing and think they will look like a bad ass.
This is an example of what I would NOT where out.
Of course, I am not a style icon myself and if you really want to get yourself sartorially sorted, there are better resources out there. With that said, I do believe that I am qualified to speak on this subject, especially in the context of this type of clothing. Hell, if you disagree with me on any points that I make, feel free to tell me so and why. Everything in fashion is technically opinion and the real goal here is to generate discussion around this topic because I believe it is a topic that is ironically ignored in what is technically a fashion ‘scene.’
I also understand that many view this scene a sort of anti-fashion space and therefore believe that it’s not about looking good, but about buying ethically made and durable clothing. I disagree with this line of thinking more than M. Night Shyamalan disagrees with making good movies. The amount of money we pay and effort we put into this clothing scene means that anyone saying that it is not about style or fashion is either lying or has completely wasted their money while the rest of us have only mostly wasted our money.
No matter your thoughts on the scene itself, there are several issues I have with how people dress in this world of urban lumberjacks that make me scratch my head and even the casual observer would likely agree that these statements are generally true. There are 5 major mistakes that I see all too often and they are as follows:
1. Everyone looks exactly the same. OK, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but there is a lot of truth to it. If I had a dollar for every picture on instagram or Superdenim of a dude wearing a denim jacket, untucked plaid flannel shirt, cuffed denim jeans, and a pair of Red Wing moc toes I’d have 5 Lamorghinis. I’m not saying that any of these individual items are bad or anything, but the fact that such a large percentage of people wear this exact outfit nearly every day is just so uncreative that that they might as well just wear the slick silver one piece uniform of the future that they are ironically trying to avoid. I thought we liked these clothes partly because they are different to what everyone else is wearing.
2. Why does everyone bleed indigo? Seriously, indigo is not actually liquid gold. Just because you worship at its altar and sacrifice Lucky and True Religion jeans to your Japanese indigo god does not mean that you will be damned to raw denim hell* if you don’t where only indigo clothing. I personally think that unless one item is very heavily faded and the other is quite new, the Canadian tuxedo does not look very good. To make things worse, often times people add an indigo shirt on top of it all. Try some variety, please!
3. Please get your patterns and colors together. This problem is less common, but I have seen it several times. Plaid and stripes do not go well together. They clash far too much. Also, plaid on plaid is not any better than the previous combo. This issue is systemic of people just wearing all of their favorite items at the same time even though none of them actually look good together.
4. Black and brown leather do not go together. Yes, there are exceptions. The chief one is that a black leather jacket can look OK with a very light brown or tan pair of boots. However, it’s still not the best look most of the time and black jackets generally look best with black boots or white/colorful sneakers. I have seen far too many pictures of black leather jackets being worn with dark brown boots which makes both items look worse and causes the outfit to be less than the sum of its parts.
5. Tuck your damn shirt in!!! This one might be the one that bothers me the most. I understand that shirts should not always be tucked in, but having your shirt tail hanging out from a fairly short jacket just looks sloppy and lazy. It completely destroys any outfit and it makes you look like you have no idea how disheveled you look. If you’re wearing a leather jacket and have a t shirt that sometimes peaks out from underneath, that can be OK, but when the shirt is several inches below the jacket, it almost looks like you spilled something on the back of your pants.
brown on brown leather with my shirt most definitely tucked in
Now I have to admit that I have broken some of my own rules in the past and as I mentioned before, I am far from the most stylish dude in the world. However, I do believe that there are people in this scene that dress better than others as there is in any scene and for the record, I do not put myself at the top. I just believe that this raw denim/heritage scene could use a few pointers on overall style and because nobody else is saying anything, I will get the ball rolling.
slightly more dressed up
This series, interspersed with my other upcoming articles, will showcase a specific outfit that I posted on Instagram along with details about the color, fit, style of each item, why I like them, and why I think the outfit as a whole looks good. I am hoping that this will generate some new ideas or give tips to those reading the articles as well as force me to really look at each outfit that I put together and give some self criticism as well as hopefully become a little more creative in how I dress.
denim jacket with tan chinos instead of denim
P.S. If you do commit all of these sins that I listed and are annoyed at me, hopefully the sarcasm I dumped all over the place shows that I mean no harm and that this is all in good fun.
*In case you were wondering, raw denim hell is a disgusting place that is so hot and humid that you can’t ever wear your flannels, leather jackets, or denim jackets, boots, or jeans ever again. Everyone only wear shorts. The scenery is just crappy nightclubs and swamps so there are no cool places to take rugged looking pictures and all the citizens are young night club-goers who laugh at you 24/7 or really old people who constantly tell you that they have no idea why you are wearing what poor people wore back when they were young. So, yeah, raw denim hell is just Florida.