Monday, March 30, 2015

Bianca, South St, Philadelphia

Bianca, like most of us, doesn't expend an enormous amount of energy thinking about her clothes. She likes things that are "comfortable" and fit well, and tends to wear items she likes over and over again. Those jeggings, for instance, she, wears year round. They were "really cheap," but "they're just comfortable, even if it's like hot or cold outside." They kind of "go with whatever [she's] doing." The boots are Steve Madden, and she wears them all the time too. They are also "comfortable." The jacket is a men's jacket. Bianca says about half her clothes are men's clothes. "I just like the way it fits," she says, of the jacket. You may notice a theme here. Comfort is the primary criterion for what Bianca wears. She describes her style as "comfortable" and chooses clothes that feel comfortable on her. Just don't start thinking "comfortable" is a value-neutral term, some objective description of the way at item fits or feels. We are "comfortable" in clothes that fit "us," not just our bodies, clothes that match our current conception of self, that enable us to move smoothly through social situations without attracting undue attention or getting in the way of what we long to become.     

Friday, March 27, 2015

Aaron from Commonwealth Proper, 18th St, Philadelphia

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lydia, Broad St, Philadelphia

Lydia is a heavy metal guitarist without a huge amount of time to shop. So she buys most of her clothes "really cheap on Amazon." "I used to be a big thrifter," she told me. But "thrift stores are different than they used to be. Now that everybody does eBay, the racks are empty." In these shots, Lydia is wearing a fake red leather jacket, customized and detailed by her friend, fake leather pants, and some good old-fashioned combat boots, laced halfway up. Fake leather, it seems, is going through something of a renaissance at the moment. I've seen it on around half the people I've stopped these last few weeks. It's been a while, however, since I've heard anyone refer to it as "pleather." Part of fake leather's online rebranding, perhaps?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Arthur, Walnut St, Philadelphia

"I don't really like to hop on the trend train," Arthur told me, outside the Urban Outfitters on Walnut St. "But there are certain things you wanna catch and just add to your style as it progresses." Like the imitation leather motorcycle jacket he's wearing. Perfecto motorcycle jackets have crossed the line from fad to wardrobe staple these last few months, as everyone from fashion interns to hip hop heads have added them to their "must have" list. Arthur is wearing his — a Forever 21 jacket he bought at Buffalo Exchange for "super cheap" — over a Zara denim blue jacket with hood, a "full-length long T-shirt with side zips" — he doesn't know the brand — and a G-Star red plaid shirt he tied around his waste. He has paired it with some super skinny jeans and some classic Converse "Chuck All-Stars." "I like to take trends but mix [them] in with stuff I've been doing for a long long time," says Arthur. "Fashion is definitely a progression."  

Arthur is the artist, graphic designer, and co-founder behind MollyMachine, a local T-shirt company. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Alex, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

Spring is here! It is just, apparently, taking the day off today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Megan, 4th St, Philadelphia

I pulled Megan out of the quirky vintage and antique shop Jinxed, where she works, to get these shots. I liked her indie kid take on the 1980s preppy/jock look. Her style is steeped in nostalgia, but not bogged down in it. It's got the mood of an early John Hughes movie. 
In keeping with her place of employment, Megan wears mostly vintage clothes, often purchased at Philly AIDS Thrift just a couple of blocks away. She describes her style as "low maintenance," and I think it's an apt description. It's easy and unfussy. She wears high-waisted mom jeans and makes them look cool. 
Megan's a Reading, PA native, but not some knee-jerk, dyed in the wool Phillies fan. The starter jacket, she told me, she bought as a gift for a friend of hers online. It turned out to be too small for her friend. "I didn't realize it was supposed to be a youth large, and I [thought I] ordered a regular large," she told me. "And then it came, and I thought, ok, I get a new jacket!"
Megan's pants are vintage Gap. Her shoes are navy blue penny loafers. She doesn't know the brand. Why would she? Thrift store shopping is about finding what you can find. It takes patience and a certain casual disregard for the label-obsession of the status-conscious.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Michael, 16th St, Philadelphia

"I would describe my style," said Michael, standing on the corner of 16th and Walnut, "like a food that you like. Like you like pizza. [But] if I could describe my style it would be like ice cream. That's what I would describe it as. Anybody can say urban. Urban is urban. I really don't know. I just like my flavor of cake or ice cream."

Michael does a lot of his shopping at Zara, and much of what he is wearing is from there. There and Target. He doesn't think so much about brands. He thinks about flavors, getting the flavor he likes.

As a general strategy for putting together an outfit, he'll select one or two relatively nice things that he likes — this "leather" motorcycle vest from Macys, for instance, or that pair of Doc Martens boots — and he'll build the rest of his look around it. "I just match off of that," he said. "Like, my jacket may be the thing that costs the most on me, and I just go cheaper from there."

Friday, March 13, 2015

James, Ubiq Shop, Walnut St, Philadelphia

"I would describe my style as casual, kind of just laid back, you know," James told me, reclining in the shop window of Ubiq on Walnut Street. "I really like the term of 'work with what you've got,' 'cause that's what I do. I don't really buy too much stuff all the time, but I keep a lot of pieces at home that I like to style together. Sometimes you might see it again, but it will always be in a different way, because I like to keep it original."

The pants James is wearing were made by a friend from Africa — James wasn't sure which part. He had just met her at a friend of his' place in the Bronx. She, apparently, liked James' and his brothers' sense of style and threw together some pants for them "right then and there."

The shoes, of course, are the original Air Jordans. They are now iconic. I recognized them from across the street.

The T-shirt is Billionaire Boys' Club. "Pharrell is like my idol," said James. The bomber jacket is from H&M. "I needed something simple, so I could style it up the way I wanted to." In this case, that includes a pendant by a friend of his who goes by "Easy Summers." His brand, through which he distributes his pendants, is called Natural Born Heartbreakers. All his designs feature a broken heart. The ring he got through the website of a new California company called Golden Gods. The necklace is from a brand with a bit more storied of a history. It's Chanel.

As for those glasses: "They aren't really anything special. They are just prescription. They were prescribed to me, because I can't see."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Outside Misha Nonoo, 22nd St, New York

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ni'ma Ford, outside Herve Leger by Max Azria, Lincoln Center

Friday, March 6, 2015

Preetma Singh outside Misha Nonoo, 22nd St, New York

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Outside Lacoste, Lincoln Center, New York

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Outside HBA, Wall St, New York

Monday, March 2, 2015

Snow outside Herve Leger by Maz Azria, New York

I am looking forward to getting back out on the streets of Philadelphia. I want pictures of grit and grime and edgy Philadelphians without any of the pretense or polish that characterizes New York Fashion Week. But it is cold and will remain so at least this next week. Philly's fashionable set are hibernating. So in the meantime, here is a picturesque snow scene from the courtyard of Lincoln Center.